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Staycation UK – 22 of the best beauty spots

Ever found yourself telling people how beautiful the UK is when you’re on holiday? From mystical Scottish landscapes to traditional English seaside towns and Welsh countryside adventures, there really is something for everyone. Which poses the question: why step on a plane when you can find the perfect escape in your very own country?

We’ve put together an ‘inspo list’ of the best places for a staycation from all corners of the UK, which are perfect for family days out as well as longer visits.

What is a staycation? simply a holiday spent in your own country.

Scotland

  1. The Isle of Skye – Old Norse

If you’re looking for magic, The Isle of Skye - aka Cloud Island - will not disappoint. Put your walking boots on and check out the stunning geological features, including The Storr, Quiraing loop and fairy pools. Don’t forget to pay a visit to Dunvegan Castle & Gardens, too!

Find out more here: https://www.visitscotland.com/destinations-maps/isle-skye/

  1. Glen Coe – Lochaber Geopark, the Highlands

This other-worldly village nestled in the famous Scottish Highlands is the perfect base for exploring Lochaber – the Outdoor Capital of the UK. Your adventure will start along the road through Glen Coe, where you will travel through the heart of an ancient volcano.

Harry Potter fans: keep your eyes peeled for the location of Hagrid’s Hut from the Prisoner of Azkaban film! The hut is no longer there, but you may still recognise it.

Find out more here: https://www.visitscotland.com/destinations-maps/glencoe/

  1. Loch Lomond – Stirling / West Dunbartonshire

Love a good loch? You’ll love famous Loch Lomond. It’s the largest expense of water in the UK and less than an hour’s drive from Glasgow. Whether you swing by for the day, camp by the water or check into a cosy country inn, it’s hard not to fall in love with Loch Lomond.

Find out more here: https://www.visitscotland.com/destinations-maps/loch-lomond/

Northern Ireland

  1. The Giant’s Causeway – Co. Antrim

Get ready to follow the footsteps of giants at The Giant’s Causeway. This iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site is nature at its most primal. The unique formations come together with the story of Fionn mac Cumhaill (Fin McCool) are sure to blow your mind.

Find out more here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway 

North East

  1. Alnwick Castle – Northumberland
Affectionately known as the ‘Windsor of the North’, Alnwick Castle is the 2nd largest inhabited castle in England and has been home to the Duke of Northumberland’s family, the Percys, for more than 700 years.

Explore the magnificent grounds and see if you can spot scene locations from Downton Abbey and the Harry Potter films.

Find our more here: https://www.alnwickcastle.com/

  1. Hadrian’s Wall and Fort – Hexham

Transport yourselves back to the Roman Empire by wandering the ancient fortress of Hadrian’s Wall. This World Heritage Site offers stunning panoramic views and a rich history for all the family to enjoy.

Find out more here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hadrians-wall-and-housesteads-fort

North West

  1. The Lake District – Cumbria

Not only is The Lake District England’s National Park, it is also now a World Heritage Site. Whether you plan to stay for a day, a long weekend or a whole week, there’s so much to explore in this beautiful setting.

Visit stunning Lake Windemere, climb to the summit of Scafell Pike and enjoy thriving communities like Bowness-on-Windermere and Keswick.

Find out more here: https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/

  1. Solway Coast

This area of natural beauty stretches from Maryport on the West Cumbrian Coast all the way to Floriston on the Border Esk. Get some bikes and ride along the coast, enjoy fresh local food and drink and take in all the nature and history this rustic setting has to offer.

Find out more here: https://www.solwaycoastaonb.org.uk/2019/

Yorkshire

  1. North York Moors National Park – Yorkshire

Forged by nature and shaped over generations, the North York Moors National Park offers the coast, countryside, cuisine and culture – that’s all you need for a memorable staycation, right?

Spanning from Scarborough to Staithes along the coast, with inland areas of Filey, Bridlington and the Moors, you’ll find plenty of quaint villages, ancient landmarks and preserved woodlands to keep you and your family busy!

Find out more here: https://www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/

  1. Kirkham Priory – Derwent Valley

Nestled between York and Malton, the Kirkham Priory ruins are set in the picturesque Derwent Valley.

Once one of the wealthiest monastic settlements in North England, Kirkham Priory is crammed with history – including the story of Winston Churchill’s secret visit during WWII.

Pack yourself a picnic and get ready to enjoy all the history and natural splendour of Kirkham Priory.

Find out more here: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/kirkham-priory/

East Midlands

  1. Peak District – Derbyshire

As well as boasting a beautifully varied natural landscape, the Peak District has tons to offer, including cable car rides, historic houses, white knuckle rides and extreme water sports. And to wash it all down, there’s always a pint waiting at Thornbridge Brewery!

Find out more here: https://www.visitpeakdistrict.com/

  1. Sherwood Forest – Nottinghamshire

Chanel your inner Robin Hood or Maid Marion on a trip to the ancient woodlands of Sherwood Forest.

Once a hunting preserve in the 10th century, this huge space is perfect for picnics, walks and fun outdoor activities like Go Ape’s Tree Top Adventure, where you will swing, climb and zip your way through one of the UK’s most stunning woodlands.

Find out more here: https://www.visit-nottinghamshire.co.uk/explore/sherwood-forest

West Midlands

  1. Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd - Shropshire Hills

Wide sloping valleys, cute sheep and horses chilling on the hillside and bubbling streams to dip your feet into after a long walk, Carding Mill Valley is the perfect location for a quintessential British day out.

Stroll up to the top, passing waterfalls and rock formations to find breath-taking views at the top of the valley. It makes a great family day out.

Find out more here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/carding-mill-valley-and-the-long-mynd

  1. Warwick Castle – Warwickshire

Originally built by William the Conqueror in 1968, Warwick Castle is steeped in Great British history. Enjoy a day out learning about how the castle came to be, pausing to enjoy lunch looking over the River Avon and watching the resident peacocks parade around.

Kids will love the majestic birds in the Falconer’s Quest and fun – but scary! - Castle Dungeon tour. You can even stay overnight if you want to make the most of your trip.

Find out more here: https://www.warwick-castle.com/

Wales

  1. Snowdonia National Park – Gwynedd

Want to earn some bragging rights during your staycation? Snowdonia National Park could be the destination for you! As well as being the largest national park in Wales, Snowdonia is also the highest mountain in both Wales and England!

Picturesque villages nearby include Beddgelert and Betws y Coed, which have less-challenging walks if you don’t fancy braving Snowdon or the weather is not looking great. The whole area is beautiful and it has something for everyone.

Find out more here: https://www.snowdonia.gov.wales/home#

  1. Brecon Beacons National Park – South / Mid Wales
Stargazing, cycling, mountain biking, canoeing, white water rafting, caving… this gorgeous national park has it all. Get in touch with nature in this mountain range. You can stay in traditional market towns nearby like Brecon, Crickhowell and Abergavenny, or go a little more au natural glamping in Hay on Wye.

Find out more here: https://www.breconbeacons.org/

East Anglia

  1. Norfolk’s Royal Coast – Norfolk

Proof that you don’t have to venture South to sample some of the Uk’s most beautiful seasides, Norfolk’s Royal Coast is literally fit for kings and queens!

If wild beaches are your thing and rugged dog-friendly coastlines tug on your heart strings, the 90 miles of Norfolk’s Royal Coast will not disappoint. Try Hunstanton ‘Sunny Hunny’ the only east coast resort that faces west, or go seal spotting on Blakeney Spit in early winter every year, amongst other beautiful locations.

Find out more here: https://www.visitnorfolk.co.uk/inspire/beaches-north-coast.aspx

  1. Cambridge City

Love a city break? Cambridge is an excellent shout for all the family.

Enjoy punting (obviously!), explore the prestigious Cambridge University, make the most of lots of free museums, and generally absorb the pretty streets and impressive architecture that makes this famous city so charming.

Find out more here: https://www.visitbritain.com/gb/en/england/east-england/cambridge

South / South East

  1. Beachy Head – Eastbourne

Beachy Head is a towering white chalk headland – boasting the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain at 162 metres! From the top you can see dramatic views of the famous red and white-stripped lighthouse, a panoramic view of Eastbourne and the English Channel, and you should also be able to spot the Isle of Wight.

It makes for a great seaside stay with a difference – get your cameras at the ready!

Find out more here: https://www.visiteastbourne.com/things-to-do/beachy-head-p1239201

  1. The New Forest

What if we told you there was a beautiful place in the UK where hundreds of wild horses go about their day amongst idyllic glades, open moors, ancient woodland and cliff top walks? Well there is such a place and it’s called the New Forest!

Wild horses won’t be able to drag you away from this peaceful place. Get set up in the various holiday cottages, B&Bs, camping sites and go explore!

Find out more here: https://www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/

South West

  1. The Jurassic Coast

On the Jurassic Coast there is 185 million years of history to unravel, and it looks pretty cool too! This UNESCO World Heritage Site spans 95 miles from Exmouth to Purbeck, and is the only natural World Heritage Site in England due to its remarkable rocks, fossils and landforms.

It’s the perfect location for lazy summer beach days and fossil hunting as well as atmospheric walks in the winter. A place the whole family is sure to fall in love with.

Find out more here: https://jurassiccoast.org/

  1. Tintagel - Cornwall

If you’re looking for a show-stopper, Tintagel castle (where King Arthur was said to be conceived!) and the Cornish seaside will not disappoint. The iconic castle is built half on land and half on a jagged headland plunging into the sea, Tintagel Caste is a sight to behold.

The surrounding areas of Cornwall are equally stunning, with fairytale-like glens and simply beautiful beaches and coastal walks. Head to Bossiney Cove Beach for a real hidden treat.

Find out more here: https://jurassiccoast.org/

A final note…

We hope this guide has filled you with lots of fun family staycation ideas! As with any destination during these uncertain times, please check these places are open to the public before you get booking and respect all of the safety rules put in place – remembering that people live in these stunning locations (jealous much!).

Happy staycation holidays everyone!

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