The rise of the staycation is real. Last year, Brits holidaying at home increased by almost a quarter compared to 2016 studies have found. It’s evident that the British public has found a new love for exploring rural villages and countryside, with nearly one in five now choosing to lace up their boots and take walking trips.
While there are many reasons for this, the strength of the pound against other currencies has been a key factor and UK businesses are loving it. And with so many beautiful locations on our own isles, here we look at some of the best countryside destinations in the UK to visit.
The Lake District is by far the UK’s most popular national park. Its fells and countryside provide breathtaking treks and hikes with postcard-worthy views. After all, there’s a reason 15 million people come each year to explore the region and it was recently named a UNESCO World Heritage site. With a huge range of walks available, from the family-friendly circuit of Latrigg that takes in Keswick’s lovely views, to the challenging 14 miles that see you on top of England’s highest mountains including Scafell, there really is something to suit everybody’s needs.
Often referred to as ‘the Lakes’, the region was also home to William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, so you can take a step back in time and visit their homes, including Wordsworth’s Rydal Mount if you don’t fancy the great outdoors.
And what about Lake District accommodation? From budget to boutique, you’ll be covered. With a diverse range of locations to stay, you’ll be well looked after whether on a campsite or one of its amazing country houses.
Cragwood Country House Hotel, set in its own secluded estate that leads down to Lake Windemere’s shores, offers the ideal location for a relaxing getaway. With dogs welcome, you don’t even have to leave your four-legged friends at home. It’s not just a place to put your head down, either. With an AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence, you can enjoy some of the region’s finest dining delights without even leaving your hotel.
However, for those who like to venture out of their four walls, why not try Simon Rogan’s Michelin Star-winning L’Enclume. Not for the faint-hearted, this eatery in Cartmel puts a unique twist on modern British cuisine. With no set menu to choose from, every day has the potential to have a new meal available, with the restaurant deciding on its dishes depending on what local produce is available.
While it may not be the first on the tip of your tongue when it comes to visiting Scotland, the idyllic Perthshire destination is quickly garnering interest to the avid walker among us. Visitors are keen to walk along the River Tray and bask in its beauty, while, like the Lake District, the region has ties to Beatrix Potter.
For a bite to eat, Howie’s Bistro is a popular location. Offering local fresh produce and home cooking, it’s a comfortable little establishment that attracts the attention of regular customers.
When it’s time to put your feet up and relax, the Dunkeld House Hotel offers luxury country living that is nestled into the Perthshire landscape. According to their site, it boasts an unrivalled experience of Scottish country living and is only 90 minutes from 90% of Scotland. With spa facilities, award-winning dining, geocaching and fishing beats, this elegant hotel can take the pace off your busy life to help you unwind.
The North East coast is home to the wonderful gem that is Northumberland. The area is regularly winning awards and offers mysterious stone formations, castles and ancient settlements. Its peaceful ambience is available without needing to hike for miles and is linked by quiet roads that cross the amazing countryside.
And for those wanting to experience Northumberland as many haven’t before, there’s the opportunity to stay in the spectacular grounds of the Cragside Estate. With 30 miles of footpaths and lakeside walks, including waterfalls and a rock garden, the estate makes sure that you never run out of spaces to explore, all while taking in the views of the Coquet Valley and Simonside Hills.
Elsewhere, if luxury is what you require, Walwick Hall offers 10 individually designed rooms and a sophisticated and relaxed eating area. And if a pool and jacuzzi won’t suffice, this country house has its own masseurs on hand to ease away the strains of modern living in a relaxing treatment room.
While in Northumberland, you can take a boat from Seahouses across to the Farne Islands or visit Alnwick Castle for a spot of broomstick training in the same setting as Harry Potter!
For a spot of walking in South Central England, look no further than the Cotswolds. Ranging 102 miles, the Cotswold Way is a great holiday to consider for the avid walker. However, for those who want a set base for their trip, how about De Vere Tortworth Court in South Cotswolds? With country heritage-style bedrooms and 30 acres to explore, the resting spot is in close proximity to historic castles, including Castle Combe and Blaise Castle Estate.
Science and history lovers will also be interested in Dr Jenner’s House, Museum and Garden, located less than 15 minutes’ drive away.
For food, TripAdvisor’s number one is the 3AA Rosette Award winning dining experience at Lumière Restaurant. The discreet and relaxing dining experience was opened in 2009 and sits just a stone’s throw away from Cheltenham’s famous Promenade.
Causeway Coast and Glens, Northern Ireland
Away from the mainland, you could visit Belfast and the Causeway Coast, which topped Lonely Planet’s ‘regions’ section of their Best in Travel roundup in 2018. Home to some of Northern Ireland’s most iconic landscape, the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough is a popular year-round visitor destination.
With the world’s oldest licensed distillery in Bushmills and the UNESCO World Heritage site at Giant’s Causeway, it really is a destination that can take your breath away. There are also Game of Thrones excursions to go on, including a visit to the Dark Hedges in Ballymoney, with the hit series often filmed in the region.
Any trip to Northern Ireland will be steeped in history, but why not settle down on your staycation in a luxurious boutique hotel that was originally a Coaching Inn in the 1600s? Perfectly located to easily access the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, The Bushmills Inn states that it offers a myriad of places to hide from the world.
There are plenty of other locations that could have made this list, proving that beauty spots exist all over the countryside in the UK. It’s no wonder that the staycation is becoming more popular. So, put away those passports and see what is on offer closer to home.