British families started going on holiday to the seaside around the middle of the 19th century. The invention of the railways made this possible. The first holidaymakers were quite rich and went for their health and education. The seaside was a place to be (1)______of illnesses, and doctors recommended bathing in the sea and drinking sea water. Also to increase their knowledge, families attended concerts and read books from libraries.
At that time, ordinary working people had very little time (2)______. However, in 1871, the government introduce four “Bank Holidays” – national holiday days. This allowed people to have a day or two out, which now and then gave them a taste for leisure and the seaside. At first they went on day-trips, taking
(3)______ of special cheap tickets on the railways. By the 1880s, rising incomes meant many ordinary workers and their families could have a week’s holiday at the seaside. Rail fares were reduced and cheap hotels were built to (4)______ them. Holidaymakers enjoyed being idle, sitting on the beach, bathing in the sea, and eating ice-cream. Cheap entertainment was (5)_____ offer and holidaymakers went to have fun. Today, the English seaside remained popular, with more than 18 million holidays taken there each year.