In every situation in life, there's always a way to make a tit of yourself
Whether you’re in a quaint cottage by a lake, a caravan that smells of cats and dampness, or lying in a sleeping bag listening to the incessant flapping of the tent flaps, wondering if you will still be in the campsite or swept up and carried someway into the North Sea by morning, holidaying in the UK is quite an experience. As we are drawing close to the start of the summer holidays (or as they’re known in the UK – getting to watch the drizzle from your window at home instead of the window at school or work), I feel duty-bound to pass on some hard-earned wisdom on this front.
1. Be prepared to eat ice cream in all manners of inclement weather. There are few things that surpass the unbridled joy of standing on a rain-lashed beach, eating a 99 with bits of damp sand in it.
2. Go and see the castles. Castles are cool, and we have lots of them. But bear in mind that by the time you’ve trudged your way around most of the castles in Wales (let me tell you, there are quite a few) in your waterproofs, the novelty of “ooh, a crenellation!” may be wearing a little thin. One rule for narrowing down your choice of castle: if it doesn’t have a moat, don’t bother. If you can’t stride across a drawbridge pretending to be Robin Hood or King Arthur, depending on your film preference and the scale of your delusions of grandeur, then it’s probably not worth it.
3. When camping, never leave anything important, or semi-important, or really anything that you may want to touch the next day, out in the little porchy bit between the outside and the main tent. Because it will be wet and have a small family of snails inhabiting it by morning.
4. If you’re at the seaside, go in the sea. But, and here’s an important tip, come out of the sea again before you develop hypothermia. So, go in the sea for about 15 and a half seconds. It will be the best 15 and a half seconds of your life. Well, that’s probably not true, but you will acquire a whole new understanding of the word “f*cking freezing”.
5. Be prepared for the fact that eating egg and chips in a café while your waterproofs drip steadily onto a nearby radiator may be the highlight of the entire trip. And, quite frankly, that’s absolutely fine. Egg and chips is amazing.
6. Get used to steam. No, I’m not talking about saunas or steam rooms, or any other kind of uncomfortably warm naked room that you might find at a spa resort. I’m talking about that disheartening phenomenon where you get back into the car after being out in the rain and all the windows instantly steam up so that the driver has to navigate home through a small clear space of windscreen about the size of a Dorito.
7. Be prepared to muster enthusiasm about some of the world’s most mediocre tourist attractions. If you can summon up some passion for the Cumberland Pencil Museum, or Derbyshire’s least exciting lead mine then a holiday in Britain may be just the thing for you.
8. Don’t go on a boat trip. No, seriously, don’t go on a boat trip. You won’t see any seals, or whales, or pterodactyls, or whatever it is the man in the hut promised you’d see. You will just feel sea sick. Definitely don’t go on a glass-bottomed boat trip. You will just feel very sea-sick, and possibly see the occasional brown crab or sea anemone. You will, however, see lots of slightly aggressive sea gulls, so if antagonistic sea birds are your cup of tea, then go for it.
9. Do go rock pooling. Without any trace of sarcasm, rock pooling is the most fun you can have with a bucket and a pair of jelly sandals. Unless you can think of more creative things to do with a bucket and a pair of jelly sandals, but if you can, you probably shouldn’t be doing them on a beach, or anywhere in public.
10. Never go to Blackpool. Just, never.
You possibly have to be British to get why falling out over a game of Monopoly with your whole family packed into a caravan the size of a small tin of Tesco value baked beans is considered an enjoyable thing to do. But holidays in the UK can be tremendous fun, and they bind us Brits together in bonds of mutual understanding and sogginess.
France may have the Cote d’Azur, and Greece may have the Cyclades, but we’ve got the wave pool at Center Parcs, and by God, that’s as exciting, vaguely life-threatening, and probably requires as many vaccinations as any exotic holiday.
The Awkward Guide accepts no responsibility for adverse reactions to the implementation of advice supplied herein. Side-effects can include: smug laughter, mild disdain, and temporary irritation.