Away From It All: Vintage British Holiday Resort Advertising

Classic holiday resort posters promising a world of sun, sea and sophistication for British holidaymakers who avoided the temptations of the continent.

Summer holidays currently seem like a distant dream, to be engaged in only by the most feckless superspreaders. But once upon a time, they were all the rage, and as the British began to venture out into the wider world – continental Europe, to be precise – for vacations in the 20th century, so the British resorts had to fight back. With the support of the train companies – who also had a vested interest in what annoying idiots now call ‘staycations’ – seaside towns pimped their wares to travellers, and for many years, made a decent stab at convincing people that yes, Blackpool and Southport were every bit as sophisticated, sunny and stylish as the South of France. These posters – often for resorts with crushingly unglamorous names – featured bright young things living it up on the Costa Del Bridlington, and were aimed more at wannabe sophisticates than families. It’s worth remembering that until the 1970s, holidays abroad were still outside the means of many families, and these posters did their best to ensure holidaymakers that they weren’t missing anything.

The artwork on these posters is glorious – it makes me almost want to head out to the beach myself – or even to Butlins – if I didn’t know that the reality, at least now, will be more like a Covid convention, full of litter, dog shit, screaming children and the dregs of humanity on stag and hen dos. Still, we can at least dream of a more sophisticated time…

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