Tandem cyclists cruised down the seafront in 1946. mediadrumworld/TopFoto Archive

By Josie Adnitt


NEWLY colourised photos show Brits revelling in the joy of a staycation at Butlins during the peak of its popularity.

In one image, a group of young holidayers splashed around in the pool, laughing and smiling, at Butlins Holiday Camp in Clacton, Essex, on May 18, 1948.

In another, Prince Edward – later the Duke of Kent – enjoyed himself at Butlins Fun Fair at Olympia with a ride on the ‘Thriller’ rollercoaster with his tutor on January 17, 1947.

Prince Edward and his tutor enjoyed a ride on the Thriller rollercoaster. mediadrumworld/TopFoto Archive

Others show children and parents alike enjoying a swim in the indoor pool at Butlins Skegness, holidaymakers taking part in group health and fitness classes which ran twice a day, and a huge dining hall holding nearly 1,000 people eating together at Butlins Clacton-on-Sea canteen.

Taken from the TopFoto archive and beautifully colourised, these pictures bring to life the magic of Butlins holidays and the joy of a great British staycation.

Butlins was established in 1936 by Billy Butlin, who bought land in Skegness and established the first Butlins park – which is still there today. Hiring a team of ‘redcoats’ – the customer service professionals who built Butlins into the roaring staycation location it was at its peak and still is today – Butlins soon became a firm favourite of British holidaymakers.

The iconic cabins were instantly recognisable as Butlins, Bognor Regis 1947. mediadrumworld/TopFoto Archive

Butlins even helped with the war efforts, loaning out the existing holiday camps to the British Army during the Second World War.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, staycations have soared due to the restrictions on foreign travel. The most popular staycation destination within the UK is the South West of England, with other popular locations including the Norfolk Broads and Lancaster.