Take advantage of the wonders of the British holiday
As Covid-19 shrouds foreign travel in doubt and uncertainty, increasing numbers (57% of us according to recent polls) are considering the discovery or rediscovery of villages, towns and cities here in the United Kingdom.
Though we often take our homeland for granted, this awful pandemic has provided a chance for reacquaintance with the romance of what is close at hand.
The power of particularity should never be underestimated and we are fortunate to live in a place with cheek by jowl variety, as our country is blessed by countless cultural curiosities, pastoral splendour and innumerable architectural gems, all quite nearby.
Tourism is the lifeblood of places across the United Kingdom, creating prosperity for local communities and making a significant contribution to the health of our national economy.
By 2025, Britain’s domestic tourism industry is projected to be worth £257billion (10% of UK GDP), supporting 3.8 million jobs, nourishing countless independent, family run businesses which, in warmly welcoming visitors from across the world, play their part in expanding so called ‘soft power’ by creating a lasting impression of British hospitality.
The rolling hills of Britain’s green and pleasant land, awe inspiring cathedral cities and ancient seats of learning can connect children with their heritage – sparking and shaping a sense of belonging. For the present is not a vacuum; personally and collectively, we are what we remember.
By holidaying at home we reduce the risk of bringing COVID-19 back from abroad, whilst the money spent on leisure and hospitality helps to reinvigorate small and medium sized British businesses hit hard by lockdown.
In the end, sipping a pint of English ale, eating fish and chips (best consumed outdoors, of course) or gingerly dipping into our, invariably cold, coastal waters are unmatched delights.
Of course there will always be naysayers – some unsighted by close up familiarity, but the truth is that our United Kingdom is a wonderful place to explore.
I often imagine having the time one day to travel around our entire coastline or to visit every cathedral. I know much of the seaside and most cathedrals, of course, but there is always more to learn to love.
Even the British weather – the unpredictability of which trails only death and taxes on life’s list of certainties – brings the chance to speculate and wonder.
Just think how many conversations feature predictions about, or reflections on, the weather.
I’m sure I’m not alone in believing that clearly defined seasons and an abundance of rain serve to spawn greater appreciation when clouds clear and the sun beams.
Each year as the weather warms and the seas glisten, I look forward to our family’s summer journey to the English coast.
The seaside’s scents and sounds are surely enough to enliven us all.
The last few months have brought distress and sadness, but as the doors begin to open and the streets begin to fill, we must hope that the light of a Great British summer can brighten spirits.
So, as we look for a temporary change of scene – a time to unwind or to discover, doing so in Britain is a timely reminder of the ideal of our homeland – a chance to make sense of the past, present and future through places close to us.