With international travel on a bit of a standstill right now, many of us are looking a little closer to home for our travel inspiration. More than ever, Brits are looking to plan their next travel adventures as staycations. It’s less of a hardship than many of us may have initially thought, with so many exciting and beautiful places to see and explore. From beautiful rural and countryside areas, to barren beaches, and luxurious hotels, there’s so much to see within the UK. So, put away your passport and check out the best UK holiday destinations to book your next staycation.
The Cotswolds is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most beautiful areas to visit. Spread across the counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire, there’s so much to see. One of the UK’s best holiday destinations, there’s sprawling countryside and picturesque scenery wherever you look. Explore the independent shops and tearooms of the chocolate box villages and honey coloured stone buildings. If you fancy a long walk, ramble across the rolling hills and fields, or explore a stately home. Highlights not to miss include the pretty Cotswold village of Castle Combe, and Prince Charles’ very own home at Highgrove House.
One of the UK’s prettiest counties, Cornwall has something for everyone to explore. From its long walks past scenic clifftops, surf beaches, delicious seafood, and historical monuments, there’s plenty to see and do. Head to the beautiful beaches of Carbis Bay and St Ives, and feast on fresh crab and fish for lunch. Here, you can also discover wonderful art at the Tate, or perhaps watch a theatre production with a backdrop of the ocean at the Minack Theatre. Discover the ruins of clifftop Tintagel which has history that dates back to King Arthur, or walk out to the iconic St Michael’s Mount at low tide. Other key attractions include the exotic Eden Project near St Austell, and the foodie capital of Padstow. All of these make Cornwall one of the best UK holiday destinations.
With a stunning array of honey coloured Georgian architecture, the city of Bath is a pretty spot and one of the UK’s best holiday destinations. It’s a wonderful city for walking, thanks to its pretty riverbank and historic streets including the Royal Crescent. Step in the shoes of former Bath resident herself, Jane Austen, and experience the romantic nature of the city for yourself. Curl up with a book in one of Bath’s beautiful townhouses and enjoy a beautiful view across the surrounding Somerset countryside. For the ultimate in relaxation, head to Bath’s iconic Thermae Spa. Here, you can immerse yourself in the jacuzzi while staring out across the church spires of Bath. It’s a wonderful place to pamper yourself without leaving the UK.
With a reputation for idyllic tearooms, relaxing Turkish baths, and quaint antique shops, Harrogate is surrounded by beautiful Yorkshire countryside. One of the best UK holiday destinations, Harrogate offers complete relaxation among stunning scenery. Every visitor needs to head to Betty’s Tea Rooms for a quintessentially English afternoon tea. Harrogate offers a relaxing UK break – enjoy a picnic in the Valley Gardens, and walk among the beautiful blooms. Head to one of the town’s Turkish baths for an indulgent afternoon to relax and steam away the impurities. For venturing a little further afield, the incredible scenery of the North York Moors and the surrounding national parks are right on the doorstep.
Much like Cornwall, Devon is a beautiful county that offers a perfect blend of coastal scenery and countryside. One of the coastal gems is Salcombe, one of the best UK holiday destinations. Sitting on the stunning Kingsbridge Estuary, there are beautiful views across Salcombe, making it one of the UK’s most loved seaside towns. Many visitors enjoy Salcombe’s unrivalled watersports, from sailing to paddle boarding and everything in between. When the sun’s shining, head to one of the beautiful beaches with their golden sands and turqouise waters. For something a little more active, take the South West Coast Path through the rolling countryside. End your day by enjoying some fresh seafood and local produce in the pretty town.
With so much natural beauty on all our doorsteps in the UK, why would we need to travel further afield? The Peak District is one of the best UK holiday destinations thanks to its stunning blend of scenery and vibrant market towns. Adventure into the scenery past moors and rivers of the north of the Peak District, and past babbling streams for stunning walks. Pulp frontman himself, Jarvis Cocker, has even put together a self-guided walking tour around the area. If you fancy less of a walk but more of the views, check out the Heights of Abraham which is a cable car that hangs over a ravine. Other attractions include stunning Chatsworth House, a stately home where the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice was filmed. The market town of Bakewell is lovely to explore, with its independent stores and cafes. You can’t leave without trying its very own Bakewell tart – truly scrumptious.
A remote region in a beautiful part of the country, the Scottish Highlands is one of the best UK holiday destinations. Whether you’d prefer to roam mountains, deserted beaches, or lochs, it’s an adventurous break for anyone. With some of the most scenic landscapes in the whole world, there’s no need to travel far from home. Key sights include one of the UK’s largest national parks, the Cairngorms. Of course, don’t miss the iconic Loch Ness where you can try and spot the monster. The Scottish Highlands are perfect for long hikes and incredible scenery, with Ben Nevis also on the doorstep. Another great adventure is taking the Jacobite steam train across the Glenfinnan Viaduct – it may look familiar to Harry Potter fans.
As England’s largest national park, the Lake District can’t be missed as one of the best UK holiday destinations. Having served as the muse for endless artists and poets, the Lake District is now even a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the breathtaking mountains and climb England’s highest, Scafell Pike. Relax with a pub lunch in one of the many charming villages, and breathe in the fresh air. England’s largest lake, Lake Windermere, is perfect for walking around or sailing across on a boat with the wind in your hair. With nearly 900 square miles of beautiful Lake District scenery and national park, there’s something for everyone which makes it so great. Step in the shoes of the Romantic poets, and don’t miss Grasmere. A trip to Sara Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread Shop will have you booking a return trip.
With an area of land spanning from Sevenoaks all the way down to the coast, the Kent Downs is a beautiful part of the country. There’s so much lush landscape, from rolling green hills to farmland and stunning blooms. One of the best UK holiday destinations, the Kent Downs is perfect for walking along the North Downs Way. Stop off along the way at the pretty village pubs to refuel on a Ploughmans and a pint of your favourite poison. Canterbury is a beautiful city for exploring, and by walking there you can experience your own historic pilgrimage. A must-see in the Kent Downs is the iconic White Cliffs of Dover. Walk along the trail and enjoying the stunning views from the chalk cliffs across to the English Channel. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see all the way over to the French coast.
East and West Sussex
Just a short escape from vibrant London, the neighbouring counties of East and West Sussex offer a little respite from the busy city. There’s so much variety from quintessential English countryside to nearly 200km of coastline. East Sussex is perfect for indulging in lush woodland as well as hip seaside resorts. Lounge on Brighton’s pebble beach, and see the incredible Seven Sisters in nearby Eastbourne. There’s plenty of history also in East and West Sussex, making the region one of the best UK holiday destinations. Explore ancient castles dating back to the Battle of Hastings, or experience the stately homes of West Sussex and its rolling downs. Stretch out your legs along the South Downs and enjoy walking trails past beautiful rivers and woodlands. It’s the perfect break away.
Looking for more UK travel inspiration? Check out my UK travel wish list.
That’s my guide to the best UK holiday destinations! Is there anywhere else you’d recommend for a staycation? Let me know in the comments below.