This film is part of Free

Our Holiday at Woolacombe

This lovely colourful film embodies a fifties seaside holiday.

Amateur film 1954 5 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


This family holiday to North Devon has captured the essence of seaside resorts in the fifties. The family stays at the Devonia Hotel in Mortehoe, a hamlet for smugglers and wreckers and originally a manor estate. Many a ship was wrecked on the rocky coastline with its combes, coves and caves making it a smugglers' paradise. Nearby Woolacombe offers a long sandy beach and is today popular with surfers. The privately owned Clovelly is packed full of summer visitors.

Ilfracombe shows the rise of holidaying by car and the white funnel steamship offers trips along the North Devon Coast. The coastal path takes in Watersmeet, the Valley of the Rocks and Lynton. Damaged houses and rubble at Lynmouth are still in evidence after the devastating flood of 1952. The Hunters Inn still operates at Martinhoe and is close to Woody Bay and Hollow Brook Waterfall and popular with walkers. Exmoor became a National Park in 1954 and the year's summer read was Tolkien's Lord of the Rings if the holiday was long enough. Graphic artist Donald McGill was found guilty of obscenity for his popular saucy seaside postcards with the humourous insinuations being too close to home for some politicians.