Updated: 20th February 2021
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Staycation – the portmanteau whose official meaning, or even legitimacy as a word, has become a very hot topic over the last year. Unsurprisingly, as if we are honest, we haven’t had that much to talk about! Debates on meaning aside, the rise of the UK staycation looks very much here to stay for the foreseeable months, so we might as well focus on making them interesting and exciting, rather than worrying about defining the meaning.
Far-flung destinations are off the menu just now, and something closer to home seems a much safer bet for your summer booking. But, fear not, 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 have 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 summer is the time to traverse Blighty on four wheels.
Opting for an electric VW campervan hire won’t just bring you bragging rights and fantastic photos, but also allows you to have a more environmentally friendly trip around the country. 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 to your UK staycation.
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. 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. Hopefully, they will be re-opening for bookings this summer!
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 Staycation than into the greenery of Scotland.
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 best hikes and nature of the country on your doorstep. 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 alongside the chance to mingle with the goats and other animals your doorstep.
Finally get the family together with a fabulous villa holiday
One thing I’m sure we are all desperate to do this summer is see our loved ones, whether it’s extended or close family, or friends – it’s been a while since we could all get together!
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 or a luxury Manor House in the Cotswolds, there are some beautiful options.
A few years ago we did this for my Mums 60th, and it was so nice to have all the extended family under one homely roof for a few days.
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 away amongst 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.
Include a walk through history with a unique museum
If you are anything like me you’ll be crying out for some mental stimulation after all these days, weeks, months at home – so why not weave in some history or learning to your next UK staycation.
One thing the UK excels at are museums, and I’m not just talking your average quick walk through some information boards. Take for example 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 in various stages throughout Britain’s history. From sweet-shops to moving trams, 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, take a look to see which is the nearest to your next UK staycation destination.
Work your way through the UNESCO heritage list
With 35 world heritage sites in the UK, you’ve got more than one a month to work your way through, and hopefully, they will start to re-open to the public soon.
If you don’t fancy an extended break, perhaps little weekend trips incorporating some of these historic and culturally important attractions is 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 a unique UK accommodation option for a little get-away.
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 views, four-poster bed, or catch up on your favourite TV. These renovated rooms provide all mod-cons.
Being one of the Grade II listed buildings in Wales, this unique accommodation offering 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, 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 and have been exempt from any quarantine measures in the past due to low covid cases and having such close ties with the UK – hopefully by November when the weather is kinder in the Falkland Islands, it will be possible to return.
Imagine deserted beaches, with just you and thousands of penguins, or a log-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!