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Staycation holidays: the top UK destinations

7 Mar 2021.

If you’re planning to holiday at home this year, find out where to head with Cat in a Flat’s community guide to the best UK staycations.

Staycations are holidays taken in your home country, exploring your own shores. With international travel still looking difficult this year, discovering the UK is top of everyone’s holiday list. But if you’re thinking of booking a staycation holiday, where should you go? We asked our cat-loving community for their tips on where they like to relax and recharge, so grab your bucket and spade and get planning. Just don’t forget to book your cat sitter!

UK city breaks and culture staycations

If you’re craving art, history, galleries, and exhibitions, try one of these fun and fascinating staycation destinations. 

Tate St Ives in Cornwall

The arty enclave of St Ives in Cornwall is set among picturesque cobbled streets lined with whitewashed fishermen’s cottages. The Tate St Ives and Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden might be the main attractions, but there are plenty of enticing cafes, irresistible shops, and sandy beaches to explore too. 

Across the other side of Cornwall near Porthcurno, the Minack Theatre is one of the most spectacular locations to see a play or show in the UK. An amphitheatre set into the cliff side, the Minack is open come rain or shine and creates magic every night the sun sets into the sea behind the stage.

Edinburgh is a great idea for a UK Staycation

At the other end of the UK, our community recommended Edinburgh for a culture-filled city break staycation. The Scottish capital boasts an extraordinary city vista, with the ancient castle proudly overlooking slate grey buildings and ornate gardens. Try walking through elegant and trendy Stockbridge on the way to the enchanting Botanical Gardens for a different side to the city. 

To satisfy your cultural cravings further, try Brighton for its seaside charm, boutique shopping, cafe culture and vibrant artistic community. Brighton has one of the highest concentrations of cats per capita in the country, so look out for kitties too!

Liverpool is home to a striking waterfront, unrivalled music scene and many leading galleries, including the Tate Liverpool and the Walker Art Gallery. Nearby in Crosby, you can visit Anthony Gormley’s hauntingly beautiful sculpture “Another Place”, made up of 100 cast iron men looking out to sea. 

Antony Gormley’s sculpture “Another Place”

Hit the beach

As an island nation, the UK boasts many gorgeous sandy beaches, perfect for a staycation holiday. 

Surfing at Croyde beach
Surfing at Croyde beach

Devon is one of the finest beach destinations in the UK so it’s no surprise our community recommended it as a staycation spot. On the north side of the county, the South West Coast Path stretches from Woolacombe to Croyde. Both beaches have vast stretches of soft sand and clear water and are popular with surfers. In the south, Salcombe is one of Devon’s most popular summer holiday destinations full of cute pubs, elegant boutiques and spots to try divine Salcombe Dairy Ice Cream. Salcombe North and South Sands are sandy coves a short walk from town that also offer a wealth of water sports.

Portmeirion in Wales is famous for its colourful Italianate architecture that made it the iconic setting for cult television drama The Prisoner. The village forms the perfect dramatic backdrop for the secluded Portmeirion Beach.

Unspoilt stretches of sand at Holkham, Norfolk
Unspoilt stretches of sand at Holkham, Norfolk

It’s always a good idea to think of Norfolk as your UK staycation destination. For a lively pier, excellent fish and chips, and classic British seaside charm, head to Cromer. Further west, Holkham beach is an extraordinary stretch of unspoilt sand dotted with charming, colourful beach huts. From nearby Blakeney Point, hop on a boat to Blakeney National Nature Reserve to see one of the country’s largest grey seal colonies. 

Striking views of Holy Island

A designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Northumberland’s craggy beaches, uninhabited islands, and clear waters make it a fantastic destination for UK staycations full of boat trips and wildlife spotting. Particularly worth a visit is Lindisfarne, otherwise known as Holy Island. Lindisfarne is known for its dunes, nature reserve and white sandy beach with striking views of the island’s 16th-century castle. 

The wonders of a UK walking trip 

From its northern tip to the most southerly point, the UK is a dream destination for walking staycations.

The Brecon Beacons in Wales is popular for a UK walking staycation
Walking the Brecon Beacons in Wales

The Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales is home to many walking trails that run past majestic mountains, historic castles and charming villages. If you’re wondering which path to take, Kamoot can help plan a walk made for you. 

The spectacular Scottish Highlands are home to the UK’s highest peak, Ben Nevis. Walk the West Highland Way stretches 96 miles from Milngavie to Fort William through mountains, lochs and moorlands. Walkers who love whisky, can even try a few drams from the Ben Nevis Distillery. 

Staying in Scotland, our community marked Hadrian’s Wall as an unmissable walking spot. The Romans built Hadrian’s Wall in AD122 to protect their Empire’s wild northern frontier. You can walk the entire 84-mile length of the wall from Cumbria to Tyne and Wear if you’re daring enough! 

The Cotswolds is known for its picturesque villages
Explore the picturesque villages of the Cotswolds

Thatched cottages, rolling green hills and chocolate-box villages, the Cotswolds is quintessential English countryside. To start exploring try the Cotswolds Way, a 102-mile trail that stretches from Chipping Campden through beautiful countryside to Bath.

The green and lush Lake District National Park deserves its popularity as a dream hiking staycation destination. Climb Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain, explore the thought-provoking sculptures in Grizedale Forest, or simply wander by Lake Windermere. 

If you’re more into splashing than walking, try exploring some of the wild swimming spots on your UK staycation. Bodmin, in Cornwall, has some popular spots, as does Lynmouth in Devon. You can even swim in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, central London!

Glamping and boating UK staycations

Forget hotels and holiday homes; why not try staying somewhere a little wilder or more unusual for a staycation to remember?

The Norfolk Broads
The Norfolk Broads

If you’re craving an adventure on water, try reserving a canal boat trip. There are plenty of picturesque canals and rivers to explore across Britain. Explore your staycation ideas on the Canal Junction website. Try the Oxford Canal that runs north from the university town’s dreaming spires, or head south on the Thames. Find yourself among the vast skies and lush countryside of East Anglia on the Norfolk Broads. The Liverpool to Leeds canal takes in spectacular northern landscapes and vibrant cities.

If you’re longing for a night under canvas but want a little bit of luxury with your UK staycation, glamping could be the answer. Our community recommended Kip Hideaways, Cool Camping and Glampingly for anyone looking for a unique glamping spot. From lakeside luxury yurts in Cornwall to safari tents with roll-top baths in Lincolnshire, find all of the prettiest and unique places to stay in the UK. The booking platforms also boast a collection of rustic barns, cozy huts, cool lofts, wild cabins and cute cottages.

If heading into the forest is more what you’re craving, try the novel experience of staying in a treehouse. Both Cool Stays and Canopy & Stars have collections of cute, luxurious and rustic treehouses across the UK. Some even have hot tubs!

Don’t forget to book a cat sitter with Cat in a Flat

Don't forget to book a sitter when planning your staycation
Don’t forget to book a sitter when planning your staycation

Now you have the ideas you need to plan a UK staycation, it’s time to start thinking about booking your cat sitter. On the Cat in a Flat blog you can also brush up on ten ways to prepare your kitty before going away, and check out our community’s recommendations of the best cat books to pick out something to enjoy on holiday. 

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