Shared moments – such as the time last summer when the sun came out just as we spotted a family of seals – are simply priceless.
And,at a time when everyone is concerned about the economy – when most of us accept that air travel is a stressful and undignified experience and when a good few still fret about thedamage aviation causes to the environment – simplicity and quality are key.
You can find scenery, heritage, gastronomy and thrills in abundance. Thanks to the nature of theseislands, there is also an extra dimension of intrigue added in Wales with its language (a useful way to pass time on journeys through Wales is making anagrams of unfamiliar place names).And thanks to the diversity that centuries of political intrigue bring, tangible history is never far away along the shorelines and the borderlands between the individual nations ofBritain. This curious combination of intimacy and unfamiliarity puts your senses on high alert, which is far more preferable than having them dulled by carefully marketed miragesof holiday experiences.
The benefits for anyone who keeps a mental list of ‘things to worry about on holiday’ are considerable: you can rule out airport anguish, volcanic ash andfluctuating exchange rates as sources of stress and bother.
Now, I am the first to celebrate the liberty that the British have to travel far and wide: wherever you want to go inthe world, you are probably best off starting in the UK. But as a parent I also cherish easy access, good value and a wide range of activities – which is why, at least once a year,the Calder family pack up and head for the hills, valleys and shores of Wales. These are holidays more about developing self-reliance than helping yourself to the self-service buffet.