With the current travel restrictions due to COVID-19, travelling abroad is a little out of the question for many. Especially when this can involve a mandatory quarantine period on return. Luckily, this also means it’s the perfect time to turn that post-lockdown getaway into a UK staycation instead.
And really, there’s no better time to rediscover the UK and enjoy what’s right in front of you. With National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), picturesque medieval towns and some of Britain’s finest coastal scenery, there’s a type of staycation for everyone in this beautiful country. If you’re not sure where to go on holiday in the UK, here’s a list of the best staycation ideas, in no particular order. Right here. At home.
Cambridge is one of the most quintessentially British places you can go to for a weekend staycation. Set on the banks of the River Cam, it has it all: cobbled streets, honey-coloured buildings and old bridges. Not to mention the quirky shops, boutiques and loads of pubs and coffee houses!
Cambridge is perhaps most known for being home to one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world: the University of Cambridge. With 31 colleges and its very own gondola-like experience (punting!), it’s certainly a perfect staycation destination.
Find out what you can see in our Cambridge travel guide.
The historic city of York has barely changed throughout the years. This makes it one of the best staycation destinations in the UK. Among the best things to see in York are Guy Fawkes’ birthplace, the timber-framed 14th century buildings of The Shambles and the overall stunning old architecture (York Minster, Clifford’s Tower). York is also home to the best preserved and longest medieval town walls in England: the York City Walls. The best bit? You can walk them for free – check out our York City Walls guide.
And, if you love trains (who doesn’t?), don’t miss the National Railway museum. It’s the largest train museum in the world, with more than 300 locomotives showcasing the history of the British railways over the last 200 years.
For more ideas, read our best things to do in York post.
3. The Cotswolds
There’s no better place for an idyllic UK staycation than the Cotswolds. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has everything you’d expect from the rural English countryside. Think green hills filled with sheep, old churches and thatched roof cottages. These are built with traditional honey coloured Cotswold stone, which makes everything look like a postcard.
Here you can explore the quaint villages of Chipping Campden, Broadway and Bourton-on-the Water, just to name a few. The Cotswolds is also the perfect spot for a walking holiday and outdoor adventures. The 102 mile long Cotswold Way is just one of the many trails you can hike!
For a full list of the best places to visit in the Cotswolds, visit our Cotswolds travel guide.
Brighton & Hove is a favourite for those heading to the south coast of England for a summer staycation. This little hippy hideout comes with a free-spirit vibe, a seaside calm and the delicious smell of fish and chips. Get the most of seaside amusement at the Brighton Pier, or head out to the North Lanes for vintage shopping, bohemian boutiques and independent coffee places.
If you’re looking for a weekend staycation, our Brighton travel guide will come in handy.
Liverpool is best known for one of the greatest Rock’n’Roll bands of all time: The Beatles. The Cavern Club may be the legendary brick vaulted venue where they played for the first time, but there’s so much more to this city. The iconic mercantile architecture along the River Mersey is known as the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City – a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Here you can see the Royal Liver, Cunard, Port of Liverpool and Albert Dock, among others.
Liverpool also has two stunning cathedrals, it hosts the Aintree Racecourse and the famous Grand National AND it’s home to two of the biggest football teams in the UK – Liverpool FC and Everton FC!
If you’re looking for more fun things to do on a staycation, here’s our guide on how to spend a weekend in Liverpool.
The other half of the Oxford-Cambridge rivalry is the perfect destination for a one-night staycation. Naturally, noday trip to Oxford would be complete without a nose around the many college grounds of the world-famous University.
Over the years, the Christ Church College has become a great attraction after being featured in the Harry Potter films. Along Oxford’s cobbled streets also lie the Radcliffe Camera and the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. This was the first building of the University of Oxford back in the XIII Century!
If you’d like more staycation ideas here, check out our things to do in Oxford post.
If you’re wondering where to go on holiday in the UK, Edinburgh should be high on your list. With two distinct areas of medieval and Victorian architecture, the Scottish capital is perfect for a mini staycation full of history. Explore the Old Town, where the Edinburgh Castle sits imposingly on Castle Hill at the end of the historic Royal Mile. Then head to the New Town to admire the neoclassical buildings such as the Gothic Scott Monument or the landmarks on Calton Hill.
If you’re looking for the best panoramic views of Edinburgh, then Arthur’s Seat should definitely be on your list. It sits on a volcano site after all!
Here’s a complete list of the 10 best things to do in Edinburgh.
8. Windsor and Eton
Looking for staycation ideas for couples? Then head to Windsor and Eton. Located on the banks of the River Thames, Windsor is famous for being one of the official residences of Queen Elizabeth II. Exploring Windsor Castle and the fact that it’s quite close to London has made quite lively and popular destination for a short staycation. Not to mention that you can also find the shortest street in Britain in Windsor!
Across the Windsor-Eton bridge, Eton is a much calmer historic town. Home to the most prestigious boarding schools for boys in the world (Eton College), it has a rich heritage that makes it perfect for those who either want to relax or explore.
Here are our top things to do in Windsor and Eton.
A staycation in Glasgow can only mean one thing: you’ll be spoilt for choice! For starters, it boasts some of the best architecture of both the UK and Scotland. The street art scene is one of the largest in the UK, only second to London (the Glasgow Mural trail says it all!). And let’s not forget the museums, which are the most visited outside the capital.
And the food? It has some of finest dishes and whisky I have tried. If you’re planning a staycation in Glasgow, we recommend Glasgow’s West End. This area is full of bohemian personality, incredible Gothic architecture and a huge list of hot spots, making it the best parts of the city to explore and stay in.
Check out our Glasgow travel guide to see the best bits across the city.
Considering relaxing staycation ideas? Then Bath is a must. Right by the River Avon, it evokes a mix of a metropolitan, urban feel and an idyllic English countryside atmosphere. In fact, the whole city is a UNESCO Heritage Site! In recent years, Bath has become a preferred destination for those seeking a day out at the Roman Baths and quite charmingly, Christmas markets lovers! For those looking for extra relaxation there’s the Thermae Bath Spa. Also, Bath’s rather manageable size also means you can easily see it in a day or two.
Here’s our complete guide on how to spend a weekend in Bath.
And last but not least, a London staycation! The British capital is full of history and gorgeous hidden gems to explore. Away from the bustling streets of central London, the Regent’s Canal walk provides a blissful heaven of calm waters and colourful boats unknown to many tourists. If walking is not your thing, why not go on a London bike tour and see the city on two wheels?
And if you still need more ideas, check out our London bucket list. There’s plenty of things to choose from: from meeting the penguins at London Zoo to getting the best free views of London from Sky Garden. Do you need more convincing?
Did you find this post helpful? Where do you think are the best places to visit in the UK? I’d love to know! Also, always remember to check if places are open first, of course. If you loved our guide to the best UK staycation ideas, please leave us a comment, pin some photos and show us some love on social media using the buttons below.
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