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Holidays in Britain

London

London

There are fewer public holidays in Britain than in any other country in Europe. Even New Year’s Day wasn’t a public holiday in England and Wales until quite recently. Most official holidays occur just before or just after a weekend. There are practically no extra local holidays in particular places.
The word holiday means holy day. But not all public holidays are connected with religious celebrations. The average employee gets four weeks’ paid holiday a year. About 40% of the population do not go away for their holidays.
In the 18th century the British upper class started the fashion for seaside holidays. In the 20th century the working class got such an opportunity too. And soon it became popular to spend a week or two at the seaside resort towns. These towns have many hotels.

Food in British hotels and restaurants is reasonably cheap, but rooms are not. Few English people rent houses or flats for their holidays, but one of the traditional ways of spending a holiday is in a boarding house. These houses offer «bed and breakfast» or «full board» (that means that all meals are provided).
If the weather is fine people go to the beach, where children make sandcastles, eat ice-creams or go swimming. Quite a lot of people like just to relax and sunbathe.
In the evening and when it’s raining, people go to discos, theatres, dance halls, which are usually situated on the pier.
In the 1950s and 1960s camping holidays were very popular. People stayed in chalets and had food and all kinds of entertainment in the holiday camps. Camping holidays are not so popular in England nowadays, but they are very popular in France.
Caravan holidays have become more popular nowadays. A caravan pulled by the family car can provide good opportunity for holiday. Many people like the friendly atmosphere in an organized caravan site.
Foreign tourism has become extremely popular these days. Millions of people spend their holidays away from home. Most foreign holidays are package holidays. You book transport and accommodation and pay for everything in advance (through a travel agent).
Spain is a very popular package-holiday place today.
Traditionally people start planning their summer holidays on Boxing Day.
Some holidays in Britain last only three or less days. For example, for Bank holiday weekend most people go to the most popular seaside resorts. Rich people go to their cottages in the countryside where they prefer to spend the weekend.

EXERCISES
I. Answer the questions.

1. How long is an annual holiday for the average employee in Britain?
2. What does the word holiday mean?
3. What was a popular type of holiday in the 18th century?
4. What are people offered at boarding houses?
5. What’s the difference between the camping holiday and a caravan holiday?
6. How do people spend their Bank holiday weekend?

II. Explain the meaning of the following words and expressions.
1. a boarding house —
2. a caravan —
3. to book in advance —
4. package holiday —
5. to book accommodation —

III. Fill in the gaps.
1. New Year’s Day wasn’t a . . . quite recently.
2. Not all public holidays are connected with … .
3. … of the population do not go away for their holidays.
4. Food in hotels and restaurants is … .
5. Few people . . . flats or houses for their holidays.
6. A caravan is … by the family car,
7. Many people like … in a caravan site.
8. If the weather is fine people go to the ….
9. In a camp people stay in ….
10. . . . tourism has become very popular.
11. You book . . . and … in advance.
12. People start planning their holidays on . . . Day.

Answers
III. 1. public holiday; 2. religious celebration; 3. about 40%; 4. reasonably cheap; 5. rent; 6 pulled; 7. the friendly atmosphere; 8. beach; 9. chalets; 10. Foreign; 11. transport; accommodation; 12. Boxing.

(Великобритания: Тексты для устных ответов и письменных работ на английском языке. Авт.-сост. И. Ю. Баканова)