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Updated: 20th February 2021
Staycation – the portmanteau whose official meaning, or even legitimacy as a word, became a very hot topic in recent years.
Debates on meaning aside, the rise of the UK staycation looks very much here to stay, so we might as well focus on making them interesting and exciting rather than worrying about defining the meaning. Hopefully, these UK staycation ideas – spanning from the best places to visit in South West England to rural spots in Scotland – will give you some inspiration and prove a holiday at home in Great Britain certainly doesn’t need to be boring.
We have a whole host of world-famous attractions to enjoy, stunning countryside and coast to admire, and plenty of unique accommodation options to entice us to another corner of our country. From epic villas to castles and camper vans, here are nine ways to make your next UK staycation accommodation something special.
Be eco-conscious with an electric VW campervan hire
Is there anything more iconic for a road trip than the VW Campervan? Faded photography of these sexy vehicles has crept onto my Instagram feed more and more in recent years, and with a more eco-conscious way to road trip now on the horizon, perhaps this year is the time to traverse Blighty on four wheels.
Opting for an electric VW campervan hire won’t just bring you bragging rights, fantastic photos and rather unique places to stay in the UK, but it also allows you to have a more environmentally friendly trip to explore the country, such as on a Jurassic Coast road trip.
There are a surprising number of charging stations to be found now, as I discovered when we took a Tesla across The Peak District with Lonely Planet a few years back. From countryside pub car parks to city-centre ports, this new take on an old classic provides a unique twist and one of the best UK staycation ideas if you want to cover a few different spots.
Stay in a wooden log cabin surrounded by goats in Scotland
My obsession with goats is well documented, so where better to escape this summer for your UK staycation than into the green mountains for a Scotland road trip?
Eagle Brae Log Cabins sit in the Highlands and provide the perfect place to get friends and family together in a cosy cabin. With some of the unforgettable hikes and nature of the country on your doorstep, this is one of the best UK staycation ideas for getting away from it all and certainly one of the more unusual places to stay in Scotland.
These cabins certainly lean more towards the luxury side than your average get-away from it all experience, with log burners, dark furnishings, and warming throws, coupled with the chance to mingle with the goats and other animals your doorstep.
Embrace nature in a ‘bubble dome’ in Northern Ireland
During my research for this article, I was surprised to find that the bubble dome craze has spread to the UK. I’ve seen these before in Mauritius and other warm destinations, but in Northern Ireland, you can now enjoy a night under the stars in one of these perspex bedrooms at one with nature.
Nestled far from the urban sprawl in a forested area, some of these domes even come complete with free-standing bathtubs and four-poster beds, where you can unwind and watch the stars whilst finally reading that book.
Located at Finnlough, near the Donegal-Fermanagh border, they can be accessed from Dublin or Belfast in around two hours, meaning this special staycation idea is worth booking for more than a couple of nights. And, of course, once you’re exploring Northern Ireland, you would be crazy not to head further south to visit the best Ireland destinations, too!
Sleep in a UNESCO Castle in Durham
Schools out for more than summer right now, and this means that the University Halls of Durham Castle, a UNESCO-listed building alongside its nearby Cathedral, are empty.
Incredibly, these ancient halls are now part of the University, and during the summer months, you can check in for a stay in history and soak up the atmosphere of this unusual staycation idea.
With breakfast served in the Harry Potter-esque grand dining room and the guest rooms being the classic grand suites rather than the dorms, it’s a surprisingly affordable chance to stay in a UNESCO heritage building. Now, if that’s not one of the most unique places to stay in the UK, I don’t know what is!
Finally, get the family together with a fabulous villa holiday
One thing I’m sure we have all learnt the value of in recent years is being able to get everyone together again. Whether it’s extended – or close – family or with friends, gathering the squad is certainly one of the most heartwarming UK staycation ideas.
While enjoying a Villa escape might sound more suites to Greece than Great Britain, there are a plethora of fantastic options across the four nations. Pack some board games, load up the car with great snacks (and wine) and head off to enjoy a fabulous villa holiday, where making new memories is the aim of the game. Whether it’s a renovated period property on the Sussex coastline, a luxury Manor House in the Cotswolds, or a sea view stay while exploring the best places to see in Cornwall, there are some beautiful options.
A few years back we did this for my Mum’s 60th, and it was so nice to have all the extended family under one homely roof for a few days.
Include a walk through history with a unique museum
Why not weave in some history or learning to your next UK staycation, yet in a fun, informative and interactive way?
One thing the UK excels at is museums, and I’m not just talking about your average quick walk through some information boards. Take the Beamish Living Museum of the North in Durham, perhaps the best museum I’ve ever visited. Here, a whole set of interactive villages have been built to show what life was like at various stages throughout Britain’s history. From sweet shops to moving trams and photo studios to interactive classrooms, actors and the re-constructed properties literally transport you to times gone by – hopefully, they can open safely this summer.
There are multiple museums like this in the UK, from the Cosmeston Medieval Village in the Welsh Glamorgan to the Blists Hill Victorian Town in Shropshire, and including one of these in your next British getaway will add another level of history to your UK staycation.
Work your way through the UK’s UNESCO sites
With 35 world heritage sites in the UK, you’ll need more than a month to work your way through them all. While one of the best UK staycation ideas would be to go on a road trip every UNESCO, just planning a trip around one makes for a great British getaway.
If you don’t fancy an extended break, perhaps little weekend trips incorporating some of these historic and culturally important attractions are more appealing.
From the naturally beautiful, such as the Giant’s Causeway on the Northern Ireland coast and the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, to the city-encompassing centre of Bath or Edinburgh, it’s surprisingly easy to weave a heritage visit into your next UK staycation.
Check into a grade II listed lighthouse in Wales
The West Usk Lighthouse in Wales dates back to 1821, however it has been decommissioned since 1922. Luckily for us, that means it can now be one of the most unusual UK staycation ideas.
With a roof-terrace hot tub, this certainly isn’t your average lighthouse any more, and the few rooms they have are all individually decorated and arranged so you can pick your priority. Sea views or rolling-field vistas, four-poster beds, or catch up on your favourite TV. These renovated rooms provide all mod-cons while also being one of the most unique places to stay in the UK.
Being one of Wales’ Grade II listed buildings, this unique place to stay in the UK provides another chance to snooze off in the history of our nation.
Take an army flight to the remote Falkland Islands
Far from being your average staycation – or, in fact, a staycation at all if we’re being honest – a trip to the British overseas territory of the Falkland Islands is pretty far-flung. It took me around 17 hours to get here, flying from the RAF Oxford Base via Cape Verde. These Royal Air Force operated flights are open for passengers.
Imagine deserted beaches, with just you and thousands of penguins, or a remote cabin on an island the size of a city but with only two human inhabitants but plenty of puffins, sea lions and waddling friends. Social distancing isn’t a new thing here; it’s a way of life, and it’s a breath-taking setting to get up close and personal with four types of Penguin!