Do British People Usually Have Their Holidays In Summer

by CiCi
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When summer arrives in the United Kingdom, it brings with it a distinctive transformation. The once grey skies begin to clear, the temperatures rise modestly, and a palpable sense of excitement fills the air. For many Brits, summer represents not just a season but a cherished tradition of holidays that blend relaxation, adventure, and cultural experiences. This article explores the rich tapestry of British summer holiday culture, from the traditional seaside trips to the growing trend of overseas travel, providing an in-depth look at how the British make the most of their summer months.

The Traditional British Seaside Holiday

A Nostalgic Journey

The British seaside holiday is a beloved institution, steeped in nostalgia and tradition. From Victorian times to the present day, coastal towns such as Blackpool, Brighton, and Bournemouth have been quintessential holiday destinations. These towns are not just about sun and sand; they offer a unique blend of entertainment, culture, and relaxation.


Blackpool: Known for its iconic tower, Blackpool is the epitome of the British seaside resort. The Pleasure Beach amusement park, with its historic roller coasters, and the annual Blackpool Illuminations light display draw millions of visitors each year. Families flock to the town’s golden beaches, while the promenade, with its arcades and fish and chip shops, provides a quintessentially British experience.


Brighton: A vibrant and bohemian city, Brighton is famous for its pebble beach, the historic Brighton Pier, and the striking Royal Pavilion. It’s a hub for art and culture, with numerous galleries, theatres, and music venues. The Lanes, a network of narrow streets, are packed with independent shops and cafes, making it a favorite for shoppers and foodies alike.

Bournemouth: With its seven miles of sandy beaches and Victorian architecture, Bournemouth offers a more relaxed and genteel seaside experience. The town is known for its beautiful gardens and parks, making it a great destination for those who enjoy leisurely strolls and picnics.

Seaside Traditions

Several traditions define the British seaside holiday. These include:

Beach Huts: Renting a beach hut is a quintessentially British activity. These small, colorful wooden cabins line the seafront and provide a base for families to store their belongings, change into swimwear, and enjoy a cup of tea while taking in the sea view.

Fish and Chips: No seaside holiday is complete without indulging in fish and chips. This classic dish, often enjoyed straight from the paper wrapping while sitting on the promenade, is a staple of the British seaside experience.

Arcades and Amusements: Seaside arcades are a throwback to a simpler time. Penny slots, claw machines, and various arcade games offer hours of entertainment for both children and adults.

Ice Cream Vans: The chimes of an ice cream van are a familiar sound at the seaside. Soft-serve ice cream, often topped with a chocolate flake (known as a “99”), is a must-have treat.

Modern Seaside Resorts

While traditional seaside towns continue to thrive, some resorts have reinvented themselves to cater to modern tastes. These include:

Whitstable: This town in Kent has become a trendy destination known for its oysters and seafood. The annual Whitstable Oyster Festival draws food lovers from all over the country.

St. Ives: Located in Cornwall, St. Ives is famous for its stunning beaches and vibrant art scene. The Tate St Ives gallery and numerous art studios make it a haven for artists and art enthusiasts.

Margate: Once a traditional holiday town, Margate has undergone a cultural renaissance. The opening of the Turner Contemporary gallery has attracted a new wave of visitors, and the town is now known for its retro and vintage vibe.

The Rise of Domestic Tourism

Exploring the Great British Countryside

While seaside holidays remain popular, many Brits are opting to explore the UK’s diverse and picturesque countryside. The British countryside offers a wide range of activities, from hiking and cycling to more leisurely pursuits such as visiting historic sites and sampling local cuisine.

The Lake District: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its stunning landscapes, comprising lakes, forests, and mountains. Popular activities include hiking, boating, and visiting charming towns such as Keswick and Ambleside. The area is also closely associated with the poet William Wordsworth, whose works were inspired by the region’s natural beauty.

The Cotswolds: Known for its quintessentially English villages with honey-colored stone houses, the Cotswolds offer a more relaxed pace of life. Visitors can enjoy walks along the Cotswold Way, explore historic sites such as Sudeley Castle, and visit charming market towns like Chipping Campden and Bourton-on-the-Water.

The Scottish Highlands: This region is renowned for its dramatic scenery, including mountains, lochs, and glens. The Highlands offer opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and wildlife watching. The area is also rich in history, with many castles and historic sites to explore.

Wales: The Welsh countryside is known for its rugged beauty. Snowdonia National Park offers challenging hikes and stunning views, while the Pembrokeshire Coast is famous for its coastal walks and beautiful beaches. The Brecon Beacons provide a variety of outdoor activities, including caving and horseback riding.

Holiday Parks and Campsites

Holiday parks and campsites have seen a resurgence in popularity, offering affordable and family-friendly accommodation options. These parks often provide a range of amenities and activities, including swimming pools, entertainment programs, and sports facilities.

Butlins and Pontins: These well-known holiday park chains offer a wide range of activities and entertainment options for families. From live shows and kids’ clubs to swimming pools and adventure playgrounds, there’s something for everyone.

Center Parcs: Known for its woodland resorts, Center Parcs offers a variety of outdoor activities such as cycling, archery, and water sports. The resorts also feature luxurious spa facilities, making them popular for both family holidays and romantic getaways.

Camping and Glamping: Traditional camping remains a popular choice, but glamping (glamorous camping) has become increasingly fashionable. Glamping sites offer more luxurious accommodation options, such as yurts, tipis, and safari tents, providing a more comfortable and stylish way to experience the great outdoors.

Overseas Travel Trends

European Escapes

With the advent of budget airlines and affordable travel options, many Brits choose to spend their summer holidays abroad. European destinations are particularly popular due to their proximity and the variety of experiences they offer.

Spain: Spain remains one of the top destinations for British holidaymakers. The Costa del Sol, with its sun-drenched beaches and vibrant nightlife, is a perennial favorite. Cities such as Barcelona and Madrid attract those interested in culture and history, while the Balearic Islands (including Ibiza, Mallorca, and Menorca) offer a mix of relaxation and entertainment.

France: France offers a diverse range of holiday options. The French Riviera, with glamorous destinations like Nice and Cannes, attracts those looking for luxury and sophistication. The countryside regions, such as Provence and the Loire Valley, are perfect for those seeking a more relaxed and scenic holiday. Paris, with its world-famous landmarks and cultural attractions, remains a popular city break destination.

Italy: Italy’s rich history, stunning landscapes, and delicious cuisine make it a favored holiday spot. The Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, and the Italian Lakes are popular for their scenic beauty, while cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice offer a wealth of cultural and historical attractions.

Greece: Greece’s islands, such as Crete, Mykonos, and Santorini, are renowned for their stunning beaches, clear blue waters, and vibrant nightlife. The mainland, with historic sites like Athens and Thessaloniki, attracts those interested in ancient history and culture.

Long-Haul Destinations

While European destinations are convenient, many Brits also venture further afield for their summer holidays, seeking more exotic and far-flung locations.

The United States: The US offers a vast array of holiday experiences. Popular destinations include the theme parks of Florida, the vibrant city life of New York and Los Angeles, and the natural wonders of national parks such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

The Caribbean: The Caribbean’s idyllic beaches, warm climate, and all-inclusive resorts make it a popular choice for those seeking a relaxing and luxurious holiday. Islands such as Jamaica, Barbados, and the Dominican Republic are particularly favored.

Asia: Southeast Asia, with destinations like Thailand, Vietnam, and Bali, attracts those looking for adventure, cultural experiences, and stunning natural beauty. Japan has also seen a rise in popularity, offering a unique blend of tradition and modernity.

Australia and New Zealand: Although a long-haul destination, Australia and New Zealand offer unparalleled natural beauty and outdoor adventure opportunities. The Great Barrier Reef, the Outback, and the scenic landscapes of New Zealand draw those seeking a more adventurous holiday experience.

Holiday Activities and Interests

Adventure and Sports Holidays

For many Brits, summer holidays are not just about relaxation but also about engaging in various activities and sports. Adventure holidays have grown in popularity, catering to those looking for more active and thrilling experiences.

Hiking and Walking: The UK’s diverse landscapes provide ample opportunities for hiking and walking holidays. The West Highland Way in Scotland, the South West Coast Path in England, and the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in Wales are popular long-distance trails.

Cycling: Cycling holidays are a great way to explore the countryside. The National Cycle Network offers a range of routes, from gentle rides to challenging trails. Popular destinations include the Yorkshire Dales, the New Forest, and the Scottish Borders.

Water Sports: Coastal areas and inland lakes provide opportunities for various water sports, including sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. The Lake District, Cornwall, and the Scottish Highlands are well-known for their water sports facilities.

Golf: Golf holidays are popular, with the UK boasting some of the world’s best golf courses. St. Andrews in Scotland, known as the “home of golf,” is a must-visit for enthusiasts. Other notable courses include Royal Birkdale in England and Royal Porthcawl in Wales.

Cultural and Historical Holidays

Britain’s rich history and cultural heritage make it an ideal destination for those interested in exploring historic sites and cultural landmarks.

Historic Cities: Cities like London, Edinburgh, and Bath are steeped in history and offer a wealth of cultural attractions. London’s museums, theatres, and historical sites, such as the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey, attract millions of visitors each year. Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and the historic Edinburgh Castle are must-see attractions. Bath’s Roman baths and Georgian architecture provide a glimpse into the city’s ancient and classical past.

Castles and Stately Homes: The UK is home to many castles and stately homes, which offer a fascinating insight into the country’s history. Notable examples include Windsor Castle, Warwick Castle, and Blenheim Palace. Many of these sites offer guided tours, events, and activities for visitors.

Festivals and Events: Summer is festival season in the UK, with numerous events celebrating music, arts, and culture. The Glastonbury Festival is one of the most famous music festivals in the world, attracting top international acts. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival, showcasing a wide range of performances, from theatre and comedy to dance and music.

Family Holidays

Family holidays are a significant aspect of British summer culture, with many families seeking destinations and activities that cater to all ages.

Theme Parks: The UK boasts several world-class theme parks. Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, and Legoland Windsor offer a variety of rides and attractions for all ages, making them popular family destinations.

Zoos and Wildlife Parks: Zoos and wildlife parks provide educational and entertaining experiences for families. Chester Zoo, London Zoo, and Longleat Safari Park are some of the most popular.

Farm Stays: Farm stays offer families the chance to experience rural life. Children can learn about farming, interact with animals, and enjoy outdoor activities. Popular farm stay destinations include Cornwall, Devon, and the Lake District.

The Impact of Technology on Holidays

Booking and Planning

The advent of technology has significantly changed how Brits plan and book their holidays. Online travel agencies, comparison websites, and travel apps have made it easier to find and book flights, accommodation, and activities.

Online Booking: Websites like Expedia,, and Airbnb offer a wide range of accommodation options, from hotels and holiday rentals to unique stays such as treehouses and houseboats. These platforms provide user reviews, which help travelers make informed decisions.

Travel Apps: Apps like Skyscanner, TripAdvisor, and Google Maps have become essential tools for travelers. Skyscanner helps find the best flight deals, TripAdvisor offers reviews and recommendations for attractions and restaurants, and Google Maps assists with navigation and exploring local areas.

Social Media and Influencers

Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube play a significant role in shaping travel trends and influencing holiday decisions. Travel influencers and bloggers share their experiences, providing inspiration and practical tips for potential travelers.

Instagram: Beautiful travel photos and videos on Instagram inspire many Brits when choosing their holiday destinations. Hashtags like #travelinspo and #holidayvibes help users discover new places and experiences.

YouTube: Travel vlogs on YouTube offer in-depth insights into various destinations. Vloggers share their itineraries, travel tips, and personal experiences, providing valuable information for those planning similar trips.

Facebook Groups: Travel-related Facebook groups and communities provide a platform for travelers to share advice, ask questions, and find travel companions. These groups cover a wide range of interests, from backpacking and solo travel to family holidays and luxury getaways.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies are starting to influence the travel industry, offering new ways for travelers to explore and experience destinations before they even leave home.

Virtual Tours: Many tourist attractions now offer virtual tours, allowing potential visitors to explore museums, historic sites, and even hotel rooms online. This technology helps travelers make informed decisions about their holiday plans.

Augmented Reality: AR apps enhance the travel experience by providing additional information and interactive elements. For example, AR apps can overlay historical information onto real-world sites or offer guided walking tours with augmented reality features.


The British summer holiday is a diverse and evolving tradition, reflecting changes in societal trends, technological advancements, and cultural influences. Whether it’s the nostalgic charm of a seaside town, the adventure of exploring the countryside, or the allure of an overseas destination, Brits have a wide array of options to choose from. The integration of technology into travel planning and the rise of new holiday trends ensure that the British summer holiday remains a dynamic and cherished aspect of British culture. As the world continues to change, so too will the ways in which the British experience and enjoy their summer holidays, always seeking new adventures and creating lasting memories.

Related topics:

The Major Holidays in the United Kingdom

Best British Holiday Parks: What You Need to Know

Most Popular British Holiday Destinations


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