Where to go on holiday in the UK - The best places for a staycation in 2021

Outside a pub in Burford in The Cotswolds

Thinking about planning a UK staycation for your holidays this year? I don’t know about you, but Covid has ruined many a travel plan for me over the last 12 months! With the nightmare that is having to change flights, rebook hotels or go through the torture of trying to get anything refunded, I’m finding that staycations are quickly becoming the most reliable way to plan a little getaway.

Thankfully, there are plenty of beautiful, fascinating and awe inspiring places to visit right here in the UK for a staycation. Over the last year, when restrictions have allowed me to, I’ve been doing my best to discover all the wonderful destinations that the UK has to offer, from places on my own doorstep, to places I’ve never been before.

In this post I’ve put together all of my staycation posts so far so that you can easily find a break in the UK that appeals to your travel tastes. I’ll be keeping this page constantly updated with new articles as I write them so do check back for more staycation inspiration and content!

REMEMBER: Only travel when it is safe to do so and remember to check and follow any and all local guidelines and restrictions in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic.

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What is a staycation and why should you go on one?

A staycation is quite simply holidaying in your own country! Whether that be in your home town or to part of the country you’ve never been to before,  it’s a great way of immersing yourself in the areas right on your doorstep.

A staycation can be anything from a day trip to a weekend, a fortnight or even an extended road trip. There are so many options, from city breaks to countryside escapes, and travelling on a staycation can be a much more flexible and relaxed option when it comes to planning and travelling.

Home or Away? The pros and cons of going on a staycation in the UK

Ironbridge town by the river shropshire

When it comes to deciding how you spend your hard earned annual leave, you want to make sure the trip you go on gives you all the adventure, escapism and relaxation that we are all longing for after the nightmare that was 2020!

With this in mind it’s a good idea to weigh up the pros and cons of going on a staycation in the UK in comparison to booking a holiday abroad. Thankfully I’ve done a lot of the thinking for you on this one, so here are some of the main pros and cons to consider when it comes to booking your summer holiday for 2021.

Pros of going on a staycation

  1. Discover new favourite places right on your doorstep

    Hands up if lockdown forced you to spend more time exploring your local area – yep me too! And it’s one of the few silver linings of the whole experience. I can’t believe how many beautiful places there are within an hour or two of my home town that I’d completely overlooked before now. Going on a staycation means you can discover a new favourite destination that’s easy to visit again and again.

  2. Pack as much as you like!

    Hate the thought of deciding which pair of shoes to leave behind so you don’t have to pay for extra baggage? For a staycation it’s not a problem! As you’re most likely travelling by car or train you don’t need to worry about baggage limits. Take as any clothes and full sized toiletries as you like – which is really handy for the British weather.

  3. There are loads of accommodation options to choose from

    You can find amazing places to stay all over the UK, whether you prefer to stick to a budget and find a camp site to pitch up in or stay in a swanky spa resort you’ll generally be spoilt for choice! I’d definitely recommend looking into some of the independent cottage and self catering options out there. Cabins and Castles for example have have loads of really unique properties listed that might be cheaper than you think (hello hot tubs!).

  4. The UK has world-famous cities and a beautiful and varied landscape

    We often take it for granted that we are only ever a few hours from world famous cities like London and Edinburgh here in the UK, so why not spend a weekend rediscovering them as a tourist? And let’s not forget the natural beauty that we have available to us too – how about a road trip around the Scottish Highlands or along the Welsh Coast? From beaches to world famous football pitches (couldn’t leave Old Trafford out!) there really is something in the UK for every type of traveller.

  5. It’s easier to change plans and be flexible if you need to

    Coronavirus is still causing havoc with travel planning and it’s still looking uncertain that things will be any different in time for the summer. With this in mind, a staycation is currently looking like the most reliable travel plan to make.

    If you’re planning on driving you’re less likely to find yourself stranded too far from home, and you can always change your route or cut your trip short in the event of an emergency.

    In addition there are fewer bookings to worry about such as flights, transfers, car rentals and other things that would be impacted if your trip ends up getting cancelled. With a staycation you generally will have fewer reservations to stay on top of and many accommodations will now let you rearrange or refund your stay for free. 

Cons of going on a staycation

  1. The weather

    We all know how unpredictable to British weather can be! Rain, rain, wind and more rain am I right? If you were hoping for a sunny getaway this summer, you might strike lucky with some warmer brighter days between May and September, but there are certainly no guarantees! Remember to pack your umbrella!

  2. Fewer opportunities to experience other cultures

    If you love immersing yourself in a different culture when you travel, trying all the foods, learning the language and trying out local customs, then a staycation in your own country can be a little underwhelming. That being said, the different parts of England, Scotland and Wales all have their own customs and traditions that you can explore and enjoy.

  3. Travel in the UK can be expensive

    Generally, accommodation prices in the UK tend to be on the pricier side, especially for hotel and spa breaks, when compared with some of the more budget friendly options available in Europe and South East Asia. If you’re on a tight budget you might want to consider camping or caravanning instead.

  4. Places are getting booked up fast for 2021

    With the current government advice recommending that foreign travel in summer 2021 may not be possible, many people are already hedging their bets on a UK staycation for their break this year. Many holiday parks and hotels are already seeing a surge in bookings for later in the year, so it’s best not to leave booking until the last minute as prices are likely to rise with such a huge demand.

  5. The traffic!

    For the most part, going on a staycation in the UK involves at least some element of driving in order to get to your destination of choice. Unfortunately it usually coincides with the same day that everyone else in the country decides to flock to the popular beaches and resorts resulting in hours sat in traffic jams along the motorways and A-roads. It’s certainly not the most relaxing way to start your holiday.

The best staycations in England

There are LOADS of beautiful and interesting places to visit in England for a staycation. Whether you prefer city breaks, beaches, countryside or adventure, you will definitely find places in England to go on holiday that will satiate your wanderlust. You might even find that there are some amazing places right on your doorstep that you didn’t even know about!

The North West

I’m a little biased on this one, as I do live in the North West, but believe me when I say that there are some wonderful places for a staycation!

Best beaches in the North West:

  • Formby, Liverpool
  • Blackpool, Lancashire
  • Morecambe, Lancashire
  • Southport, Merseyside

Best city breaks in the North West

  • Livepool
  • Manchester
  • Chester

Best nature breaks in the North West

UK Staycations in the North West and Cheshire

Read more about staycations in the North West & Cheshire

Thinking about a mini break in the North West or Cheshire? See my blog post with my recommendations for the best trips in this area for every type of traveller.

Shropshire

UK Staycations in Shropshire

So again, full transparency, I lived in Shropshire for about 6 years so I know and love this area quite a lot! Shropshire is one of England’d most sparsely populated counties with seemingly endless green space and rolling hills making it the perfect UK staycation destination for nature lovers.

Best rural towns to visit in Shropshire

  • Ironbridge
  • Bridgnorth
  • Shrewsbury
  • Much Wenlock

Best nature breaks in Shropshire

Read more about Shropshire staycations

There are plenty of lovely places to visit whilst you’re staying in Shropshire, for some great ideas for day trips in Shropshire be sure to check out this blog.

The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds are probably one of the most popular destinations in England outside of London, and it’s not hard to see why. The combination of sleepy villages and historic towns and cities interspersed with beautiful coutryside are the perfect place to spend a long weekend sampling tea and cakes.

Best villages to visit in the Cotswolds

  • Castle Combe
  • Burford
  • Bourton on the Water
  • Bibury

Best towns and cities to visit in the Cotswolds

UK Staycations in the Cotswolds

North Yorkshire

UK Staycations in North Yorkshire

A staycation in North Yorkshire is perfect if you like to be by the sea, and makes a great alternative to Devon and Cornwall if you’re based further north or in Scotland. Think fish and chips in sleepy seaside villages and long walks across the moors – bliss!

Best seaside towns in North Yorkshire

  • Whitby
  • Staithes
  • Robin Hood’s Bay

Best nature spots in North Yorkshire

Read more about staycations in North Yorkshire

The North Yorkshire coastline has some truly spectacular views, so make sure to pack your camera on your staycation. Here are the places you can get the best Instagram shots in North Yorkshire.

London

If city breaks are more your style when it comes to travel, London is the obvious choice. There’s a reason that London is one of the most popular cities to visit in the world, it’s got centuries of history, and more culture, art, food, and famous filming locations than you can shake a stick at.

Must visit museums and galleries in London

The best shopping locations in London

  • Oxford Street
  • Camden Market
  • Covent Garden
  • Westfield
  • Regent Street
  • Carnaby
UK Staycations in London

Read more tips for visiting London

Whilst London is an amazing place to staycation when it comes to filling out your itinerary with fun activities, the UK capital is certainly not the cheapest place to stay. Thankfully there are some really fun things you can do in London for free or at least on a tight budget!

Staycations in Wales

I would recommend anyone that hasn’t already explored Wales to go there for a staycation. Everyone who has already been, I won’t need to convince!

When I think of Wales I think of dramatic scenery, towering peaks and rugged coastlines. Wales is also home to some of my favourite beaches in the UK such as Barmouth as well as the hikers wonderland that is the incredible Snowdonia National Park.

Whilst the mountainous terrain can make a road trip through Wales a little nerve-wracking, I promise you that the views are absolutely worth it!

Conwy harbour

North Wales

UK Staycations in North Wales

I’m very lucky that North Wales is just a short 40 minute drive from where I live in the North West, something I definitely won’t be taking for granted once Covid is over! There are some fascinating places to visit in North Wales both along the coast and further inland where you can find fantastic mountain and lake scenery.

If you like to brush up on your history when you travel you’ll find endless castles and ruins dotted along the North Wales coast to explore too.

Best places to visit on the North Wales coast

  • Conwy
  • Llandudno
  • Caernarfon
  • Anglesey
  • Portmerion
  • Barmouth

Beautiful nature spots in North Wales

Read more staycation ideas for North Wales

If you want to take the stress out of planning your staycation in North Wales, you can steal a few ideas from my road trip that includes castles, lighthouses and stunning scenery.

Tips for planning a staycation in the UK

Planning a staycation in the UK is pretty straightforward and may actually be easier than planning a trip abroad, as you most likely won’t need to worry about booking flights. There are definitely ways to take the stress out of planning though, so here are a few top tips for things to think about when it comes to planning your trip.

  • Dates: Try to plan out your dates and book in advance where possible. Places book up quickly for bank holidays and school holidays so if you can travel mid week or during term time you’re more likely to find availability and lower prices.
  • Budget: Prices for accommodation in the UK can vary wildly depending on the type of accommodation and location. A humble tent pitch can set you back as little as £50 for a long weekend whereas a hotel in a prime location by the coast could cost up to £500! Do some searching on Booking.com and use the filters to find the best combination of price, comfort and location.
  • Itinerary: Plan out what you want to see and do in advance so that you can make the most of your staycation time. I’ve created a free itinerary planning template that will save you lots of time. Download it here.

Where to book a UK staycation

The Manor House hotel Castle Combe

There are hundreds, if not thousand,s of different holiday accommodations available to book in the UK, from hotels to shepherd’s huts, so it can definitely be overwhelming even knowing where to start! I would advise that you narrow down your search, first by figuring out where you want to go and then deciding what type of accommodation will suit you best.

Here are a few places that make comparing different accommodation options for your UK staycation a little easier:

Best for comparing all the options:

Best for holiday cottages:

Best for Unique properties

Best for holiday parks and campsites

Best for campervan rental

Keep an eye on these for deals too:

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