I love a good hashtag and I have to say congratulations to Visit Britain on its latest campaign. As someone who worked in advertising for a decade, I can appreciate a great story when I see one, and the focus on the “amazing moments” you can discover at destinations around our islands is bound to inspire UK residents as well as overseas tourists. The play on the much-used acronym “OMG” for “Oh my God” turns it into “Oh My Great Britain” and I’ve selected ten of the best staycation spots based on a range of travel expert’s views to inspire your holidays or weekend breaks in 2016.
Easily accessible from all over the North West, Southport has often been overlooked in favour of Blackpool, which certainly has its own attractions. However, if you’re looking for a more relaxing time then Southport has 22 miles of coastline with stunning beaches, one of the oldest piers in the UK and world-class golf courses, plus quality accommodation, great restaurants and shops.
This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has something for everyone. Dylan Thomas fans can walk in the footsteps of the poet, but Swansea isn’t all about him. You can also relax on its award-winning beaches, explore the beautiful scenery of the Gower Peninsula, watch Swansea City at home, admire the surfers or shop at the largest indoor market in Wales.
The County of Castles with its star Pembroke Castle in Pembroke itself, the birthplace of King Henry VII has a wealth of places that make it one of Wales’ top holiday destinations. The dramatic coastline and national park, plus the charm of Fishguard, St. Davids and Tenby make this part of Cymru a great place to visit if you love beaches, walking, fishing and history.
North Norfolk coast
If you haven’t visited this part of the world and experienced its big skies and open spaces, plus its beaches and charming coastal towns, then plan a trip now. From the Queen’s estate at Sandringham you can travel through the villages of Hunstanton, Wells-Next-The-Sea, Sheringham and Cromer where you can enjoy the fresh crabs and seafood that the area is famous for as well as its ale. This part of the world is largely unspoilt and if you’re looking for walking and spectacular nature reserves, this is the spot for you.
Balmaha and the West Highland Way
If you take the high road or the low road you may well end up at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. And if you’re fond of the very photogenic Highland cattle then nearby Balmaha is a spot where you’re likely to see them. The village is a popular stop for walkers on the West Highland Way and accommodation is plentiful, plus you’ll be on the shores of beautiful Loch Lomond in no time.
Pentewan and Heligan Cornwall
Cornwall is renowned for its beauty and good weather amongst other things. Gardening fans will fall in love with the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Until 25 years ago they were covered in weeds but now they have been restored to their full glory. Base yourself in nearby Pentewan with its long sandy beach and explore St. Austell or the therapeutic Clearing Spa for some ultimate relaxation time.
Giant’s Causeway and Glens of Antrim
OK, it’s not strictly in GB, but the Giant’s Causeway is one of the most splendid sights anywhere in the UK. Naturalist David Bellamy places it alongside Everest in terms of its importance to humankind. Don’t miss the famous Glens of Antrim when you’re there, especially Glenariff Forest Park. Game of Thrones fans will have plenty of places to visit and the towns of Portrush and Portstewart have wonderful beaches and great golf courses.
This part of the kingdom had to feature! Beloved countryside of the poet Wordsworth and the natural home of Beatrix Potter’s animal characters, the Lake District is one beauty spot after another. From sightseeing trips on Windermere to walking, birdwatching, painting and photography there is so much to see and do in Lakeland that you’ll have to keep coming back.
Kyle of Lochalsh
Speed bonny boat from the village Kyle of Lochalsh and you’ll be in Kyleakin on the wonderful Isle of Skye. But don’t leave the mainland until you have visited the castle of Eilean Donan or Scotland’s highest waterfall, the Five Sisters of Kintail. This part of the Highlands is steeped in Jacobite history and has a wealth of natural beauty where you can feel the peace and quiet and also enjoy a lively ceilidh in a local bar as well.
Northumberland Bamburgh Castle
Fans of the TV series “Vera” should head up to Northumberland and explore its distinctive landscape. Bamburgh Castle is one of the most iconic castles in England and played a crucial part in the War of the Roses. Now it frequently plays a starring role in various film and TV productions. The area has an excellent range of accommodation choices and it’s handy for a visit to the Farne Islands or Holy Island. Craster, which is famous for its kippers, is considered a ‘foodie destination’ and you can shed any excess calories on one of the area’s beautiful coastal walks.