If you’re researching where to go on holiday in the UK, we’re here to inspire you! We’ve assembled the best UK staycation ideas from all corners of the country, to bring you beautiful beaches, breath-taking countryside and some idyllic towns and villages to check out. Summer holidays around the UK are becoming increasingly popular and many people forget about the amazing experiences you can have without having to board a plane.
Sit back, relax and decide where to go on holiday in the UK. You’ll probably save money too!
Cornwall and Devon
Sitting first on our list is a destination that paved the way for UK staycation ideas. Cornwall and Devon have long been the corner of the UK where you can spend a weekend, week or even the full summer, relaxing by the beach or exploring nature without having to fly abroad. They experience some of the hottest summer temperatures and have arguably the best beaches in the country. It can be a bit of a trek getting here from some parts of the UK but once you arrive in this character-some corner of Britain, you won’t want to leave.
Spend your days strolling around a pretty marina town such as Padstow, embrace country life by staying in a quaint cottage or explore the amazing coastline. The beaches, coves, caves and cool rock formations are what Cornwall and Devon are really about so try to visit when the weather is hot. Relax by the shore with your favourite book or grab your wetsuit and take to seas for some famous British surfing. Many visitors come here to do just that! We recommend bringing your car along for the trip and booking your Cornwall staycation way in advance. It’s very popular between June and August!
Best for: Beach lovers, surfers, families, couples, all ages
The Lake District is a National Park tucked away in a green corner of Cumbria. Made up of vast hills, idyllic lakes and winding roads that lead to small villages, the Lake District is a hiker’s paradise and you’ll find walking paths for all levels of difficulty. A holiday here is all about exploring the beautiful scenery during the day, before cosying up in a cabin with a hot tub on an evening. Drive between the many villages and explore the lakes to their fullest!
The Lake District is a destination that appeals to families, is a romantic getaway for couples and suits groups of friends that want an outdoor adventure. There’s something for everyone here! If you visit during autumn and winter, wrap up warm and cosy up by the fire. Warmer climates pave way to outdoor activities such as kayaking, climbing, bike rides, zipline challenges and rafting. The Centre Parks Resort in the Lake District is particularly good for this. You’ll find accommodation ranging from lodges and campgrounds to boutique B&B’s and luxury lake-side hotels too.
Best for: Hikers and adventurers, couples, families
The Dorset Coast
The southern-most county of Dorset has two great things that make it one of the best UK staycation ideas. Its famous Jurassic Coast is a spectacular collection of cliffs, rock formations and beaches that looks onward across the channel to France. Hike up the hill for stunning views and then descend to the beaches for a nice picnic and relaxation. Inland from the beaches is Dorset’s other key draw – it’s quaint countryside, where you’ll discover luxury spa hotels, small cottages and villages.
Aside from the beautiful scenery, Dorset has some nice towns and cities to check if you want an action-packed daytrip. Pop into the sunny beach resort town of Weymouth and enjoy fish and chips on the pier or stay a night in Bournemouth for live music, a vibrant nightlife and lots to do night and day. Dorset is a must-see destination in the UK and couldn’t be a better choice for a traditional beach holiday. Visit between June and August for temperatures that rival Spain!
Best for: Nature lovers, beach lovers, couples, families, hikers
South-west Wales – (Pembrokeshire)
The Pembrokeshire area of South-west Wales is a holiday hotspot for the Welsh every summer. This gorgeous corner of the country has a coastline of beaches and cliffs that rival the rest of Europe and the small villages see a huge influx of holiday seekers looking to wind down and enjoy the weather. Experience cultural castles, ruins and historic sites, drive along the protected coastline of Pembroke National Park, or have the whole family take part in activities such as archery, boat trips and a visit to the zoo. Pembrokeshire makes a great UK staycation idea for families!
One of the highlights of any trip to South Wales is a stop by the seaside town of Tenby. The village is lined with colourful houses, has a viewpoint that gives you stunning glances of the coast and an action-packed beach full of activities and facilities. We recommend a stay in town for a couple of nights and then driving around the rest of Pembrokeshire to see the natural beauty of nature, hidden beaches and all of the fun activities on offer. It’ll long be a UK holiday hotspot and we encourage everyone to pay South Wales a visit – it’s worth the drive!
Best for: Families, beach lovers
The Peak District
If you’re searching where to go on holiday in the UK and want somewhere that breathes nature and adventure, travel south-east of Manchester to the Peak District National Park. Contrary to its name, the national park is a beautiful array of valleys, moors and rocky outcrops that stretch for miles. It’s one of the best places in the UK for walking trails and as the area is so large, you’ll have plenty of your own space to enjoy a leisurely stroll.
The Peak District is a top UK staycation idea for couples and friends that just want to enjoy nature and go for walks and hikes during the day, retreating back to a cosy cottage on an evening. It has a particularly romantic setting and villages such as Buxton, Crich Tramway and the grandeur Chatsworth House will make you feel like you’re in a fairy-tale world of past Britain. A country escape recommended for nature lovers that want peace and quiet and a taste of traditional England.
Best for: Nature lovers, hikers, couples
When non-Brits think of the UK, they picture the idyllic villages and countryside that they’ve seen in movies such as Love Actually and The Holiday. Winding countryside roads, small towns and gorgeous greenery are all preconceptions of traditional British life and the Cotswolds matches that description to the letter. As a popular country retreat for Londoners that want to escape the city, the Cotswolds is one of the most romantic UK staycation ideas you’ll find. Cosy cottages, quiet walks and enchanting villages are waiting to be explored.
A long weekend or even a full week in the Cotswolds will leave you feeling relaxed and at-one with nature. The scenery will take your breath away and you’ll uncover a new favourite place every day. We recommend staying in one of the central villages such as Stow-on-the-Wold or Bourton-on-the-Water. Use it as a base to go on daily road trips throughout the country roads, stopping for a long walk or browsing the traditional sweet shops, gift stores and bakeries. This destination will always have a soft spot in our heart and we encourage anyone looking for a quiet countryside staycation to make it top of their list!
Best for: Couples, friends, nature lovers
Yorkshire’s east coast is a sleepy collection of towns during autumn and winter, but it comes alive during the warmer months of the year. It’s a great UK staycation idea for those that want a mix of history and culture alongside beaches and fairgrounds. Start your British holiday in the iconic city of York, where you can explore its medieval castle, delve deep into York Dungeons or wander the pretty cobbled streets. York is a small but culture-rich city that makes our ‘best places to visit in the UK list’ **insert link** and a visit will not disappoint.
After a couple of nights in York, drive out to the coastline to find the picturesque fishing village or Whitby, which is a great place for sightseeing, golf, eating out and simply wandering around looking at the pretty marina. Further along the coast you have Scarborough, a traditional British beach town with a long promenade, amusement arcade and plenty of bars and restaurants. The entire coastline is full of fun attractions that you can enjoy in the nice weather! Take a detour to Flamingo Land theme park at the end of your holiday and you’ll leave Yorkshire eager to return.
Best for: Families, couples
A London city break
London is very unlike the rest of the UK. As a sprawling and culturally diverse metropolis, it feels like its own country. It’s the most popular UK city break destination and you could visit once a month for a year and still find plenty of things to do! The iconic sights on offer are endless and there’s always a new event or show to check out. For first time visitors to the capital, we recommend all of the main sights, including Buckingham Palace, Parliament and Big Ben, the London Eye, Tower Bridge and the central London shopping streets.
If you’ve visited London before and have completed the tourist routes, dive deeper into London life to experience the beautiful nature of Regent’s Park, Kew Gardens, Brick Lane in East London and Portobello Market in Notting Hill. London is an excellent UK staycation idea for those that want an action-packed holiday where you won’t be bored and it suits all ages and interests. With temperatures sometimes soaring to 30+ degrees in the summer and the many tourists exploring at the same time, you’ll feel like you’re on vacation abroad!
Best for: Sightseeing, city breaks, all ages
The Scottish Highlands
You may not be brave enough to tackle the harsh conditions of the Scottish Highlands during winter, but the summer is a much more pleasant time to check out this captivating mountain scenery. Drive to the outer countryside of Inverness or arrive in Northwest Highlands Geopark to be blown away at the vast mountain terrain and wildlife that live here. Ancient castles perched on hill-tops, charming country houses and beautiful lakes glistening in the sun is what makes the Scottish Highlands one of the best UK staycation ideas.
Life away from the Scottish cities may appear lonely at first, however you’ll soon find out that a holiday in the outdoors with the ones you love soon turns into excitement. You’ll be the only ones hiking across exquisite landscapes and getting lost in the wilderness with only animals in sight. We recommend renting a nice countryside house or staying in a small village and venturing out into the countryside during the day. You’ll get a true taste of Scotland!
Best for: Hikers, nature lovers
The Isle of Wight
Sail across the Solent Channel on the frequent ferry from Southampton and land on the Isle of Wight. The island is a winding collection of country roads, tiny villages and relaxing beach coves that are a big hit in the summer months. As the population of the Isle of Wight is low and it’s a fairly large island, a holiday here feels like a welcome escape from the busy beach towns of the mainland. They also host the yearly Isle of Wight music festival, bringing huge crowds and some of the biggest artists in music!
Choose a nice sea-view apartment on the island as a base and spend your days cycling around the quiet roads, relaxing on the beach or visiting attractions such as Bembridge Fort, the local zoo or some fantastic nature reserves. Aside from the towns and marina’s, the Isle of Wight is fairly undeveloped and you’ll get lost in nature, enjoying the sunshine and some of the best temperatures in the UK. We recommend bringing your car along on the ferry and spending a full week on your Isle of Wight staycation.
Best for: Families, couples, beach lovers
Norfolk is often overlooked as where to go on holiday in the UK, mainly attracting locals and those that have experienced the beauty of the county before and are returning for more. It’s a land of countryside mixed with seaside and you can enjoy both without having to drive too far. Arrive on the famous Norfolk broads for a leisurely boat ride down the pretty canals and winding streams, passing windmills and farms along the way.
Outwards towards Great Yarmouth, Holkham and the other coastal areas, you then have huge stretches of beach that are far less crowded than other parts of the country during summer. Castles, markets and the wildlife of the marshes are all part of what makes Norfolk great and you’ll leave feeling refreshed. Fancy staying somewhere a little livelier than the villages of the Norfolk Broads? Norwich is a historic city a short drive away that has a lively weekend nightlife scene and plenty of shops, bars and restaurants. There’s always something on in the summer!
Best for: Couples, nature lovers, beach lovers
We hope we’ve given you plenty of inspiration for where to go on holiday in the UK! Whether you’re a Brit planning on exploring your own country this year or a visitor from afar that wants to sample British life, there’s no shortage of UK staycation ideas. Our list mainly includes the excellent country parks and seaside resorts for a traditional getaway, however there are many more cities and towns if you fancy a weekend city break. Check out our list of the best places to visit in the UK outside of London for more inspiration.
Our final tip for planning your UK holiday is to book your accommodation as far in advance as possible. Staycations are becoming more and more popular and prices soon skyrocket! Find out how to get the best price for your hotel stay in our guide here. ?