Holidays in the UK: Plan Your Next Staycation!
From wild coastal spots like Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland to quiet, cozy country towns in Devon to culture capitals like London and Edinburgh, the diversity of the UK makes it a great place for a staycation. Not only can local holidays cut down on travel time and spending, they also generally make for a more eco-friendly holiday. Instead of jumping on a trip to frequently-visited spots in Spain or Greece, opt to explore something new a bit closer to home.
Check out some of our top picks for a staycation!
What is a Staycation?
Simply put, staycation is a combination of the words stay and vacation and it means taking a holiday in your home country. Originally staycations involved a day out to a destination usually driving distance away and without an overnight stay, but nowadays it mostly refers to holidaying without flying to another country. Think of it as a stay-at-home vacation.
The term was coined in 2005 and has stuck to become part of travel enthusiast's lingo. And it's easy to see why! There are loads of benefits, such as the lower cost, less travelling involved, no language barrier, and of course the chance to discover the hidden gems of the UK. In the current climate, a staycation is the perfect option and is even being encouraged by the Government, so there's no better time for a holiday in the UK!
Our tips for a UK holiday
Staycations are where it’s at right now and there are many reasons why you should consider this option as a way to holiday. The best thing about a mini-moon or honeymoon here in the UK is the element of choice and flexibility. You can choose everything from trip duration and party size to type of accommodation — with a wide range of luxurious spas, cosy countryside cottages, glorious lakeside lodges, and quirky glamping abodes with private hot-tubs on offer across the country — along with your preferred method of transportation. And all this is available without having to break the bank (although there's no shame in splashing out!). You'll have even more to spend without having to take into consideration long-haul flights and luggage fees.
No matter what type of holiday you're looking for, there's something for you right here in the UK. Browse through our cheap staycation deals if you're looking for inspiration, choose which type of holiday you want from the links below or read on for our ultimate guide to holidays in the UK. All you have to do is take your pick from one of the awesome destinations in the UK in order to make the memory of a lifetime.
Head to the country and get back to nature whilst still keeping it classy. The UK is full of glamping spots that make a perfect holiday for couples or for the whole family.
Holiday parks, family activities in the country or fantastic museums or sights in big cities; the UK has everything for a family-friendly holiday.
Leave the kids at home and get pampered with a break in a wellness retreat. Whether you want a country manor or a city spas, you'll find what you're looking for right here at home.
The Big Smoke might pull in the most tourists but there are plenty of other great British cities that make a perfect weekend getaway packed full of fun.
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10 UK staycation destinations for 2020
Head down to England’s most southwestern point for a trip to Cornwall. If you’re there during the warmer season, get tickets for a show at Minack Theatre, the open-air theatre situated right on the coast. You can take in a variety of shows, many of which are kid-friendly, against the stunning backdrop of the sea. It’s also worth walking the long trail to St. Michael’s Mount at low tide (don’t worry, the ferries will be there to take you back when the tide washes over the path). In the colder months, duck into the rainforest domes at the Eden Project and learn about their eco-friendly initiatives or pop into a pub for a pint of beer and a traditional Cornish pasty.
It’s hard not to live large on a trip to London, no matter what the season. Make the trip to the city eco-friendly by opting for a train or bus, and book further in advance, so you can save some money—a necessity for a London trip. Whether it’s your first time or your hundredth, one of the best things about London is there’s always a new corner of the city to explore. If you’re looking to make it a budget trip, or if the weather is gloomy, duck in and out of the many free museums, like the National Gallery or the Tate Modern. If you’ve been blessed with sun, iconic markets like Camden Market or Columbia Road Flower Market are great places to spend an afternoon.
Families with kids will find plenty to do on a trip to Blackpool, one of the UK’s top spots for beachgoers. Save the stress of plane travel with children, an inevitable strain on a beach holiday, and head just north of Liverpool to this lovely seaside spot. The Blackpool Pleasure Beach should be your first stop—this iconic theme park was founded in 1896 and operates tons of thrilling rides for kids of all ages. After a day at the park, take in the sunset from the coast and treat yourself to an ice cream.
The breezy Scottish capital is perhaps at its most exciting during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s biggest arts festival. While the city becomes packed with visitors, this is an excellent time to visit if you book accommodation way in advance. Since many of the shows are free, youl can splash out on a nicer hotel or Airbnb and save your leftover cash for trying the offerings at the different food pop-ups. Outside of crowds of the festival season, Edinburgh is a great place to take a stroll, whether it’s climbing up Arthur’s Seat or exploring Edinburgh Castle.
5. The Lake District National Park
If you’re more of a hiker than a city trekker, The Lake District should be top of your list. Be warned: accommodation in this popular spot books up far in advance, so would-be campers or those wanting a long weekend hiking trip should make reservations way ahead of time. While there are a number of amazing hikes in The Lake District, are top picks for exceptional scenery are the strenuous climb up Old Man Coniston and the walk from Patterdale to St. Sunday Craig. Stop in for a pint in the tiny, picturesque towns in the park’s interior, like Grasmere, a mish-mash of greenery and old stone buildings cut through by a cool stream.
Northern Ireland’s capital is one of those holiday destinations that works no matter the weather. If the day is mild, you can wander through St. George’s Market or explore Cave Hill Country Park. On a rainy day (and Belfast has quite a few), Ulster Museum, which features a variety of exhibitions from art to archaeology, is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Although it’s easy to spend your whole trip exploring the city, there are also tons of great day trips nearby. Walk over the stone columns of Giant’s Causeway along the coast and take a detour to cross the hair-rising Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Couples on a romantic getaway will find no better place than Dark Hedges, a path lined by a gorgeous canopy of beach trees.
7. Snowdonia National Park
One of the UK’s top natural wonders is this beautiful regional park in northwestern Wales. In the summer, you can head to the beach for surfing lessons or walk one the coastal paths. If you have a major climb in you, take one of the sixth paths to the top of Snowden, the highest mountain in Wales (as well as England.) Don’t fret if you’d prefer to see the peak without the climb: the Snowdon Mountain Railway will take you to the top and back in two and a half hours, with spectacular views along the way. On a rainy day, it’s worth stopping over at Caernarfon Castle, the medieval fortress right on the waterfront, or finding one of the cosy pubs and restaurants. Snowdonia is close to many major English cities, like Liverpool and Manchester, making it a great nearby getaway.
8. The Cotswolds
The beautiful countryside in the Cotswolds makes for a quintessential staycation. Go for walks through the landscape, especially along the River Eye. There are endless quaint villages to explore, like Whichford. . We particularly love Bourton-on-the-water, which is full on tea shops, pubs and shops.
For sights, check out Kelmscott manor, the retreat of William Morris. Visit Daylesford, a sustainable farm and shop near Chipping Norton, for some of the delicacies like cheese and yoghurt that are all made on site. Accommodation wise, you'll find all sorts here. Keep an eye out for glamping opportunities. If you really want to stay in rural luxury, head straight to Soho Farmhouse that has an onsite spa, boathouse, pub and more!
There are plenty of beach holidays possible in the UK. Obviously they're perhaps not as warm as elsewhere in Europe but there's plenty of charm in Brighton. Head there in summer, grab an ice cream and stroll along the beach to the pier. The town's historic quarter is a maze of interesting sights and sounds and the vibe here is unlike anywhere else in the UK. Full of independent shops and cafes, The Lanes is also one of the coolest spots around.
Seafood is cooked to perfection in many restaurants in the city and you can enjoy classic British fish and chips on every corner. There are also many hotels along the seafront that are conviently located to all the sights, like the Royal Pavillion. Brighton is the LGBTQ capital of the UK and there are walking tours that cover this fascinating history.
One of the UK's best known tourist destinations for international travellers, the ancient Roman city of York makes a great staycation destination. Take a stroll along the river Ouse and take in sights like the Milennium Bridge and Clifford's Tower. You could even take a boat trip during the day or evening if you fancy a well-earned rest! There's plenty of history to discover, like the ancient city walls, the York Minster Cathedral or a wander along the Shambles, an old English street in the historic quarter.
York also makes a great base for a longer break exploring the beautiful surrounding countryside of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Beach staycations! The 8 best beaches in the UK
You don’t have to hop on a plane to experience beautiful beaches. The UK has some of the best beaches in the world. Check out our top choices below.
1. Whitstable Beach, Kent, England
Whitstable is a great choice for a classic seaside day out. The pebbly beach is perfect for those who don’t want to head home shaking off sand, and the town is ideal for a wander. Browse the oyster stalls and stop for a pint after a walk along the shore.
2. Pentle Bay, Scilly Isles, England
A taste of the Caribbean on UK soil, Pentle Bay delights with white sand beaches and brilliant blue waters. The unusually warm island makes for a great place to catch a (minor) tan or take a dip in the sea. The island can be reached by ferry or the Skybus, a small plane.
3. Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall, England
One of England’s most picturesque spots, this beach’s soft sands make it perfect for a long stroll. You’ll be framed by a sparkling sea on one side and tall granite cliffs on the other as you scan the waves for dolphins and sharks. If you have extra time, make your way up to the Minack Theatre, the iconic open-air theatre which rests atop the granite cliffs.
4. Studland Bay, Dorset, England
Naturists rejoice — this stretch of coastline is one of the most popular spots for tanning in the buff. Take a dip sans bathing suit, then slip on some clothes to check out the woodland trails further south. There are plenty of nearby villages for a bite to eat after a long day of sunning.
5. Bantham Beach, Devon, England
Bantham Beach is one of Devon’s most popular coastal spots for a reason: plenty of beach to have a spot to yourself, rock pools for kids to wade in, and views of the cliffs down the coast. However, the real reason to hit the beach is to try your hand at surfing — it’s particularly easy on beginners, unlike some of the other popular surfing spots.
6. Machir Bay, Islay, Scotland
If you like your beaches best with a stiff drink in hand, you’re in luck. The small island of Islay boasts an impressive eight distilleries where you can taste your way through a variety of single malt whiskies. After a glass (or two), you’ll be ready to face the breezy walk down Machir Bay, ending in the ruins of an Iron Age fort in the south.
7. Rhossili Bay, Gower, Wales
Take the scenic route from Rhissili village to get the full impact of this beach, frequently named one of the best in the UK (if not Europe). Towering cliffs, pristine coastline, and the remains of a 19th century Norwegian ship all mark this enchanting beach. Head out on a cloudless day to catch glimpses of the North Devon coast.
The best staycations for a unique UK holiday
Staycations are not just about visiting some of the best destinations in the UK. There are also plenty of unqiue experiences that fit the bill for whatever type of holiday you're looking for, whether you're with the kids, your partner or even going solo. From picturesque train journeys to stays in treehouses, here are some ideas for the best staycations that offer something a little bit different.
1. The Staycation Express
A new tourist train line has opened up in summer 2020 that has truly captured the nation's holiday mood. The aptly named 'Staycation Express' railway line runs through the beautiful scenery of Skipton and Appleby in Yorkshire and Cumbria, taking in such sights as the Three Peaks and the Ribblehead Viaduct. Each day until September 12th there are three return trips, though the service is closed on Sundays. Tourist trains are a hit across Europe but not so much in the UK. Perhaps the Staycation Express will change all that! Click here to book your tickets.
2. Glamping on a beach in Cornwall
Cornwall is a fantastic holiday destination in its own right and glamping also makes a fun staycation. However, if you add a beach into the equation you get perhaps one of the most best staycation experiences on offer this summer. Lusty Glaze Beach in Newquay is a private beach and well-known as one of the most beautiful spots in the UK. You can now rent a bell tent for a night to sleep right there on the beach to the sounds of the waves lapping the shore. There's even a restaurant right there and you can sign up for different water sports activities. Prices aren't cheap but this is a unique and incredible UK holiday experience.
3. Legloland, Windsor
Undoutedly one of the best staycation experiences for kids, Legoland in Windsor is great for the whole family. If you're local to the area then a great day out awaits, but if you're not, it's still worth the trip! There are two hotels on the resort to choose from, with prices starting at £55pp. Many of these packages come with entry to the park on the second day completely free! There are also plenty of nearby partner hotels if you want to get offsite for a short time too.
4. A road trip along the Dragon's Spine coast
The interestingly named Dragon's Spine coast takes in almost all of the coast of Wales. Start off in Cardiff and follow the A470 for 186 miles up to Conwy. The drive is scenic enough as it takes in two of the best national parks in the UK, Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons, but we recommend taking some time and staying at least a few nights in or close to the parks to make a real holiday out of the trip. You could even do things the other way round and end your trip with a few nights and a city break in Cardiff.
5. Wine tasting in South Devon
One for adults only, wine tasting breaks are on the rise in the UK thanks to the increasing number of vineyards and of course the rising popularity of the staycation. The Old Walls Vineyard in South Devon is one of the best that also offers accommodation in the form of six luxury lodges that overlook the stunning vineyard. The location is also fantastic, right near the South Devon coast, so you can combine your trip with a visit to the many nearby sights.
6. Wild camping in the Isle of Skye
Scotland is the only part of the UK where wild camping is legal, thanks to the Land Reform Act of 2003. There are endless spots of natural beauty to set up your tent, but why not head to Quiraing in the Isle of Skye, where the rugged coastline and numerous bays provide the perfect backdrop to a return to nature. This is strictly a summer staycation though, as the weather is a little rough at the best of times. Pack accordingly and set up camp at the stunning Quiraing Plateux where there are plenty of hiking trails to explore during the day for the best experience.
Must-see places to visit in the UK
The UK is full of weird and wonderful places to visit, from ancient relics on the rugged coasts of Scotland and Ireland and areas of outstanding natural beauty to sightseeing in its many cities and towns. A staycation can take on many forms, from a quick visit to a local attraction or a weekend getaway. We're not fussy! Whether you're packing your bags or just heading out in the car, our list of essential places to visit, must-see sights and amazing tourist attractions has something for you.
1. The Peak District, Derbyshire - The Peak District actually spans five different counties, making it the perfect day trip destination for those fancying a hike in the rolling hills.
2. Stonehenge, Wiltshire - Perhaps Britain's most famous tourist attraction. Take in Stonehenge and enjoy the entire Glastonbury region in the South West of England.
3. Roman Baths, Bath - A great day of for couples of the whole family, Bath is full of history and is a beautiful place to simply wander around.
4. Lunga, Scotland - The island of Lunga off the coast of Scotland is perhaps the best place in the whole UK to watch puffins!
5. Alnwick, Northumberland - A lovely quaint village in Northumberlsand, Alnwick isn't large but has many famous attractions, such as Alnwick Castle, which many will recognise as Hogwarts from Harry Potter.
6. Yorkshire Dales, Yorkshire - Reachable by car easily from many cities like Leeds or Manchester, the Yorkshire Dales is one of the most stunning holiday spots in the UK, especially for those who want to feel remote and get away from it all.
7. The Scilly Isles, Cornwall - The Scilly Isles are made up of over 140 islands off the Southwest coast of England. With their white sand beaches, you'd be forgiven for thinking you're holidaying in somewhere much more exotic.
8. Windsor Castle, Windsor - Visit the home of the Queen and take in the quintessentially British town of Windsor for the day.
9. Brighton - Just an hour train ride from London, Brighton makes a perfect day trip destination, with beaches, great food and plenty of things to see and do.
10. The British Museum, London - Perhaps London's greatest museum (although it's not short of competition), you could spend a day lost in the treasures at the British Museum. The best bit? Entry is completely free!
11. Edinburgh, Scotland - Edinburgh is without doubt on of the UK's best cities to visit. The city is full of history meaning there's endless stuff to see and do, like Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile and more alternative attractions, like ghost walks through the city's past.
12. Land's End, Cornwall - Take a drive through the scenic county of Cornwall until you arrive, literally, at the end of the country. The rocky coastline is stunning and there's plenty of accomodation in the nearby Penzance if you don't fancy driving back immediately.
13. Loch Ness, Scotland - The Loch Ness lake in the Scottish Highlands is one of Scotland's most popular sights. Just be careful for the monster that allegedly lives there. The entire region of the Highlands is stunning and it's worth spending some time travelling along the coast.
14. Lake Windermere, Lake District - The largest lake in England, Lake Windermere is a popular sight in the Lake District National Park. Boating and other water activities are popular here, so it's a great destination if you want to get active on the water!
15. Hadrians Wall, Carlisle - The 73 mile long wall built by the Romans is the largest Roman artifact in Britain and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
16. Eden Project, Cornwall - The Eden Project is a great day out for the family, with huge biodomes that contain exotic plant species as well as a botanical garden containing local plantlife.
17. Snowdon, Wales - The highest mountain in Wales in an impressive sight, as is the whole of Snowdonia, which makes an incredible staycation for those that love the outdoors.
18. Stratford-Upon-Avon - The quaint English village is hugely popular with tourists mostly thanks to its connection with William Shakespeare, whose house you can visit here.
19. Dublin, Ireland - The capital of Ireland - and Guiness - is hugely popular as a holiday destination for many reasons.
20. Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland - Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Giant's Causeway off the Northcoast of Northern Ireland has to be seen to be believed, and was formed as a result of a volcanic eruption.
UK holiday destinations for couples
A weekend away - that isn't too far away - makes the perfect break for a couple. Here's our favourite romantic, quaint and cute places in the UK that make a great holiday for couples.
London has so much to do that it makes a great holiday for any purpose, whether solo, with the family or with your partner. Couples can head up to some of the skytop bars and enjoy some world class cocktails, visit some of the many - free to enter! - museums and galleries, or do some shopping at some of Europe's best shops. Round off the weekend by getting your loved one some flowers at Sunday's Colombia Road Flower Market.
We could go on and on about Edinburgh. There's so much to see and do and the place has such a magical vibe that it's best to make a weekend of it and stay in some of the magnificent acccomodation available here. Wander the old streets, visit Holyrood Palace and walk the Royal Mile. The city is old and beautiful, making it a perfect setting for a couples staycation.
Ok, so it's technically not in the UK! But Ireland is just a short flight away from all of the UK and is such a diverse and magical country that it's perfect for a couples weekend away. If it's the big city you want then Dublin is one of Europe's best city breaks. But the countryside and coastline makes the perfect beautiful backdrop for a romantic holiday in the UK. Check out Donegal, the Cliffs of Moher or Killary Fjord for just some of the stunning must-see attractions. Smaller towns like Cork have their own magic too.
A honeymoon is the ultimate couples holiday. One that will be remembered forever. Why not plan yours in the UK? We've got loads of honeymoon deals that are as romantic and special as anywhere in the world. From stunning and unique accomodation like luxury tree houses to ultimate wellness retreats complete with spas, a staycation honeymoon is sure to be something special.