From wild coastal spots like the Giant’s Causeway to its wealth of historical attractions such as Stonehenge and the cultural capitals of London and Edinburgh, the diversity you can find within the UK makes it the ultimate choice for a memorable staycation. When you opt for a local holiday, you're not only cutting down on travel costs and time, but you're also choosing a more eco-friendly holiday. So what are you waiting for - start planning your UK holiday break now.
Not sure if you want to limit yourself to the UK? Get inspired by checking out the deals on our holiday destinations guide, book an international family-friendly vacation or bag an exciting European city break instead.
Simply put, a staycation combines the words 'stay' and 'vacation', which means taking a holiday in your home country. Originally, staycations referred to a day trip without an overnight stay, but nowadays this mostly refers to holidaying without having to fly to another country. Think of it as your very own stay-at-home vacation.
The term was first coined in 2005 and has truly become part of a travel enthusiast's lingo. And it's easy to see why! The benefits of taking a staycation seem to be endless, including lower costs, less travelling, no language barrier and, of course, getting to discover the UK's many hidden gems. If you're looking for a fuss-free trip, then a holiday in the UK might be exactly what you need.
No matter what type of holiday you're searching for, there's something for you right here in the UK. If you've already got something in mind, browse through our cheap staycation deals at the top of this page; if you're looking for inspiration, read on for more tips on holidaying in the UK. Regardless of which destination you end up choosing, you'll be well on your way to planning an unforgettable staycation.
If you're looking for more tips and tricks that will help you plan your next trip, take a look at our Travel Know-How page.
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The very best thing about planning a staycation in the UK is the sheer variety that you have on your doorstep. Whether it's a city break you're after or an escape to the countryside, it really feels like there's a destination for everyone. We've rounded up some of our favourites below.
Head down to England’s most southwestern point for a trip to Cornwall. If you’re there during the hotter months, you should aim to get tickets for a show at Minack Theatre, an atmospheric open-air theatre situated right on the coast. It’s also worth taking the long walk to St Michael’s Mount at low tide (don’t worry, there's a ferry to take you back when the water rises). For colder and rainier weather, duck into the lush rainforest domes of the Eden Project to learn more 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 more eco-friendly by opting for a train or bus, and book further in advance so that 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 that 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, check out the city's many free museums, like the National Gallery or the Tate Modern. If you’ve been blessed with sunshine, 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. Avoid the stress of plane travel with children - an inevitable strain on any 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 tonnes 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. The city becomes packed with visitors during this time, so you'll need to book accommodation way in advance. Since many of the shows are free, you 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 festival season, Edinburgh is a great place to take a stroll, whether it’s climbing up Arthur’s Seat or exploring Edinburgh Castle.
If you’re more of a hiker than a city trekker, the Lake District should be at the top of your list. Be warned, though: 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, our top picks for exceptional scenery are the strenuous climb up Old Man Coniston and the walk from Patterdale to St Sunday Craig. Stop 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 appeals 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 tonnes of great day trips nearby. Walk over the stone columns of the Giant’s Causeway along the coast and take a detour to cross the hair-raising Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Couples on a romantic getaway and photography enthusiasts will find no better place than Dark Hedges, an atmospheric road lined by gorgeous beech trees.
Located in northwestern Wales, Snowdonia National Park is one of the UK’s top natural wonders. In the summer, you can head to the beach for surfing lessons or walk one of the coastal paths. If you have a major climb in you, take one of the six paths to the top of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. 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 hiding out in 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.
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 of 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 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 but if you really want to stay in rural luxury, head straight to Soho Farmhouse, which has an onsite spa, boathouse, pub and more!
There are plenty of beach holidays to choose from in the UK. Obviously they're perhaps not as warm as elsewhere in Europe but Brighton is an excellent choice. 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 conveniently located for 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 for a great staycation destination. Take a stroll along the River Ouse and take in sights like the Millennium 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 is also a great base for a longer break exploring the beautiful surrounding countryside of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
You don’t need to hop on a plane to experience beautiful beaches. It may be a little-known fact, but the UK has some of the best beaches in the world. Check out our top choices.
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.
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.
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 that rests atop the granite cliffs.
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 sunbathing.
Bantham Beach is one of Devon’s most popular coastal spots for a number of reasons: 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 here is to try your hand at surfing - it’s particularly easy on beginners too, unlike some other popular surfing spots.
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 at the ruins of an Iron Age fort in the south.
Take the scenic route from Rhossili village to get the full impact of this beach, frequently named as one of the best in the UK (if not Europe). Towering cliffs, pristine coastline and the remains of a 19th-Century Norwegian ship all feature at this enchanting beach. Head out on a cloudless day to catch glimpses of the North Devon coast.
A great choice for families, Portstewart Strand boasts grassy dunes perfect for strolling, playing and tumbling as you make your way towards the beach. The sunsets are fantastic even on a relatively cloudy day and the local eats are excellent.
Staycations are not just about visiting some of the best destinations in the UK. There are also plenty of unique 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.
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 sights like the Three Peaks and the Ribblehead Viaduct. Tourist trains are a hit across Europe but not so much in the UK. Perhaps the Staycation Express will change all that! Please note that the Staycation Express didn't run throughout summer 2022, but will be welcoming tourists back on board from 2023. Click here find out more.
Cornwall is a fantastic holiday destination in its own right and glamping also makes for a fun staycation. However, if you add a beach into the mix, you'll be getting one of the 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 watersports activities. Prices aren't cheap but this is a unique and incredible UK holiday experience.
Undoubtedly 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 being completely free! There are also plenty of nearby partner hotels if you want to get offsite for a short time too.
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.
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 staycations. 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.
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 for 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 Plateau where there are plenty of hiking trails to explore during the day for the best experience.
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 out for couples and 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 of the UK to watch puffins!
5. Alnwick, Northumberland - A lovely quaint village in Northumberland, 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 - Easily reachable by car 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 somewhere much more exotic.
8. Windsor Castle, Windsor - Visit the home of the royal family and take in the quintessentially British town of Windsor for the day.
9. Brighton - Just an hour's 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 one 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, quite literally, at the end of the country. The rocky coastline is stunning and there's plenty of accommodation in 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. Hadrian's 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 - This quaint English village is hugely popular with tourists thanks to its connection with William Shakespeare, whose house you can visit here.
19. Dublin, Ireland - The capital of Ireland - and Guinness - is extremely popular as a holiday destination for many reasons.
20. Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland - Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Giant's Causeway off the north coast of Northern Ireland has to be seen to be believed and was formed as a result of a volcanic eruption.
A weekend away - and one that isn't too far away - makes the perfect break for a couple. Here are some of our favourite romantic, quaint and cute places in the UK that make a great holiday for couples.
There's so much to do in London 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 the magnificent accommodation 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. Check out Donegal, the Cliffs of Moher or Ring of Kerry 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 and is 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 else in the world. From stunning and unique accommodation like luxury tree houses to wellness retreats complete with spas, a staycation honeymoon is sure to be something special.