As an ardent camper and massive great big superfan of exploring locally and holidaying in the UK, I loved the Summer of 2020 Great Staycation. Everyone seemed to get excited about going on holidays in their own country and whether or not it was because we had been recently released from months in lockdown, UK staycations had a big boom. Barred from the usual week or two in Greece or Grand Canaria, people had to make a different choice if they wanted some well-deserved R&R, and that choice was to stay local and holiday in the UK. And it seems the trend is still going strong. Hurrah I say. Not just for all those in the British tourist industry who have taken a battering over the past year, but for us - the people who finally get to understand why visitors fly thousands of miles to visit this country. These tourists get what all the fuss is about so why is it that some of us can't see what there is to love in the UK? To see the wilds of the Highlands, the pristine sandy beaches of Cornwall, the waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons or the gorges and caves in Somerset. The UK is awesome. And aside from the fact that we have some world-class destinations right here on our doorstep, there are a few other reasons why you shouldn't be sniffy about having a holiday on British shores....
When you go on holiday in the UK, you can drive there. Even if it’s a long way and you’re heading all the way up to the glorious Isle of Skye or across to the turquoise shores of Pembrokeshire, make the journey into an adventure, with plenty of sightseeing and stops along the way. Plan a road trip. Also, you don’t need to cram everything into 2 suitcases and be charged heavily for the privilege as you do on a plane; instead, pack the car to the hilt and head off. If you are going on holiday with kids it makes all the difference to be able to take games, watersports stuff and baby equipment - it just makes life that little bit easier. And forget about hours queuing in airports or sitting on a grounded plane; when you take the car you can spend more time actually enjoying your holiday and much less time feeling stressed at an airport. Lastly, of course, it is a lot cheaper and a lot better for the environment if you do not fly to your destination, so you can feel pretty good about your carbon footprint too.
A long-haul holiday can look like the bargain of a lifetime, but actually, when you add in all the extras there is no doubt that travel abroad is expensive and can take quite a bit of saving up for. On top of flights and hotel, you also need to think about transfers, visas, hire car, (potentially) covid passports, baggage costs...everything adds up. If you stay in the UK and drive to your holiday destination - or take public transport - then immediately costs are lower, which gives you a bit of extra cash for really brilliant accommodation and any extra activities you might fancy doing. More and more people are wanting to tailor their holidays a bit, make real memories and try new things when they go away - horse riding, white water rafting, camel trekking (oh yes you can!) - and in the UK, there are plenty of activities and adventures on offer. And if you want real value for money, a camping holiday is something a bit different and excellent fun; if you haven't tried it, now is certainly the time, as the UK has some of the most superb camping and glamping sites anywhere in the world.
And talking of which, the option of different places to stay in the UK has gone stratospheric. Yes, you can book a bell tent or a Mongolian yurt....but if you want something completely different, you can now stay in double-decker buses, train carriages, sea helicopters (retired, you won’t be airborne) or luxury treehouses so luxurious and so beautiful you'll wonder what on earth you saw in that 3-star gaff in Marbella. You can choose to holiday in the remote wilderness or a lively market town - or both. Your lodgings can sometimes be a bit pricey depending on how high-end you go, but with what you are saving on travel and other expenses, you can plough your holiday money into the most extraordinary accommodation you and your crew have ever stayed in. You've just got to have a wild imagination and an adventurous spirit - the glampsite owners have done the rest for you....
Not only is it expensive to leave your hound with a dog sitter when you go on holiday, but it can sometimes get a bit sad leaving them behind (I am way too emotionally attached to my spaniel) and no one wants a pack of sobbing children all the way to Cromer. Stay in your own country for your holiday, choose a dog-friendly place and the dog comes too. You'll be more active (they still need walks after all), you'll spend more time outdoors, and they won't have strong opinions about where you go, which makes them excellent travel companions.
There are so many incredible places to stay, explore and visit in the UK and sometimes we miss out on all of this with our need to get on a plane and go somewhere that isn't our own country. I'm certainly not saying never go abroad - quite the opposite, I love exploring new countries - but instead of ALWAYS going abroad for a holiday, make one of the annual destinations a staycation instead. You won't be restricted to fit into "7 night or 14 night" options as you often are with package holidays, you can go for three nights or 11 nights or a few weeks if you are lucky enough to have the time. Why not work from the treehouse.
The UK is a treasure trove of amazing places to explore; we are surrounded by sea on all sides and have surf beaches, calm crystal waters, remote islands packed with wildlife, stunning lakes, snow-capped peaks and vast underground caves. The Lake District, the Norfolk Broads, the Cairngorm mountains, the Scottish highlands, the extraordinary world-class beaches of Pembrokeshire and Cornwall, National Parks and timeless villages, the list goes on and on. If you haven't done it already, it is time to experience The Great Staycation.
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