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Annual Holidays

Attitudes to leisure have been much influenced by the modern love of moving around and by the ease of travel. Industrial workers have two weeks' holiday with pay each year, most professional workers a month or more. Factory holidays are much concentrated in the period between mid-July and mid-August, and those who look for rationalization are always wishing that the annual holiday could be spread over a longer period; but to make this convenient it would be necessary to make changes in the school holidays too. State schools usually only have six weeks off in summer, from about mid-July to the end of August.

The coast is the most popular objective of English people for their annual holiday, and seaside resorts have many hotels. Food in British hotels and restaurants is reasonably cheap, but rooms are not. Few English people rent houses or flats for their holidays, but one of the traditional ways of spending a summer holiday is in a boarding-house, which may have a card in its window advertising "apartments", or "bed and breakfast". In seaside towns there are whole streets of houses almost every one of which has such a notice in its window. Some boarding-house keepers provide all meals (board residence*) for their guests, others provide breakfast only. In recent years several new holiday habits have developed, of which the most interesting is the institution of the so-called holiday camps. Their name is misleading; they are really holiday towns or villages. They consist usually of great numbers of small, and often quite comfortable, chalets, rather like those of a "motel", together with central dining halls, dance halls and swimming pools. The camps are mostly outside established towns, and aim at providing most of the things that people want on holiday within their own areas.

* (More colloquial "full board".)

Camping holidays in the proper sense of the word, with tents, are not so well developed in England as in France; the summer weather too often can be very unpleasant for tent- dwellers. On the other hand, caravans (or, as Americans would call them, "trailers") have become exceedingly popular. Some people bring their own caravans, pulling them behind their cars, others hire caravans already in position. Very few British people have summer-houses to visit for holidays and weekends, but for many the mobile caravan is coming to perform much the same sort of function. A caravan pulled by the family car, can provide good opportunities for holiday- making in solitude, but many people also like the friendly atmosphere generated in an organized caravan site.

The British may be conservative about the times at which they take their holidays, but they have shown themselves very ready to take to new places. Each year more English men, women and children become familiar with some part of continental Europe. Many take their cars, often with tents or caravans, crossing the Channel* in ferries; others use the travel agents' schemes for group travel and hotel booking, some of them, regrettably, being taken to hotels which have been trained to provide English food.

* (the Channel - the English Channel (between England and France) pong - (coll.) smell.)

(Life in Modern Britain by P. Bromhead)

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