Whether you’re looking for a spontaneous city break or some respite from the stresses of the daily grind, there’s a lot to be said for the humble staycation. No airport delays, currency exchange rates or language barriers to contend with – you can just jump in the car (or on the train) and let the adventure begin.
And at least with a UK break your weather expectations will already be set at rock bottom – so if it does chuck it down all week, you’ll have waterproofs and wellies at the ready.
The term staycation slipped into the lexicon in 2009 when recession-hit Britons were driven to ditch their passports in favour of domestic holidays. But according to the latest research by Visit England, its popularity is continuing to grow despite the recovering economy.
Let’s face it: there are plenty of reasons to take a break on home turf aside from the financial implications. The UK is a rich and diverse land that warrants some serious exploration. But with so many gems to discover, where do you start? From the high culture and history of London to the wild and rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands, we’ve picked out a few of our favourite British destinations to help inspire you.
Got a favourite UK destination you want to rave about? Tell us in the comment box below.
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With nearly 900 square miles of lakes, forests and mountains, the breathtaking beauty of the Lake District is the perfect antidote to the pressures of city living. Swap your motor for a pair of walking boots or a mountain bike if you want to make the most of the stunning vistas. Tackle the UK's highest mountain Scafell Pike, go red squirrel spotting at beautiful Tarn Hows or tap into the spirit of the Romantics at Wordsworth's House.
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Hire a houseboat and spend a laid-back week meandering through the peaceful Norfolk Broads. Its stunning wetland landscape is a contradiction of calm yet wild, bleak but beautiful - and a haven for wildlife. Like a canal-boat holiday for nature lovers - but without any locks to contend with - this is the place to come to recharge those batteries.
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Home to the best cultural festival (and arguably the best New Year's Eve party) in the country - Edinburgh knows how to show its visitors a good time. Split into the Medeival Old Town and elegant Georgian new town, the historic hotspot offers great shopping and a vibrant night life set against a backdrop of stunning architecture, rugged hills and its imposing castle looming large over the city.
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The ‘Cornish Riviera’ of the south with its magical coves and picture perfect harbour villages is a dreamy setting for a lazy holiday. Or if you’re looking for adrenaline-fuelled fun, embrace the surfer’s paradise of the north coast with its windswept cliffs, sandy beaches and Atlantic swell. If you can tear yourself away from the beach, enjoy the botanical delights of the Eden Project
tucked away in the Cornish countryside - or book into one of Rick Stein’s restaurants
for a seafood feast.
From magnificent coastline and majestic castles to the mountains, lakes and waterfalls of Snowdonia, North Wales certainly packs a punch for such a small stretch of land. For a taste of the Med, head to the pastel-hued Italian inspired town of Portmeirion, home to the 60s cult TV show 'The Prisoner
'. Or take a boat trip to the stunning Isle of Anglesey and be the first to spot a puffin.
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Arguably Britain’s hippest seaside resort, Brighton has preserved its quintessentially English charm while keeping its finger on the pulse with its thriving music scene and buzzng nightlife. Stroll along the promenade and pier, eat fish and chips on the pebble beach or meander through the Lanes, with its maze of eclectic independent boutiques and antiques shops, before heading out for dinner, drinks and dancing ‘til dawn.
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Nestled in the rolling hills of the southwest, UNESCO World Heritage Site Bath is renowned for its natural hot springs and beautiful Georgian honey-stone architecture. Take a tour of the original Roman Baths
or get a real taste of life gone by at the Thermae Bath Spa
, where you can bathe in the thermal water that comes directly from the natural hot springs deep beneath the city.
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When what is widely regarded as one of the greatest in the world is right on your doorstep, it's worth taking a few days out of your life to explore it. And that includes those of us living in London, who spend our commutes with heads bent, staring at our smartphone screens - and our nights out in the same familiar neighbourhoods. Enjoy some of the best galleries, museums and architecture in the world then soak up the skyline after dark (few things beat the view of Tower Bridge in all its illuminated glory).
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With its bucolic rolling hills, stone-built villages and the iconic 'three peaks
', the Yorkshire Dales is one of the great jewels of the north – but lost in the shadow of the more famous Lake district, it was something of an unsung hero until it was thrown into the limelight when it hosted the Tour de France 2014’s Grand Depart 2014
. And with plans to extend the National Park by 24%
by August 2016 (connecting it to the Lake District), now could be a good time to enjoy the spoils of this rural haven before it gets too overrun with tourists!
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Dominated by magnificent mountain ranges and enchanting lochs, the Highlands also boasts its fair share of beautiful sandy beaches. Seemingly untouched by human hand, this is a magical land where time stands still. Tempting as it might be to reach for your smartphone to record its staggering beauty and share it with your virtual world, this is one place to forget the trappings of modern life and truly get back to nature.