Those seaside towns which have managed to survive seem to spend more of their time trying to out-do eachother with bigger and better rides, like the Pepsi Max in Blackpool. But what happens if you just want to return to the traditional seaside holidays of your childhood? Never fear as those days are not lost, and might actually be coming back into fashion.
Family entertainment shows – Naturally one of the best examples of this would be the Punch and Judy show which seems to be one of the few parts of British culture not affected by “health and safety” and “political correctness”, and all the other things designed to make us miserable. Exactly what Mr Punch beating his wife around the head, sausages and a crocodile have to do with the seaside has always alluded me, but as the Codman’s Punch and Judy show in Llandudno (North Wales) proves – after 150 years this is still entertaining. The show runs on Llandudno’s North Shore promenade near the pier at midday, 2pm and 4pm.
Blackpool is probably the biggest success story from the seasides, having reinvented itself many times over the generations while still managing to keep that slightly cheesy-esk appearance that seems to so endear it to the holidaying public. Alongside the funfair with the huge rollarcoaster and the arcades, you can still find the bastions of the Blackpool holiday.
Fortuneteller Maria Petulengro has been on the North Pier for more years than even she probably wants to remember, as proven by the pics of a young Cliff Richard who never really seems to age anyway, and Eddie Cochran. Whether she can tell you the lottery numbers is debateable, but for shear entertainment she deserves a mention.
Other features include tea at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom while watching the professional ballroom dancers – we are assured that John Sergeant of Strictly Come Dancing fame won’t be appearing. Or if you fancy something completely different, why not transport yourself back to the Victorian age when Blackpool was at it’s heyday – the Old Time Portrait Studio let you dress up in Victorian clothes and have a sepia photo taken with Blackpool as the backdrop (solemn Victorian style smiles are optional).
Skegness not to be outdone has made sure that you can still take donkey rides on the beach and the Nuttal family have been doing donkey rides at Skegness for over 100 years now, so you can be sure you’re in safe hands. There is plenty more at Skegness besides this including quite a good fairground.
Caister Holiday Park is one of the oldest parks in the country having opened it’s doors in 1906. Luckily today the park doesn’t insist on guests sleeping in tents and pitching in with the chores (they called that a holiday!?), but there are still many aspects of the traditional holiday park a-la Butlins. The park today is run by Haven Holidays but unlike many parks it hasn’t lost the kitsch delights such as family “wake’n'shake” sessions, pedal cars, self-catering chalets and a proper live entertainment.
Donald McGill’s Saucy Seaside Postcard Museum really does what it says in the name, by taking the visitor back to a more innocent time when harmless double entendre was still part of the seaside tradition. The museum is actually dedicated to one Donald McGill who worked from 1904 to 1962 creating over 12,000 such postcards, many of which can be seen in the museum.
If rollercoasters and slot machines don’t appeal, maybe we’ve given you a few insights into what else you can do on a British seaside holiday.