The world we live in is fast, busy, stressful and full of technology, so really it is no wonder so many adults are looking at going back to basics and living simpler lives. This has been hammered home to me all the more over the summer school holiday when my sons ages six and seven want to sit in front of iPads and watch the television much of the time.
It made me think back to when I was younger and all the things I used to do with my friends and family over the holidays. One of the first nostalgic memories that came to my mind was visiting the seaside, old fashioned fairground amusements and fish and chips on the beach.
I remember many trips to Margate, a seaside town on the Kent coast where many families used to holiday before flying became so popular. In its heyday it boasted hotels, lido swimming areas and a theme park called Dreamland. I remember the rides, the way my tummy felt going up and down the hills on the scenic railway, one of the oldest rides they had in the park, eating candy floss and playing on the two pence machines in the arcade. We used to bring home sticks of rock and would always fall in to bed exhausted and fulfilled without a tablet or tv screen in sight.
Margate in recent years has taken somewhat of a decline, Dreamland was closed, many of the grand hotels were sold off and made into separate flats and the lido was left to the elements. This does seem to have been the case with a number of seaside towns up and down the country which then became deprived and no longer somewhere people would choose to visit.
This began to change a few years ago after much planning Margate decided to fight back, it became a hub for independent shops in its old town and opened the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery on the sea front. Dreamland flung open its doors again in 2015 and focussed on the old fashioned seaside amusement park traditions which made it a jewel all those years ago.
I live not too far away so decided to take the boys for a day out like the ones I used to have with my family. We rode on dodgems, high slides in sacks, the big wheel, mastered the mirror maze and shot around the scenic railway which still has a man on each carriage controlling the breaks. The old engine is on display and you can see how theme park rides began in 1920. We ate candy floss on a stick that was as big as our heads and each had a pound in two pence pieces to spend on the coin pusher arcade machines. We ate fish and chips and walked back to the car smiling, happy and tired after an amazing day.
For me, childhood and the summer meant fun, time outdoors and games at the seaside. Margate is perfect for this and is only a couple of hours away from London by train for all those families who like us have been looking for some fun that makes you feel as young as the children again.
You can see more adventures we have had over the summer at my blog here. I live and work in Kent and am passionate about the place I grew up.