Brits’ favourite childhood memories include beach holidays, spending time at granny’s house and Christmas dinner

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Christmas dinner, going to the beach on a summer holiday and spending time at your grandparent’s house are the memories we remember most vividly from our childhoods, it has emerged.

A study of 2,000 adults which explored their earliest and fondest memories revealed festive feasts and holiday fun are the events most likely to stick in our minds from youth.

Spending time at your grandparent’s house is among the memories we remember most vividly from our childhood
Getty – Contributor

Spending time at your grandparent’s house is among the memories we remember most vividly from our childhood[/caption]

Hearing the ice-cream van music, learning to ride a bike and building sandcastles were also evocative experiences we remember from our time as kids.

Seven in 10 parents admitted they have tried to recreate similar memories for their own kids by doing the same kinds of activities.

Heathrow carried out the study to launch Flybe’s four-times daily flight to Cornwall Airport Newquay.

A spokesperson said: “Memory is a tricky and unreliable thing, but those earliest recollections from our childhood can also be the strongest and most vivid.

“It is encouraging to see that bright and positive experiences like your first Christmas or time on a sunny beach with your family are the experiences which stick with us as we get older.

Top 50 most common childhood memories

1. Christmas dinner

2. Going to the beach

3. Going to your grandparent’s house

4. Hearing the ice-cream van music

5. Playing in the park

6. Getting pocket money

7. Buying penny sweets from the village shop

8. Learning to ride a bike

9. Playing playground games

10. Getting a pet

11. Pick n mix sweets

12. Buying your first album/single

13. Building sandcastles

14. Counting down the days until the summer holidays

15. Playing conkers

16. Climbing a tree

17. School dinners

18. School sports days

19. Your first crush

20. Fish and chips on the beach

21. Listening to your favourite song on repeat till you get bored

22. Caravan family holidays

23. Blowing out the candles on a birthday cake

24. Skimming stones

25. Swimming lessons

26. Singing hymns

27. Searching through rock pools

28. Sitting cross-legged in assemblies

29. Learning to read

30. Going out with your friends for the first time without your parents

31. Sleepovers at a friend’s house

32. Being in the school play

33. Catching frogs, newts, tadpoles in a pond

34. First day of secondary school

35. Family holidays abroad

36. Spelling tests

37. Flying a kite

38. Watching films which were above your age rating

39. Being read a bedtime story

40. Winning an award

41. Your first time on an aeroplane

42. Painting / arts and crafts

43. Bath time

44. Jumping in puddles

45. Finding a rope swing in the woods

46. Buying a school uniform

47. Going to theme parks

48. Playing with leaves

49. Going to church

50. Handwriting lessons

“For parents, this should act as an incentive to ensure your child has these kinds of memorable experiences – they will stick with them for a lifetime.”

When asked to consider where they had their best time as kids, the majority of Brits said they had their fondest memories from playing outdoors with their friends.

Visiting the beach for some sun, sea and sand, going to the park and having playdates at their friends’ houses were other locations Brits remember with reverence from their younger years.

Three in five believe they remember their childhood accurately, as it happened, though one in four admit they may be seeing events through ‘rose tinted glasses’.

Thinking back to their earliest memory, the average Brit doesn’t think they can remember back further than the age of four.

And the earliest memory the average Brit can remember from a family holiday is from the age of six.

Seventy nine per cent of Brits believe they had more fun on their holidays when they were younger than they do now as adults, according to the study by OnePoll.

'The bucket and spade list' – what every kid should do on holiday before they are 14

1. Swim in the sea

2. Make a massive sandcastl

e3. Dig a massive hole at the beach

4. Make a friend on holiday

5. See a national landmark

6. Go fishing/crabbing

7. Go to a waterpark

8. Visit a famous museum

9. Try some local cuisine

10. Attend a kids club

Twenty seven per cent have fond memories of swimming in the sea, and one in five can remember searching through rock pools with their parents on a summer beach getaway.

And three in five enjoyed the novelty of travelling when they were a child, though seven in 10 said they were more likely to holiday domestically rather than abroad when they were children.

Of those who holidayed within the UK, the South West was the most popular area to visit, followed by the South and the South East.

Two in five Brits haven’t looked through old photos from their childhood in more than two years, though 54 per cent wish they had more snaps and mementos from their youth so they could reminisce.

Ross Baker, Chief Commercial Officer at Heathrow said: “This research shows that precious times on a sunny beach with family are some of the most important experiences that stick with us as we get older.


“This makes us even more pleased to welcome the new Flybe service from Heathrow to Cornwall Airport Newquay.

“We hope that it provides parents with many opportunities to ensure their children have similar experiences that will stay with them for a lifetime.”

The short flight means Cornwall and the South West are now easier than ever to reach, connecting Brits with their fondest holiday-memory location.

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