10 Things We All Did During Our 1980s Summer Holidays

In an age when many of us prefer to jet abroad for our summer getaway, the restrictions of the last year and a half have reminded us of a time when we often stayed much closer to home during our break from school in July and August.

Some of us didn’t set foot on a plane until we were well into our teens or twenties, but a 1980s summer staycation still gave us memories that have stayed with us well into our adult life. Below are just 10 examples that we believe will transport you back to your wonderful childhood.


10. Book a holiday using Ceefax or Teletext

10 10 Things We All Did During Our 1980s Summer Holidays

If you’re too young to remember Ceefax and Teletext, let us remind you that they were pre-internet, TV-based information services that allowed us to check TV schedules, find out football scores and take part in surprisingly difficult quizzes.

Another thing that Ceefax and Teletext gave us was the opportunity to book a bargain holiday, as long as we were extremely quick to note down the details before the system automatically scrolled through to the next screen.

9. Keep our spending money in a plastic tube

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Going on holiday meant carrying copious amounts of coins that we would use to purchase items from the gift shop, eat our own weight in ice cream and spend hours playing video games at the holiday park arcade.

Thankfully, transporting our spending money was made easier by the brightly coloured plastic tubes that we wore around our neck on a piece of string wherever we went.

8. Visit a Little Chef or Happy Eater

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Credit: Elliott Brown via Flickr / Leo Reynolds via Flickr

Our yearly drive to the coast was a drawn-out affair that was made only slightly easier when we listened to cassette tapes of our favourite tunes or played multiple games of I spy.

Thankfully, a six-hour journey to Cornwall was often broken up by a meal at either Little Chef or Happy Eater, with us preferring the latter restaurant due to the colourful badges and red, round lollies they would offer kids after we had devoured our meals.

7. Try to stand up halfway down a water slide

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Credit: Studio Sarah Lou via Flickr

A holiday wasn’t a holiday without a water slide, but travelling down the plastic tube on our bottom definitely wasn’t enough for us adventurous 80s kids.

If going down headfirst didn’t satisfy our thrill-seeking natures, we would up the ante by attempting to stop and stand up halfway down, knowing full well that another kid would soon be approaching from behind to clean us out.

6. Eat a Funny Feet ice lolly

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There are a number of delicious ice lollies that we can’t purchase anymore, and whilst we have incredibly fond memories of Funny Faces, Screwballs and Orange Maids, there is one refreshing, retro summer delight that we wish we could get our hands on just one more time.

We are of course talking about Funny Feet, which tasted so much better than their slightly disturbing name and shape would suggest.

5. Watch Wacaday

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Credit: ITV

Whilst Michaela Strachan and Tommy Boyd joined him to entertain us during our term-time Saturday mornings as part of the Wide Awake Club, during the school holidays it was the bonkers, bespectacled Timmy Mallett who took centre stage as the sole presenter of the utterly brilliant Wacaday.

Wacaday first hit TV screens in 1985 and was most notable for Mallett’s Mallet, a word association game that saw Timmy bashing his young contestants over the head with his soft Mallet if they answered incorrectly or paused for too long.

4. Play with a Swing Ball or Slip n’ Slide

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Credit: Ian Hughes via Wikimedia Commons / camknows via Flickr

Not all families could afford a holiday during their six-week break from school, but thankfully a number of fun, garden-based activities that didn’t break the bank were available to purchase from our local high street.

And whilst we enjoyed playing with our Aerobie or Pogo Ball, it was the Swing Ball and Slip n’ Slide that took up most of our attention on a hot summer’s day.

3. Visit our local lido

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Credit: megatick via Flickr

Once the temperature reached a certain level during the 1980s then a trip to the local lido was inevitable.

Unfortunately most of the lidos we enjoyed as children have now closed down, but the memories of a day spent in their clear, cool waters will never leave us.

2. Drink a Slush Puppie

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They may have been crowded out of newsagents by cheaper, inferior tasting products, but during the 1980s Slush Puppies reigned supreme when it came to refreshing ice drinks.

Dispensed from a machine that let the till operator choose from a variety of different, fruity flavours, Slush Puppies were a special, delicious treat on sunny day.

1. Play cards whilst it poured with rain outside

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We all know that the British summertime brings no guarantee of good weather, but thankfully we always had our family alongside us during the long days spent inside whilst the heavy rain pounded the roof of our leaky holiday caravan.

In fact, some of the best memories from our childhood holidays are playing Uno alongside our nearest and dearest whilst we waited for the dark clouds to clear.