5 Great UK Staycation Destinations

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Kirstin Prisk via Tate St. Ives Facebook

Make a Great British getaway with this handy guide to some of the UK’s best destinations for safe, socially distanced staycations.

After months of quarantine, social distancing, and staying home, it’s unsurprising we all feel like we need a holiday. While some European destinations may slowly be reopening to UK travellers, many people don’t feel comfortable to head abroad just yet. But this doesn’t mean a holiday is off the cards! Get some inspiration for how you can make a Great British getaway with this handy guide summarising some of the UK’s best destinations for safe, socially distanced staycations.

Explore the West Midlands waterways on your very own narrowboat

You don’t have to go to the south of France to mess about on a boat! Easy to drive, narrowboats offer a fun, unique way of exploring the UK via its network of canals. Allow you to stay in the same, private home for the duration of your holiday, they are also perfect for people who are still a bit nervous of hopping in and out of hotels! While you can hire a canal boat in nearly anywhere in the country, we recommend checking out the West Midlands and Worcestershire, an area with a rich canal network that was developed during the industrial revolution (did you know that Birmingham has more canals than Venice!?). In this area, there are many attractions for you to check out when you’ve moored your boat in the nearest basin, such as Shakespeare’s birthplace and a range of museums on his life and work in Stratford Upon Avon (open with restrictions and bookable online), Cadbury World in Birmingham for chocolate-loving kids and grownups alike (open with restrictions, pre-booking essential), and Warwick Castle, an attraction with over 1,100 years of history (pre-booking essential.)

Get lost in the woods in the New Forest

Quarantine was especially tough on those stuck in cities with little access to the great outdoors. So, if you feel like you need to return to nature, why not head to the New Forest National park for a dose of well-deserved green! One of the few areas of England where the ancient landscape has remained relatively unchanged since William The Conqueror named it his ‘new hunting forest’ in 1079, the New Forest is the perfect location for family walks and cycles while looking out for enchanting flora and fauna, including and the 5,000 wild ponies that have been inexplicably living in the New Forest for the past 2,000 years! Set up base in one of the areas many camping, caravaning, or glamping sites, or B&Bs, many of which are dog friendly—so your furry friend can enjoy the fresh air with you!—and have now reopened after the global pandemic. From here you can explore your natural surroundings, or head out to nearby towns and villages for a delicious pub meal, or explore local cultural and historical attractions. Find out more information on the New Forest website.

A post shared by The New Forest UK (@thenewforestuk) on Jun 1, 2020 at 3:40am PDT

Go open water swimming in the Lake District

Flocking to the sea for a post-lockdown swim is not the only option for water lovers! Why not head to the Lake District in Cumbria for an open water swim in one of the area’s many lakes surrounded by beautiful, mountainous scenery? It’s advisable to head for your dip in one of the area’s quieter lakes where no boats are allowed, such as Buttermere, Crummock Water, Grasmere, Loweswater, Rydal Water, and Wast Water. Or, if there are boats in a lake you’d like to frequent, just make sure your swimming route stays close to the shoreline. For further guidance on safe swimming, head over to the Lake District National Park website. Once you’ve dried off and hung up your wetsuit, then you’ll be well placed to explore the Lake District’s natural beauty further on a hike or indulge in a delicious cake at a local cafe (Baldry’s in Grasmere is a personal favourite!) before heading back home for a well-earned rest. In terms of accommodation, you may consider camping if you’d like to remain in the great outdoors, or consider booking a responsible BnB if you’d rather seek shelter inside from the Lake District’s infamous tendency for rain showers! Perky Pike, a charming B&B in Keswick, for example, is observing social distancing measures by delivering heartwarming full English breakfasts to people’s doors.

A post shared by Lake District (@lakedistrict) on Jul 12, 2020 at 1:29am PDT

Theatre, art, and plant life in cultural Cornwall

With theatres being some of the last venues to reopen post lockdown, many culture vultures are missing the magic of watching their favourite plays brought to life on the stage. If you are one such thespian fanatic, why not consider a short getaway to Porthcurno in Cornwall to enjoy a show? Carved into the side of a granite cliff, the famous open-air Minack Theatre has a range of productions lined up over the summer months. These include concerts by male sea shanty singing group Fisherman’s Friends, family-friendly storytelling sessions, a black-and-white street theatre show with acrobatic circus skills, silent comedy and live music, as well as award-winning comedy play “Stones in His Pockets.” Aside from watching a show, you can also explore the Minack’s neighbouring coastal garden set into the cliffs, which features plants from all around the world including the Canary Islands, South Africa, Mexico and the Andes. If you’re a budding botanist looking for even more plantlife, you could consider heading over to the Eden Project near St Austell, where you can enjoy the venue’s rainforest cathedral and Rainforest Canopy Walkway. Or, if you’d rather keep your holiday on a cultural theme, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Tate St Ives are now open to people with timed tickets.

Explore the “wiley, windy moors” near Whitby, North Yorkshire

The second home of blood-sucking vampire Dracula after Trannsylvannia, Whitby is a quintessential Victorian seaside town overlooking the North Sea. The perfect destination for all kinds of holidaymakers, the town boasts historical attractions such as the romantic clifftop ruins of Whitby Abbey (pre-booking essential) and the Captain Cook Memorial Museum (pre-booking essential) as well as astounding natural surroundings from dramatic sea views to purple heather and lavender covered moors in the North York Moors National Park. The moors can be explored using the local steam railway or by foot, allowing you to romp around while listening to Wuthering Heights and doing your best Kate Bush impression. After all that physical and emotional exertion you’ll probably want to head back to Whitby for what the town claims to be the best fish and chips in Yorkshire… and maybe even the UK.