Resigned to a UK holiday this summer? Here are my top tips to get the most out of it


With holidays overseas mired in a haze of quarantine restrictions, flight cancellations and an “indefinite” timeline from the FCO advising against all travel, a break in Britain is looking to be our safest bet this year. We are a staycation nation.

But if your usual idea of a summer holiday is more in the way of flopping on a lounger with a piña colada to hand, despair not. Outdoor living has made huge strides in Britain as a new generation of resort hotels, apartments and ­villas have installed retractable glass walls that bring the outdoors in during inclement weather and provide fire pits and hot tubs for cool evenings.

A common misconception is that British holidays don’t come packaged, that you have to sort the wheat from the chaff yourself. But this is far from true, and help is increasingly on hand. Abercrombie & Kent, proprietors of luxury tailor-made holidays announced their new venture into UK and Ireland trips earlier this week, while Kuoni, known for their exotic escapes, recently joined forces with specialist McKinlay Kidd to offer inspiring adventures all over Britain, proving there are exciting times ahead for the domestic holiday market.

When it comes to where to go, Instagram has a lot to answer for. Influencers entice us lemming-like to Britain’s most photogenic beaches and mountain eyries which can only hasten their ruin. Witness the recent crowds at Lulworth Cove, a “private” beach on a once-remote stretch of the Dorset coast – I felt anxious just looking at the images.

The Bowland Trough

The Forest of Bowland in Lancashire sees fewer visitors than most National Parks


As news reports focus on overcrowding in beauty spots, it is easy to forget that over 90 per cent of Britain hasn’t been built upon. National Parks get all the attention but as featured in these pages two weeks ago, there are 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty ( to be found across England alone, from the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire to the Blackdown Hills in Devon, which see far fewer visitors despite being near big cities.

Our involuntary lockdown – and the need to put space between ourselves and others – seems to have fuelled a desire to seek out quieter areas. Catering for this new breed of outdoors adventurer will do more for struggling rural businesses than any overtourism campaign has ever done. This trend can already be seen in the Lake District where Cumbria Tourism is finding a greater demand for the less-visited southern lakes, and is opening new visitor car parks.

I live in Cornwall and it surprises me how few people venture more than half a mile from the tourist parking spots, but perhaps this too will change now we’ve embraced walking and cycling as never before. For there can be no better way to banish lockdown blues than striding out on a stretch of coastal footpath ( or powering up hills on a bike ( with the wind in your hair.

Our enforced national staycation is something to be celebrated. It’s a chance for us all to discover the joys of a British holiday and the thrill of jumping in the car with the dog and the kitchen sink, Enid Blyton style, and heading for open water and adventures that will stay in your memory for years to come. While you may still need to pack that windcheater, you will be surprised by the huge changes in the level of comfort and cosseting once you arrive.

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