The Grand Pier and donkey rides at Weston-super-Mare

As the nineteenth century progressed, British working class day-trippers often travelled on organized trips such as railway excursions, or by steamer, for which were erected long piers so that the ships bringing the trade could berth.

The popularization of the seaside resort during this period was nowhere more pronounced than in Blackpool. Blackpool succeeded, catering for employees from crossways industrial Northern England, who packed its beaches and promenade. Other northern towns (for example Scarborough, Bridling ton and Skegness) shared in the success of this new concept, which spread rapidly to coastal towns along all English shores.

Since the last quarter of the twentieth century, the fame of the English seaside resort has declined for the same reason that it first grown: advancements in transportation. The greater accessibility of foreign holiday destinations, through package holidays and, more recently, European low-cost airlines, affords people the freedom to holiday abroad. In spite of the faithfulness of recurring holiday-makers, resorts such as Blackpool have struggled to compete against the favorable weather of Southern European alternatives. Now, many symbols of the traditional British resort (holiday camps, end-of-the-pier shows and saucy postcards) are regarded by some as drab and outdated; the skies are imagined to be overcast and the beach windswept.

The affluences of Brighton, which has neither holiday camps nor end-of-the-pier expressions, have grown considerably, and, because of this, the resort is repeatedly held up as the model of a modern resort. However, unlike the Golden Miles of other British resorts, the sea is not Brighton’s primary attraction: rather it is a backdrop against which is set an attitude of broad-minded cosmopolitan hedonism. The consequential logic of distinctiveness has, coupled with the city’s proximity to London, led to Brighton’s restoration as a fashionable resort and the dwelling-place of the affluent.

New English coastal towns have successfully hunted to project a sense of their distinctive character. In particular, Southold on the Suffolk coast is an active yet peaceful retirement haven with an emphasis on calmness, quiet countryside and jazz. Weymouth in Dorset provides itself as ‘the gateway to the Jurassic Coast’, Britain’s only natural World Heritage Site. New quay in Cornwall offers itself as the ‘surfing capital of Britain’, hosting international surfing events on its shores.


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