My Childhood Holidays

A photo from the 80s of two young girls, a mum and grandma on a beach with an ice cream van in the background

Me, my sister, mum, grandma and baby bro! Weston Super Mare, 1992

Growing up in Leicestershire meant that day trips to the seaside were a bit of a faff. Yes, there was Skeggy - a grand day out all told (although I prefer Sutton on Sea) - and we did occasionally visit with my Gran who lived in Lincolnshire. But for our summer hols, we always made the long journey to Cornwall.

A word on that drive. The night before we went, we’d all head to bed with the car packed (with military precision, obvs) on the drive. Only to be woken at 2am to get going! How exciting is that? My dad would then drive non-stop through the night until we arrived in a car park somewhere near Lostwithiel at 7am. Oh, and even more brilliant - we would then go to a cafe (read, greasy spoon - with table cloths) for breakfast! We didn’t really go out to eat as a family when I was growing up so the Cornwall cafe was always a big deal. 

Honestly, those middle of the night drives with the promise of breakfast in Cornwall were thrilling. And the holiday hadn’t even started yet! Mum and dad, if you’re reading this - what a brilliant idea. Sidenote. As an adult, I can’t imagine driving for five hours through the night - however much I love toast! 

Family photo from 90s in the rain in Cornwall

Windy! My brother, me, sister and mum - Cornwall 1990s

Our family holidays in Cornwall were wonderful. They felt pretty magical actually. It felt like we were in a different world for a week and as a child who loved being outside, escaping into my imagination and animals aplenty (see below) they were perfect. I'm glad we didn’t go abroad - and was never envious of anyone who did. Much more fun to do all that as an adult, I say. 

Here are some of my slightly niche memories!

Daily Picnic

Either eaten in the car, on the beach, on a bench or on a rug a picnic consisting of:

  • Egg or cheese wholemeal rolls, tightly wrapped in clingfilm
  • French Fries crisps
  • Obligatory apple
  • Club or Penguin or Twix (Chocolate? Yes! Only on our hols)
  • Orange squash in tupperware cups

Daily Ice-Cream

Usually a Feast. Actually called Festivals down in Cornwall. Although I have no evidence of this. If eaten on the beach, mostly ended up in the sand. I don’t actually like ice-cream. 

Car Music (Albums on tape)

  • Paul Simon ‘Graceland’ - me and my sister do a great rendition of ‘Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
  • Freddie Mercury and Montseratt Caballe ‘Barcelona’ 

National Trust Houses

  • Wisely, my rents were members which meant we always had somewhere to go when it rained (which was often).
  • There are A LOT of NT houses and gardens in Cornwall. We went to them all.
  • National Trust Shops. Thank god. 
  • Nice toilets

family on the beach in the 90s

Me (shortsighted), bro, mum and sister at Treyarnon Bay, Cornwall 1993


  • Treyarnon Bay, always 
  • Windbreak, obvs
  • Thick suncream (gross)
  • Sunburn / windburn. Take your pick.
  • Cagoules, obvs
  • Wind
  • Freezing sea, occasionally bodyboarding
  • Rockpooling - what even were those weird red blobs?
  • Jelly shoes - very uncomfortable, especially with sand in them
  • Raffia beach mats
  • Beach towels with my name sewn in (still use it, mate)
  • Picnic (see above)
  • Some seagulls - although I don’t remember any beef with them!
  • Going in the sea (unsupervised) and being unable to find my way back to our ‘pitch’ cos I was well shortsighted and my glasses were with my mum

90s man and 90s child sitting on the beach

Me and my dad on the beach in Cornwall, 1992


A theme park. We saw signs to it, we never went. 

Goat Farm

  • As children, we could ‘help’ do the morning and tea-time feeds with Jill the farmer!
  • We rarely got up in time to do the morning feed.
  • We all had our favourite goats. Mine was Calico. 
  • Their feed looked like giant muesli and they had salt licks
  • Zac the Llama
  • TEN CATS! 

Jennie as a child with her favourite goat, Calico

Here is me and my favourite - Calico! 

SupaSnaps ‘Snappit’ Cameras 

Photos of aforementioned cats. And nothing else. That was how we spent our time on the farm when we weren’t going up the Tor unsupervised.

The Tor

Helman Tor, to be precise. A walk up a hill from the farm. We often went up in the evening without the rents. This is wild to me! One of the stones looked like a burger. Or a bum. 

The Laundry Room

One year, it rained for two weeks solid. We spent our time in the communal laundry room braiding each others’ hair and playing games.

My Birthday

Usually happened during our week away. We once arrived at 7am in the aforementioned car park on my birthday. I opened my presents in the car!

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