Whilst the lure of an exotic beach holiday might be tempting, particularly after months of lockdown – the UK is bursting with gorgeous getaway options that are right on our doorstep! And what is more, a staycation is likely to save your pennies, reduce your travel time and more importantly allow you to take the doggie with you too!
Many would have previously associated a staycation with long car journeys, rainy walks, and board games, and when booking a week's annual leave, would much rather jump on a flight to cram in some sunshine, sea and sangria. However, this summer we have been forced to be more creative with our holiday plans and more trusting in the beautiful options available in the UK. Here at A&I we are big fans of seeking out special places and sharing our finds with the team, but we thought you guys might also like a sneak peek at some of our favourites which we have whittled down to our top 5 UK Staycations below. We also don't believe these should just be saved for the summer, they make great getaway locations all year round:
1- Countryside Chic:
If a relaxing weekend break full of breath-taking countryside walks and quintessentially British villages sounds like your cup of tea; we recommend making a bee-line straight for the stunning Cotswolds, which is only a hop skip and jump away from Leicestershire (A&I headquarters), and is home to the charming 'village-within-a-village' of Thyme; an absolute favourite of our office!
As the summer nights start to draw in, nothing much beats cosying up in front of the fire at one of the many incredible nearby options after a day's adventure, our favourite cosy spots being; The Baa, The Lygon Arms, The Dormy and The Fish. The Fish offers some of the coolest accommodation in the Cotswolds with their stunning treehouses complete with outdoor bathtubs. Final tip for here is Russell's fish and chip shop in Broadway, I don't think we have tasted better. I know a huge statement but their minted mushy peas are just the best. You're welcome!
2 - Coastal Closeness:
Being based in the Midlands, means we are the furthest point from the sea, however the glorious Norfolk coast is a mere few hours away and if you can brave the A17 it means you can arrive at the stunning Holkham beach for a tranquil beach walk before midday (tractor traffic dependant). Breathing in the refreshing coastal air away from the hustle and bustle of your usual routine, it truly is a relaxing place to be.
Further down the coast not far from Great Yarmouth, you can find the wild Horsey Beach home to Norfolk seals! If you head to Horsey, you're bound to see seals bobbing about in the water or basking on the beach – just keep your distance!
The abundance of stunning beaches available to enjoy a horse-ride, walk, sunbathe or even take an ocean dip are matched with an equally impressive array of delicious eateries in the nearby quaint villages including our favourite small plates restaurant; Socius, in Burnham Market, and the delicious Thornham Market Deli. Our final tip, visit the wonderful Wells for a spot of crabbing, great fun for all the family.
3 - Cosy Camping:
If you're still trying to convince your other half that UK camping will be different to their childhood memories, why not head for a fancy bell-tent glamping experience at Dale Farm campsite, Great Longstone in the Peak District.
A cosy autumnal weekend in a fairy-lit tepee and days filled with wild swimming, stargazing, National Trust hikes, firepits and toasted marshmallows... sounds like every ingredient for a romantically dreamy weekend trip.
A stone's throw away from Dale Farm, the Monsal Trail is ideal for walking or cycling and you can hire bikes all year round from the Monsal Trail Cycle Hire at Hassop Station. Bakewell is just a short walk (or cycle!) off the trail where we like The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop for tasty lunches and hearty, traditional puddings to warm you on cooler days! We recommend you book though as this is a popular hotspot!
And if cosy tearooms aren't your thing, you'll be sure to find plenty of local pubs just waiting to pour you a pint and serve you pub grub after a long hike!
4 - Countless Castles:
Grab your walking boots and wrap up warm as you head to Northumbria to castle-hop around the incredible northern landscape. With over 70 stunning castles to visit in Northumbria, you are truly spoilt for choice!
Our tip would be, to head for The Lord Crewe Arms for the most delightful lunch before continuing to beautifully rugged coast to explore Bamburgh Castle. It is truly remarkable, and one of our absolute favourite spots to explore! The day becomes even more magical after a visit to Alnwick Castle, which was used for scenes in the Harry Potter films – no surprise once you see first-hand the beautifully grand grounds and spectacular backdrops they have there!
Complete your weekend in style by checking-in to the stunning Chillingham Castle for your weekend's accommodation, Britain's most haunted historical castle!
5 - Cornish Cream Teams:
If you really are craving some escapism, take the week off and head down to the understatedly gorgeous Cornish coast. Exhaust your kids, by exploring the many stunning Cornish coastal walks – we absolutely loved finding the totally unspoilt trails down to The Strangles Beach and Crackington Haven. With a surplus of dog-friendly beaches finding one that works for you won't take long. Haryln Bay is one of our favourite beaches - and is also now home to the newly opened Pig hotel.
Whichever gorgeous beach you end up relaxing on, soak up the sun, cliff jump into the sea-pools and channel your inner surfer as you tackle the turquoise waves, before settling down for a sunset beach bbq and a pint of Cornish Doombar– ready to do it all again the next day! You really will earn those totally delicious Cornish cream teas and pasties!
The list goes on and on... the UK is crammed with hidden gems waiting to be found. It is time to explore, and to enjoy the beautiful, accessible places we are lucky to have on our doorstep! And on top of that, a staycation will help now more than ever, to support local businesses and economies that rely on tourism and need our support.
If you need any more info get in touch. If you need a change of scenery, get booking. We are sure you will not regret it. Happy Holidays!