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Holidays at home: Christmas special

Christmas is nearly here; what better time to warm your hearts with a beautiful story of no-fly holidays. Growing up with a mother who had a life changing illness made Josephine Tamburello appreciate the beauty of holidays at home. Now she treasures memories made within UK shores

When I was growing up, my family stayed away from planes. Not because we didn’t want to go to all the incredible places abroad. Believe me, there’s lots in the world I still want to see. It was because of my mum’s illness. She suffers from lymphedema, a condition that causes the legs to swell with fluid when under pressure – something that air travel can aggravate. So we were unable to get on board and fly away.

Many of my friends were taking to the summer skies during the six-week holidays and visiting amazing places, but I looked forward to getting into the car and driving to the latest destination that my family had decided to explore within the UK.

In fact, during those summers, I found myself falling in love with this country more and more. Learning ways to entertain myself at home was like finding an everlasting best friend. And I will always love the beauty that lies at home.

I wanted to share the best places I visited without flying that changed my life and cemented my love for a holiday at home…

Great Yarmouth You’re not a true British child unless you’ve been on a caravan holiday. Our family owned one in Clacton, but my parents made sure that we still went to other places and often we took off to Great Yarmouth to see its kooky offerings, including the creepy wax house and pier rides.

Great Yarmouth at night

Great Yarmouth

Ayrshire, Scotland My grandad’s best friend was from Ayrshire and – to celebrate my grandad’s birthday – we decided to surprise him with a trip to Scotland. Now I really appreciate the magic of the highlands. From castle visits to a proper evening out dining on traditional haggis, Ayrshire has beautiful countryside and incredible people.

Butlins By the time I started secondary school, my parents couldn’t afford to keep the caravan. We all missed those holidays so they took me and my best friend to Butlins instead. There is so much to do that you don’t need to leave the sites, but the beach is not far if you do. Plus, most of our holidays were inclusive, so no extra money needed to be spent.

Swing ride at Butlins

Butlins was a favourite for Joesephine’s family

Brighton One random summer me and my mum got on a coach and went on holiday to Brighton. Now it’s an annual tradition for the pair of us to run off together for a weekend of shopping by the sea. We save up and splurge in the high street and independent shops before heading to the beach to enjoy the fun atmosphere alongside the happy inhabitants of this classically quirky seaside town.

Disneyland Paris We haven’t been on this holiday yet: but it’s all sorted. As a huge film fan (and big kid), I’ve always wanted to go to Disneyland. Next year will be a big one for celebrations – my 21st birthday and graduation – so me and my mum will be heading to Paris on the Eurostar and taking in all the sites. It is going to be the first holiday outside the UK we’ve been on together and I think it’s going to be one of the biggest milestones in our relationship as we experience something completely new together.

You know, in spite of the difficulties, I can’t hate my mum’s illness completely. It has made me so much more appreciative of the beauty of being at home, and made me fall in love with places I would have never seen if I’d been flying off around the world.

Josephine on holiday with the family

Josephine on holiday with the family


Words: Josephine Tamburello for Feet on the Ground

Images: Butlins/Nick Butcher/Greater Yarmouth Tourism/Josephine Tamburello

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