Returning to seaside towns such as Morecambe can trigger feelings of nostalgia which is good for our wellbeing, according to research from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan.
Tourism experts Dr David Jarratt and Dr Sean Gammon found that returning to the same seaside resorts gives people a bittersweet feeling of remembering happy family times, often in childhood, balanced with the loss of the loved ones they shared the memories with.
Dr Gammon said: “Nostalgia has been given bad press in recent years but it seems to be enjoying a resurgence for good reasons.
“Evidence suggests that it is good for our mental wellbeing as we tap into our younger selves with renewed optimism.
“The seaside is the ideal place to experience this nostalgia because the seascape and the feel of the sand between our toes doesn’t change.”
In their paper, ‘We had the most wonderful times’: seaside nostalgia at a British resort’, the researchers have focuses their research predominantly on the North West seaside town of Morecambe, a traditional seaside resort that over the years has experienced an ebb and flow of visitors.
Dr David Jarratt said: “Morecambe has faced a variety of challenges since the 1960s, yet the tourists kept on coming, even out of season, and we wanted to know why.
“We discovered that Morecambe, like many other British seaside resorts, attracts people for deeply nostalgic reasons that are tied up with a sense of family.
“We live in an ever changing present which can sometimes make people feel anxious and seaside memories are the perfect antidote to that.”
Dr Jarratt and Dr Gammon are planning to investigate the links between nostalgia and wellbeing in more depth in the next stage of their study.