PUBLISHED: 11:05 27 May 2016 | UPDATED: 12:39 30 August 2017



The average British family holiday involves a three-hour journey, four tantrums and two days of rain, new research reveals.

The study, which compiled the experiences of 2,000 families also found that children ask “Are we there yet?” five times and parents enjoy only two lie-ins, but do get at least 16 hours as a family on the beach.

The holiday-by-numbers research, commissioned by self-catering agency, Beach Retreats, found taking a phone to the beach is more important than a towel for four in 10 people – while one in four parents will obsess over the perfect beach selfie.

Andrew Easton, business manager for Beach Retreats said: “Around half of British families will be taking a staycation in 2016 and the appeal of the British beach holiday stronger than ever.

“Documenting your beach holiday with photos, social uploads and selfies is now a typical part of a beach holiday, but it’s great to see that outdoor activities, discovering the beach, are still so important to families.”

One of our favourite things about UK beach holidays is the sea air - with three quarters of people (73%) saying it’s what they love most about the seaside.

Being close to the sea (61%), out of the wind (55%) and near to a toilet (30%) are amongst the key factors in deciding where best on the beach to set-up camp for the day.

More than two thirds (69%) of families will not head to the beach without at least one weather-proof essential such as a windbreak, full waterproofs or an umbrella.

Whilst on holiday, half (54%) of British families will watch a sunset, almost a third (29%) will have a barbecue on the beach and 22% adults will try a local craft ale.

Traditional British beach behaviours are still as popular as ever, with building sandcastles (69%), digging holes in the sand (61%) and exploring rock pools (58%) listed as the most popular things to do beside the seaside.


115 miles travelled to destination

3 hours driving to destination

5 Kids ask Are we nearly there yet?’

8 ice creams eaten

4 beach trips

5 sandcastles built

4 picnics

8 sandwiches

4 tantrums

6 late nights

2 cream teas

4 car games

3 accidents/scraped knees

10 times applying sun cream

2 bits of sunburn

2 lie-ins for parents

2 drinks spilt

3 films watched

3 board games played

3 inflatables blown up

3 fending off seagulls

2 dropped ice creams

2 family bike rides

2 tags to locations on Facebook

3 holiday-related Facebook statuses

81 photos taken

3 quiet drinks for the parents

3 takeaways

2 rainy days inside

2 visits to local attractions


Bucket and spade 48%

Wet wipes 44%

Windbreaks 25%

Multiple changes of clothes 21%

Newspaper 17%

Umbrella 16%

Crabbing net 12%

Tablet 9%

Full waterproofs 7%

Tents 7%


Watch a sunset 54%

Eat lunch at a gastro pub 49%

Barbecue on the beach 29%

Visit a local deli 26%

Try some craft ales 22%

Upload pictures/statuses of where you are 21%

Cycling 21%

Water sports/Adventure sports 18%

Check in to locations on Facebook 18%

Dine at a high end restaurant 15%

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