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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.

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.

“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.

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.

1. Swim in the sea
2. Make a massive sandcastle
3. 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


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

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