From April 12th, holidays are back on! Yes, it’s time to book your UK ‘staycation’ and get away for the first time in what feels like forever.
But where will you end up?
If you’re struggling for inspiration, here are our 12 favourite ‘staycation’ ideas to give you a hand! As well as informing you what there is to do, we’ll give you some nearby day trips and an idea where you can stay. We’ll even throw in some of the UK’s most scenic routes for those who want to turn this into a road trip.
Plus, we’re keeping everything in line with Step 2 of the UK Government’s ‘Roadmap of Lockdown’. With self-catering accommodation not opening in Scotland until the 26th April, we’ve stuck to England and Wales for now. Stay tuned for some Scottish themed ideas later in the year!
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Have you followed your ‘Roadmap out of Lockdown’ yet?
Before you pack everything into your car and set off, you need to make sure it survives the journey. The last thing you want is a breakdown threatening your ‘staycation’.
After a year in Lockdown, the chances are your car is in no fit state to drive anywhere, let alone these 12 amazing locations. To get the holiday you deserve, follow our ‘Roadmap out of Lockdown‘ before travelling. We recommend at least an Oil and Filter Change and Vehicle Safety Check, but you can also book a CV1 shot and Air Con Regas. We also offer a DPF Flush and AdBlue top up for diesel vehicles.
When you book these services, you’ll avoid a stressful, expensive breakdown and get the peace of mind you deserve. That way, nothing can stand in the way of your fun.
What’s more, it’s easy to book online with BookMyGarage! Just enter your reg number and postcode to instantly compare deals from thousands of fastfit, independent and franchise garages near you. Filter the results by price, availability, distance or reviews to find your perfect deal! Compare. Save. Job Done.
Once you’ve got your car back into top condition, you can start thinking about where you want to spend your next UK holiday. Maybe you’ll choose one of our 12 ‘staycation’ ideas…
Bognor Regis (Sussex)
This beautiful seaside town gets the most sunshine hours in the UK. What better place to maximise your first UK staycation of 2021?
While the nearby Butlins resort is a major attraction on its own, Bognor Regis has plenty more to offer. The town centre includes shops, restaurants and leisure facilities, mostly within the West End. Nature also plays a big part. Explore the award winning, family friendly beaches and various parks and gardens around Bognor Regis. With such a choice, there’s plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs and relax in the sun.
What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Bognor Regis?
For those who want a more adventurous hike, the South Downs national park is a 15 minute drive away. Weald and Downland Living Museum in Chichester is also well worth a visit to explore how our ancestors lived. It has detailed replicas of building dating all the way back to the 10th Century AD!
You’re also within an hour’s drive of Portsmouth, Brighton and Hayling Island, which makes Bognor the perfect base to explore the South Coast.
Even without the stunning appeal of the famous White Cliffs, there’s plenty to see and do in Dover. The town centre has a great choice of local shops and restaurants to tempt everyone, but the real draw is the stunning Kentish countryside. You can explore it both on foot or bike, and your age or ability doesn’t matter! There are also a range of guided tours to help you learn about the rich history of Dover.
As an area of historical significance, Dover Museum and Castle are well worth visiting when they reopen to the public later this year.
What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Dover?
The historic cathedral city of Canterbury and the seaside resort of Margate are both around half an hour away. Both are great days out! The Isle of Sheppey is a great escape and you can explore the relative wilderness of a National Nature Reserve. Plus, the Kent Downs is a sprawling Area of Natural Beauty, covering well over 50 miles – perfect for longer hikes.
Gloucester (The Cotswalds)
The main draw of a staycation in Gloucester is the 11th Century Gothic Cathedral which dominates the city centre. It was used for filming in the ‘Harry Potter’ films, and is also the final resting place of King Edward II. The Cathedral is only open for quiet personal prayer at the minute, but the exterior is still a fantastic sight. Besides, there’s plenty more of the UK’s most inland port to explore.
The repurposed Victorian docks now host a range of shops and fine dining restaurants. You can even dine on the water itself with ‘Cafe on the Cut’, a narrowboat cafe! Sports fans can also see the Kingsholm Stadium where Gloucester Rugby play in the Gallagher Premiership.
What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Gloucester?
Gloucester is a fantastic base for exploring the Cotswalds District. Cheltenham, Bristol, Oxford and Worcester are all less than an hour and a half away and all are worth visiting. However, the real appeal is the stunning area of English countryside next door. The Cotswalds contains a Wildlife Park & Gardens, a range of lively market towns and countless miles of rolling countryside to explore. Where will you end up?
Kendal (Lake District)
If you visit Kendal, you have to try their Mint Cake! The recipe hasn’t changed in over 100 years and it’s the perfect energy boost to explore the nearby Lake District.
Even with an iconic National Park a short drive away, Kendal has more to offer if hiking isn’t your thing. Levens Hall, Kendal Castle and the various art centres that call this town home are some of the rich cultural attractions on show. Or, if you’re looking for something a little different to interest the entire family, take a walk with an Alpaca at Wreay Syke Alpaca Centre.
What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Kendal?
Explore the Lake District. It’s one of the most beautiful National Park in the UK, and offers plenty of excitement and adventure. From Lake Windermere to Scarfell Pike (one of the Three Peaks) and the fell trails in between, there are plenty of possibilities in the Lake District. What’s more, the Yorkshire Dales are a short drive to the East and offer a more rustic taste of the outdoors!
Newport (Isle of Wight)
Often considered the unofficial capital of the Isle of Wight, Newport is an ideal UK ‘staycation’. Nearby Monkey Haven and Butterfly World are perfect days out for the kids, and you can explore over 1,000 years of history at Carisbrooke Castle. With a local farmer’s market and plenty of independent shops, Newport is the perfect spot to get away from the mainland and relax for a while.
What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Newport?
There’s plenty more to see and do on the Isle of Wight. Visit the popular coastal spot of Sandown Beach or see Osborne House grounds and gardens in full bloom. You can also take a pleasure cruise out into the Solent to see the Needles from afar. With so much beauty and opportunity, you should definitely consider the Isle of Wight for your first UK ‘staycation’ of 2021.
Cornwall has always been a popular spot for a ‘staycation’, and there’s no better place than Newquay! This pretty little seaside town has won a whole host of awards, including the title of Nation’s Favourite Seaside Town (Which?) and Best Family Holiday Destination (Coast). With exceptional beaches, stunning views of the Atlantic and a Zoo with over 1,000 rare and endangered animals, it’s very easy to fall in love here.
What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Newquay?
Padstow, St Ives, Tintagel, Falmouth and Penzance are all less than an hour away. These charming towns and villages have both cultural and historical secrets to discover. Land’s End is just a little further, where you can stare out into the Atlantic Ocean and marvel at what lies beyond. For the best driving experience, we recommend following the Atlantic Highway (A39). It connects Somerset and Cornwall, running down the Devon and Cornish coast. You get almost constant views of the ocean and a host of picturesque locations to visit! Perfect for a driving holiday.
This highly recommended UK ‘staycation’ is incredibly Social Media worthy. Explore the pretty architecture and winding streets to find that perfect snap. You can go it alone or choose a guided bus or walking tour to avoid getting lost. If you’re looking for a fright, Norwich has a range of ghastly ghost tours throughout the year. Plus, it’s one of the top 10 places to shop in the UK thanks to its range of independent businesses. It’s the perfect city for a chilled out UK ‘staycation’!
What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Norwich?
The beautiful coastal town of Great Yarmouth is nearby. This popular tourist spot will satisfy all your ice cream, fish’n’chips and beach needs! You can also visit historic Ipswich and Colchester (both around 1 and a half hours away), or the Suffolk and Norfolk coasts. These Areas of Natural Beauty have diverse, scenic landscapes and protected species and secluded beaches to find. The Norfolk Coast is also a beautiful driving route. Just keep the coast on your left out of King’s Lynn and head all the way along to Great Yarmouth. That way, you get to see the very best of this county.
Portmadog (North Wales)
This pretty coastal village is an underappreciated gem in North Wales. As well as offering plenty to see and do locally, it offers easy access to plenty of tourist hotspots, such as Anglesey. Any train enthusiast has to hop on the Ffestinigog Steam Railway as it passes through Portmadog station. It runs through the same rugged Welsh countryside as it did when it first opened in the 1830s! Plus, there’s plenty to learn about the last thousands years of Welsh history and culture in Portmadog.
What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Portmadog?
The most appealing local attraction has to be the nearby village of Portmeirion. Inspired by the Italian Rivera, this is a beautiful example of European style architecture. Snowdonia National Park is a close second. It is home to Mount Snowdon, the UK’s second highest peak, and there are plenty of pretty coastal views, walks and beaches a short drive from Portmadog. If all that wasn’t enough, Caenarfon Castle, Wales’ most famous castle, stands nearby. It has imposed itself over the nearby landscape since the 13th Century!
Find some escapism in this family favourite resort town. Sunbathe on South Bay beach or wander through Peasholm Park. a Japanese-inspired garden. In fact, there are plenty of diverse walks, cycle trails, Treasure Trails and nature reserves to explore in and around Scarborough. If you want a ‘staycation’ with arts appeal, Scarborough is definitely the place for you. It inspired the Bronte sisters, there is a bustling theatre scene and plenty of picture perfect landscapes to paint. Unwind and relax in the quintessential British resort town.
What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Scarborough?
Head half an hour up the coast and sample some of the UK’s best fish’n’chips in Whitby, another excellent resort town! Make sure you visit Whitby Abbey, which inspired Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. York is also just over an hour away. A lot of attractions might still be closed in this historic city, but the blend of old and new still can’t be missed. Where else can you cross from a cobbled street to a modern pavements and then end up outside an imposing 7th Century Minster?
Shropshire is an underrated Area of Natural Beauty, and Shrewsbury is the perfect place to begin your adventure. With the River Severn winding through the centre of the town, water pursuits such as canoeing and pleasure boating are easy to find. Then, enjoy al-fresco dining while the sun sets at an exceptional local restaurant. Shrewsbury is also a great location for a ‘staycation’ of discovery. It offers easy access to Central and North Wales and the West Midlands alongside Shropshire itself.
What else can you do during your ‘staycation’ in Shrewsbury?
Oswestry, Wrexham, Hereford, Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent, Liverpool and Chester are all between 30 minutes and 2 hours from Shrewsbury. Each is completely different and a fantastic place to explore. If you would prefer to spend your UK ‘staycation’ among nature, Shropshire has plenty to offer you. Its defining feature is its beautiful rolling hills. This landscape is perfect for ramblers or experienced hill walkers.
Swansea (South Wales)
Wales’ second city is full of tradition and culture. The legacy of Dylan Thomas, a famous 20th Century Poet, is evident in his birthplace. What’s more, the local Indoor Market is one of the largest in Wales! Try a range of unusual local treats including laverbread (made from seaweed).
After that, The Mumbles and The Gower Peninsula are two particular highlights. With over 120 shops, restaurants and pubs, The Mumbles is a must-see seaside village. Sample some of its first-class ice cream and seafood while you’re exploring. Stroll along The Gower Peninsula and fall in love with its breath taking beaches. Birdwatchers, walkers, sunbathers and surfers alike will enjoy this stunning natural landscape.
What else can you do on your ‘staycation’ in Swansea?
Take a day trip to Cardiff (which is worth an entire ‘staycation’ on its own)! If you’re looking to get closer to nature, the Brecon Beacons are around an hour’s drive from Swansea. This harsh National Park is a fantastic challenge for experienced hikers. You should always know the weather, prepare correctly and let someone know where you’re going before you head into the mountains. For a calmer stroll, head west to the Pembrokshire Coast.
You can also join up with the Cambrian Way, another great UK driving route. It stretches from Cardiff to Llandudno, cutting through the heart of Wales. No matter how much or how little of it you drive, you’ll never be disappointed by the views of the countryside!
This is the jewel in Dorset’s crown. Weymouth has been consistently recognised as one of the top 10 beach destinations in Europe and it’s not hard to see why. Take in the Georgian beach huts and picturesque seafront as you stroll down Chesil Beach. This World Heritage Site is one of only three shingle beaches in Britain and has significant natural and historical importance. With plenty of attractions and amusement arcades in Weymouth as well, it’s the perfect place for a proper seaside holiday this Spring.
What else can you do during your ‘staycation’ in Weymouth?
Portland, Dorchester, Bournemouth and Poole are all great local destinations for shopping. There are plenty more sandy beaches along the Dorset coast if you want some more sunbathing. Of course, the main attraction is the Jurassic Coast. Dorset is synonymous with Dinosaurs, and no visit is complete without visiting Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, searching for fossils along the way.
The Swanage Railway is a heritage steam railway which has remained relatively unchanged since 1885. Parents of young children will also want to check when the next Thomas the Tank Engine themed events is! Board a train and head to Corfe Castle, a 1,000 year old ruin which has played many roles throughout history. Once you’ve had your fill of history, finish off with some Purbeck ice cream. It’s considered one of the best in the UK!
Where are you planning to spend your first UK ‘staycation’ of 2021? Let us know in the comments below! Remember to follow our ‘Roadmap out of Lockdown’ to get your car back in top condition and you to your destination safely!
Drew works for BookMyGarage writing blogs, website content and almost everything else in between. He works closely with ex-mechanics and subject matter experts. When he’s not helping you save money on running your car or making your driving life easier, he can be found either with his head in a book or with a golf club in his hands (usually looking for his ball in the woods)