Sometimes you really need a break, but don’t fancy the hassle, cost or duration of going abroad. This is where the brilliant British staycation comes into it’s own.
I leap at hopping in the car and going away for a night or two. It gives my mind and body a chance to recharge, and allows us to explore more of this little Island we call home.
If you follow me on Instagram, you will see that little weekend retreats are something that my husband and I try to do regularly. This year we have managed to really make it a priority, and it’s been wonderful.
Here’s a list, in no particular order, of my favourite places to sneak off to for a few days.
As you can see, a lot of the list is rural rather than city breaks. This is down to my preference and type of break.
A lush area of green valleys, with picture perfect villages dotted about, the Yorkshire Dales is easily one of my favourite places to explore. There’s plenty to see, from historic crumbling castles, to caves, waterfalls and cosy inns.
Personally, my perfect weekend in the Dales would consist of a morning walk around Asygarth Falls, where you can view the beautiful waterfalls from three different levels, all split up by a gentle and leisurely walk through the woods.
Follow this up with an excellent pub lunch at one of the local villages, make sure you sample some of the local delicacies, and then spend the afternoon exploring White Scar or Ingleborough Cave. Finally, head back to your B&B for a quiet evening, good food and an after dinner walk.
My favourite place to stay? Riverside Bed & Breakfast in Bainbridge. It’s right on the river, and you can hear it flowing past from your room, providing a really peaceful natural soundtrack to go to sleep to.
Wake up early the next day and either visit the fantastic Forbidden Corner (I will say no more, you should just trust me on this one) or a local castle such as Skipton Castle.
Scotland – Argyll and Bute
This is easily my favourite area of Scotland to visit, partly because it brings back warm memories of living here.
The landscapes you see are just incredible, from lochs to little beaches on small islands, and old castles in the middle of nowhere. There’s so much wildlife to be seen, and of course, plenty of Whisky to be sampled!
Spend a long weekend here exploring the quaint town of Inverarey and it’s castle, Oban and it’s glorious seafood, and Tarbet, a gorgeous little seaside town on the banks of Loch Fyne.
Of course, while you are here, make sure you get across to one of the islands. I personally love Jura and Mull.
I would recommend staying in local inns or B&B’s, they have such a welcoming warm feel, and if you go in the winter, look for one with an open fireplace to eat your haggis by! Other delicious local foods to try? The lentil soup, fresh seafood, Cullen Skink and potato cakes.
My must see places? Portavadie, Mount Stuart, Loch Fyne, Lunch on one of the lochside restaurants on Loch Eck, Rothesay Castle. In fact, so many things to see and do, you’ll have one filled up itinerary that’s for sure!
There’s just something so beautiful about the peak district. I’m not sure whether it’s the the local village towns, the rolling countryside, or the huge stately homes, which seem to be around every corner.
Growing up in Manchester, a lot of our school trips were to the local peaks, and I think ever since I have held a strong connection and warm nostalgia for the district.
Whether you are exploring the bookstore of Buxton, the hills of Mam Tor and Kinder Scout, or the gorgeous grounds and interiors of Chatsworth House, I can guarantee you’ll have a fantastic time.
Stop off in the village of Castleton for a quick bite to eat, and make sure you put aside some time to explore the fantastic Blue John Caverns!
I recommend staying in a country house hotel, or one of the great YHA locations such as Eyam Hall. It is a personal favourite of mine for a budget stay with character. The Peacock at Rowsley is a great alternative, if you are after the luxury experience.
I absolutely love the city. It’s got character, charm and it manages to have a smaller town feel in a large bustling city environment.
Walking around in a winter evening, in a warm coat, and hopping in and out of cosy bars, restaurants and bookshops makes for a perfect visit.
Take a ride under the Bridge of Sighs on a punting tour, walk around the impressive college buildings, and explore the many museums on offer.
I prefer to stay just out of the city in the evening, in a local AirBnB cottage.
North Wales has it all. Gorgeous walks, beautiful beaches, little marinas, historic towns and crumbling castles. Not forgetting the wonder that is Snowdonia. My favourite area has to be Betws – y- coed for the Shallow Falls, Conwy Castle and walks galore.
Visit for a long weekend, and start by tackling Wales’ highest mountain. Then follow with a couple of days relaxing by the beach, out on a boat, or walking around heritage sites.
The lighthouse and beaches of Anglesey are beautiful, and my favourite beach of all time is the remote Porth Iago, which can be visited in the morning, have lunch at the Aqua Beach Bar, and then you can spend the afternoon at Caernarfon Castle on the way home.
To stay, try Ruthin Castle, Penmachno Hall or The Royal Victoria Hotel. I have visited them all and they all have their own unique charm and sense of luxury, as well as breathtaking views.
Where’s your favourite place to stay in the UK? I’d love to hear why in the comments below.