Summer is finally here! The sun is shining and everyone is in a great mood. For many of us, that means it’s time to jet off to luxurious locations across the globe. But for others it means we have to live vicariously through those lucky people by keeping an eye on their Instagram feeds.
However, if you still haven’t sorted your plans for this summer — or are already looking for your next break you could try a staycation! In the UK, we are blessed with so many idyllic locations, so a fantastic summer holiday doesn’t have to include an extended trip on an aeroplane and hours of waiting in an airport.
Starting off at the top of the UK and Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands is an extremely scenic option. This location is very popular all year round thanks to its huge range of summer and winter activities. The panoramic views from the top of CairnGorm mountain are breathtaking and, depending on the season in which you visit, you can partake in ski, snowboard or mountain bike activities. In the summer it makes for a great walk, but make sure you keep hydrated!
Rothiemurchus Estate is another must for outdoor lovers. Made up from a 50km network of well-maintained paths, you can saunter through the beautiful forest to the foot of vast mountains, passing stunning lochs on your journey. With an array of wildlife, the naturalists among us will be in their element on any of the three fantastic self-guided walks that are mapped out.
Even better is the fact you don’t even need your car to get here. Aviemore is easily accessible, so why not check out Stagecoach’s bus prices and start planning your trip today?
Head south of the Scottish border and you’ll end up in another region that has something for everyone — Northumberland. This is somewhere that you don’t often hear about but there’s miles of beautiful coastline just waiting for you to explore. The area is constantly winning rave reviews for its range of beautifully clean beaches, making it perfect for a day by the seaside if the sun comes out to play. You can also take a boat from Seahouses to the most famous Sea Bird Sanctuary in the British Isles, the Farne Islands. Here, you are likely to see its large colony of Atlantic seals. With many cruises available to book, there are plenty of excellent opportunities to view the island’s offshore birds and larger mammals.
Elsewhere in Northumberland, you can venture to the home of Harry Potter if you’re a big fan like me. Not only was the blissful setting at Alnwick Castle used for several scenes in the wizarding world, you can even undergo some broomstick training while you’re there! This is definitely something I’d consider travelling up north for!
Pembrokeshire is the Welsh addition to the list and is home to the UK’s only coastal national park. Sitting on Wales’ south coast, the hotspot of Tenby was voted the best place for a holiday in Wales by the country’s residents. I’ve not had the chance to visit many places in Wales, but I would love to go there for a few days over the summer. The quintessential seaside town attracts tourists of all ages thanks to its beautiful beaches, top-notch pubs and boutique shops.
Tenby’s Dinosaur Park takes you back in time, providing fun for all ages. So, be sure to go along and dig for dinosaur fossils and embark on the dinosaur trail in a bid to spot the 30 dinosaurs that are lurking deep in the undergrowth.
Crossing the border back to England once more and Cornwall enters the list as the most southern location to receive a mention. I finally visited for the first time last year and now I’m dying to go back. This destination is blessed with beautiful beaches and a rugged coastline and it would be an impossible task to list all walks available, but Lundy Bay walk and St Agnes lookout are two that must be considered. Also worth a visit is Land’s End, with stunning views across Britain’s most southwesterly point, the location is a prime spot for keen birdwatchers.
Away from the relaxation, Cornwall is also home to some great activities. Have you ever thought about tree surfing? If not, why not? You won’t need a board or wetsuit for this variation of the Cornish surf scene, but one thing for sure is that you can’t be afraid of heights. Tamar Valley is home to a series of rope bridges, swings and zip wires that allow you to weave through its woodland. Of course, there’s a host of watersports at the ready, too, with Cornwall having a cluster of surf schools to choose from.
It goes without saying that the UK is home to many more ideal holiday locations, all offering their own unique selling points. With the Isle of Wight and Northern Ireland — home of the mythological Finn McCool, Giant’s Causeway and Game of Thrones — slightly further afield, but accessible by ferry, there are endless options available. So, instead of reaching for this faraway travel brochures, maybe think twice about your next vacation and consider somewhere a bit closer to home.