Five British seaside traditions that have fallen out of style – but not in Swanage

Five British seaside traditions that have fallen out of style – but not in Swanage

Many people in the UK still look forward to hitting the beach whenever possible. Even if it's just for the weekend, locals flock to the beach to catch

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Many people in the UK still look forward to hitting the beach whenever possible. Even if it’s just for the weekend, locals flock to the beach to catch some sea breeze, go for a quick swim or enjoy outdoor activities. Unfortunately, the quintessential British seaside traditions appear to be getting less popular. A recent survey shows that most now consider taking their gadgets to the beach more important than bringing a towel, but the charming seaside town of Swanage in Dorset still retains that old-school charm.

Let’s take a look at a few traditional holiday pastimes that have been replaced by technology.

1) Punch and Judy shows

Who can forget about seaside puppet shows? Punch and Judy have been entertaining beachgoers for decades, but these puppet shows have seen a massive decline over the years. But there are a few beaches in the UK still holding on to this tradition, including Swanage.

2) Donkey rides

Perhaps kids of today will never know how exciting it was to look forward to hitting the beach and riding a donkey. Donkey rides on British seaside beaches used to be popular among the little ones. Today, however, you’d be hard-pressed to see anybody riding a donkey on the beach. According to Swanage News, only 18% went on a donkey ride during their holiday activities compared to 64% 30 years ago, but there are horse riding centres near to Swanage that offer beach rides for a range of riding abilities, so perhaps it’s time to start a new tradition?

3) Postcards

It’s interesting to learn that an astonishing 75% of Brits sent postcards three decades ago. Today, only 30% still do. British people still love going on a lovely vacation at the beach, but sending postcards isn’t as quick as sending a quick photo. Nevertheless, there are postcard stands outside several gift shops in Swanage – and even if you’re not buying one to send, it’s a lovely memento of your stay to bring home with you.

4) Sandcastles

Nearly all beachgoers built sandcastles 30 years ago. It’s simply a must-do in British holiday tradition. And even though plenty of people still love building sandcastles, the numbers have been on a downward spiral. The latest survey shows that only 69% built sandcastles during their last holiday compared to an impressive 91% three decades back. Not so in Swanage though – there is a mass-sandcastle-building competition on Swanage Beach during Carnival week in July, so dust off that bucket and spade if you’re visiting then.

5) Fish and chips wrapped in newspaper

Your kids might be surprised to know that their favorite fish and chips once came wrapped in a newspaper. For health and safety reasons this has fallen out of fashion, but it doesn’t stop the taste of fresh fish and chips by the sea being just as good as when you were young.

With new technology getting more affordable and accessible, it’s interesting to see whether these age-old traditions will be able to keep up. It’s heartwarming to see that these seaside traditions are still alive and kicking in places like Swanage.