Parent Category: 18th Century History Articles
Category: Society and Culture

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With the internet and smartphones, holidays can be a spur of the moment decision, with any excuse for a cheeky last minute getaway. Hypothetically, one could book a weekend holiday to Spain from a flight planning web site on their Friday lunch break, go to the airport and be in Madrid that same evening, it really is that easy. There are many websites dedicated to finding the best and cheapest deals to travel to many countries all over the world, anyone can become a member of the website and be emailed all the latest deals.

Holidays throughout the 18th century weren’t how we know them to be now. First of all, there were no easy methods of transport, so people never really traveled unless they had to, which was usually for work or war. Pilgrimages were common as far back as the 14th century, people didn’t really start traveling for pleasure until the late 1700’s. In many cases, it was the oldest sons of affluent families that would travel to Europe in order to complete their education.

Spa Towns

Stagecoaches emerged in the mid 17th century and ran between towns, making it easier for people to travel around the country. This led to a sudden popularity of people traveling to Spa towns like Buxton, Bath, Leamington, and Tunbridge. These became the earliest example of family holidays, people believed that spa water could cure all illnesses if it was drank or bathed in. to capitalize on the new numbers of tourism, many Spa towns began building new lodgings to accommodate  the sheer number of visitors. A visit from the Royal family boosted the popularity of Tunbridge, and Bath was a popular hotspot every summer throughout the 18th century, mainly with rich tourists who enjoyed the spa water, horse racing and playing cards. Even today, spa towns are very common weekend getaways.

Seaside Towns

As with spa towns, coastal and seaside towns also became very popular throughout the 18th century as people believed that seawater was good for health issues. Brighton, Blackpool, Worthing,and Margate were particularly popular, while Bognor Regis was converted into a seaside resort by Richard Hotham. Seaside holidays really boosted throughout the 19th century with 250,000 people visiting Brighton every year.

Visit Family

In many cases, people lost touch with family members through marriage or jobs that forced them to move many miles across the country. Of course there were no telephones until the late 19th century, and certainly no emails, so families across the country could only communicate via letter or telegram, that would naturally take many numbers of days. As a result, it was very common for families to use their time off work to visit each other. This gave the opportunity for parents to reunite with sons and daughters, siblings could catch up and cousins would have a whale of a time playing together in the summer sun.