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Image © Baz Richardson via Flickr

Where to Holiday Abroad Without Leaving the UK

25 July 2019 | Maisy Farren

Whether you’ve lost your passport, hate flying or quite simply can’t be bothered to hang around in an airport, going abroad isn’t for everyone. People rant and rave about stunning weather in exotic far-away lands, but we think that there’s still plenty of places to enjoy right here in the UK.  


Image credit: SJM_1974 via Flickr 
St Ives 
Cornwall 
 
Here at Culture Calling, we’re happy to argue that St Ives is one of the most beautiful places in the UK. It’s white sand beaches and dazzling turquoise coast is akin to a beach in the South of France. The winding cobbled streets of the traditional town are lined with fresh seafood restaurants, artisan bakeries and spots selling creamy Cornish ice cream. You can also browse independent art and design shops, as well as gift and clothes shops selling something unique to the town. We also have to mention the host of artistic hotspots the town provides, including the Tate St Ives (which offers stunning sea views from its café) and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. The Porthmeor Beach is your go to spot for your British staycation. Here you can swim in the Blue Flag Accredited waters, learn to surf on site or simply lose yourself in a good book.   
 

Image credit: Carodragon via Flickr
Torbay 
Devon
 
Torbay, also known as The English Riveira, includes the beautiful coastal towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. It curls around a natural harbour on the English Channel and boasts a unique micro-climate, offering warm and sunny weather in the summer season. The spot is a UNESCO Global Geopark, which means it’s a site of geological significance, and offers plants and flora normally found in hotter, more exotic climates! Whilst a trip to Torquay may conjure images of a Faulty Towers style boarding house, the town is in fact a remarkable beauty spot with plenty to do and lots of nice hotels and B&Bs. The Torre Abbey Sands is a glorious beach with a true riviera feel, and you can take the regular (cheap) ferry across the bay to similarly nice Brixham for a wonderful day trip or do it the other way around! Head to the Berry Head Nature Reserve for a spot of rock climbing, hiking or kayaking, or head to the famous Shoalstone Pool, a sea-water Lido on the Brixham coast. 
 

Image credit: The Roman Baths via Facebook​​​​​​​
Bath 
Somerset 
 
If your dream holiday destination is more bustling city break than all-inclusive beach spot, then Bath is the city for you. The glorious streets are lined with Georgian, Roman and Medieval architecture- it’s no surprise that this entire city is a World Heritage Site. Head to the gothic 12th century Abbey for a tour or explore the Pulteney Bridge with the River Avon bustling underneath it. The heart of the city is its famous Roman Baths that wouldn’t be out of place in, well, Rome. The cities thermal springs rise in the centre of the ruined Roman site and flow with naturally hot water. You can also give this historic bathing a go in the luxury Thermae Bath Spa. Bathe in naturally warm mineral waters or make use of their new open-air rooftop pool overlooking the city beneath you. Once you’ve dried off, the city has plenty of quality food options and independent restaurants for the perfect romantic date night. 


Image credit: Gordon Mackie via Flickr​​​​​​​
North Coast 500 
Across North Scotland 
 
If neither lounging around in baths or beaches appeals to you, then the North Coast 500 may pique your interest. Adventurers at heart will love the ‘Scottish Route 69’, a 516 mile stretch of winding country back-roads and wide open-spaces, that displays the very best of the Highland’s wonderfully rugged scenery. You can drive, cycle or hike this route, and the driving option should take you around 5 to 7 days dependant on how many stops you want to take. Accommodation should be planned in advance; however, those wild spirited adventurers may want to set off with only a tent in tow and pitch up as and when. Featured on the route is the remarkable Dunrobin Castle, a vast French chateau that dates back to the 1300s and has 189 rooms, and the mystical limestone Smoo Caves with impressive flowing waterfall. You can also head to the Black Isle and take a boat trip to spot the resident Bottlenose dolphin population! You may also want to head for the Highlands in the winter, where you can spot the famed Aurora Borealis (aka Northern Lights) in the dark skies along the way. 
 

Image credit: Brecon Beacons National Park via Facebook​​​​​​​
Brecon Beacons 
Powys, South Wales 
 
The perfect family holiday for energetic kids – the Brecon Beacons National Park. This stunning Welsh scenery is a mountain range peppered with quaint market towns and plenty to see and do. The Black Mountains are a range of peaks that can be hiked, varying from amateur to expert routes, or you might prefer to head up with your mountain bike. The area boasts plenty of outdoor activity centres, including Black Mountain Adventure, which will guide you in gorge walking, rock climbing, abseiling, caving, white water rafting, kayaking and much more. You may prefer to tour the area on horseback, which is made possible by the range of stables dotted around the National park. Literary loving families can flock to the small market town of Hay-on-Wye, famous for having over 20 bookshops and an annual literary festival. Regardless of what you come to do, the view of luscious green scenery from the Pen y Fan will feel worlds away from the world of Wales as you know it.  
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