Many of us experienced that first, heady feeling of independence on a school trip to France. Trying out your rusty French today might just transport you right back to year 8, walking round with your mates and your harassed French teacher while marvelling at everything from the mouthwatering pastries to the real-life Eiffel Tower. These days, you can swap schoolwork for a romantic weekend away in the French capital, exploring its hidden gems, cocktail bars and shops.
A popular family holiday destination, the Algarve was where many Brits spent their one- or two-week summer holiday, splashing around in the sea or hotel pool and exploring the pretty coastal towns. Head there today for a relaxing summer holiday and to explore the more rugged area along the western coastline. We might have turned our noses up at the fish and seafood in favour of an oh-so-authentic burger and chips as kids, but today we might be more inclined to sample more of the region’s exciting food scene.
There were always a few people in every class who went to a Greek island for their summer holiday. The likes of Corfu and Rhodes have long been popular holiday destinations for British families, and were the ideal place to try out some first-time snorkelling or have a go on a banana boat. Today is a great time to head to Greece – the country is a reasonable holiday option, and if you have no children in tow, you could try some island hopping to get a taste of a few different places.
Italy was a pretty classy childhood holiday destination, whether your parents dragged you round an overcrowded city or preferred a resort along the coast. Who could forget their first creamy gelato or that first bite of real Italian pizza? It would be criminal not to relive those days as an adult, whether by driving along the picturesque Amalfi coast or diving into street life in Naples.
Camping in the South of France
For those families who had been there, done that with the typical holiday resort, camping seemed like an adventurous idea. In reality, France’s unpredictable weather meant that at least a few days were spent inside the cramped tent, squabbling with siblings or trying to play a card game. Today, relive those golden days by heading to the south of France for a camping holiday. The southwest, near Biarritz, is a great area for surfing and bodyboarding.
There is something about the British seaside that immediately brings up a bubbling nostalgia: buckets and spades, fish and chips and donkey rides were what excellent summer holidays were made of. Today, you can enjoy a trip up the Blackpool Tower and pretend you’re in Strictly Come Dancing at the Tower Ballroom. And don’t forget to get yourself a stick of rock.
What the travel industry calls ‘staycations’ nowadays were just ‘holidays’ for many of us growing up, and one of the most popular destinations in the British Isles was good old Scotland. For kids from over the border, there was something exotic about entering Scotland: it had different money, different accents and men wearing skirts (OK, kilts). As adults, many of us realise what an incredible country we have on our doorsteps, whether we want to scale Britain’s highest mountain, explore the lochs and countryside of the highlands or check out the shops, art and nightlife of Glasgow or Edinburgh.
Spain has long been a holiday favourite with British tourists and, because of security fears in places such as Tunisia and Egypt, has seen record number of tourists visit in the past few years. The Costa Brava and Costa del Sol were the scene of many of our childhood holidays: perfecting our diving in the hotel pool, hitting the water parks and getting our first hair braid after begging our parents until they gave in. Today, Spain’s coasts are just as idyllic, but you could swap a family-focussed resort for a stunning apartment or adults-only relaxation break. Hair braids are optional.
For children who were not from London, heading into the big city, whether for a day trip or a longer holiday, was always exciting. The busy streets, famous sights and excellent toy-shopping opportunities made our eyes widen with delight. Today you can swap raiding Hamleys toy shop for afternoon tea at one of London’s chicest destinations.
The Canary Islands were a popular family holiday destination when we were kids, whether you were heading to Gran Canaria, Lanzarote or maybe Tenerife. Water parks, beaches and splashing around with lilos and gigantic rubber rings were a staple of any family holiday to the Canaries. Today, adrenaline junkies could head to Tenerife and explore the Teide National Park, or if you want to get away from the crowds, head to La Graciosa, north of Lanzarote, where the streets are made of sand.
Messing about on Cornwall’s sandy beaches is a treasured childhood memory for many Brits, who would head to the southwest coast to camp, attempt to bodyboard and enjoy piping-hot fish and chips by the sea. The county is still a fantastic destination for an adult, and if you’re looking for an action-packed break full of water sports and hiking, then it is definitely the destination for you, while sights such as the Eden Project will bring out your childlike wonder. The best part of visiting as an adult? You can kick back in a cosy pub at the end of the day.
If you were lucky enough to visit Disneyland as a child, chances are you’ve never forgotten it, from that first sight of Sleeping Beauty’s castle to your first hug with Mickey Mouse. Heading back to Disneyland – or any favourite childhood theme park – today makes those feelings of excitement, adrenaline and fun come rushing back.
The island of Cyprus has long been a popular family holiday destination and was perhaps the first place you got really bad sunburn, learned how to swim or bodyboarded with serious style on tiny waves that, at the time, seemed huge. Going back as an adult, the beaches are just as beautiful and the weather just as warm, but this time you can enjoy some bar hopping and check out the island’s famous clubbing scene.
Lots of kids had their first proper foreign holiday in Turkey, whose coastal resorts are popular with British tourists. Maybe you visited a Turkish bath and lathered mud onto your skin in what was surely the strangest bath you’d ever had up until that moment. Today, Turkey makes for a great holiday for adults, whether you’re relaxing along the coast or taking in the sights and sounds of cities such as Istanbul.
Some kids might have been dragged around Florence as a child but remember little apart from the huge ice-cream they gobbled up at some point during the day. While Florence can be full-on for children, it’s a must-visit destination for adults interested in history and art. But don’t forget to channel your inner child and enjoy a nice big gelato before you leave.
Discover one of the unexpected benefits of enjoying a drink or two on holiday.