IT sounds like the perfect weekend away – hopping on the train to a buzzing seaside resort for a spot of wild swimming, promenade strolls and good food and drink.
And it’s eerily like the holidays enjoyed by the Victorians — who hundreds of years before we’d champion the name had really invented the staycation, as an emerging middle class took to the newly-built railways and relaxed in seaside towns from Blackpool to Brighton.
This week the luxury travel magazine Conde Nast Traveller revealed its trends for British holidaymakers for 2023, and top of the list was the idea that we’re all soon to be holidaying like the Victorians.
From the newly-revitalised seaside town of Margate with its once-grotty B&Bs transformed — including the Albion Rooms owned by indie rock band The Libertines — to the grand country house hotels championing farm-to-fork menus with fruit and veg grown in renovated Victorian walled gardens, there are plenty of ways you can holiday like our ancestors this autumn. Lisa Minot suggests some nostalgic treats . . .
QUEEN VICTORIA adored the Isle of Wight. Her annual holidays to Osbourne House, a former royal retreat, transformed the island’s fortunes as thousands of Victorians followed her lead.
For a very modern take on this traditional gem, check in to the gorgeous, newly-opened and intriguingly named Terrace Rooms and Wine, on the seafront in Ventnor.
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The superbly-renovated guesthouse on the edge of Ventnor Cascades features six bedrooms — and a 300-bottle wine cave.
All rooms have sea views, a super-king Hypnos bed and lovely White Company bed linen.
Rooms start from £200 a night for B&B plus an evening of wine-tasting. For details, see theterraceventnor.co.uk.
Travel over from Portsmouth on Wightlink’s new flagship hybrid ferry, Victoria of Wight, this autumn, with fares from £58 return for a day trip or £73 for a short break based on a car and up to seven passengers. See wightlink.co.uk for details.
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THE Victorians embraced the golden age of steam trains and their romance and glamour still has us desperate to climb aboard to this day.
Steam Dreams offers days out and holidays to more than 33 destinations across the UK by vintage steam train.
Prices start from just £69, with more than 50 nostalgic trips a year from 100 stations across Britain.
There’s the chance to pack a picnic and settle into refurbished Premium Standard-class 1950s carriages with armchair seating — or go the whole hog and dine in sumptuous surroundings in Premier dining or Pullman-style dining carriages.
The company also offers longer holidays by steam train to Ireland and Scotland in 2023.
The eight-night, nine-day tour of Ireland is from £1,995pp including B&B hotel accommodation, train and optional excursions. See steamdreams.co.uk.
TAKING TO THE WATERS
BATH was a hugely popular destination for Victorians looking to escape the polluted industrial cities. The Hot Bath and Cross Bath pools were rebuilt by the end of the 18th century and the Great Pump Room constructed.
Hotels were built to welcome holidaymakers and the Royal Crescent served as short-stay holiday homes for most of the 19th century.
A six-week stay to “take the waters” was heartily recommended by doctors.
Today you can follow suit with a dip in hot springs at the Thermae Bath Spa, a 21st-century version with a spectacular rooftop pool offering 360-degree views of the city. Stay at Pulteney House, an elegant Victorian villa with views of Bath Abbey.
There are ten bedrooms in the 4H luxury B&B, with rooms from £95 per night. For details, see pulteneyhotel.co.uk.
THE arrival of the railways in 1846 transformed the small seaside town into a holiday resort for millions.
The 50-year period after its first pier was built in 1863 saw the construction of two further piers, Blackpool Tower, the WinterGardens and the earliest surviving rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
While the rise in popularity of the overseas package holiday hit the town hard, recent developments have seen Blackpool show its stylish side once more.
The newly-opened 5H Boulevard Hotel sits in the shadow of the Big One rollercoaster and even has its own exclusive entrance to Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
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Diana Ross and Duran Duran both recently stayed here. Stylish rooms feature all mod cons from fast wifi to flatscreen TVs, while marble bathrooms have quality toiletries and even a TV screen at the end of the bath.
Rooms start from £115per night. See boulevardhotel.co.uk.
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