Holiday planning is one of those things that feels a little like a ritual. Perhaps you get your diary out in the New Year and plan where you’d like to go and when. Regardless of how structured you are, know that you are not alone if you love to plan and look forward to your annual holidays.
Coronavirus continues to muddy the waters when it comes to holiday planning. But I for one still intend on getting something sorted. This just calls for a more flexible approach to it all!
What can you do during a staycation?
It's also a mindset thing. If you usually do a certain thing, like a beach holiday in Spain, working through the detail of a very different sort of holiday may feel alien and not amazingly fun. I’m, of course, talking about staycations here.
With all the current uncertainty around travel, especially international travel, staycations are already predicted to boom once lockdown measures ease. And if that sends you into a tailspin thinking about the rush to book something, then there’s the thought of choosing your destination.
This is where we step in! With a bit of work, we’ve collated some of the most popular and picturesque UK destinations. Every location on our list is rural too, so if you don’t fancy the thought of travelling to a city, these are perfect for you.
You don’t have to be into hiking to visit Snowdonia, although it does help. But what makes this top of our list is the sheer variety of amazing views Snowdonia National Park covers. We’re talking lush valleys, towering mountains, babbling brooks and a coastline that dreams are made of.
If you don't want to don your walking boots, you can have a tremendous amount of fun traversing the folds of the landscape by car, stopping at the points that draw your eye, and meandering through its roads in pure bliss.
If you haven't ever been to the Highlands, this is your chance. No excuses! It's easy to see why people swap the hotter climes of the Mediterranean for this destination every year. Ethereal and vast, there’s nothing like landing in a rural Scottish retreat like this and striking out across the land, or indeed sea, to experience life there.
From whale watching to island hopping, there’s something to enthral around every turn. And yes, you will be hooked once you’ve been once. We guarantee it.
3. Peak District
Picture this, sweeping landscapes and windblown hilltops. If you’ve watched any number of romantic films or TV shows, chances are you’ve seen a fair few scenes set in the Peak District, and that’s because it is just so picture-perfect, it beggars belief.
Conveniently, it sits along the middle of the UK too, making it no more than a hop and a skip for many of us. While you’re there, you can soak up historic towns like Buxton, or get out into the countryside to experience the beauty it has to offer.
4. The Brecon Beacons
One of the best things about the Brecon Beacons National Park is that it is surrounded by some of the UK's most unspoilt areas. So, before you even get to the Brecon Beacons itself, you’ll be able to let out a huge, pent up sigh of relief. You are travelling to somewhere that feels unreal in its tranquillity.
Majestic ruins like Llanthony Priory are some of the visual treats in store, along with eye-popping walking trails, winding canals, waterfalls that plunge to depths unknown, and wrinkles of green countryside to set your soul alight.
5. Jurassic Coast
If the sea air is something you’re craving, the Jurassic Coast is the tonic you need. This is also one for history buffs. While you can spend your entire time pondering over the millions of years of history beneath your feet, and why not indeed, you can also get a vital dose of vivacious, blustery English coastline.
Soul cleansing and picturesque to boot, you could spend an entire lifetime exploring not just the geology of the place, but the sun-swept coastal views, rugged shorelines and sandy coves.
I don’t know about you, but when I think about idyllic summers in the UK, I’m transported to a Somerset shaped space in my mind. Somewhere that has rolling green hills and the soft scent of apple orchards, where you dine al fresco in flowery gardens under a blanket of blue sky and yellow sunlight.
Have we caught your attention yet? Good! Because that’s just the start. This tranquil spot offers up a balance of beaches, lapping lakes, magical woodlands and world-class historic sites.
Emma Dowey from Me and B Make Tea loves Somerset staycations even though she already lives in the county! Emma told Age Times: "Living in Somerset means we have the best of everything right on our doorstep. The pandemic really made us re-evaluate our immediate surroundings and we love exploring Somerset further when the kids are off school!"
For something different, escape to the Norfolk Broads and experience the wonders the biggest man-made broads in the country has to offer. Because the waterways are all lock-free, they are easy to navigate and bordered by spectacular views on every side.
If you’re looking for an immersive experience with the natural world, there’s no better way to do it. Birds, ponies and otters are just some of the inhabitants you’ll see as you wander through its postcard-worthy countryside. Even better, if you like a balance of rural life and winding waterways with lively towns, this is an area that combines the best of both worlds with aplomb.
8. Causeway Coast
A lively mix of sea and sand British style may be tempting, but the south coast isn’t the only place where this can be found. The Causeway Coast is last and in no way least in our UK summer staycation list.
Yes, it ticks off all those fabulous things, sandy beaches, tumultuously romantic surf, whipping, salty air. But it does all this while throwing in some mind-bending sights into the bargain. The Giant’s Causeway is just one example, but dig a little deeper, and you’ll find dreamlike scenery and historic fancies nestled into hillocks and shorelines along the way.