Travel in 2020 was pretty non existent for me. It felt weird, travel is usually such a big part of my life! I felt very unmotivated to even think about planning travel. With almost all of my trips being cancelled, and one I’m trying to hold onto but keep pushing the flights back later, it just made me feel disappointed and down. In 2021 I’d like some sort of travel to be back on the cards. I’ve been thinking of some UK staycation ideas, just in case international travel is still on the rocky side. With restrictions constantly changing, even within the UK, it’s important to do a little bit more research to ensure you are staying safe and not breaking any local restrictions.
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Staycation Ideas for a UK Getaway
Edinburgh and the North Coast 500
Scotland has come up in discussion several times for a potential UK staycation for next year. We’re a family that are big on road trips. I’ve been on 2 road trips in Australia, we’ve done several in the USA but our last Scottish road trip was back in 2002! I went to Edinburgh & Glasgow in 2009 for a weekend, but with so many things to do in Edinburgh, I’d like to go back and explore more! I really enjoyed Camera Obscura and Word of Illusions, but I’d also like to do to the hike to Arthur’s Seat and visit The Elephant House, which is where J.K. Rowling wrote some of the Harry Potter books.
We spoke about potentially doing the ‘North Coast 500’, a 500+ mile road trip around, you guessed it, the North Coast of Scotland. A good place to start and finish is from Inverness, but from where we live in the East of England, it would be a 9 hour drive just to get to the start of the NC500 (with another 9 hour drive at the end). Another option would be flying into somewhere like Edinburgh and hiring a car, which would cut 6 hours off the drive time (Edinburgh – Inverness is approximately a 3 hour drive).
With having to consider things like social distancing, we were thinking the NC500 could be a good option. It would be a trip focusing on experiencing the outdoors, rather than relying on attractions being open and having to prebook entrance times etc.
My last big UK Staycation was in 2019 when we went to North Wales. I thought it was brilliant, there were so many adventurous things to do! The Zipworld locations are just awesome, we went up Mount Snowdon on the Llanberis Railway…and then walked back down, visited Portmeirion which looks like a little village plucked out of Italy and had photos with the Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch train station sign.
I’ve now got my sights on Pembrokeshire in the south of Wales, another place that I visited back in the mid 2000’s. I’d like to visit Freshwater West Beach. It is another Harry Potter location and is where *SPOILER ALERT* Dobby’s grave is. People go and leave painted rocks and socks as a little memorial for him. Yes, he is a fictional character but that death destroyed me!
There’s also a glamping site not far away, where you can spend the night in a room that’s in a converted ex Ethiad airplane (called the ‘Arabian Nights Airbus’). One of the toilets has been converted into a shower room, the other is still a toilet, the galley is a kitchen, all the windows have the original ‘pull down’ blinds and the overhead lockers are still there for storage! They also have a ‘private jet’ room too along with some other unique accommodation options. But when I haven’t flown for so long, a grounded, chopped in half plane seems the next best option!
The only ‘trip’ I took after March 2020 (other than my flight home in June) was a weekend break glamping in Essex. I live in Essex so it really was a staycation. Me and my sister went to Osea Leisure Park, literally just down the road. Thankfully it was the hottest weekend of the year and we really appreciated being able to have a break. Even though we were so close to home, it really felt like we were a lot further away! They had lots of additional procedures in place to keep guests safe too.
Now I have a second website, dedicated to all things Essex, there’ll most likely be some more Essex mini breaks. I’d like to visit a couple more of the glamping locations, they do book up quite far in advance though! Essex also has one of the longest coast lines in England, so I’m thinking about having a night away somewhere like Southend-On-Sea, just to get some fresh sea air in my lungs!
One of my favourite areas of England is the South West. I love Devon and Cornwall and would never turn down a trip there! I love attempting to surf and ‘surf like’ atmosphere around the beach towns. I am quite happy wandering in and out of surf shops, I have surfboard and VW camper van stickers stuck over my laptop. I’m not a huge ‘brand’ person but I do love Animal, Billabong, Roxy and Vans clothes (and BACKPACKS), they are just always such nice colours!
Even on a normal year when staycations haven’t been so popular, Devon and Cornwall can get VERY busy. Due to the geography of the land, traffic does tend to bottle neck, especially on Saturdays. It’s best to either travel so you arrive very early in the morning to beat the traffic, or head down on a week day. Some of the local roads are very narrow too and car parks aren’t always the biggest, so if you can stay somewhere with access to a beach or a nearby town within walking distance, that would be beneficial!
Another place I was hoping to get back to in 2020! I live 1 hour away on the train, I’m so close, yet so far! Whether staying overnight or just a day trip, there is always so much to do! With the lack of international travel I’ve been really wanting to get back to China Town. With my online English teaching I have a lot of Asian students, which has inspired me to explore more of Asia. With travel a little harder at the moment, visiting China Town seems like a nice way to ‘scratch that itch’ until I can go properly! London has so many places to eat different global cuisines! Ellie Quinn over at The Wandering Quinn wrote this great post: Arab Areas in London For an Alternative Look at London, if you are after something different.
Bristol and Bath
Now thinking of somewhere completely new to me, I still really want to visit Bristol and Bath at some point! I was hoping to visit in 2020 but we all know how that turned out! They look like nice cities to photograph, so that would be my main reason for visiting!
Visiting Friends and Family
After spending the last 4 years living in the USA, I moved back in June, had to quarantine on arrival and then haven’t really being allowed to meet up or visit friends and family since being back. Hopefully in 2021 things will get to the point where we can meet up with people in some sort of capacity again! I have cousins further ‘up north’ in Nottingham, Sheffield and on the outskirts of Manchester and a friend on the south coast, that I’d love to go and see for a weekend. When you visit friends and family, they are ‘experts’ in the area where they live, so they often know of the good local places to visit! So fingers crossed these types of meet ups will be able to happen soon!
I was also looking at buying a Network Rail card which covers some of the South of England. For £30 the card lasts for 1 year and gives you discount on train tickets. I used to have the 18-25 railcard and then the 26-30 but now…I’m too old. For me in Essex, I only need to make 3 trips to London within the year and you make back the £30 in savings, so it’s quite good!
Are you planning any UK 2021 Staycations?