The summer months have finally arrived, and we’re all ready to pack our suitcases! For many of us, that means it’s time to jet off to luxurious locations across the globe, while for others it entails staring jealously at the endless stream of obligatory airport pint photos being uploaded onto social media.
With the current climate in Britain, there’s no need to travel those extra miles to get to your dream destination — have you heard of a staycation? We are blessed with so many idyllic locations within a stone’s throw of each other here in the UK, so a fantastic family holiday doesn’t have to include an extended trip on an aeroplane.
Staycation Location #1: Scottish Highlands
If you’re looking for the perfect place to snap an Instagram pic, look no further than the Scottish Highlands. The panoramic views from the top of CairnGorm mountain are breathtaking and, depending on the season in which you visit, you can partake in ski, snowboard or mountain bike activities.
If you’re looking to venture outdoors on your staycation, head to Rothiemurchus Estate. Made up from a 50km network of well-maintained paths, you can saunter through the beautiful forest to the foot of vast mountains, passing stunning lochs on your journey. With an array of wildlife, the naturalists among us will be in their element on any of the three fantastic self-guided walks that are mapped out.
If you’re travelling with little ones, they might not thank you for the lengthy walks! Fear not if this rings true with your little cherubs. Aviemore also caters for the young adventurers in the group, offering activities such as the Highland Wildlife Park and the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre — where youngsters over the age of 12 can ride with sled-dogs.
Staycation Location #2: Northumberland
Ever thought about taking a trip to Northumberland? On England’s north east coast, the area is constantly winning rave reviews for its range of beautifully clean beaches, making it perfect for a day by the seaside if the sun comes out to play. You can also take a boat from Seahouses to the most famous Sea Bird Sanctuary in the British Isles, the Farne Islands. Here, you are likely to see its large colony of Atlantic seals. With many cruises available to book, there are plenty of excellent opportunities to view the island’s offshore birds and larger mammals.
If you’re a lover of the wizarding world, Northumberland will be perfect you. Not only was the blissful setting at Alnwick Castle used for several scenes in the Harry Potter films, you can even undergo some broomstick training while you’re there! One for the kids (or you) perhaps?
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t venture to Northumberland, it’s an ideal location and with your monthly bus pass, there’s nothing that you can’t to do!
Staycation Location #3: Lake District
The Lake District is renowned for its beautiful scenery. With a running theme appearing, this is another spot for the nature lovers. As the UK’s largest national park, it is the perfect location to don your walking boots and be one with mother nature. Whether you’re hiking in Great Langdale, climbing Helvellyn or cruising on Lake Windermere, this really is a beauty spot for the UK. There’s plenty for the kids off the nature trail, too. The World of Beatrix Potter is an awesome attraction close to Lake Windermere and should definitely be penciled into your itinerary.
Staycation Location #4: Pembrokeshire
We all love a day trip to a national park, and Pembrokeshire is home to Britain’s only coastal one — meaning that it’s a trip you don’t want to miss out on. Sitting on Wales’ south coast, the hotspot of Tenby was voted the best place for a holiday in Wales by the country’s residents. The quintessential seaside town attracts tourists of all ages thanks to its beautiful beaches, top-notch pubs and boutique shops.
If your kid gets bored easily, there’s a lot of activities that will keep them busy! The Overhang Indoor Climbing Centre is suitable for anyone over the age of four and provides both indoor and outdoor rock climbing sessions. Elsewhere, there’s the Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo in Kilgetty which is the place to be for animal lovers. Home to over 100 species of wildlife, including lions and penguins, the park also has a pirate adventure centre for the little ones to play in.
Lover of all things historical? Tenby’s Dinosaur Park takes you back in time, providing fun for all ages. So, be sure to go along and dig for dinosaur fossils and embark on the dinosaur trail in a bid to spot the 30 dinosaurs that are lurking deep in the undergrowth.
Staycation Location #5: Cornwall
Often referred to as one of the most beautiful spots on the UK mainland, Cornwall offers something different. Again, this destination is blessed with beautiful beaches and a rugged coastline and it would be an impossible task to list all walks available, but Lundy Bay walk and St Agnes lookout are two that must be considered. Also worth a visit is Land’s End, with stunning views across Britain’s most southwesterly point, the location is a prime spot for keen birdwatchers.
If you’re looking for a place to get your blood pumping, Cornwall is ideal with its long catalog of activities. Have you ever thought about tree surfing? If not, why not? You won’t need a board or wetsuit for this variation of the Cornish surf scene, but one thing for sure is that you can’t be afraid of heights. Tamar Valley is home to a series of rope bridges, swings and zip wires that allow you to weave through its woodland. Of course, there’s a host of watersports at the ready, too, with Cornwall having a cluster of surf schools to choose from.
Of course, each location has its own benefits and drawbacks. With the Isle of Wight and Northern Ireland — home of the mythological Finn McCool, Giant’s Causeway and Game of Thrones — slightly further afield, but accessible by ferry, there are endless options available. So, instead of reaching for this faraway travel brochures, maybe think twice about your next vacation and consider somewhere a bit closer to home.