Lockdown restrictions are easing but the typical summer holiday abroad still looks uncertain for millions of Brits. As high streets, attractions and other key tourist spots begin to open back up, now could be the perfect time to look at staycation destinations if you want to escape.
Whilst restrictions are lifting, social distancing is likely to still be in place over the summer months, so keep this in mind when booking destinations and thinking about what you’d like to do. With uncertainty remaining, booking last minute may be a wise decision. Be sure to understand the refund or exchange policy of any providers you’re booking with beforehand too.
This southwest county in Wales bears plenty of coastline and stunning views. If you like being active during your staycation and taking in some incredible sights, there are over 180 miles of trails to explore in the country, which will take you through quaint villages, vibrant towns and beaches. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park ensures the area stays pristine and you might be lucky enough to spot some of the coastal wildlife.
As you stroll through Pembrokeshire, there’s plenty of opportunities to step back in time too. Pembroke Castle is just one option that is steeped in history. If it’s open, you can climb the towers, explore hidden passages and descend into the limestone cave below. If you’re a fan of delving into history, you may also want to add St Davids Bishops Palace, Castell Henllys Iron Age Village and some of the historic churches to your itinerary too.
Cornwall is a favourite staycation destination thanks to the beaches and thriving towns. If you want to escape to the coast this year, Falmouth may be a great place to start. The Falmouth Harbour is a gateway to the beautiful Fal River, which runs through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, perfect for nature lovers. There are some excellent beaches to walk along or relax in if the weather is warm enough too, including Swanpool Beach and Gyllngvase Beach.
As well as the natural attractions, you may want to spend some time visiting Pendennis Castle, which was built by Henry VIII, the National Maritime Museum or Falmouth Art Gallery. Falmouth usually has a packed calendar of events to keep locals and tourists alike entertained, however, you should check whether scheduled events are still going ahead and expect changes last minute given the current circumstances.
Heading to the Scottish Highlands can provide a perfect opportunity to escape from your usual setting. Inverness, often regarded as the capital of the Highlands, has plenty to offer those looking for a break. Of course, the most famous attraction close to Inverness is Loch Ness with visitors intent on monster hunting. Even if you don’t catch a glimpse of Nessie, the Lock is well worth a visit thanks to its picturesque views. Inverness is perfectly placed for getting out and seeing more of the stunning Scottish Highlands.
Inverness Castle is a riverside fortress that you’ll want to explore too. Other places you should check the opening hours of include Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, the botanical gardens and the Culloden Visitor Centre.
4. Lake District
As the largest of England’s national parks, it’s easy to see why the Lake District has and continues to be a popular staycation destination, and is now a World Heritage Site. It’s an ideal place to head to if you like taking in the views as you walk, from the lakes to the fells. With so many lakes, there are plenty of chances to get out on the water to take in the view from a different perspective, whether you prefer a boat cruise to relax or a kayak.
Whilst the outdoors is a key part of enjoying the Lake District, there are places to head to if the weather takes a turn for the worse as well. You may want to check out the Lakes Aquarium, Wray Castle or even the world of Beatrix Potter – ideal if you have young children with you.
Heading to another one of England’s national parks, Bakewell, in the Peak District, is a small market town that can act as a gateway for exploring more of the area. The charming town is the perfect base for exploring the peaks, making it ideal for those that want to take in the scenery and natural beauty of the area, but you’re also just a short trip away from Sheffield for when you want to head to a city.
Other local attractions that tourists should add to their list are Haddon Hall, Chatsworth House and the Monsal Trail. Of course, whilst you’re in Bakewell make sure you tuck into a traditional Bakewell pudding too.