News, Culture & Society

Is it just me? Or have holidays become far too strenuous?

  • Alison Roberts says holidays without pushing limits are judged to be boring
  • She claims glossy brochures advertise trips that even Bear Grylls would baulk at
  • She also believes we do plenty of haring about when we’re not on hols

 Not long ago, booking a summer holiday meant choosing between three fundamental options: Spanish beach, British seaside or French campsite (villa, if posh).

All offered the same essential experience — reading, eating and drinking, often to excess — and the undisputed point of them was to relax, preferably lying down and in the sun. Bliss.

Nowadays, alas, such holidays are judged irredeemably boring. If you’re not pushing yourself to the limits of your endurance on holiday, we’re told, you’re just not doing it right.

Alison Roberts questions the popularity of endurance holidays (file image)

A friend told me recently, for example, that she had narrowed down her holiday options to: a) cycling across the Mongolian steppe and overnighting in yurts or, b) rappelling down rock faces and zipping across canyons in Catalonia, with two children under the age of 12. No kidding.

Open any of the glossy brochures currently landing on doormats and you’ll find holidays that even Bear Grylls might baulk at: hiking up Indonesian volcanoes that erupted in 2016; cooking on fires in the Himalayas; riding 1,000 miles across Morocco . . .

These are the wildly expensive options, but there are plenty of cheaper, closer to home ideas for those hell-bent on giving themselves a hard time. How about a self-guided running break along the 180-mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path? No? Me neither.

Enough. We do plenty of haring about when we’re not on hols. The summer fortnight away is for stopping and sitting down. A lot. And it’s very definitely not for getting cold, muddy or in any way stressed.

You can take your tiresome activity trips — I’m booking two weeks on a sun lounger.


Find local lawyers and law firms at