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  • Writer's pictureVCMS Team

Our Top 4 UK Staycation Ideas

Only a UK staycation can give you Morris Dancers

Staycations are here to stay. While many of us know a staycation is a vacation without leaving one’s home country, the big question is why are they so popular and what are some of the best staycations on offer?

We’ll answer these questions and more in this Top 4 UK Staycation Ideas blog, where we’ve gone with the UK because it’s the British who are embracing staycations the most. We'll also share some of the best UK staycation ideas with you. First, here's a bit of background.

Back in the day

Brits are nostalgic about fish 'n' chips in seaside towns

Long before all-inclusive package holidays, winter sun offers and low-cost airlines, British families spent their leisure time exploring the mountains, coasts, lakes and historical cities the British Isles is blessed with an abundance of.

These happy holiday memories from childhood are like internal movie clips we can replay whenever we need reminding of better times. When the world suddenly couldn’t travel easily anymore, it was no wonder Brits renewed their love affair with The Great British Staycation.

Just look at the stats. In 2016, United Kingdom residents went on an estimated 44.7 million holiday trips in England. But 2022, reports, was the record year for UK staycations, with over 77% of Brits booking holidays in their own country. Bookings made up to July 2022 were up by 30% year-on-year.

Sit back and staycation

Misty mountains of the Scottish Highlands

The benefits of a UK staycation are as plentiful as they are logical. Being in your home country allows you make better use of your time. Getting to your destination is quicker, easier, and you can use your own transport with no added insurance. If you fly regionally, the need to wait around in airport lounges for hours is much reduced, as are flight times. You might not even need GPS to find the way to your favorite Cornish hideaway, Welsh national park or Scottish Highlands cottage, and you certainly don’t need translators or tour guides. Instead, you can holiday to your own pace, take multiple short breaks instead of a single two-week vacation. You can also spend more time doing fun activities at a time and place of your choosing, without any currency exchange charges and hassles.

Plus, and this is where Brits are increasingly buying-in to responsible tourism, by visiting British tourist sites and attractions, staycation holidaymakers are supporting the UK tourism industry and overall UK economy.

How to staycation?

A common assumption is that a staycation is just a fancy word for staying at home and putting your feet up in front of the TV. That couldn’t be any further from the truth! Instead, staycations mean wild and wonderful walks through nature, going on a shopping spree and watching a West End show …and then putting your feet up at a luxury lodge or a boutique London suite.

The UK is home to picture-perfect resorts in magnificent locations, such as the Peak District, the New Forest, South Devon, Snowdonia National Park, the North Yorkshire moors and so much more. And what better way to recharge your batteries than in the Lake District with beautiful views across the water and the tension-taming sound of waves lapping against the banks.

Durdle Door, on Dorset's Jurassic Coast

Another booming trend is luxury motorhome staycations. Simply take your accommodation with you and enjoy the British Isles at your own pace from the Cairngorms National Park to the Norfolk Broads, or Durdle Door. Luxury motorhomes also add an extra dimension to ‘sleighcations’, where you can stow your skis and snowboards and park right up to the best snowy spots in the UK.

Now that we've covered the plus points of a UK staycation, it's time to reveal our top four.

1. Reign Supreme at a St Ives Castle

St. Ives, the harbor town with a light to draw artists

Recent staycation research commissioned by Hoseasons revealed a third of the respondents (36%) from Great Britain said their favourite holiday memory was of eating fish and chips on the beach, with 22% naming building sandcastles as their favourite.

In light of this compelling statistic, we’ve selected as one of our top four UK staycation ideas the timeless harbor town of St Ives in Cornwall, with the most delicious fish and chips you could ever wish for.

This staycation is not just anywhere in St Ives, but rather the magnificent Tregenna Castle. Set in west Cornwall’s best beauty spot, Tregenna Castle is a 72-acre estate filled with woodland, subtropical gardens and all surrounded by panoramic views of the St Ives Bay coastline and the sparkling Cornish sea.

Guests often feel the stories of King Arthur and Guinevere in their Tintagel Castle are much easier to reimagine when staying at Tregenna Castle. It helps when many of the rooms have won awards for their sea views, and that they’ve been designed with the emphasis on classic, authentic luxury the star-crossed pair would have appreciated.

While Arthur and Guinevere might have never played golf on Cornish shores, you can at Tregenna’s wonderful 18-hole golf course. Staycation holidays should also have enough on-site facilities to keep you entertained, which Tregenna has a bounty of, including two all-weather tennis courts, a fitness centre, and an indoor and outdoor heated swimming pool.

St Ives is also not just a pretty seaside town.

The Tate St. Ives has probably the world's best setting

A bit like Honfleur in France, the English town has long drawn artists with the beauty of its surrounding landscape and the quality of its natural light. So get some inspiration from the Tate St Ives, where the works of masters like J.M.W. Turner sit alongside a series of stunning viewpoints designed to frame the magical Cornish town’s light, seascapes and landscapes. Then have a go yourself at the St Ives School of Painting.

2. Celebrate Sports at Whittlebury Park

Silverstone's calling

While the older generations wanted nothing more from their holiday than a few days of uninterrupted sunshine lazing beside the sea, many modern travellers want to do more on holiday than spend their every day at the beach. Cue our second staycation idea, a non-stop celebration of things to do in, of all places, rural Northamptonshire.

The location is Whittlebury Park, a huge 700 acre estate set in ancient parkland, the perfect getaway sanctuary. But this is no monks only refuge. Instead, it’s a sports lovers’ playground with a 36-hole Championship golf course the jewel in this oasis of activity.

Like a swish football academy for elite prospects, Whittlebury Park is tailored to make sports fans feel on another level. Another huge attraction for Formula One fans is that Whittlebury Park is the United Kingdom's closest hotel to Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix. If you can get a Silverstone meet into your itinerary, you’ll have the very best base from which to get there with minimal stress. After a day’s golf or a thrilling race, you can head to the full-treatment spa for the jacuzzi, massage and steam room bliss, complete, with a 19-metre swimming pool with bubble jets.

Afterwards, dine in at one of Whittlebury Park’s two restaurants: the classic and contemporary Aston’s, and Murrays, its triple AA Rosette-awarded counterpart.

3. Live it up in London

London nights are never dull

As staycation ideas go, London is a no-brainer. Where exquisite beaches, tropical jungles, and mountain fjords soothe the soul, London's edgy, non-stop energy and city chic stimulates the mind. The beauty of London for a UK staycation is that a weekend is more than enough for a quick shot of world-class capital city entertainment.

And, if you intend to paint London red, you need a hotel that makes you feel like a high-roller. Introducing Corinthia London, a meticulously redesigned Victorian treasure that elevates your appreciation of refinement and style.

No surprise then that likes of George Clooney, Beyoncé, and Johnny Depp stay at the Corinthia, frequent its two critically acclaimed restaurants, and indulge in a spot of pampering at the hotel's leading ESPA spa. While it has become known as ‘A Hotel for the Super Rich & Famous’ after a BBC documentary, there are many options on offer, including popping in for the hotel’s signature champagne afternoon teas, a UK holiday staple.

The inimicable Corinthia London

But, ultimately, it's all about location and the Corinthia's setting in the stylish district of Westminster in south west London is perfect.

Right on your doorstep is Trafalgar Square, the London Eye, the theaters of the West End and the designer shopping meccas of Regent and Bond streets. If it's fashion or a night of razzle-dazzle you're after – or a bit of everything – London, like it has done for centuries, wows its visitors in every way.

4. Ring of Kerry by Motorhome

You'll see all types on the Ring of Kerry

There's nothing like one of the new generation luxury motorhomes for exploring Britain. And there's no finer places to explore via the open road that the Ring of Kerry in Ireland. Simply drive onto a ferry and alight at Rosslare. Make a short detour to Wexford for Curracloe beach, where the opening scenes of the Oscar-winning Saving Private Ryan was filmed.

Point your luxury mobile home westwards to Killarney and juice up your batteries overnight at Fossa Campsite on the edge of the Ring of Kerry, just three miles from the Instagram-ready mountain pass over the Gap of Dunloe. From here, the 200-km Ring of Kerry is an area of outstanding natural beauty that's all yours to explore, from mountain trails, deep lakes, lush forests, rugged beaches and elegant rivers to old stone bridges, and pretty little towns with colourful houses.

If you have even more staycation time to spare, take a boat across to the Skelligs, which featured on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. These haunting islands are home to puffins, odd, beehive-shaped buildings, and a 1,000 year-old monastery.

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