They are the quintessential holiday message, traditionally offering loved ones a glimpse of an exotic destination – and perhaps instilling a little jealousy towards the sender from those back home.
The popularity of handwritten postcards has fallen in recent years with the advent of modern technology such as email and social media. But now the keepsakes look set for a revival as eight out of ten Scots said they would prefer to receive them from a friend or family member who was on holiday over a social media message or post.
Six in ten Scots said they would like to see more postcards being sent and received, according to the survey from Royal Mail. The postcard was voted the most likely item or pastime to see a revival in popularity, alongside the likes of fountain pens, calligraphy and love letters.
The best modern beauty spots in Scotland to send a postcard from include Edinburgh, the picturesque locations on the Isle of Skye, plus Fortrose in Ross-shire and Glen Coe in the Highlands.
Book and manuscripts expert Clive Farahar said: “It is satisfying to see that the picture postcard still plays such an important role in the modern holiday and these curiously British keepsakes provide people with the perfect opportunity to create their own personal piece of history in a fun and thoughtful way.
“They are also a fantastic collector’s item. The vast majority still cost very little secondhand and have an undeniable universal appeal, be it a rare view of the seafront before a pier burnt down, a city centre before large-scale traffic or a heart-wrenching silk postcard from the trenches of the First World War to their sweetheart at home.”
Attributes of the perfect modern picture postcard include an image that is difficult or impossible to capture on a smartphone, a thoughtful, informative message from the sender, and a card that looks good on the receiver’s fridge or mantelpiece.
Four in ten Scottish respondents also said sending, receiving and displaying postcards in their home was one of the things that reminded them most of summer.
Meanwhile, more than half of people who send postcards send them all year round, including when on minibreaks, as thank you notes and when they move house.
Julie Pirone, director of external relations at Royal Mail, which first endorsed the sending of postcards in 1894, said: “Whilst hot dog legs and seafront selfies are a fantastic way to showcase your holiday to friends, nothing shows someone that you truly wish they were there than a postcard with a thoughtful, funny and informative message.”
She added: “Think of it this way – you’ll never be able to keep a social media post in the attic.”
More than 60 per cent of people surveyed said they keep the postcards they receive on display, while the same proportion of those questioned claim to have kept at least one of the postcards they have received forever.