Staycations were trending even before the pandemic hit, so it’s no surprise that the popularity of holidaying somewhere in the UK has increased this year… with no signs of slowing down. It’s easy to travel more sustainably, you don’t have to battle queues at the airport, and your pumping much-need money into our local economy – what’s not to love?
And when you look at the places we’ve got right on our doorstep, it’s a surprise it’s taken this long for domestic holidays to gain this kind of love. We’ve had a tough year, so in our opinion there’s nothing that sounds better than escaping to a rural retreat for some much needed recharging.
These are our top 10 countryside staycations for 2021.
Best for: Countryside walking trails, cosy village pubs and traditional English vibes.
The quintessentially British destination always high on people’s lists when it comes to a countryside staycation, the Cotswolds is a protected Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), with stunning landscapes, colourful gardens and chocolate-box villages that make you feel like you’re in a fairytale. Pick from one of many walks (The Cotswold Way is a fave), visit ancient castles, palaces and historic homes, or go for an afternoon tea in one of the English tearooms.
Read more blogs on the Cotswolds.
Best for: Hiking, water-sports and whisky-tasting.
A playground for the outdoorsy, Loch Lomond’s scenery is nothing short of epic. The Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is home to majestic lochs, lofty mountains and luscious forests, where visitors can enjoy all manner of activities. Whether you’re an ambler, hiker, kayaker, horse rider, paraglider (or any other kind of outdoor adventurer!) you’ll be well catered for with a trip to Loch Lomond. Imagine kicking back in a hot tub, overlooking that scenery!
Best for: Walking trails, woodlands and family-friendly activities.
From coastal walks to valley walks, the 3,500-miles of footpaths across Suffolk make it the ideal place for families who like to spend their breaks with their walking boots on. Similarly, the amount of cycling routes around Suffolk offer a picture-perfect way to spend the day – forest trails, mountain biking routes and country park routes can be found dotted around the region. Take the kids to one of many National Trust properties, such as the gardens at Ickworth or deer-spotting in Dunwich Heath.
Read more blogs on Suffolk.
Best for: Coastal walks, cycling and eco-friendly holidays.
With 25 Blue Flag beaches – like Weymouth and Swanage – Dorset is a great place to visit in the warm summer months. Dorset is home to the South West Coast Path, one long coastal walk which will see you soaking up the gorgeous views along the Jurassic Coast. Dorset is also championing eco-friendly travel, encouraging shopping local, cycling the many routes, eating local produce and becoming plastic-free communities: Surfers Against Sewage has helped many of its towns become plastic-free!
Read more blogs on Dorset.
Best for: Walking trails, ancient castles and underground adventures.
The Brecon Beacons National Park has allured hikers to its trails and mountaintops for years, so if you’re looking for a hiking holiday, then this is the place to do it. Whether you’re looking for a challenge or just a nice amble, you could either choose to conquer Pen y Fan or traverse one of the two National Trails. If you’re not an avid walker or hiker, don’t despair – there’s plenty for you to do in this natural wonderland… ancient castles and ruins dot the landscape, such as Brecon Castle and Llandovery Castle. Fancy heading underground? Caving is a popular option, with the Geopark including four out of five of the longest limestone cave systems in Great Britain!
Best for: Hiking, water-sports and stargazing.
The clue is in the name – the Lake District is home to some of the most stunning lakes in the UK, and is home to 12 of the largest lakes in England, with the popular Lake Windermere and the moody Ullswater being the largest. And of course, all manner of water-sports take place, from sailing to paddleboarding, and everything in between! Surrounding these majestic lakes, is of course the towering mountains that attract hikers from all over the world – from the more accessible Catbells at 451m (a perfect first hike for youngsters) to the towering Scafell Pike at 978m. The luminosity levels are near zero pretty much all over the Lake District, so it makes for the ideal stargazing environment, too.
Read more blogs on the Lake District.
Best for: Walking trails, family fun and gorgeous coastline.
Well-known for its dramatic coastline, from the chalky cliffs of the Seven Sisters to the AONB of Chichester Harbour, Sussex is an idyllic seaside retreat with plenty of coastal walks to get stuck into (as part of the South East Coast Path). There’s also a huge amount of walks further inland too, such as the South Downs Way and the Forest Way – or you could easily take a day trip to the bordering Surrey Hills AONB. If you’re visiting with the whole family, then there are plenty of things to do with kids in Sussex, such as the Go Ape treetop adventures in Bedgebury Forest, the steam Bluebell Railway and the amazing Butser Ancient Park.
Read more blogs on Sussex.
Best for: Outdoor activities, medieval castles and stunning national parks.
The wilderness of the Scottish Highlands is perfect for an escape where you want to get back to nature – particularly if you’re an adrenaline junkie, from white water rafting to canyoning and gorge walking. Adventurous families can have their raft rentals to go on a river rafting and and canoeing together, take curious children to spot Nessie at the famous Loch Ness, and pro hikers can trek up the Munros. The Scotland tourism board have even put together a 4-day itinerary to help you explore the medieval castles.
Best for: Historic attractions, walking trails and off-road cycling.
Founded by William the Conqueror in 1079, the New Forest has retained so much of its heritage, with protected woodlands, interesting folklore, stately homes such as Beaulieu Palace, World War II sites such as D-Day Lepe Beach and plenty of historic walks. Cycling fiends will also love visiting the New Forest as its abundant with biking routes, as well as over 100-miles of off-road trails from heart-pumping mountain biking tracks to slightly easier trails off the grid.
Read more blogs on the New Forest.
Best for: Historic heritage, outdoor activities and museums.
Whether you’re a hiker or not, you’ve probably heard of the Three Peaks Challenge, but if you’re not about jumping across the length and breadth of the UK, you can take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge instead, which takes you up the imposing Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough mountains. Other outdoor activities include wildlife spotting in the North York Moors, chasing waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales, or exploring the quirky family-friendly Forbidden Corner – perfect for kids! History buffs will enjoy the Yorkshire battlefields, national museums and historic World Heritage sites.
Read more blogs on Yorkshire.
So, there we have it – our favourite countryside staycations in the UK for your 2021 holiday. If you’re going to make 2021 the year you really take advantage of the gorgeous UK, then have a look at our places to stay in the UK.