Five Staycations You Won’t Find in the Travel Agents
The UK is famous worldwide for its rolling green hills, cute thatched cottages and beautiful sweeping beaches. And these last 18 months have helped us realise even more how much our British Isles can offer us for staycations.
Whilst areas like Land’s End in Cornwall, The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland and Loch Ness in Scotland are well-known to anyone thinking of a UK holiday, we’re sharing our 5 hidden gems – places around the UK that may not be quite as famous, but are equally beautiful and worth visiting.
The Preseli Hills, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Pembrokeshire as a whole certainly isn’t an unknown area; after all, famous locations like Fishguard and the UK’s smallest city – St Davids, are visited regularly. However, a little further along the coast, you’ll find the charming Preseli Hills.
Keen walkers and novices alike can spend the day traversing the 8 mile ‘Golden Road’ along the spine of the hills with some stunning far-reaching views. Visit Pembrokeshire says: “This gently undulating route, with views as far as Ireland, deep into South Wales, and north up the majestic arc of Cardigan Bay towards Snowdonia, links ancient monuments and burial places, cairns and rocky tors.”
For history buffs, the hills are also said to be the birthplace of the famous Stonehenge bluestones. After you’ve been to the hills, drive the 15 minutes to Castell Henllys – a stone-age village and expand your knowledge of the ancient history of our country.
Loch Awe, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
The Scottish Highlands have become very famous in more recent years with the North Coast 500 capturing travellers’ hearts. Whilst the suggested route doesn’t go as far south as Loch Awe, we’d recommend the detour on the way to starting the drive.
The freshwater loch stretches an impressive 25 miles and includes some truly spectacular landscapes. On your exploration of the area, you’ll find waterfalls, rivers, moorland as well as plenty of fresh country air and scenic walking routes. One visit is unlikely to be enough, and you’ll be looking forward to your next trip as soon as you’ve driven away.
Be sure to take in the striking Kilchurn Castle on the edge of the loch on your travels. Whilst you’re not allowed inside the keep walls, you can enjoy walking around the outside.
Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, England
Very well-known by Yorkshire locals for its gorgeous market town and impressive viaduct over the River Nidd, Knaresborough is full of surprises. It has a maze of medieval streets, as well as stone staircases up and down the hill that the town is built on. Take a walk up to the town centre which is perched on the cliffs overlooking the River Nidd.
Sit in one of the local cafes and take in the scenery, or visit on a Wednesday to enjoy the town centre Market. Visit Harrogate says: “On a Wednesday, stalls fill the marketplace offering tasty produce, wholefoods, plants and flowers, as well as pretty much anything else you can imagine, in the ever-popular Knaresborough Market.”
A visit to Knaresborough isn’t complete without a trip to Mother Shipton’s Cave. Take a walk through the historic woodland along the river and stop off at the birthplace of the famous prophetess. You can also visit England’s oldest visitor’s attraction – the Petrifying Well on your day out.
Ballintoy Harbour, Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland
After a visit to the awe-inspiring Giant’s Causeway, you can drive the short 7 miles along the coastline to the picturesque Ballintoy village and harbour. Whilst you travel along a stunning, steep winding road you’ll pass through a photographer’s dream. With rocky islands, sea stacks, pools and a busy harbour, you’ll have the camera out all afternoon to capture the beautiful scenery.
If you enjoy a clifftop walk, continue along the 4 ½ mile walk from Ballintoy to Dunseverick Castle and take in the gorgeous views and wild beaches. There’s a car park and picnic facilities available beside the harbour café, so you’ll have all the amenities needed to enjoy your day.
The village of Ballintoy is a great place to visit too. Less than a mile from the harbour, it was originally built around a single street. Its name means ‘the northern townland’ in Irish Gaelic – ‘Baile an Tuaigh’. Finally, for anyone interested in filming locations, this village was used in the HBO television series, Game of Thrones.
Hunstanton, Norfolk, England
There’s nothing quite like watching a sunset sitting on a beach on your holiday, and as one of the very few coastlines along the East of England where you can the sun set, Hunstanton is a wonderful place to go in the evening. With its vivid green boulders, and sandy golden shores of Old Hunstanton, it’s a great place to go for a late visit.
It’s not only as the sun goes down you can enjoy this beach though. If you’re partial to a pretty coastline, you can enjoy the unusual 3 different bands of colour on these cliffs – even better by taking a local boat trip to see them (and maybe a few seals) in all their splendour!
The seaside town itself was purpose-built in the Victorian era as a tourist attraction. To this day it retains much of its nineteenth-century charm and character, popular with visitors of all ages. Whether you want a bit of pitch and put, beautiful gardens or an aquarium – Hunstanton can offer you all of it.
Our beautiful British Isles have so much to offer for a local getaway. With beaches in South Wales to rival the French Riviera and rugged mountain views in the Scottish Highlands to rival the Canadian Rockies, you can be sure you’ll have a wonderful time on your staycations. Let us know your favourite UK location by getting in touch on Facebook or Instagram.