Naturally, international travel is high on my agenda. Even this blog is named because of my love of jet-setting. But there are times when leaving these shores for a break just isn’t feasible. And as we start to consider more our impact on our world around us, our carbon footprint is certainly a concern. Unfortunately, air travel is one of most environmentally damaging ways to travel. There may be changes to travel to EU countries in 2021. And with coronavirus (**) showing little sign of slowing down, it’s time to consider holidaying a little closer to home with a UK staycation in 2020.
**Of course, staying in the UK doesn’t guarantee you’ll not come into contact with COVID-19. So please continue to maintain high hygiene standards, washing your hands whilst singing the chorus of Mr Brightside, using hand sanitizer if soap and hot water aren’t available, and sneezing/coughing into a tissue which can be responsibly discarded**
Mr Fletcher and I have always embraced the beauty of the UK. We may be a small island, but we have wonderful cities, spectacular national parks, miles and miles of stunning coastline. There are majestic mountains and there are vast lakes. Mr Fletche and I have explored Snowdonia in beautiful Wales, and driven through the Scottish highlands. We’ve spent time in Northumberland, the Lake District and the Peak District.
We’ve hiked and rambled and accidentally walked further than necessary on the South West Coastal Path. We’ve stayed in farmyard cottages, and glamped in a shepherd’s hut. I’ve blogged about city breaks spent in Bristol, Manchester and London. And I’ve helped others to plan a city break right here in Birmingham.
Being a natural over-planner, I tend to plan travel in the UK in a similar way to trips further afield. Here are my top 6 tips on how to plan a perfect UK Staycation.
It could be Instagram or Pinterest boards. It could be a destination you’ve seen in a newspaper or magazine. Or somewhere recommended by family of friends. Don’t tell everyone, but I find Countryfile a great inspiration for more rural destinations. And of course, great travel blogs. I particularly recommend this one.
How are you going to get there? Are you planning on driving? If so, check out parking arrangements and charges. How about a train or even a coach? Think about how you need to get from the station to your accommodation. Google Maps is your friend.
The UK has some amazing places to stay, from posh hotels in castles, to friendly b&bs, quirky glamping and self-catering options. If you’re saving on flight costs, sometimes it nice to splurge a little on your accommodation. Spend some time browsing through Booking.com, using the filters to nail down the perfect place to stay.
The UK weather isn’t always kind so make sure you consider great indoor activities in case of rain! How about a food tour? Or a free walking tour? We did an ace Bloody History Tour in York if that’s your bag.
When you travel abroad it’s easy to try new things, even things way out of your comfort zone. Like tubing. But it’s easy to stick to the familiar in your own country. Instead, research local restaurants and independent businesses so you don’t end up eating or shopping somewhere you’d find on your own local high street. Take to your social network and ask for recommendations. Don’t rely on Tripadvisor. Birmingham’s best restaurant apparently is @pizza. I would beg to differ.
When we’re on an international trip we’ll try and fit as much in as possible. Up early, sightseeing until we drop, not wanting to waste a moment of the day. New York was a case in point. But often on UK staycations we’ll find ourselves having a lazy morning, or a chilled out evening playing scrabble or watching telly. After all, it’s a lot easier to revisit a destination in your own country if you don’t manage to fit in everything you wanted to.
So these are my tips on planning a successful UK staycation! There are so many great benefits to holidaying in the UK, from not having to exchange currency to understanding the lingo. Unless you’re coming to Birmingham of course. We have two UK breaks in the diary at the moment: glamping in Norfolk in May, and a Christmas getaway to the North Yorkshire coast. And with increasing travel restrictions due to COVID-19 I may find myself being more of A Brummie at Home rather than A Brummie Abroad in 2020.
What are your favourite destinations for a UK staycation? Let me know in the comments below!