Despite the fact that Britain is home to a surprisingly diverse range of landscapes, that natural beauty has traditionally been overlooked in favour of holidays in warmer climates. But in the last decade this attitude has changed dramatically. While the initial attraction of a staycation may have come about as a result of the financial crisis in 2008, its popularity continues to grow. In 2018 it was estimated that 60% of Brits would holiday in the UK rather than heading abroad.
Fifteen national parks around the country are just the start. From world-class beaches and snow-capped mountains to rolling green hills, Britain is home to varied terrain, historic locations and cultural events that are sure to capture the imagination and inspire. Whether you are searching for somewhere scenic to relax or an adventure-led holiday, you will likely find it here.
Staycations have many other benefits. As well as reducing the stress and expense of travel, cutting flights out of your holiday immediately makes them more eco-friendly. Currently, air travel is thought to account for 2% of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions, and this is set to grow as more and more people fly each year – the current figure of 4 billion passengers per year is projected to almost double by 2036.
If you can resist the urge to drive long distances, a combination of trains and cycling will make sure you can discover the local area safe in the knowledge that your trip is causing the minimum amount of damage to the environment.
But where to go? These beautiful natural areas offer some of the best places to enjoy a family staycation in the UK:
Surely one of the most well-known tourist destinations in Britain, the Lake District is an ideal location for a spring break with your nature-loving family. All around, animals are waking from their winter sleep and new life is everywhere, so be on the lookout for rabbits and deer when on a trail and watch out for birds singing and making nests.
The Lake District is perfect for explorers of all ages, with a range of walks across the hills, the coast and around the great lakes of Ullswater and Windermere. The National Trust’s Fell Foot is an excellent location for the kids to enjoy canoeing and other activities by the lakes. Beatrix Potter has a strong influence and a visit to her home, Hill Top, is a fun day out for the whole family.
While the daffodil is synonymous with the area, a real natural wonder to experience on your visit is the floral transitions throughout the early months of the year, as the bluebells quickly follow daffodil season and the tulips emerge not long after.
With a mild climate and beautiful coastline, East Anglia has a lot to offer for staycationers. But the jewel in the crown are the Norfolk Broads, which consist of 126 miles of lock-free navigable waterways spanning seven rivers and 63 broads. This means that your travels by boat will be uninterrupted and the only time you will need to hop on and off is to explore the countless charming town and villages in the region.
Originally man-made, the Broads are the largest protected wetland in the country and are home to a quarter of the UK’s rarest species. Hiring a boat for the duration of your visit will allow you to get as close as possible to these creatures in their natural habitat without disturbing them – so don’t forget your camera!
For walkers and animal lovers, one of the best locations for a staycation is Cairngorms National Park. While it is not as famous as many other national parks, the Cairngorms are double the size of the Lake District and are also home to five of the highest mountains in the UK and 25% of Scotland’s forests.
With such diversity, it is no surprise that the park is home to a dazzling array of wildlife. Here you will be able to spot Golden Eagles, deer and even dolphins as the nine nature reserves will allow you to safely explore without fear of disturbing their habitat.
As you walk, hike and cycle around routes for all levels and abilities, witnessing these stunning locations transitioning between seasons will be a memory that you and your family will remember forever.
One of Britain’s best-kept holiday secrets are the Scilly Isles. Just a short journey from Cornwall, visitors will arrive at a string of islands with vast golden beaches, amazing wildlife and fantastic food – the kind of holiday destination that so many fly to is actually right on your doorstep.
Each of the main islands has its own personality, giving you plenty to explore despite their small size: St. Mary’s is the largest island at just 2.5 square miles and St. Martin’s is crammed full of flora and fauna, with daffodils and lilies everywhere you look. The main thing that visitors will notice on arrival is the lack of background noise and immediate slow pace. Strolling and stopping to enjoy the scenery is how life is on the Scilly Isles.
The exception to this is Tresco, the most tourist-filled island. But even here the beautiful abbey and exotic plants make you feel as though you are on the other side of the world rather than 35 miles from Land’s End.