August is the time when British people try to get away to the seaside, either for a holiday or a weekend. We have our own traditions about seaside holidays so here are ten useful things to know.
- Sunbathing. People in Britain, especially young people, like to expose as much of their skin as possible when the sun comes out. You may be puzzled to see people lying on the beach in their swimwear when it isn't very warm. You will also see people with bad sunburn. Lots of people like to get a suntan and do not use sunscreen, even though the sun's rays can be strong even on a cold day.
- Piers. Many British seaside towns have a pier, which is a long walkway going out over the sea. These were built in the 19th century, and many still survive, although some have burned down once or twice. Many piers have amusement arcades or funfairs on them, though you can usually walk to the end without paying. Don't be tempted to dive off the side: you are likely to injure yourself badly if you do.
- Rock. This is a long minty sweet made specially for each town. Seaside rock is usually about 10 inches/25cm long, pink or striped on the outside and white in the middle. Look at one end and you will see the name of the seaside town is written all the way through the rock. Rock is a good present to send to your friends, but it is very bad for their teeth.
- Fish and chips. Seaside resorts are a brilliant place to eat our national dish. If the weather is nice, get a takeaway (which means your meal will be wrapped in paper) and eat it on the beach or a bench. Remember to put salt and vinegar on your chips before they are wrapped. Also remember to pick up a chip fork before you leave the shop -- it will stop your fingers getting too greasy.
- Amusement arcades. These are places which are full of gambling machines and games machines. In the UK, we call these "one-armed bandits" because they steal your money and used to have a handle on one side, like an arm. Check to see if there are age restrictions before going in.
- Bucket and spade. If you go somewhere with a sandy beach it's fun to spend the afternoon building a castle out of sand. You'll need a bucket and spade. In some resorts you can also buy little flags to put on the castle's towers.
- Donkeys. Some beach resorts, Blackpool in the North West for instance, have donkey rides on the beach.
- Beach huts. These are brightly-painted sheds close to the beach where people keep chairs and little boats, and often have a kettle for making hot drinks. The huts belong to people who either buy or rent them.
- Swimming and surfing. The sea off Britain can be very cold if you are not used to it. A wetsuit can be a good idea. The best surfing beaches are in the South-West, in Cornwall and Devon.
- Some of the most beautiful beaches are outside the best-known resorts. Norfolk, in the East, is a good place for huge flat sandy beaches where the tide goes out a surprisingly long way. The "Jurassic" coastline of Dorset, Devon and Cornwall in the South West is spectacular and there are also beautiful beaches all around Wales, Scotland and Northumbria.
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