How to have a great summer in the UK: the best UK staycation ideas!
A staycation is defined as a holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.
Having a great summer holiday is usually associated with traveling abroad but I’ve actually had the most amazing summers without leaving the UK!
How is it even possible without traveling to far and exotic lands?
I have created a list of the best locations and experiences across the UK that can easily compete with or even beat holidays abroad.
I am sharing my personal experiences, including photographic evidence, to prove that it really is possible to have a fantastic summer holiday in the UK.
Although this article’s focus is on the summer holiday, the locations mentioned below have a lot to offer at any time of the year.
As part of planning your UK break, I would highly recommend reading how to make your UK staycation eco-friendly.
Without further ado, let’s jump into it! Check out the snapshots of my magical UK staycations below.
The Best UK Staycation Ideas
1. The Lake District
The exceptionally hot summer weather certainly encourages us to explore some of the most picturesque UK locations.
I spent a week in the beautiful Lake District in Cumbria.
Famous for its stunning lakes, forests, and mountains, the Lake District is a mountainous region in North West England and definitely one of the best places to visit in the UK.
The Lake District really is a magical land, and sometimes I felt like I was in a fairy tale.
It just seemed too beautiful to be true, and I could not believe I was still in the UK.
Swim In The Lakes
Because the weather was absolutely amazing, I was able to swim in the crystal clear lakes.
There are sixteen lakes in the Lake District; I managed to swim in eight of them!
Although they are all breathtakingly beautiful, I have two favorite lakes that I recommend visiting.
The first lake is Coniston Water, which is great for relaxing, swimming, and paddleboarding.
Set in a beautiful location, it’s not too busy and offers good facilities.
The second lake I absolutely fell in love with is Buttermere.
Even the road leading to Buttermere Village, Newlands Pass, offers spectacular views.
The lake itself is beyond beautiful, and I wanted to stay there forever!
Although lakes are naturally the main attraction of the Lake District, there is so much more to explore!
Visit Beatrix Potter’s House
I recommend visiting Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s 17th-century farmhouse surrounded by beautiful gardens. It’s located in the dreamy village of Near Sawrey.
Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top with the royalties from the first of her little books, The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
The magic of Hill Top is seeing Beatrix Potter’s stories brought to life in the place where they were created.
Readers of her little books will be able to see the rhubarb patch where Jemima Puddle-Duck tried to hide her eggs and the view up the slate-flagged garden path captured in The Tale of Tom Kitten.
Try Gorge Scrambling
When you visit the Lake District, you simply must try gorge scrambling!
Gorge scrambling (or ghyll scrambling) involves scrambling directly up a mountain river but in the water rather than by taking the path along the side.
I had so much fun, and the views were breathtaking.
I was slightly apprehensive about sliding down numerous waterfalls at first, but it turned out to be beyond awesome!
Check out the Lake District Activities by Lakeland Ascents website – they organized our gorge scrambling adventure.
In addition to gorge scrambling, they offer other exhilarating activities such as waterfall and rock climbing, abseiling, mountain scrambling, and canyoning.
The Lake District has so much to offer for everyone, from spectacular hiking trails to various water activities.
It was my first visit to this fairy tale land, but it definitely won’t be the last.
2. The Ancient Town Of Rye
If you are into cute historical English towns, Rye should certainly be on top of your list.
Full of narrow, cobbled streets, antique shops, cute cafes, and restaurants, Rye is located in East Sussex, two miles from the sea.
It’s one of the places I’m particularly fond of as it makes me feel like a time traveler who jumped back to medieval England.
Stay In A Haunted Hotel
The Mermaid Inn is a Grade II listed historical inn located on Mermaid Street in Rye.
It’s not only a truly unique historic building and a favorite place to stay for celebrities but also one of the most haunted hotels in Britain, The Mermaid Inn, located on Mermaid Street.
The current building dates from 1420 and has 16th-century additions in the Tudor style, but the cellars date back to 1156.
As the Mermaid Inn is well known for its hauntings, it has been subject to an investigation on the Most Haunted TV series.
If you want to read some ghost stories reported by the guests, check out my post about THE MERMAID INN.
Famous guests who stayed at the Mermaid Inn include Charlie Chaplin, Marlon Brando, Sophia Lauren, Johnny Depp, Kate Moss, Dame Judy Dench, Pierce Brosnan, Andy Garcia, Prince Edward, and Elizabeth (Queen Mother).
Will you dare to stay the night?
3. The English Countryside
I try to escape to the countryside as often as I can in the summer.
I don’t particularly enjoy the hot weather when I’m in the city.
I never really understood the excitement of a heatwave coming from people who would be stuck in the office and traveling in trains with no air conditioning.
The English countryside is beautiful, and my favorite place is just over an hour’s drive from London in East Sussex, so this is where I spend most of the hot weekends.
I have my favorite beautiful, quiet spot by the river where I can relax and go for a swim.
It feels exactly like being on holiday in a hot country, but I enjoy it even more because it’s so peaceful and private.
It’s like having a large natural swimming pool all to myself! Not to mention, it’s free.
While I was chilling by the river, I found myself wondering how pointless paying for a holiday abroad would be.
There’s nothing quite like the English countryside!
I highly recommend rural escapes if you want to recharge your batteries, clear your head, and catch a breath.
And the great thing is that wherever you live, I guarantee you will be able to find some beautiful countryside spots near you so you won’t have to travel far.
4. The Magic Of Godric’s Hollow
Godric’s Hollow is a fictional village in England featured in the books and film series as the birthplace of both Harry Potter and his wizarding headmaster, Albus Dumbledore.
Although Godric’s Hollow is fictional, it was based on a real place, Lavenham, in Suffolk.
Described by The Guardian as ‘one of the most beautiful small towns in Britain’, it was chosen as the location for scenes in Godric’s Hollow.
Full of half-timbered and colorful medieval cottages, Lavenham is a truly enchanted place.
I felt like I was walking through the real Godric’s Hollow, and I am happy to say it’s the most charming English village that I have visited so far.
Check out my previous post for more details and photos of my visit to Lavenham: GODRIC’S HOLLOW: THE PLACE WHERE MAGIC WAS BORN.
I am a big fan of glamping.
For those of you who are not familiar with this term, glamping means glamour camping, and it’s basically a camping type of experience with luxury private facilities.
This means you have your own private bathroom (ensuite or an outside bathroom with private access), kitchen, electricity, TV, etc.
You don’t have to bring anything with you, and you just show up just like you would at a hotel.
Glamping can sometimes be more expensive than staying in a hotel, but paying a little extra is worth it if you are bored with hotels and seeking something unusual and quirky.
There are many different types of glamping accommodation, such as Shepherd’s Hut, Glamping Pod, Narrow Boat, Showman’s Carriage, Bell Tent, and Tree House, and I am proud to say I have stayed in most of them.
I can even give you a sneak peek of what they are like inside…
If you are looking for the most unusual UK staycation ideas, Dungeness is where you should be headed.
Described as the UK’s only desert, it’s a super eerie place with a post-apocalyptic landscape, nuclear power station, majestic lighthouses, miniature railway, abandoned fishing boats, quirky architecture, and thriving wildlife.
There’s a real ‘end-of-the-world’ feel about Dungeness, and its mysterious landscape is certainly every photographer’s dream.
It’s one of the most haunting, thought-provoking places I have ever visited and definitely one of the most unusual things to do in the UK.
If you like the idea, check out my Dungeness post for more details.
7. Holy Island Of Lindisfarne
In the north of England, situated on the border between Scotland and England, near the River Tweed that separates the two kingdoms, nature becomes capricious.
Over here, you find a sacred island: The Holy Island of Lindisfarne.
Home to a population of less than 200 and located in a very remote part of Northumberland, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne gets cut off twice a day from the mainland by the tide.
This mysterious place is known for its medieval religious heritage and picturesque 16th-century castle.
This tidal little island is a hidden gem of Northumberland that’s not to be missed if you are ever in the area.
Check out my blog post about Holy Island for more details.
In my humble opinion, Deal is the prettiest seaside town in Kent.
With colorful, narrow streets, a beautiful beach, a pier, quirky architecture, and TWO wonderful castles, Deal has it all!
It’s a place where you can relax, go for a swim, and try delicious local food.
It’s not as crowded as other seaside towns, so you will be able to enjoy your day without any interruptions, long queues or noise.
Check out my Deal post for more details.
It would be impossible not to mention Cornwall as one of the best British seaside staycations!
Cornwall has one of the most stunning coastlines in the UK and is famous for its breathtakingly beautiful beaches with white sands and turquoise waters where you can swim, surf, or paddleboard.
However, there is so much more to Cornwall than its coastline!
If you are a fan of the BBC drama Poldark, you cannot miss Poldark Mine. This 18th-century tin mine is the only complete underground mine open to the public in Cornwall.
St Michael’s Mount is one of the most remarkable must-see locations in Cornwall. It’s a historic castle and garden located on a tidal island off the coast of Marazion.
Cornwall is also home to some of the most picturesque fishing villages in the country.
When visiting Cornwall, make sure to try its award-winning food too!
When planning your trip, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation.
Cornwall is a great location for a UK staycation and a bucket list destination for anyone visiting the UK.
Known for its fascinating Celtic culture and distinctive Welsh language, Wales boasts stunning mountainous national parks, beautiful lakes, a rugged coastline, and a wealth of picturesque villages.
It’s another fairy tale location that’s not to be missed. The views are out of this world, and there is so much to do!
Snowdonia National Park is the largest National Park in Wales. It contains the highest peaks in the United Kingdom outside of Scotland.
Fancy visiting the underworld? Go caving in Wales!
The exploration of caves, also known as spelunking, is an adrenaline-pumping fun guided by qualified and experienced instructors.
You get to experience zip-lining through caverns, boating across a lake, traversing over an abyss, scaling a waterfall and climbing up a vertical shaft, or abseiling your way down to the deepest point in the UK.
No previous experience is necessary, and all equipment is provided.
Go Below in Snowdonia offers three different types of adventure.
If you are claustrophobic or scared of heights, make sure to check the level of difficulty and types of challenges before booking, as some adventures may involve small spaces and heights.
Scotland is still uncharted territory for me, as it’s the only place on this list that I am yet to explore properly.
I have been postponing this experience because I have a strong feeling that after my first visit, I will feel an overwhelming need to move there.
Whilst the other places listed in this post may be fairy tale locations, Scotland itself is a fairy tale!
It’s a place where nature is wild, people are welcoming, and whiskey is top-notch. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?
Although I have not been there myself, I felt Scotland must be mentioned in this article at least.
Check out the pictures below – have you ever seen anything so beautiful?
The Scottish Highlands
The Scottish Highlands is a mountainous region with Loch Ness and the most famous mythical monster, “Nessie”, at its center.
From the mountains to the sea and everything in between, the views are guaranteed to take your breath away.
Empty and wild, the Scottish Highlands give us a glimpse of an ancient way of life.
Wildlife In Scotland
Home to over 90,000 species, Scotland attracts thousands of wildlife enthusiasts each year.
One of the most iconic animals associated with Scotland and the UK’s largest land mammal is the red deer.
Although it doesn’t belong in the wilderness, the Highland cow is another example of a quintessential Scottish animal.
With a long, shaggy coat and long horns, it’s a hardy breed, bred to withstand the intemperate conditions in the region.
Scattered across the land, Scotland is home to THOUSANDS of castles that rank amongst the most beautiful in the world!
Another reason to visit Scotland is this very special train that you can ride there.
The Jacobite Steam Train is best known for its role in the Harry Potter films as the iconic Hogwarts Express.
On board this magical train, you will get to experience spectacular views over the countryside scenery enjoyed by Harry, Ron, and Hermione on their journey to Hogwarts Castle.
There is so much to do and see in Scotland that I have a feeling I may become a frequent visitor if not a permanent resident.
12. Summer In The City
London is so beautiful in the summer. I thoroughly enjoy exploring the city and taking photos of its cute little secret spots.
The city is blooming with gorgeous floral displays outside of shops, restaurants, and art galleries.
There are plenty of other exciting events taking place in your city every single day in the summer, so you can easily fill your calendar with rooftop parties, outdoor movie screenings, local music festivals, flower shows, sports events, etc.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and feel inspired to spend a great summer in the UK.
Thank you so much for reading, and enjoy exploring the UK – you never know what else you might discover!
If you are interested in more UK travel destinations, check out the posts down below.
Explore More UK Travel Destinations
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