Is it about standing in bare feet on smooth sand with a bucket and spade in your hand?
To a young child it is exciting, intriguing and magical. If we are honest, the same can apply to us adults.
Last week I went with my friend, her daughter and two grandchildren aged 18 months and four years old to Podington Garden Centre where they had created a beach for under-12s to play on.
Watching the children play I just had to have a go – to show them how to make a sandcastle of course!
Trying to imagine the sounds of the sea, gulls screeching overhead and sea water encroaching on our efforts, memories of my younger days flooded back and of the many seaside holidays we had as a family, when we would spend hours and hours on the beach happily entertained by such simple pleasures.
Yes, we had many happy family holidays most of which were spent either in Devon or Bournemouth.
We were never happier than when we rented a beach hut for the duration, having picnics and boiling up on the portable Calor gas stove – easily amused, come rain or shine, with our buckets and spades, rubber rings and plastic balls, the sea in front of us and deckchairs to sunbathe in and dry out after many, many dips in the sea, hating having to leave at the end of each day.
Later that evening, after my short nostalgic play in the sand, I dug out black and white snapshots of our holidays, laughing at the swimming costumes we used to wear.
Remember the ones that used to absorb the water and come down when you stood up in the water?
Well done to Podington and to all the other places in the county that have tried hard to recreate little retreats for youngsters who may not have access to the seaside itself.