It’s the nude renaissance: Why lockdown is a great time to get your kit off


Naturist beaches are becoming popular (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Gwyneth Paltrow did it to celebrate her birthday, Nadia Sawalha played it for laughs while celebrities including Kelly Brook, Rita Ora and Liz Hurley claim they love it when the sun is out.

I’m talking about stripping off and getting naked – one of the biggest spikes in behaviour (other than boozing) during lockdown.

According to British Naturism, new nude members have tripled since March. Even before then, figures show that one in four people have sunbathed and/or swam naked and at least 1.2million people describe themselves as a naturist.

And yes – confession time. Getting naked on a public beach is easily the most thrilling thing I’ve done since the start of lockdown. Thanks to my enforced hiatus from travelling this year, I’ve missed the heady rush of endorphins that exploring a new country brings.

Nadia Sawalha and Gwyneth Paltrow have both dared to bare (Picture: Instagram)

Instead, I have to get my kicks elsewhere. Which is how the other week I found myself in the buff on Brighton beach trying out nude sunbathing for the first time.

Last month would usually be when Britain’s naturists start oiling up for Nudefest, the UK’s biggest naturist festival (held at a caravan park near Langport in Somerset – the glamour!). Sadly, like most big events this year, the week-long nudey gig has been postponed until 2021. But by then they might need a bigger venue.

When I was young – and pert – I used to sunbathe topless all the time. However, I was never quite brave enough to go the whole hog.

Despite living nearby, my only experience of Brighton’s famous nudist beach – which recently celebrated 40 years of baring all – was when my dog, Miss Babs, ran on to it and tried to play fetch-the-stick with a naked man. Repeatedly. Unfortunately, he didn’t find it nearly as funny as I did.

Naturism reached its peak in the 70s when the cultural movement was defined by the International Naturist Federation as ‘a way of life in harmony with nature characterised by communal nudity, encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment’.

Do you dare to bare? (Picture: Shutterstock / Page Frederique)

Now, 50 years later, it seems that lockdown has sparked a nude renaissance – which is why I headed down to our nudist beach to see what all the fuss is about.

Nervously, I approached the naturist area, which is shielded by a bank of pebbles with signposts warning bathers they’re entering a clothing-free zone and joined the 30 or so men and women sunbathing in the nuddy.

Laying out my towel, I took a furtive look around at my fellow bathers, who were comfortingly of all shapes, sizes and ages, before finally slinking out of my bikini and lying as nature intended.

Of course, nobody batted an eyelid – naturist etiquette means no staring, no pointing and no photography – and I soon relaxed, enjoying the sun beating down on my bare bottom and the sheer thrill of being naked in public.

I even stepped it up a notch and strolled starkers down to the sea for a nudey swim, which was a total game-changer. Liberated by my new-found freedom, I decided I could easily be a regular here. Well, I’ll need an all-over tan in time for next year’s Nudefest, won’t I?

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