Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The British Seaside

Crumbly rich-coloured cliffs at Hunstanton, Norfolk
It's summer, it's holiday time and many Brits will be heading off to popular holiday spots, such as Spain, the Canaries, Greece and all other sunny locations around the Med. The British Seaside, made popular by the Victorians, is not always such a desirable place to visit, mainly because of the unpredictability of the weather, but there are still many other attractions to be enjoyed in this most traditional of holidays. 
The pier at Southwold, Suffolk

The traditional seaside pier usually has seating and plenty of space to take a promenade, as well as amusement arcades and some fairground rides. The pier at Southwold is very quirky, with bizarre amusements, such as "Take a doggy for a walk" (on a treadmill!).There's also a peculiar water sculpture on the pier which is a water clock, but it has some very weird components, like male figures sculpted in metal taking a pee at certain times of the day. 

Norfolk is quite an "in" place to take a seaside holiday as it's pretty genteel and refined - not like the more brash British seaside resorts, such as Blackpool, which is pretty full-on in all respects, and should be experienced (and enjoyed) at least once!

Aldeburgh, further along the coast in Suffolk, is home to The Maltings, where  a famous arts festival is held and concerts of all kinds of music are performed. It was also the home of British composer Benjamin Britten. There is a striking sculpture on the beach dedicated to Britten. Entitled The Scallop, it is worth a close look and it's possible to enter into its metal folds. 
The Scallop by Maggie Hamblin
Typical of many British seaside resorts are the beach huts, which people either buy or rent. These provide shelter and a place to sit, eat a picnic lunch, make a cup of tea, change for a swim in the sea and stay right by the beach all day without having to move. The only snag is that you are not allowed to sleep in them. And for what is really a glorified garden shed, they can cost a lot of money.

Beach huts at Southwold - an alternative view
 Wherever you go to at the British seaside, you're assured of seeing one of these! Just watch out for any ice cream you happen to be eating though, as gulls are very good at swiping food out of hands and making off with it!

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