The 100 Greatest things of the Past 30 Years

By Nathan Lee, TLE Correspondent 

The World Wide Web, smart phones, online banking – and the Super Mario Brothers have been named among the greatest things from the past 30 years.

Online shopping, WiFi, Google, digital cameras, text messaging, emailing and flat screen TV’s are also considered to be the greatest things to have come from the past three decades.

The smoking ban, Harry Potter, Margaret Thatcher, William and Kate’s wedding and Take That also made the top 100.

The research was conducted by the UK’s first budget hotel brand, Travelodge, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, surveyed 2,000 British adults to seek their views on the greatest things of the past 30 years.


But while technology dominates the top 100 listing of ‘30 years of Greatness’, in an era where Britons were hit by the credit crunch and a recession, budget operators also featured highly.

Low cost supermarkets, airlines, and hotels are all considered great things to come out of the past 30 years.

Travelodge spokeswoman, Shakila Ahmed, said: “The last 30 years has seen a huge shift in the way we live our lives with technology especially completely changing many things.

“The internet has certainly accelerated the growth of budget travel and made going away a key part of our modern lifestyle.”

“The ease of not only being able to book online, but also researching where you are visiting and staying has made travelling a much smoother experience than it might have been before the 1980s.”

“Over the last 30 years, Travelodge, the UK’s first budget hotel chain, which has over 500 UK sites, has made staying in a hotel accessible to everyone.

“Today over 17 million people annually stay in a Travelodge hotel for work and leisure”.


The triumphant 2012 Olympics was considered to be the biggest sporting event of the last three decades, followed by Andy Murray’s 2013 Wimbledon win, England’s 5-1 football win over Germany in 2001 and Euro 96.

A few sportspeople even got standalone mentions within the top 100 list which included David Beckham, Usain Bolt, Roger Federer and Alan Shearer.

Other popular things from the past 30 years which have become firm favourites for women include: GHD straighteners, skinny jeans, the Wonderbra and Spandex.

Memorable TV shows include The Simpsons, Friends, EastEnders, Big Brother, The X Factor and Sex and the City.

Unsurprisingly, the internet has influenced many of the things that we consider to be great from the past three decades, such as fibre optic broadband, online check-in, Spotify and Netflix.

The top 100 listing also features several websites which have become essential to modern day life including: You Tube, price comparison sites, eBay and Wikipedia.

Social media is also a popular choice with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram getting separate mentions.

Apple is also a recurring brand with several items in the list, including the iPad, iPhone, iPod and iTunes.


Digital TV, DVD, Sky+ and several games consoles such as the Playstation, X-Box, Nintendo Wii, Game Boy and the classic Sega Megadrive also make the list.

Whilst technology is a major feature of the past 30 years, the research also revealed that historical events like the Berlin Wall coming down and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee are also considered to be among the greatest things.

The top 100 greatest things of the past 30 years
1. World Wide Web

2. Smartphones

3. Online banking

4. Online shopping

5. WiFi

6. Google

7. Digital cameras

8. Text messaging

9. Email at fingertips

10. Flat screen televisions

11. Berlin Wall coming down

12. Super Mario Brothers

13. GHD Straighteners

14. Satellite navigation

15. Fibre optic broadband

16. Digital TV

17. DVD

18. The Smoking ban

19. YouTube

20. 2012 Olympics

21. Tablet computer

22. Price comparison websites

23. iPad

24. Sky+

25. Budget supermarkets

26. eBay

27. Andy Murray winning Wimbledon

28. Wikipedia

29. Online check-in

30. Budget airlines

31. E-Book readers

32. Facebook

33. iPhone

34. Microsoft Office

35. Budget hotels

36. Skinny jeans

37. Networked computers

38. Sunday opening hours

39. Harry Potter

40. Social Media

41. England beating Germany 5-1

42. Live Aid

43. iPod

44. Wonderbra

45. Power showers

46. HTML

47. Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

48. Mobile apps

49. Bluetooth

50. Mass-produced mobile phones

51. MP3

52. Spandex

53. Eurostar

54. Margaret Thatcher

55. The Premier League

56. William & Kate’s wedding

57. The National Lottery

58. Sony Playstation

59. Barack Obama

60. Rollaboard suitcase

61. David Beckham

62. Hybrid cars

63. The Simpsons

64. Friends (TV show)

65. Michael Jackson

66. iTunes

67. X-Box

68. Spray tanning

69. Usain Bolt

70. Nintendo Wii

71. Twitter

72. Take That

73. Roger Federer

74. Spotify

75. Euro 96

76. Netflix

77. EastEnders

78. Italia 90

79. Macbook

80. George Foreman grill

81. The Rachel cut

82. Nintendo Game Boy

83. Oasis

84. Online dating

85. Jose Mourinho

86. Sega Megadrive

87. X Factor

88. Big Brother

89. Nintendo NES

90. Sex and the City

91. Instagram

92. Alan Shearer

93. Gazza

94. Botox

95. David Cameron

96. Tony Blair

97. Blogging

98. Nutribullet

99. Red Bull

100. The Selfie

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