In March 2020, the world was was hit by a pandemic that devastated society as we know it. It made our normally care free lives stand still. Everything, including holidays and how we spend our free time, changed.
A vaccine programme was beginning to roll out by the middle of 2021 and we started to see a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.
For the first time in a year, we let ourselves begin to think of normality: friends, celebrations, and dare I say it?! Holidays! But, what would they look like with ever changing travel restrictions and ongoing fears of the virus?
The British Isles rallied together and grew strong, publicising the beauty we hold within our tiny little island, and low and behold, the ‘staycation’ was reborn!
Yes, the ‘day trip’ held strong too, as they have in the past, but people wanted actual week-long holidays away from the stress this year had brought them.
The modern holiday-goer is now more demanding
This generation of holiday-goers, however, would not accept the rusting 1970s caravans of our parents’ generation.
When we go on holiday, we want to use our hard-earned money to feel as if we’re in an oasis from the stresses of the world.
They were replaced by Glamping, Yurts, and the like, as new socially distanced activities popped up in tourist destinations.
Bournemouth has built unique Beach Lodges which allow guests to sleep next to the sand. They are NOT beach huts, you have a kitchen, bathroom, TV and even access to electric BBQ’s!
It’s a luxury ticket item and you will join the high-end staycation tourists in the quieter area of Boscombe Beach.
The kids will never forget the time they got to “sleep at the beach.”
Fast forward a year later to today, May 2022, and the staycation seems as if it’s here to stay!
It seems we’ve been re-awakened to the beauty we have in our own backyard and are wondering why did we ever spend extortionate amounts of money to fly abroad, when driving an hour is so much easier, better for our crumbling environment and makes just as many amazing memories.
We were invited by Visit Bournemouth to come and experience this new British holiday, which seemed to be miles from cheesy, evening entertainment and outdated floral sofas of the holiday parks many of us were dragged to as kids.
Bournemouth has changed…for the better
When I first moved here I was introduced to Bournemouth as my husband, who went to university there.
Back then, the town was famous for clubbing and night life, with streams of Stag and Hen Do;s stumbling down the streets. And although, it is still very much a great party town, today Bournemouth seems to have also matured into a town full of culture, art and top dining when we were too busy having babies to notice.
On our return, we found that street art has taken over, not as the graffiti that shamefully tagged the backs of building with “Kevin is a ____ (insert choice of expletive here)” but as one of a kind works of art that symbolise a spirit of a city unique to any other.
A small community of restauranteurs seem to be making their homes in Bournemouth as well, leaving the typical fish and chips to the hungover stag and hen dos – and, phenomenal meals out for those of us foodies who appreciate classy food.
No lie, the avocado on sourdough at Urban Reef, may actually be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Ever.
Even their ice-cream game has stepped up a notch. You can still get your Mr Whippy, if you wish, but why would you when almost every stand has 20+ flavours of New Forest ice cream that are served in delightfully larger than necessary scoops?
We decided to share some panini’s and go right for the double scoops each. Holiday calories don’t count right?!
Seaside entertainment has changed
Even the attractions have stepped up their game. Sure, penny slots are always fun, but you know what’s even more fun than that?! A zip wire the glides over the actual ocean! Even our very lightweight 8 year old Sammy was able to hitch on a weight vest and jump off the top of the pier and glide down.
And, that’s not including all the other games. Ocean sports seem to have taken way with kayaks and paddle boards taking over the seas, in the most picturesque way.
Beryl Bikes and scooters are an easy to use bike share scheme available to use throughout the city, meaning a dreamy cruise down the beach is only a contactless phone touch away for you.
The culture was a hidden gem we were able to spend some time appreciating this trip too. In our party days we must have stumbled past the Russell Cotes Museum numerous times – and used its gates to prop up a friend or two on a long walk home. But, just beyond that gate is the most beautiful secret garden and old fashioned house with unique and exquisite art work and fancy dress for the kids.
Somehow Bournemouth has managed to keep all our favourite, cheesy, seaside family holiday activities like mini-golf, funfair rides and sand castles. But now you get to throw in more than we never knew we were missing like amazing dinners, biking and ziplining.