Nostalgic Brits Pick Their Favourite Decade

by : Charlie Cocksedge on : 24 Oct 2018 09:05
the beatles portraitthe beatles portraitGetty

Nostalgic Brits would most like to turn back time and relive the swinging 60s, according to research.


A poll of 2,000 adults found almost one in five would love nothing more than to revisit the era of The Beatles and free love.

One fifth of those questioned wish they had been around to witness the moon landing in 1969, while 14 per cent would have loved to see England winning the 1966 World Cup.

JFK’s assassination and The Beatles playing at Shea Stadium in New York, are also key events of the sixties Brits would love to have been around for.


Interestingly, the study, which was conducted in conjunction with the Compare Cover Winter Droving Festival, found the 1910s and the 1920s are among the decades adults would most like to have experienced.

But many would like to visit England centuries ago, to find out how some of our longest-running traditions came to be. These include Maypole Dancing, the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, and Bonfire Night.

One in five adults would like to travel back to the 1800s, and one in seven would like to travel back to the year 1500 or beyond.

A spokesman for the Compare Cover Winter Droving Festival said:

Our research found many Brits long for a simpler time before many of the complications of modern life. Living life in the 1960s seems now, almost 60 years later, to be such a carefree and innocent time.

And going back even further to centuries ago, it would be an incredible culture shock to realise that your biggest day-to-day problems were simply avoiding predators and finding enough food to eat.

One in five people would like to travel back in time so they could invent something and become fabulously wealthy. But 35 per cent simply long for a simpler life than the one they currently lead.

And a fifth would like to get answers to historical questions that have so far remained a mystery to modern man. More than half want to know how Stonehenge was built, and 11 per cent would like to know the origins of Maypole dancing. And one in four would be fascinated to see the ins and outs of how we came to celebrate Bonfire Night on November 5th.


In recent history, the 1960s were overwhelmingly voted the decade that seemed to be the most ‘fun’. And it also produced the best fashion and music, according to the majority of Brits – with the 1980s running it closest in terms of classic tunes.

But if Brits did find themselves in a time machine heading back 150 years, they’d miss flushing toilets most of all – even more than the internet.

A quarter couldn’t bear being separated from their beloved TV, and 17 per cent would be gutted to lose their smartphones.

The spokesman for Compare Cover, which carried out the study, added:

As the UK prepares to turn the clocks back this weekend, we’re inviting families to turn the clocks back 400 years and join in a unique Cumbrian Halloween celebration, steeped in tradition.

The Winter Droving festival is a free event celebrating the tradition of droving animals through Penrith, celebrated with a huge fire and lantern procession.

Droving is the practice of moving livestock over long distances by walking them ‘on the hoof’.

The top 20 things we’d miss if we went back in time:

Flushing toilets
The internet
Central heating
My smartphone
Modern cars
International plane travel
My laptop
Combi boilers
Online shopping
Vacuum cleaners
David Attenborough’s TV shows
Coffee machines
Games consoles
Strictly Come Dancing
Streaming music

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: Life