The History of the Holiday
In the 21st Century, most people have at least one holiday per year. If you asked these people to describe their holidays, most would probably depict an airplane journey, lovely sunny weather, beautiful beaches, relaxation in a hotel and some kind of adventure or anecdote.
However, the origins of these kinds of holidays were very different;
- Pilgrimages – Before the 16th Century, most people only travelled for work, however, much like today they took religious days off work. On the other hand, as the famous writer Chaucer points out, people did travel on religious Pilgrimages. On these trips, people would travel the country, stay in inns, swap stories with fellow travellers and enjoy food and drink.
- Queen Elizabeth – In the 16th and 17th Centuries, Queen Elizabeth I started to encourage rich heirs to travel, to help them broaden their knowledge for when they eventually entered her court.
- Renaissance – During the Renaissance people started looking back to the ancient Romans for ideas about medicine and healing. For example, mineral water became extremely popular. In places like Bath, healing spas were launched, and entertainment was added to amuse the patients and to draw others. Therefore, everyone began to flock to these spas for enjoyment and relaxation.
- Unsurprisingly these spas developed into holiday retreats for the wealthy, for example Bath was extremely famous during the 18th Century, as a place the rich went to socialise, watch plays and dine. In Bath, Richard Nash made a career of amusing the rich by arranging Bath’s social calendar of events.
- In the 18th Century, it was then suggested by Sir John Floyer, that sea water had amazing healing properties. Therefore, Brits began to flock to the previously unpopular English sea side. With close links to London, Brighton flourished, and was even visited by Royalty, George IV built the famous Royal Pavilion.
- The Industrial Revolution gave the working classes more income, and improved transport links, meaning that holidays were no longer limited to the rich. During this time several acts were passed giving workers extra holidays.
- In 1936 the first Butlins Holiday Camp was built – a chain which proved extremely popular for many years.
- After this, heritage sites became extremely popular with the British holidaymaker. Places like Stonehenge and Shakespeare’s birth place in Stratford upon Avon were visited by tens of thousands of people every year.
- During the 20th Century, aeroplanes began to transport holidaymakers across the world, and popular low cost airlines grew.
- The 20th Century also saw the birth of package holidays in the UK, Spain and France. This market then rapidly expanded to include popular destinations such as Florida and Disneyland. Now travel is an unlimited prospect which is available to anyone.
Wherever you decide to holiday this year, make sure you invest in top quality Travel Insurance before you travel.