Summer is already well underway in Britain. And of course, this is not something one can often say about Britain, whose skies are notoriously leaden for much of the year. In fact, we’re currently enjoying something of a heatwave – and so there has never been a better time to pack your swimwear, trundle down to your nearest beach resort and rekindle your love of the seaside.
At the beach you’ll find a number of splendid activities, each of which can contribute to a memorable day out – and one which has traditionally been enjoyed for centuries. Let’s examine a few of them.
It’s almost bizarre to point out that one of the seaside’s defining features is the sea – and yet, despite all of the other amusements that have built up around it, there are few better sources of entertainment and beauty. Why not take advantage during your visit and get yourself wet?
Whether it’s just a paddle in the shallow water, or a more thorough swim a little further out, a beach can provide. But make sure you swim safely: small children should be equipped with flotation aids, and care should be taken that swimmers do not venture too far out into the sea – especially in areas where the water is choppier.
We’re all familiar with sunbathing – commercialised beaches across the world are often besieged by row-upon row of sun-loungers and parasols. The activity, as well as making us feel good, can also confer health benefits, as sunlight exposure can elevate levels of vitamin D.
Of course, sunbathing also confers its own health risks. If you stay out in the sun for long enough, then you are at risk of sunburn. This risk is all the greater by the seaside, since both the cooling effect of the sea breeze and of getting in and out of the water can trick you into thinking you aren’t being burned, even if you are.
Take precautions and cover any areas of your body you intend to expose with sunblock. Factor fifty offers the best level of protection and should be selected by those of us with pastier complexions.
Building things from the sand is a tradition that has been long-associated with the beach. The pastime is one which can be enjoyed casually – or taken very seriously indeed. Just take a look at the amount of time poured into these creations if you’d like proof of that. That sand sculptures, by their very nature, will last only days before being swept aside by the wind and the waves is part of the beauty of creating a sandcastle.
You needn’t bring along a sack-full of trowels, chisels and brushes to the beach, however – just bring along an appropriately-shaped bucket, a spade and some imagination and you can have hours of fun. If you’re feeling especially magnanimous, you can even invite your children to join in, too.
Football has been played on beaches for decades – perhaps even longer than sandcastle building – but it was only in the early nineties that a special set of rules was codified. The newly formed company, Beach Soccer Worldwide, stipulated that the pitch be much smaller than a full-sized one, and swept clean of the sorts of rocks and shells which might cause injury.
If you’re going down to the beach, then there’s not real need to bother with such formalities. That said, the game is one which requires a lot of space – not only for the players to run around in, but so that the ball doesn’t collide with any innocent sunbathers or sandcastles when it inevitably goes awry.
For more than a century, beaches across the world have provided a space for carnivals and amusement parks. Indeed, no major seaside resort in Britain can really be considered complete without one. These parks grew quickly during the latter portion of the 19th century, thanks to the practice of inland milling companies closing their factories for maintenance once a year and thereby allowing their workers to remove themselves and their families to the seaside for a week.
Even today, something of that early period remains in the pleasure beach. These are markedly different from the larger parks one might find inland – they are full of traditional seaside attractions like Ghost Trains, cup-and-saucer rides, and of course, the ever-present wooden roller coaster. Also available are traditional seaside foodstuffs like ice-cream and candy-floss. If you’re planning a trip to the seaside, then make sure to pay the local amusements a visit – they’re sure to make the day one to remember!