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.
Do you like exploring the world? Then check out some of our other travel guides:
- Top 10 best US national parks you need to visit
- Black Heritage Trail, Boston (Massachusetts) guide and map
- Things you must do in Prague
- Affordable things to do in Cannes, Côte d’Azur
- Things to do in Monaco on a budget
- The 10 best things to do in Lisbon
- 24 Hours in Coimbra
- The 10 best things to do in Porto
This is such a great list of places for a staycation! I love visiting York and Edinburgh, and there’s so much to do in London! I’d also recommend Cornwall and Dorset!
Thanks Serena! Cornwall and Dorset have been on my list for ages – can’t wait to visit them! x
I would love to go to ALL of these places. Unfortunately, there is a travel ban for anyone from the United States to come into the UK. 🙁
Hi Eric – thanks for your comment! So sorry to hear about the travel ban in the US, hopefully it’s lifted soon and you can plan a great trip around the UK’s best places! This little guide will definitely come in handy.
Lots of lovely places to visit. Maybe the Cotswolds next!
Yay, so ready for the Cotswolds! x
We really are so lucky in the UK to have so many wonderful places to visit.
I’ve explored a lot of these places but there are a few I’d like to try. I’ve never been to Bath! Need to change that ASAP
Bath is a must! Especially if you love a good massage and a spa x
Great suggestions! Edinburgh is top of my list of places to visit in the UK. It looks like such an incredible city and from the multiple foodie TV shows I’ve watched it looks like its amazing for food too! x
Oh I love Edinburgh so much! Scotland in general is amazing, and Edinburgh is full of history. The food, as you mention, is absolutely delicious! I couldn’t recommend it enough x
Bit biased but I can highly recommend norfolk😉 if you love coasts and national trust and lots of walks then this is definitely the place. Great if you like water sports too like hiring kayaks or paddle boards.
All the other places on this list are so so gorgeous. I can’t wait to visit Edinburgh one day!!! Xx
Norfolk sounds amazing! I should definitely visit – I love walks and a good coastal scenery! Thank you so much for stopping by x
It’s been a dream of mine to visit the UK; my dad had went there before when I was younger and he said that he loved it! I hope to go sometime next year. Thanks for sharing your recommendations! x
Awe thanks Chrissy! The beauty of the UK scenery never ceases to amaze, I would definitely recommend going off the beaten track to the countryside as well. The landscape is just unbelievable x
These are also great suggestions for side trips the next time I visit London, which is often 🙂
Thank you so much Sophie! Glad you’ve found this post helpful x
All great selections, very handy since I want to start travelling again next year.
Liverpool is my favourite place on Earth and I cannot wait to get back up there soon! I’ve been to Brighton and the pier is gorgeous! x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
I agree, Liverpool is incredible! I absolutely love the Baltic Triangle; it’s such a creative area and there are some really nice places to eat and drink over there! And Brighton is just beautiful x
I’m from Kent so am close to both Brighton and London and can confirm they’re amazing places to have a staycation!
I love this list! ☺️
Love Lozza x
Awe thanks Lozza! I live in London and I love Brighton as well – I haven’t yet been to Kent though, so maybe it’s worth adding to my list? x
I love visiting Brighton but have been thinking about York! So many nice places.
York is just lovely. It’s definitely a place worth exploring next time you have a free weekend! x
Some truly beautiful places on your list here. A few I’m still yet to visit, London and Bath are the ones. Living over on the Yorkshire Coast we are very close to York and are very frequent visitors, it truly is an amazing place to visit with so much o offer.
Thanks so much Eddie! Oh I absolutely love York. We were lucky enough to spend a weekend over there and it was just lovely. I would recommend Bath for a relaxing getaway, and London if you’re up for loads of tourist activities!
Some really good suggestions. I love York and really fancy a day in Oxford.
Thanks Graham! Both York and Oxford are just gorgeous, I love the medieval feel they evoke!
Wow, I would love to explore more of the England. Specially I would
love to visit english village and the Lake district. York is lovely also and
Glasgow and Oxford due to your photos.
Oh the Lake District is stunning! It’s great for hiking if you love the outdoors too 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment x
A couple of these were already on my list and I can vouch for York being beautiful! This post a great starting point for staycations in the UK and exploring closer to home is a focus for us this year.
Thanks for the lovely comment, Paris! Glad to read some of these places were already on your own list – they’re all amazing and I couldn’t recommend them enough! x
Nice post. It’s awesome that UK has interesting places for domestic vacation.
Thanks so much! x
I love this list! I haven’t been to Bath just yet, but I’m sure it will be soon 🙂 I’ll also recommend South Wales, Cornwall, Devon and Somerset – they are all stunning places to visit.
Thanks for the recommendations, Annelize! I haven’t yet been to any of them and I honestly can’t wait to explore more of the UK! x
I absolutely love a staycation. I’ve only actually been on staycations for the last few years. I think the UK is so beautiful. I don’t tend to visit cities around the UK but thanks for these suggestions!
Staycations are actually amazing, there’re so many beautiful places in the UK I haven’t yet been to and can’t wait to explore them all! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment Jenny x
I just visited Bath, the Roman baths were lovely and wanted to go to the therma spa but is currently closed so planning on going back! Oxford is next on my list x
Definitely worth going back to Bath, even if it’s just for the Thermae Spa! Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope you enjoy Oxford! x
So many beautiful places. I’m always looking for new places to visit. I haven’t visited any of the places mentioned but I’m definitely putting them on my travel bucket list.
Antonia || Sweet Passions
Thanks Antonia! Now you have an excuse to start exploring them x
While a trip to visit these locations right now is out for me (I’m over in Canada), my husband and I have been talking about taking a trip to Europe at some point in the near future. If we do, I’ll definitely be referring back to this list for an idea of some of the places we should make a point of visiting (just added this post to my favourites). It’s always hard to decide where to go when you know that your time is limited, so it’s great to hear some suggestions from someone local!
Thank you so much Britt! I’m so glad you’ve found your post helpful and thank you for bookmarking it! I hope you get to cross the pond soon – Europe is definitely worth exploring x
Absolutely brilliant suggestions. I’ve been to half the list but not for sometime. Sounds like a road trip and bucket list trip in the future. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Mark! A road trip around the UK sounds amazing, I might have to add that to my own bucket list too! x
Great suggestions! I love staycations. I was meant to go to London and Windsor this year, but it was cancelled so will be going again next spring hopefully.
I have to say as a Yorkie (resident of York) you missed out on mentioning the beautiful park and gardens that is the museum gardens and Rowntrees park. Both are in York city center and a beautiful place to visit.
Hi Allison, thanks for the comment! I’m so sorry to hear about your trip to London and Windsor being cancelled. I really hope you get to visit in spring – I’m sure Windsor will look lovely covered in flowers! And thank you for the wonderful recommendations in York. I haven’t actually been to the museum gardens or Rowntrees park yet but they look amazing! I definitely need to go back. x
I’ve visited all these places and particularly love Cambridge, Bath and York as I’ve lived in or near all three. Fab list. X
Thank you, glad you like the list! Oh how lucky – Cambridge, Bath and York are all incredibly beautiful! x
Great selection of ideas! York is absolutely our favourite, such an amazing city – but the UK is blessed with amazing places to visit. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks Matt, glad you liked the post! York is a favourite of mine too 🙂
I absolutely loved the clicks. Beautiful images. UK has always been a bucket list for me 🙂
COT | https://changeoftomorrow.com/
Thank you, that’s so sweet! Hopefully you get to visit the UK soon x
Staycations are such a good idea and I’m going to plan a proper one for next year. I wish I had done more staycations when I lived in the UK so I got to see more of the country before I left! Great post!
Thank you! Glad you love the UK too, it’s full of so many beautiful little corners! x
I was so happy that I was able to spend a few days in Bath ! It truly is a beautiful place. York is one of the next places I want to go to!
I love Bath too – the Christmas market is so cute! York is also a must, I hope you get to visit soon x
Great suggestions. All of the places you’ve noted have charm and worth a visit for sure x
Thank you! x
A great read. My latest post is a similar theme. Some great ideas and you’ve reminded me I must add Windsor to my wishlist too.
Thank you so much Elaine! Windsor is beautiful – definitely a must if you love a relaxing holiday! x
Ah, this made me feel a little homesick! All wonderful towns and cities and great suggestions. I’d add Dartmouth in Devon, Weymouth or Bournemouth in Dorset, Inverness and maybe some Welsh places – Portmeirion, Llandudno or Llangollen 🙂
These are amazing suggestions, thanks so much Carole! I think I need to make this list even longer! x
I would love to visit all of these places one day….
I hope you do! They’re incredible 🙂
Great suggestions. Love Bath. Always wanted to go to York especially for the Christmas Markets.
Thank so much! Both Bath and York are among my favourite x
I love the staycation idea! Can not be too careful these days…sigh
But the UK is on my bucket list, thanks for the great suggestions!
Thanks Renee! There’re so many places out there I still need to explore, so a staycation is right up my alley x