Can I let you into my little secret? I’ve always loved holidaying in Britain. It might seem a strange thing to say now – tourism has come on leaps and bounds in recent years.

But not so long ago holidays here were regarded with a fair degree of disdain. A reputation for stale sandwiches, rain-battered caravans and fousty B&Bs combined with idiosyncratic customer service a la Basil Fawlty didn’t make Blighty the first choice in people’s destination list.

Of course, the sullying of the UK’s appeal tied in with the rise in cheap travel to sunnier climes. Arbroath was never going to match the exotic cachet of some place called “The Continent”. Those classmates who returned from Spain or (if they were really posh) the south of France gained celebrity status for as long as their bronzed visage lasted.

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But my happiest holiday memories have almost entirely been centred around this small stretch of rock stuck in the North Atlantic, whether it be in Filey, Whitby or Millport.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget what you have on your very own doorstep. If you’re so busy peering over the fence, you can often overlook the fact that all you need is right in front of you. Sure, I’ve had pleasant trips abroad, and I have no horror stories to tell – although I was once worryingly close to getting on a plane to Bucharest instead of Budapest.

However, one of the things I’ve always hated most, are airports – being shunted around like a piece of meat is something I do not miss. Even when I’ve reached my destination, rather than experiencing elation at the new and unknown, it’s that lack of familiarity that unsettles me. So rather than feeling relaxed, I’m a little on edge – the very opposite of the intended purpose of the trip.

But I ask myself, before Covid shut down air travel, did foreign trips make us any happier? While it may be argued that it broadened our horizons (literally), improved our understanding of other cultures and so on, I’m almost certain that a trip abroad was regarded by many as just another “essential” accoutrement to life – a way to spend the annual bonus, an unnecessary must-have just like the 4x4 Mercedes used to ferry the children to school and back.

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If you are of the mindset that spending is the key to happiness then you will always be discontent, and will take that wherever you go. So whether it’s Milan or Madrid, the need for more will never match the reality.

It’s the simple things in life where the real magic lies – watching your child’s imagination light up as they play in rock pools, long walks, watching the sunrise and, yes, listening to the rain while you’re tucked up inside the caravan. Who needs abroad, when you can enjoy our beautiful countryside and weather instead.

The only problem now is those legions who jetted off before will be splashing the cash here, and tourism bosses, understandably, will be keen to recoup their pandemic losses. But, there’s still a few hidden gems out there, and I’m keeping that secret to myself.


Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.