Holidays don’t always need to be overseas! With more and more people wanting to stay closer to home or not fly anywhere, the ‘staycation’ has become a common word in recent years.
Everyone probably takes at least one if not several long weekends or short breaks in the UK at one time or another – did you know your Personal Travel Advisor can book these for you and offer you more choice if you are looking for coach tours, theatre and city breaks, rail holidays in the UK or to hire a holiday home? I can book you to sporting events and festivals, flower shows and musicals.
Scotland is a personal favourite of mine, whether it’s the snowy highlands over Christmas and New Year in a gorgeous hotel with log fires and hearty hospitality or the midnight sun on the islands in late June. All around the coast are wonderful sandy beaches, deserted headlands full of seabird breeding colonies, boat trips and fabulous seafood and inland are the tranquil lochs with their myths and legends such as the Loch Ness monster. Ski in the Cairngorms in the winter, kayak and snorkel in the turquoise waters of the Western Isles in the summer. There are plenty of cosy log cabins and quaint crofts and cottages to hire, or luxury castles if you prefer! Head up to the Shetland and Orkney isles for wonderful natural history holidays. Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities with great shops and hotels, the castle towering above the parks and Princes street.
The Lake District is a favourite for walking holidays, cycling and horse riding is also a popular pastime. Meander around the scenic roads of the lakes and surrounding hills and try Kendal mint cake and cosy pubs with home cooked food and great ales.
The North East coast has the haunting and beautiful Lindisfarne (Holy Island) which can only be reached at low tide over the cause way, visit the viking style boat houses and the castle and sample the ‘mead’ made by monks here. Along the Northumberland coast are windswept sandy beaches, flanked by sand dunes with fishing ports dotted around the remote villages where a pint and some kippers is a welcome snack after a few miles of stomping down the beach!
Inland the Yorkshire moors with the villages of dales bring life the ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ country with rail journeys and museums being popular attractions here. Throughout the north and down to the midlands a network of canals are there to be explored – hire a narrow boat and navigate through the lock staircases of the industrial north, the Black Country of the Midlands or the potteries around Stoke and into Derbyshire and the Pennines.
Wales has a culture and language all of it’s own and from the hills of Snowdonia to the beaches of the south west Gower Peninsula, there are popular holiday hideaways everywhere. The North Wales coast has some lovely seaside towns with piers and castles and Anglesey is the jumping off point for ferries from Holyhead to Ireland or the Island of Man. Mid Wales has beautiful beaches and lakes, hire a cottage or join a rambling holiday here. The Brecon Beacons are a highlight for any adventure group or activity holiday. Cardiff makes a great city break with it’s university, castle and fabulous shops and cafes.
Across the other side of the ‘middle’ of the UK East Anglia offers a wealth of holiday homes, beaches and country villages. The Norfolk broads, the seals and crabs of the Norfolk north coast merge into the Suffolk charm of arty seaside towns such as Southwold and Aldeburgh.
Down to Kent and the ‘garden of England’ with it’s fruit trees, hops and coastal towns and is of course the jump off point for the channel crossings to Europe. Across the south of England are the ‘home counties’. Enjoy wonderful walks through ancient oak and beech forests, across the downs of Sussex and Hampshire and the sailing communities around Portsmouth and Southampton or take the ferry to the Isle of Wight with it’s multicoloured sandy beaches, white cliffs and farms.
Heading west from Southampton and historical Winchester you can visit the New Forest with it’s native horses, heaths and woodlands down to Dorset with quaint villages, craft centres and the ‘Jurassic coast’ around Charmouth where plenty of fossils are to be discovered. From Bristol and Gloucester where Wales and the Midlands meet the west country take the M5 or the train down through Somerset with it’s gorgeous parks and cider country into Devon and Cornwall. This south west tip of Britain is a popular holiday destination with lots of holiday parks, cottages, fishing villages and national parks. Taste the local brew, fantastic seafood and pasties!
Don’t forget of course London – theatre breaks and sightseeing tours are always worth doing, take an open topped bus tour past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square to name just a few. Enjoy a river cruise up the Thames, shop the markets of Greenwich, Petticoat Lane or Covent Garden.
Finally, over the Irish Sea, there is the wonderful ‘Emerald Isle’. Dublin has a vibrant cafe culture and home to Guinness of course. Head to the south and west for dramatic coastlines, walks and country villages or north to the Giants Causeway. Self catering cottages are popular here, either take your car on the ferry or hire a car when you fly. Remember that the Republic of Ireland trades in Euros.
Country house hotels and spas often have long weekend specials out of season so why not give it a try? Next time you want a break give me a call and make plans to explore some of your homeland – there’s a lot more to Great Britain that just London, get out there and see it!