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My Favourite Road Trip: Bournemouth Beach in the ’80s

When I was little we didn’t go on many road trips in the family car. My dad was away with work a lot, and my mum wasn’t terribly confident with directions – and we were all too young to help out with map reading! One thing we did a lot of though, was group coach trips.

A lady who lived on our estate organised a coach every Wednesday during the summer holidays. We would all pay £3 for a seat on the coach, and it would pick us up at 8am to take us to Bournemouth. We would all pile on with cool boxes, buckets and spades and deck chairs, and off we would go.

On the way the lady who ran the trip would hold a raffle, where we all paid a certain amount for our tickets; the takings were then divided up into food bags as prizes, and the winners were chosen. One time I won about £5 and felt like I was the richest person in the world. I spent it on a bright orange, over-sized rubber ring. There was usually a lot of singing; we sang the same songs every week. And as we got to the top of the hill in Bournemouth (which is no longer there since they redesigned the town centre) we would all stand in our seats and crane our necks before launching into  a massive chorus of I can see the seeeeeea!

Once we arrived in Bournemouth we would head down to the beach. Our group was made up of us, my auntie and cousins and various neighbours and friends. We would arrange ourselves in a large semicircle of deckchairs, with our bags and cool boxes slotted between seats. The children would then be dispatched to either dig a big hole, or build a massive sand castle directly in front of us – so that nobody would come and sit in front of us, and the adults could all see what the children were up to if they went into the sea.

We spent the remainder of our day in and out of the sea, shivering while we ate sand-encrusted jam and cheese sandwiches. Because the coach was booked to collect us at 6pm regardless of weather, we often ended up spending some or all of the day across the road from the beach, under the cover of “the arches” It never occurred to us that we could just go and catch a bus home to get out of the weather, just like it never occurred to us to just wander off “up town” and take cover in a cafe. We came for the beach, and that’s where we stayed. Instead we took it in turns to run into the sea in groups, telling each other that the rain made it warmer. Once we were there during what was probably quite a large storm; the waves in the sea were huge and we enjoyed sitting under our towels, watching our parents getting knocked over. One of the ladies would always bring a camera with her, and one year she even had a disposable, waterproof camera. Every now and then she unearths a photo of me from her endless photo albums, and sends it to me.

bournemouth beach 1989
me, buried in sand and having water poured over me by my brothers. A typical day at the beach!

Occasionally my older cousin would take me and my sister to the arcade on the pier, where we would put all of our coppers into those penny machines where it always looks like hundreds of coins are about to fall off, but rarely do you win more than you put in. 

One year, my auntie was stung by a weever fish on the shoreline, and had to go off to get first aid. It was the first time I had ever seen an adult cry, and after that everyone bought plastic jelly shoes to wear into the sea. Another time an older lady we didn’t know very well came along with us; she used to be the Queen’s lady in waiting, and was one of those people who has a “posh” accent but was also as mad as jam. She went up to the shop and came back with an entire tray of peaches for us to share, and all the children thought it was Christmas. Another time, my mum bought a tub of bright yellow sun block, the kind you see cricketers put on their noses. We delighted in first putting it on our noses, and then using it to paint all sorts of weird patterns on each other – which of course made for some rather marvellous tan lines later.

bournemouth beach 1989
This is what my childhood looked like.
Me in the sea with Olly, a lovely family friend

Toward the end of the day we would begin to pack up our things, and sometimes my cousin would go up to the Pavillion to buy a cone of chips. If we were lucky she would share them with us as we sat on the wall, waiting for the coach to collect us. We would pester and beg our mum to give us some money to go into the Rock Shop and get some sweets, and sometimes she would give in and we’d get one of those big fake dummies, or a plate of bacon and eggs made from rock. The kind of stuff that tastes vile and has you bouncing off the walls for hours. 

When the coach arrived we would all pile on, usually barefoot and covered in sand. The singing would usually begin as the coach pulled away, and lasted all the way home. The songs were always the same. As we turned the corner to the street leading to our estate, we would begin singing here we are, here we are, here we are again…

It never occurred to me that other children might be off in foreign countries for their summer holidays; I never felt hard done by that I was spending a cold, wet day by the sea, in fact I looked forward to it. The coach journeys there and back were just as important as the time spent on the beach. 

Road trips these days, when I do go on them, involve sat nav – which means my mum is more inclined to drive places! We have better entertainment in the car too, so out of tune caterwauling is kept to a minimum. Unlike the hot, airless coaches we travelled on, my mum’s car has air conditioning. Things have definitely improved!


With today’s technology and easy access to short flights and fast trains, it’s easy to forget about the days when a long road trip was the most memorable part of your summer.
Even if the radio was dodgy, you never won at eye spy or Dad always ‘sang’ along to the songs!

Kwik Fit Insurance Services wants to bring back the days of iPad-free road trips, by taking you on a trip down Nostalgia Lane.

You could win £150 worth of Amazon vouchers to stock up on your nostalgic favourites for your next technology free family road trip!
All you have to do is share your most memorable family road trip with us and two winners will be selected!

To enter, click here. 

 Nostalgia Lane Competition Terms & Conditions

1.These Terms and Conditions apply to the prize draw that is being run by the Promoter from 7th September 2016 to 17th October 2016 (the “Competition”).

2. The Competition is open to UK residents.

3.  Entrants must be at least 17 years old and entry is limited to one entry per person per draw. An entrant is defined as an individual person.  Entries on behalf of another person are not permitted. Multiple entries will be excluded from each prize draw and will be deemed ineligible to win a prize.

4. No purchase is necessary. 

5. To participate in the prize draw, entrants must upload a nostalgic road trip story along with supporting image.  Each entrant will also be required to provide their full name and email address including further information (“Personal Information”) where prompted to do.Entrants who do not supply the Personal Information, or if the Promoter has reason to believe that any of the Personal Information supplied is incorrect or falsified, will not be entered into the Competition. Any pictures which are deemed, at Kwik Fit Insurance Service’s sole discretion, to be offensive, indecent or unfit for publication will not be entered into the Competition.

6. Any entries received by the Promoter after the prize draw has closed will not be included in that prize draw.

7. Two winners will be selected at random (each being a “Winner”) and notified via the email address provided by the entrant on the same day, or as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter, that the prize draw closes (the “Announcement”). If Prizes are unclaimed within 72 hours ofa winner being notified the Promoter reserves the right to reallocate or redraw the prize.

8. Each Winner will be entitled to 1 x Amazon Voucher worth £150 (the “Prize”). The Prizes will be sent to the Winners within 7 working days of the Announcement andwill be delivered by electronic voucher code to the email address provided by the entrant.

9. The Prizes are not transferable and no cash alternative is available. The Promoter reserves the right to substitute a Prize of equivalent or greater value if for reasons beyond its control aPrize is not available. The Promoter’s decision on the alternative prize is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 

10. Each Prize is subject to the voucher provider’s individual terms and conditions.  Further details can be obtained on request.

11. Kwik Fit Insurance Services will treat the Winners’ contact details as private (except to share it with its PR agency). Kwik Fit Insurance Services and its PR agency will keep contact details secure but reserves the right to use the Winners’ names in future publicity or promotional material connected with the Competition including but not limited to features on the Promoter’s website and also on social media and by entering the Competition you consent to such usage.


12. In the event that these Terms and Conditions are amended prior to the conclusion of the Competition this will be communicated via email by Kwik Fit Insurance Services.


13.Persons involved in arranging the prize draw and employees of the Promoter are not eligible for entry into the prize draw. 


14. Kwik Fit Insurance Services cannot accept any responsibility for any damage, loss, injury or disappointment suffered by any entrant entering the Competition or as a result of accepting any Prize. Kwik Fit Insurance Services  is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer on-line systems, servers, or providers, computer equipment or software, failure of any email or entry to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the internet, telephone lines or at any website, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrant’s or any other person’s computer or mobile telephone related to or resulting from participation in the Competition. Nothing shall exclude Kwik Fit Insurance Services’ liability for death or personal injury as a result of its negligence.

 15.The Competition will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.
 The Promoter is Kwik Fit Insurance Services, a trading name of Ageas Retail Limited. 

Registered office: Ageas House, Hampshire Corporate Park, Templars Way, Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO53 3YA.  Registered in England and Wales with company number 1324965

Vicky is a single mother, a blogger, a podcaster and a social media trainer. You can find her blogging, business and social media tips at

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