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Holidays in the 60s and 70s

Park the car, get out that picnic table and eat those spam sandwiches you made earlier. Sit back in that fold up chair and drink flask-stewed tea…

Holidays as a child in England invariably meant the seaside. Actually, it was more clearly defined than that . . . Holidays invariably meant either Skegness, Great Yarmouth or Blackpool. Well, truthfully we only ever went to Great Yarmouth the once!

But I loved Skeggy me – When you tired of the beach there was always something going on like . . .erm . . . oh yeh, Tommy’s Bingo at the caravan park.


Meanwhile, while American and Russian astronauts explored space and children saw their science fiction toys becoming reality, many Britons discovered new frontiers thanks to package holidays on the Continent and beyond.

In 1962, a new way to travel was introduced. The hovercraft was invented during the 1950s by a boat builder from Suffolk. By the mid-60s there was a regular hovercraft service across the English Channel.

Some airlines, for example, Britannia Airways (founded in 1964), served mainly holiday-makers, flying them to destinations like Spain, the Canary Islands, Malta and North Africa. In 1960, BOAC inaugurated its first regular Boeing 707 service between London and New York.

Freddie Laker set up his cut-price tours business in 1966, and the era of global travel really began in 1970 when the first Pan Am Boeing 747 jet landed at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Clarksons package tours collapsed in 1974, leaving hundreds of British holidaymakers stranded. Skytrain undercut the big airlines from 1977 but collapsed in 1982.