As lockdown restrictions are eased, many people are putting foreign holiday plans on hold and thinking about exploring the UK. But where to go?
There are fears that some of the country’s best-known honey pots will be overrun, while many hotels are uncertain about how they can open safely. Here, Mark Hodson of 101 Holidays picks ten of the most exciting UK trips this summer
Sleep in a treehouse
There’s something both comforting and exciting about the idea of sleeping in a treehouse. Whether you’re a family or a couple, you can immerse yourself in your own Famous Five adventure. Canopy & Stars has dozens of treehouses across the UK, some with a surprising quota of mod cons including hot tubs and outdoor baths. For example, Orchard Treehouse is built around a Cypriot pine tree in the grounds of a medieval house in Worcestershire. It sleeps four in a kingsize double and two single cabin beds and has a hot tub on the deck.
If the sea is calling, where could be more evocative and remote than a lighthouse keeper’s cottage? There are dozens of these dotted around our coastline from North Yorkshire to the Isle of Wight and many have been converted into rental properties. Rural Retreats has a choice of 32 places to stay – with superb coastal walks on your doorstep – including four cottages sheltered beneath Trevose Head Lighthouse in Padstow, Cornwall.
Far from being a honey pot, Herefordshire is one of England’s least spoiled and most traditional counties. You can rent a cottage and explore the Wye Valley, hike picturesque walking trails and visit medieval villages and small market towns. Sykes Cottages has the best selection of places to stay including a converted water mill in Kington which sleeps up to six people.
Drive the North Coast 500
Scotland’s North Coast 500 is one of the world’s most dramatic coastal road trips, where you’ll encounter ruined castles, wild beaches and remote fishing communities. It’s possible to drive it in three days, but take a week or more and you’ll have time to tour whisky distilleries, enjoy bracing walks and fresh seafood lunches. McKinlay Kidd can put together an itinerary for you, using your own car or a rental vehicle.
If some travel options seem a bit too fast and furious, this summer might be the time to try canal boating, the ultimate in slow travel. Rent a narrowboat and you can chug along at 5pm as you explore some of the vast network of canals that criss-cross England, Scotland and Wales. Visit waterside pubs, navigate locks and shoot the breeze with your fellow boaters (from a safe distance, of course). Waterways Holidays has the best selection of boats.
One of the least expected trends of lockdowns in a huge boom in the sale of puppies. Whether you’re a new dog owner or an old hand, you might not want to put your pooch in kennels this summer. Canine Cottages has brought together a collection of rental properties from Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands where dogs are not just welcomed but where you’ll find first-class walkies on your doorstep and safe enclosed gardens.
Nearly wild camping
The idea of pitching your own tent somewhere gorgeous and remote has a huge appeal for many right now. But wild camping is not legal in England or Wales (Scotland is an exception). However, there are many farms and patches of private land where you can pay a small fee to pitch up and enjoy acres of space, pitch-black night skies, sun rises and birdsong. Cool Camping has picked the best sites.
The South Hams
There’s a corner of Devon that encapsulates all that’s idyllic about the British seaside holiday. The South Hams isn’t a secret hideaway – it gets busy in high season – but it’s a glorious spot for boat trips, sandcastles, surfing, rock pooling and crabbing off the harbour wall. Find a secluded place to stay with Helpful Holidays and you can take day trips to explore nearby Dartmoor National Park.
How would you fancy staying in a log cabin deep in Sherwood Forest? Sounds romantic, and it is. But you won’t need to pack your sleeping bag and Swiss Army knife for this one. The Sherwood Hideaway has a selection of lodges with woodland views and five-star touches including hot tubs, open-plan kitchens and luxury beds with duck down pillows and Egyptian cotton linen. Bring bikes and boots to explore tracks and trails through the woods.
Gwel an Mor
On the north coast of Cornwall, Gwel an Mor is a pioneering hotel that works its socks off to be both family friendly and eco friendly. Stay in one of its Scandinavian wood-built lodges and enjoy superb views of the Atlantic Ocean. There’s an indoor pool and spa, a wildlife centre for children and a restaurant serving fresh fish and seafood.
For more ideas, visit 101 UK Holidays