The Best Staycation Destinations in the UK 2021.

The UK is counting down the days until lockdown restrictions are completely lifted so we can all look forward to sunny summer holidays again. However, recent research has shown that more than half of the UK would rather vacation in this country than go abroad. Luckily, the UK is packed to the brim with stunning landscapes, bustling cities and relaxing coastlines, with plenty of great things to see and do. After taking a staycation in the UK, you will soon realise how much this diverse country has to offer – it will definitely give those abroad holidays a run for their money!

There are plenty of UK staycation destinations just down the road that can provide a truly satisfying break from your everyday life. And, as a bonus, you’ll be saving plenty of pennies and minimise your carbon footprint – it’s a win-win! Whether you’re looking for a relaxing countryside getaway, a coastal vacay, an action-packed outdoors holiday or a sophisticated city break – you can find all the best staycation destinations in the UK in the list below. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and take a look!

The Top UK Staycation Destinations:

Brecon Beacons, Wales

The Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales has long been considered one of the most beautiful British staycation destinations. Rolling hills, striking mountains, historical stones and castles, elegant waterfalls and lively communities, this UK National Park has so much to offer those who have been locked down in a town or city. In particular, you should make sure to visit the incredibly picturesque Waterfall Country, a southern pocket of the National Park where you will find the Four Falls Trail which consists of four astonishing waterfalls along a 5-mile hike. The Brecon Beacons are also recognised for their remarkable night skies which have earned this staycation destination an International Dark Sky Reserve label.

Where to stay:

Where to eat/drink:

  • The Bear Hotel: this hotel is famous for its welcoming atmosphere, historic character and delicious food.
  • Castle Hotel Llandrovery: located in the ancient and historic market town of Llandovery which translates to ‘Church amongst the water’, here you can enjoy incredible food made with local ingredients.
  • Penderyn Distillery: produces award-winning single malt whiskies and spirits in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons.
  • Black Mountains Smokery: a family-run artisan smokery located in Crickhowell. Their award-winning smoked foods are cured and smoked in their own smokehouse.

What to do:

  • Star gazing: head to Use Reservoir or Hay Bluff to gaze at the first Dark Sky Reserve in Wales.
  • Bushcraft & foraging: this staycation offers the perfect opportunity to hone your wilderness skills.
  • Rock climbing & abseiling: the Brecon Beacons has plenty of natural climbing opportunities, from sheltered crags to old quarries and rocky escarpments.

Brighton, England

Forever cool, the city of Brighton is a truly iconic seaside destination. It has everything you need for a successful staycation in the UK – whether you’re looking for sea, beach, bars, clubs, restaurants and brilliant shopping opportunities. Perfect for a staycation with the family, Brighton makes the ideal break to entertain the kids after months locked in the house. Head to the famous Royal Pavilion and pier and enjoy a ride on a giant Ferris wheel for incredible panoramic views of the city and south coast.

Where to stay:

Where to eat/drink:

  • Franco Manca: for the ultimate soft and doughy sourdough pizza at an affordable price.
  • The Foragers: A cosy community-based pub in central Hove, best known for their middle-eastern inspired menu and fabulous selection of beers, spirits and wine.
  • Stock Burger Co.: a vibrant bar and restaurant set against the stunning backdrop of Brighton’s seafront, serving the crème de la crème of burgers.
  • Hand in Hand: recently awarded Brighton’s best pub in 2019 and 2020, this historical watering hole has been serving locals and holiday-makers alike since 1830.
  • Riddle & Finns: watch your food being prepared in this trendy seafood restaurant, located in the vibrant Lanes of Brighton.

What to do:

  • Brighton Toy & Model Museum: founded in 1991, this attraction is full of childhood dreams and nostalgic memories.
  • Theatre Royal Brighton: presenting a sensational programme of West End drama, musicals, comedy and a spectacular annual Christmas show.
  • Sea Life Brighton: an astonishing underwater emporium filled with a dazzling array of fantastic otherworldly creatures.

The Cotswolds, England

The Cotwolds is a truly magical staycation destination. Running through five counties (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire), this little pocket of quintessential England makes for an ideal short break. Weave through the bustling market towns, gawk at the huge country houses, eat at the many excellent restaurants and take in the splendid scenery of luscious green rolling hills.

Where to stay:

Where to eat/drink:

  • Lygon Wine Bar: a relaxed wine bar with a focus on Italian and European wines by the glass, carafe and bottle.
  • The Blue Boar: serving a seasonal, Mediterranean-inspired menu in a cosy, rustic dining room with open kitchen.
  • Sheep on Sheep Street: a trendy soho-style restaurant and bar, with wood-fired oven, open kitchen, garden and patio area.
  • No.131: combining traditional Georgian architecture, elegant modern design and all-day dining, this trendy restaurant serves delicious, seasonal and local food.

What to do:

  • Blenheim Palace: marvel at the wonders of Baroque architecture, wonderful collections of art, tapestry and antiques, as well as exploring the park and gardens.
  • Kelmscott Manor: the country home of William Morris – poet, craftsman and socialist – this is an essential experience for anyone interested in the Arts and Crafts movement.
  • The Roman Baths: wonder round the steaming Great Bath, marvel at the ruins of the temple of Miverva and explore the fascinating museum.

Jurassic Coast, England

As England’s only natural World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast stretches from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset, and is arguably one of the most astonishing coastlines in the world. This unique staycation destination has so much to offer anyone wanting a short getaway. A hugely diverse and beautiful landscape, the Jurassic Coast is underpinned by its incredible geology. In fact, in 2001, it was recognised by UNESCO for the outstanding universal value of its rocks, fossils and landforms.

Where to stay:

Where to eat/drink:

  • Bliss Food Co.: a unique and welcoming restaurant that specialises in homemade, locally sourced and seasonal food.
  • Tawney’s Wine Bar: delivering fine wines and hearty food in a relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere.
  • The King’s Arms: visit this quintessentially British pub for an incredibly warm welcome and delicious food.
  • The Pink Goat: delivering incredible breakfasts, lunches and evening meals, this cafe/restaurant puts a unique twist on everyday favourites.

What to do:

  • Lulworth Fossil Forest: wonder at the evidence of the existence of the Jurassic Period, created from falling sea levels.
  • Spyway Dinosaur Footprints: created by Jurassic giants 145 million years ago, visiting these impressive fossilised tracks is a journey back in time.
  • Beer Quarry Caves: discover the history of the village of Beer which revolves around these quarry caves that have been worked by hand since the Roman times.

Padstow, England

More than just a British seaside town, Padstow has firmly established itself as a famous foodie hangout, making it the ideal staycation destination for anyone who loves to eat! Situated on the northern coast of Cornwall, explore its trendy town and popular harbour. Perhaps you want to trek a little further afield and walk or cycle the Camel Trail toward Wadebridge, Bodmin and beyond. Or, take a relaxing stroll along the Southwest Coast Path towards one of the several sandy beaches or catch the ferry across the river to Rock.

Where to stay:

Where to eat/drink:

  • Burgers & Fish: a trendy gourmet restaurant which specialises in creating magnificent burgers and unique fish dishes.
  • The Tasting Room on Duke Street: a large and airy space serving the best craft draught beers in town.
  • Trevisker’s Kitchen: serving up lovely homemade food in a modern, friendly environment.
  • Prawn on the Lawn: a fully licensed fish monger and restaurant near Padstow’s buzzing quayside, delivering the freshest seafood and tapas-style fish dishes.

What to do:

  • Harlyn Surf School: improve your surfing skills or try out coasteering, stand-up paddle boarding or sit on top kayaking.
  • National Lobster Hatchery: meet baby lobsters and see them through different stages of their life cycle.
  • Camel Creek Adventure Park: with a huge range of rides, Camel Creek provides fun and thrills for all the family.

Isle of Skye, Scotland

If stunning scenery is your thing, the Isle of Skye should definitely be on your staycation destination list. One of Scotland’s top visitor destinations and home to some of its most incredible landscapes, it’s like being in another world. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights during your trip. But the Isle of Skye has so much more to offer than just good views – it’s also a great staycation destination for history, wildlife, walking and climbing.

Where to stay:

Where to eat/drink:

  • The Three Chimneys: one of the most famous restaurants in Scotland, this fish and seafood restaurant sits on the shore of Loch Dunvegan in north west Skye.
  • The Old School: a mid-range option, this family-run eatery serves up proper hearty meals in a refurbished school.
  • Edinbane Lodge: Dating back to 1543, it is reputedly the oldest inn on Skye. Using the best island and highland produce, the multi-course menu has everything you could want.

What to do:

  • Skyefari: join a wildlife safari to see the ‘Skye Five’ – Otters, Golden Eagles, White-Tailed Eagles, Red Deer and Seals.
  • Fairy Pools: swim in the Fairy Pools of Glen Brittle, filled with crystal blue water from the Cuillin.
  • The Old Man of Storr: walk up to the large pillar of rock that dominates the landscape in the north east of Skye.

York, England

There is no need to leave the UK to find fabulous history, culture and food – picture-perfect York has it all. York is exactly when comes to mind when you think of a postcard English city. Surrounded by medieval walls and ancient castles dotted throughout, but with modern chic shops and trendy restaurants, cafes and bars – York is the ideal blend of history and contemporary sites. Plus, the stunning Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors are just a short drive away.

Where to stay:

Where to eat/drink:

  • Shambles Food Court: Offering delicious street food every day of the week, it makes the ideal spot for a lunchtime treat.
  • Ambiente Tapas: This relaxed Andalucia-inspired Tabancos-style bar is the perfect spot for a tasty lunch or a glass of wine overlooking the street.
  • Spring Espresso: Re-fuel from a long day roaming the streets of York with a delicious artisan coffee from this cosy little coffee shop.
  • The House of Trembling Madness: Offering a huge collection of beers and rich history, this medieval ale house features quirky taxidermy and proper good-quality grub that embodies the true spirit of Yorkshire.

What to do:

  • York Minster: One of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals, marvel at the stained glass masterpieces and intricately carved stone.
  • The York Dungeon: Discover 2000 years of history as it is brought to life in this immersive York experience.
  • Jorvik Viking Centre: Marvel at the unique collection of 1000 year old artefacts and take a trip on the world-famous ride that takes you through the sites, smells and sounds of Viking-age York.

Bristol, England

A lot of UK towns and cities are often referred to as ‘up-and-coming’ these days, but Bristol really is the cool new city that well and truly deserves a spot on this staycation list. While one of the lesser-known UK staycation destinations, more and more people are recognising Bristol as the place to be. In fact, between 2015 and 2017, over 13,000 people left London to move to the city, making it even more popular than Brighton. From magnificent museums and art galleries to trendy eateries and bars – you certainly won’t be bored during a weekend in Bristol.

Where to stay:

Where to eat/drink:

  • The Milk Thistle: set over 4 floors in one of the city’s finest historic buildings, here you can taste the best cocktails in town.
  • The Ox: a seductive steakhouse, hidden away in an old-school basement in the old city, with wood-panelled walls and dim lighting.
  • Bar 44: an opulent tapas bar in Clifton Village, where you can choose from a selection of seasonal and classic tapas dishes to enjoy with a glass of wine or a G&T.
  • Asado: a funky burger joint, with bright decor, a banging soundtrack and consistently great burgers, of course!

What to do:

  • Aerospace Bristol: tells the incredible story of Britol’s world-class aerospace industry and gives you the opportunity to board the iconic Concorde Alpha Foxtrot.
  • Bristol Cathedral: the centre of Bristol’s history, civic life and culture, this magnificent building is a must-see.
  • Banksy Walking Tour: see some of Banksy’s most famous works combined to make for a fantastic self-guided walking tour.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is a constant hive of activity and fun, making the ideal UK staycation destination for those who love the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city. With its recognisable city skyline, colourful, cobbled streets and lively characters as the backdrop, Edinburgh is the perfect place to make some holiday memories. From the zoo to the whisky and, of course, the yearly Fringe Festival.

Where to stay:

Where to eat/drink:

  • Burgers & Beers: serving up the best burgers and, obviously beers, try their famous 8oz burger hand-crafted on-site from locally-sourced ingredients.
  • The Cauldron: a 1 hour 45 min immersive class where you wield a magic wand and use molecular mixology to create drinkable elixirs.
  • The Voodoo Rooms: known for its classic cocktails, unique mixes, rums and tequilas, this bar and restaurant is a true hidden gem.
  • The Whiski Rooms: with a bar, restaurant, bistro and shop, the Whiski Rooms captures a unique food and drink experience, with stunning views over the Mound and Princes Street.

What to do:

  • Edinburgh Castle: set at the top of the Royal Mile, on top of Castle Rock, this is the number one visitor attraction in the whole of Scotland.
  • Edinburgh Zoo: a great day out for all the family, the zoo is home to over 1000 animals, including the UK’s only giant pandas.
  • Camera Obscura: the oldest visitor attraction in Edinburgh, get immersed in this attraction’s incredible illusions.

Lake District, England

No list of top staycation destinations in the UK would be complete without the breathtaking Lake District National Park. Probably one of the best-known holiday destinations for people across the UK and further afield, the Lake District offers a wide range of activities and attractions, as well as some incredible natural beauty. Featuring glassy lakes, surrounded by luscious greed rolling hills.

Where to stay:

Where to eat/drink:

  • Mortal Man Inn: with stunning views of the rugged fells of Troutbeck Valley, Mortal Man serves up true pub classics, along with delicious special dishes.
  • The Old Stamphouse: a welcoming restaurant, located in the heart of the village of Ambleside, housed in the former office of William Wordsworth.
  • Harry’s Cafe: found in Yew Tree Barn, this cafe and bar is a family-run business that serves up great food and coffee.
  • The Wild Boar: set in the Gilpin Valley, this friendly pub features crackling log fires, a fabulous seasonal menu and a great selection of ales and wines.

What to do:

  • Scafell Pike: take a trip up the highest mountain in England if you’re into the outdoors.
  • Grasmere: thanks to Wordsworth, Grasmere is probably the area’s most famous village, being where he wrote most of his poetry.
  • Lake Windermere: you can’t visit the Lakes without an actual visit to a lake.

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