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Iceni Magazine | August 13, 2022

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No Sticks Of Rock! Longstanding Seaside Traditions Are Fading


Longstanding seaside traditions are fading from modern British holidays, with Punch and Judy, Helter Skelters and sticks of rock on the way out.

A study of 2,000 families explored old and new holiday pastimes and found games like beach cricket and wheelbarrow-racing are in decline.

Results showed just a third of families played I-spy on their last family holiday, less than that sat in a deck chair and under four per cent used a beach hut.

The evolution of British holidays, commissioned by Beach Retreats, found that while many traditional activities are in decline, some – digging holes in the sand and exploring rock pools – are timeless.

Smartphones may have all but killed off the postcard as we happily snap 81 photos on average per holiday, with only 30 per cent sending a single postcard while away.

Sending three updates to friends and family via Facebook might also be responsible for the postcard decline.

The study compared modern parents’ holiday experiences with those they enjoyed as children themselves.

It found people were more than twice as likely to send postcards on trips thirty years ago as they are now.

Andrew Easton, business manager for Beach Retreats, said: “The results give an interesting look at which activities are standing the test of time when it comes to how we spend our precious holiday time.

“Being a contemporary beachside holiday letting agency we embrace modern technology in abundance.

“From breath-taking Instagram photos to Facebook updates and quick tweets – sharing your holiday moments on social media is now an essential part of everyone’s holidays.”

Other results to emerge were that, while 54 per cent of parents enjoyed Punch and Judy shows as children, just 16 per cent of families experience them in modern times.

Eating sticks of rock, donkey rides and using deck chairs have also seen a big drop in popularity.

Remarkably taking a phone to the beach is more important than a towel for four in ten people nowadays.

And over two thirds (68 per cent) of Brits said they would not be able to fully enjoy a seaside holiday without their mobile phone.

One thing technology can never compete with is a good old sea breeze – almost three quarters (73 per cent) said the sea air is what they love most about the seaside.

Andrew Easton, added: “Nothing beats getting out on the beach and breathing in the sea air and so it’s great to see that the sea breeze still rates as the thing people love most about a modern beach holiday.”

While building sandcastles and and tucking into fish and chips haven’t yet lost their charm – and featured high on the list of activities families did on their last British holiday.



Walked along a pier 70 per cent 83 per cent
Built sand castles 69 per cent 91 per cent
Played in a penny arcade/2p machines 66 per cent 77 per cent
Dig holes in the sand 61 per cent 83 per cent
Walking along a promenade 58 per cent 74 per cent
Explored rock pools 58 per cent 72 per cent
Ate fish and chips wrapped in newspaper 50 per cent 74 per cent
Ate a stick of rock 38 per cent 79 per cent
Played a board game 37 per cent 31 per cent
Played I-spy 37 per cent 49 per cent
Sat in a deck chair 32 per cent 68 per cent
Sending postcards 30 per cent 75 per cent
Went on a merry go round 29 per cent 56 per cent
Went crabbing 27 per cent 37 per cent
Saw a steam train 26 per cent 45 per cent
Used a windbreaker 22 per cent 38 per cent
Kite flying 22 per cent 42 per cent
Went on a donkey ride 18 per cent 64 per cent
Beach cricket 18 per cent 33 per cent
Going on a helter skelter 17 per cent 42 per cent
Watched a Punch and Judy show 16 per cent 54 per cent
Visited a model village 16 per cent 44 per cent
Ate cockles 11 per cent 22 per cent
Changed in a beach hut 4 per cent 16 per cent
Went fruit picking 4 per cent 17 per cent
Wore a hankie on head 4 per cent 7 per cent
Had a wheelbarrow race 2 per cent 10 per cent
Ate jellied eels 2 per cent 3 per cent


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