But as the decade unfolded things began to change. Butlin’s opened in 1963, offering people a purpose-built holiday paradise with beaches, chalets and top quality family entertainment. By the middle of the decade the rise in the ownership of cars and the expansion and improvement of roads throughout the country meant that Britons could take off and take a break whenever they pleased. Holidaying had never been so easy.
In the late 60s, the launch of the bikini left women across the land desperately in search of an all-over sun-kissed glow. However, the likes of Bognor Regis and Skegness just couldn’t deliver and so the foreign package holiday took flight. Even though a trip to Spain could easily take over five hours, nothing was going to stop the Brits going in search of sunshine. In 1969, Benidorm had reached saturation point and there were simply not enough beds for the number of people desperate to travel there. Holiday companies started to offer huge incentives to Spanish builders to construct hotels, and so began the transformation of Benidorm from quaint fishing village, to the high-rise hotel kingdom it is today.
From Blackpool To Benidorm, presented by Hi-Di-Hi star and veteran of family entertainment shows in Blackpool, Ruth Madoc, takes a journey back to the beginnings of British holidaymaking. From the Illuminations and theatres of Blackpool to Butlin’s holiday camps and the birth of the package holiday to sunny Spain, From Blackpool To Benidorm offers a fun-filled look back at the birth of the British summer holiday.