Summer holiday

“We’re all going on a summer holiday
No more working for a week or two…”

So the lyrics to Cliff Richard’s famous song go, but it hasn’t always been that way. In medieval times, travel was either for work, war or religious purposes. Rest was only on ‘holy days’ – you can see where we get our modern word ‘holiday’ from!

From the 17th through to the 19th century, travel and trips were only for rich people. Wealthy young men took grand tours of Europe and the well off started to visit spa towns, taking the waters for health.  They also went walking in the hills, horse riding in the countryside and attended society balls. Later they took to spending time at the seaside, again for health, and resorts like Bournemouth flourished right through the Victorian era and beyond.

With the arrival of the steam train in the 1840s, travel became accessible to more people. Thomas Cook launched their first excursions at this time, but trips were still mostly for the rich. This started to change following the Bank Holiday Act in 1871 when workers finally got a few paid holidays each year.

A longer break away from work without pay wasn’t possible for many so working holidays were common, for example hop picking in Kent. Workers waited until 1939 for another law to be passed entitling them to a week’s paid holiday. By the 1980s four weeks paid annual leave was standard.

Holiday camps, coach trips, camping and caravanning were all popular for those travelling in the UK at this time. From the 1960s onwards flying abroad and foreign holidays also became increasingly affordable. Nowadays, we take over 50 million trips lasting at least a night, every year in the UK.

“We’re going where the sun shines brightly
We’re going where the sea is blue”

So, whether you enjoy a quiet trip to the seaside, an active break in the countryside or a week’s sightseeing in a city – you now have the chance to take that summer holiday.

By ArtCare’s Hazel Stock


More from the Elevate artists

Download ‘Take the Time’ – Issue 12 – Seaside and holidays (pdf)

Send us your contribution

We love to include some of your own reflections in future posts. Why not write a few lines, try a poem or send us picture on the general theme of seasons? Email to ArtCare or send to ArtCare, Block 29, Salisbury District Hospital, Salisbury SP2 8BJ.