Published: 06:00, 15 November 2020
| Updated: 10:04, 15 November 2020
With the recent restrictions on travelling to and from the UK, and many Brits opting to holiday in their own country, we take a look back at the history of holidaying in Kent.
Whether it be a hop picking summer, a trip to a caravan park with the family, or an outing to the seaside, the county has always offered a range of hotspots for visitors. And many of these have been rediscovered during 2020.
It may come as a surprise to find a place people have visited for centuries is Foxhunter Park in Monkton, near Ramsgate.
Originally a simple caravan park known as Walters Hall, the site was described as more of a "pub and a field" rather than the modern 5-star site it is today.
"The caravan industry is at its biggest period of growth now for about 25 years," he said.
"Whatever peoples' politics, Brexit and the pandemic has improved business for staycations.
"We've had lots of people this year turning up and saying the same thing - that they wouldn't usually think of a holiday like this - but due to the worry of possibly not going out of the country for a while they're trying it out and enjoying it."
Max, who has been working at the Foxhunter Park for four years and previously worked at Lord Kitcheners old country home Broome Park, says that a normal caravan holiday has changed a lot over the years.
The 34-year-old said: "Offerings have changed a lot and parks used to just be a pin caravan with a pub, which is what a lot of people would be used to growing up.
"But now, it's a lot more different and places are offering more luxurious additions, such as hot tubs which are very popular, or offering more space.
"People's impressions of these holidays in the past were something they went on with their granny for a while, but it's different now and more people are trying them."
The 88-year-old said: "We'd go all year round whenever we could and put it to sleep for a couple of months round Christmas.
"We had some really good times there but it's not anything like what it was now.
"It's inevitable things are going to change over time and I think that's the same for holidays.
"People expect to be able to get whatever they want to their doorsteps now, whereas if we wanted water we had to go to get our own from the mill on the land behind us."
This year Sheppey was touted as a staycation hotspot when the Guardian published a review of a the Beach House, an upmarket cabin close to the sea at Shellness.
It was welcome news for the Island, but some say the previous decades have seen some areas decay.
Speaking at a tourism seminar for Swale was holiday park boss Henry Cooper who was born and bred on the Island.
His family built and managed many of Leysdown’s attractions. Last year the family man bought Elmhurst caravan park at Eastchurch and are in the middle of a £2 million revamp, after deciding to put his money where his mouth was.
But he berated past council administrations for failing to realise the Island’s potential and ignoring pleas for investment.
'There is this feeling that Sheppey has stagnated after decades of neglect...'
He said: “For years I have watched and thought surely somebody is going to come along and sort things out. But they never have. "There are places more run down than ever and Sheerness is one of the most deprived areas in Britain. It needs some love.
"There is this feeling that Sheppey has stagnated after decades of neglect."
One of England's earliest seaside resorts is Margate, which was one of the first seaside resorts to offer visitors in the 1750's bathing machines with hoods. And once lockdown lifted, a good-old day trip to the town's main sands was once again firmly on the agenda.
The machines were wooden huts on wheels in which bathers changed, in private.
English Heritage, in a report looking at the history of the town, identified it could claim other firsts, including a Georgian square built as part of the newly emerging resort - Cecil Square.
Around the time of the First World War the small-scale facilities for Georgian visitors were being replaced by large hotels and entertainment venues, which continued into the 1960s heyday of holidays by the coast.
If seaside jaunts sound like gentle strolls and bathing, then things in the countryside involved a lot of hard graft.
Between the 1930s and 1960s the only 'holiday' many East End families had was to work in the hop fields of west Kent, often throughout September. For some children the entire six weeks off school was spent there.
Most families would travel from the city on 'hoppers' special' trains, their wooden hopping boxes filled to the brim with saucepans, plates and other essentials. Once they had reached their destination, wagons would take them to the farms.
The hop huts were basic and would likely break all of today's health and safety regulations, with parents and siblings all sleeping in the one, tiny room together, in little makeshift beds.
Jone Tuffin is one of those who can remember experience and used to visit her mother-in law in the fields.
She said: ""It was a comical idea really but people would always use wallpaper back then - they didn't reckon paint. There were also loads of things hanging outside the huts too, like bowls. They looked really interesting.
"Even after the hop picking had all finished, we would still go and pick the apples - some of them were eating and others cooking.
"Some families bought caravans which were pitched up on the farms.
"Due to the time of the harvest, children who attended would miss several weeks of school.
"Men would have to get up at the crack of dawn and spend most of the day doing tough, manual work, but the evenings and days off definitely made up for it."
Families also had use of a communal cooking area and after supper families would sit around a campfire, sing songs and make up tunes about hopping.
Once again, once the 1960s were ushered in, they brought mechanisation and many of the hop pickers were out of jobs as machines replaced the need for manual labour.
By the end of the 1970s many families opted for a holiday abroad to cheap European countries, with Majorca in Spain proving popular.
The Family Holiday Association explains how in 1979, for the first time in history, Britons began to spend more on overseas holidays then staying at home.
It said: "For £50 you could spend a week in glamorous Majorca with hotel bedrooms that had balconies and - unheard-of luxury - ensuite bathrooms.
"Travel entrepreneurs were developing mass-market tourism abroad on an unprecedented scale.
"To keep up, the British seaside offered the original ‘all-inclusive’ holidays - the holiday parks that still thrive today."
The charity added how the way families holiday has radically changed over the past 40 years, with many previously staying in the country and visiting places such as Kent now opting to head abroad.
It added: "For those of us privileged to be able to travel today, adventures unheard of 40 years-ago are within our grasp at the press of a computer key: winter holidays, villa holidays, boutique hotel holidays, foreign city breaks, cruises, ski trips, scuba trips, flights to far-flung places with strange-sounding names."