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8 destinations for a great UK staycation

We're all going on a summer holiday!

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8 destinations for a great UK staycation

A lot can be said for opting for a 'staycation' over a trip abroad. You can avoid that hectic trip to the airport, the palava of going through security, the possibility of your flight being delayed... Plus, there are so many extraordinarily beautiful parts of the UK to explore.

From subtropical Cornwall to the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales, here a handful of stunning UK staycation destinations... 

scotland - the caingorms 

Visit the spectacular, wild Caingorms National Park. With royal connections (Queen Victoria purchased Balmoral Castle back in 1852), the Caingorms is home to endangered species including red squirrels and golden eagles – so bring your wildlife-spotting gear! Go fishing, mountain biking, golfing or ziplining – or enjoy a good brisk hike instead.

Where to stay: If you don't fancy camping, try luxurious 5-star B&B The Dulaig, which is perched on the edge of the Caingorms National Park.

What to eat: Check out the Rothiemurchus Centre, which houses a farm shop and a beloved cafe (The Druie). Everything is locally-sourced, from Highland beef to cheese, coffee, preserves and chutneys. This homely cafe is the perfect place to warm up after a bracing walk!

For city-lovers... Visit Edinburgh

Not many cities can say they've got an extinct volcano at its centre. Visit Arthur's Seat, which is at the bottom of the Royal Mile, as it offers panoramic views of the city from above. Or keep the kids' minds ticking with an afternoon at the Scottish National Galleries

Stay at: Try chic, modern hotel Malmaison, quirky boutique Borough, or more family orientated house, The Murray
 

Northern Ireland - giant's causeway

Natural wonders don’t get more natural than the symmetrical stones of the Giant’s Causeway. Just over 1 hour's drive away from Belfast,  you can see the area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, which is the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. You can walk a five-milk hike from Dunseverick Castle along the clifftop path to the causeway to see it in all its glory. 

Where to stay: For four-star comfort, try The Bushmills Inn hotel. Think cosy fires, tastefully-furnished rooms and an atmospheric bar. There's even an intimate on-site cinema, screening films once a week, with dinner and popcorn. We're sold!

If you want to really get away from it all, visit stunning County Down and stay in a lightkeepers’ cottage

What to eat: Potatoes and soda bread are never too far off the menu when it comes to Northern Ireland's food roots. Head into the capital, Belfast, where you'll discover award-winning restaurant Ox. You'll have views of the River Lagan whilst you eat locally sourced food. Yum!

Wales - snowdonia

Make the most of your visit and tuck yourself away from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life in Snowdonia. Take a hike up Wales' highest mountain, Snowdon which stands at 3,560ft. Or for the fearless few, see the views from a height by taking a zip wire through the forest. There's also surfing, go karting and the fastest zip line in the world to get involved with.

Where to stay: Snowdonia is popular with keen campers - if you're looking for a bit of cosy relief from the elements, though, try Dolffanog Fawr. A converted farmhouse in a spectacularly scenic setting, you can expect slap-up breakfasts, snug rooms and friendly service.

What to eat: For lunch, fill your boots at Hebog Beddgelert which is a cosy traditional café serving only fresh and local food. And for dinner, dine at Welsh restaurant, Signatures

For city-lovers... Visit Portmeirion

Ok, Portmeirion isn't exactly a 'city'. It is more of a tourist village, built in a distinctly Mediterranean style. With a central piazza, waterside, wild garden and abundance of whimsical architecture, take a gentle stroll before stopping for an aperitivo, Italian-style.

Where to stay: It has to be the Hotel Portmeirion! With a heated pool and views across the water, this hotel opened in 1926, and has been popularly used as a filming location for years.
Food-wise, check out 1950s-style cafe The Town Hall cafe, for casual fare. If you want to be wined and dined, you're best off staying put at the Hotel Portmeirion's upscale restaurant – sit on the terrace to soak up those views.


north East - yorkshire dales

Views which are normally only found on the big screen await you in the Yorkshire Dales. Historic castles like Scarborough Castle and ruins like Rievaulx Abbey help to frame the landscape and scenery in Yorkshire and are well worth a look.  

Where to stay: Experience the beauty of the outside by heading to one of the Natural Retreat's lodges

What to eat: Check out The Retreat Tearoom & Bistro for freshly-made bakes and evening Bistro-style grub. Located in the pretty village of Grassington, in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, you can expect an emphasis on locally-sourced, hearty fare, as well as great coffee.

For city-lovers... Visit York

Exquisite York is well-worth visiting for cute shops, charming tearooms and cosy pubs.

Where to stay: There are so many lovely hotels to choose from. The Parisi is colourful, funky, retro and mid-priced. Want to splurge? Stay at Michelin-star pub with rooms The Black Swan at Oldstead, where rooms are beautifully furnished and views are just as lovely. For tighter budgets, try cosy guest-house The Bar Convent. Sorted!

Food-wise, there is a mind-boggling array of good restaurants in York. Try loved local Meltons for high-end European food – or if you're after something more casual, opt for family-friendly The Pig & Pastry (which serves up fantastically hearty breakfasts). 
 

north West - cumbria

Some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in Britain can be found in lush Cumbria. Swap your motor for a pair of walking boots or a mountain bike if you want to make the most of the stunning views the Lake District has to offer. As well as enjoying your time on land, you can also take to the lakes and coastline.

Where to stay: Stay in a luxury cottage which is on the shores of Ullswater. Waternook is set amid 26 acres of private grounds with lake views and plenty of space for children to burn off some energy before supper. Or sleep under the stars and go glamping near the Lake District.

What to eat: Once hailed as the Lake District's original gastropub, at The Drunken Duck Inn, you can expect rustic-chic, and the menu includes great British classics such as venison and pork belly.  

Midlands - Nottinghamshire

Take in some history at one of the country's finest Grade One listed Elizabethan mansions, Wollaton Hall and Park which is set in 500 acres of parkland - perfect for letting the kids run around. Or head into Sherwood Forest, which is the legendary stomping-ground of Robin Hood. 

Where to stay: Romantic medieval castles and forests conjure up thoughts of Robin Hood's legend, making Nottinghamshire the place to go. You could sleep in a yurt in Clumber Park or get some r&r in a log cabin in Sherwood Forest

What to eat: Do steak-frites, boeuf bourguignon and crème brûlée sound good? If so, head to French restaurant Bistrot Pierre, where chefs put their own take on French favourites like tarte flambée, confit de canard and pâté de campagne.

South East - isle of wight

Leave your home comforts at home and head to the beautiful Isle of Wight, where you can see nature at its best by camping.

Where to stay: Stay in a Safari tent at Tom's Eco Lodge, which is situated on beautiful (and sustainable) Tapnell Farm. Guests can indulge in a spot of clay-pigeon shooting, kayaking and zorbing..!

What to eat: Try local honeycomb at the Island Bakers shop at Newport; for comfort in the form of beef pie, head to The Taverners in Godshill. For a posh evening out, it has to be a classically-influenced dish at Thompson's. 

South West - Cornwall

Believed to be one of the sunniest parts of the UK, Cornwall's southerly latitude and subtropical climate are only part of its charm. Popular with surfers, Cornwall has a truly spectacular coastline, and a variety of picturesque beaches.

Where to stay:

Overlooking a fantastic surfing beach in Newquay, Watergate Bay hotel is a super-stylish, slightly Californian-feeling option for these willing to splurge. On the Isle of Scilly, Bryher hotel has more of a New England vibe, with balcony views over pretty gardens and the untamed beach. The best budget option is probably Penzance's stylish-yet-informal Artist Residence.

For city lovers... Visit Bath

Bath is full of ex-Londoners for a reason – it has absolutely everything you could want from a leading city, but minus the crowds and pollution. A haven for foodies, it is home to excellent shops, pubs, restaurants and markets. 

Where to stay: Budget-friendly Dukes gets rave reviews, as does The Pig-near Bath (which is part of a small chain of beloved restaurants-with-rooms). For total relaxation, The Gainsborough Bath Spa is the only hotel spa in Bath with access to natural thermal waters. Bliss. 

Food-wise, check out local favourite pub The Star Inn (which has no website); head to Colonna & Small for coffee and The Circus for classic English grub.

Shop for everything you could possibly need for your staycation online, or pop into your local store.