We’ve all done it.
Visited a wonderful place, that suits you to a tee. Friendly people, good restaurants and pubs, nice beach, not too many people . .
Then you return there a few years later and the ice cream and burger vans have arrived, and with it comes a flock of tourists that should have really gone to Southend.
You might think I’m a snob, I may well be, but I do know what I like and it’s not sitting five foot away from a sweaty overweight neanderthal who would normally wear a West Ham tee shirt but today has chosed to show off his magnificent physique honed by 15 pints of Fosters every weekday night.
So, we move on, our little secret beach is no more, it has been invaded, contaminated, infected. It is now as Python John Cleese would say an ex-destination.
So what do we do now?
Well, we look for somewhere else.
As a kid my parents used to take me ‘somewhere on the Suffolk coastline’. It was incredibly private, and as a child we felt like we owned the place. If strangers arrived for a short break we treated them with the due suspicion that they deserved!
The whole area was surrounded by marshes and the coast was mainly stones but, we would often be the only family on the beach.
As the years went on it gradually became busier, free car parks began to charge and the roads and beach became crowded.
I suppose it was inevitable, but it did seem a shame. The marshes (a haven for wild birds) had became an official nature reserve, and with that accolade brought thousands more visitors clambering through the wildlife’s habitat.
As kids and whilst on holiday we used to visit a local Castle. I believe it was free entry, if not it was just a few pence to gain access. It looked old, there were parts of it that were downright dangerous but our parents kept hold of us and we were kept safe. There were some old canons that we clambered over, sat on and jumped off, we would have a great time here as we would almost every year.
Having returned to the Castle in recent years, the lawns are now manicured, the canons are off limits and the National Trust charges a hefty £15 per person for the privalage of setting foot inside the ramparts!. I suppose we can now enjoy an interactive virtual tour of the medieval town. Yes, impressive but was it really needed? Probably not, perhaps it was included to justify the hefty entrance fee.
So what is it I am driving at? I’m not too sure really, I know I don’t really like the general public, not when there are too many of them in one small area. And I don’t like having to pay for entertainment that I don’t really want. I know the National Trust do a good job, but, there should be a case for just leaving places alone, not restoring them to their former glory. I’d rather look at a pile of rubble in the knowledge of what it used to be rather than visit a clean swept exhiibition from behind glass with interactive narrative in over 40 languages.
And it is these things that are increasing visitors, bringing in more money, and destroying what once was an extremely interesting place to visit without breaking the bank.
Things are going to get worse at a faster rate now due to the many more staycations, the ever increasing population and the UK’s road improvements which tend to get people to their destination at a super speed but the town they are all going to can’t cope… unfortunately it’s a never ending spiral to queues, high priced car parks and sweaty West Ham supporters… sorry Hammers, nothin’ personal.
Time to look for a deserted island, it really is my only choice.