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The great UK staycation guide

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The Prime Minister has said he’ll do it. So have the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and the Health Secretary Matt Hancock. On the 13th of July, the Sun newspaper revealed that all three politicians intended to staycation in the UK this summer. PM Boris Johnson insisted that the UK has “peerless, wonderful, superlative places” for a staycation and encouraged the rest of the country to take advantage of that fact – in a quote carried by the Daily Telegraph on the same date.

However, of the three, only Matt Hancock divulged just where he might be taking that holiday when he mentioned Cornwall as his intended destination for a short break. So where might be your favourite haunt for this summer’s staycation? Stuck for ideas? Let us suggest some.

Cornwall

If you want the chance to rub shoulders with the Health Secretary, it seems that Cornwall is the place to be.

It is one of the most favoured corners of the British Isles for staycationers, of course, thanks largely to its long, rugged coastline, sandy beaches and warmer than average temperatures.

If that all adds up to somewhere that sounds altogether too popular and crowded for your tastes, it is possible to escape to more luxurious quarters in the southwest of England. June’s edition of the magazine Harper’s Bazaar, for example, highlights what it describes as a “truly idyllic retreat”, which sits atop a high hill overlooking the Cornish coast on the edge of Newquay.

It is a two-floor penthouse suite, complete with large rooftop terrace and a jacuzzi. It is fully booked for the remainder of the summer, but vacancies exist if you are prepared to wait until November. Although it can accommodate up to 8 people, even in the autumn a seven-day rental will set you back around £2,000.

If that is too pricey, Cornwall is so well adjusted to incoming staycationers that you’ll find other accommodation at prices you might afford – even while summer still lasts.

Devon

Cornwall might have claimed first place among those looking to staycation, but Devon comes a proud second – according to a report by Devon Live on the 12th of July.

According to that report, Torquay is the most popular destination, followed by Woolacombe, and Plymouth.

Those choices tend to underline the appeal of Devon, with its beautiful, more gently contoured beaches, the rugged splendour of Dartmoor and the maritime history of Plymouth.

The Lake District

From the far southwest of Devon and Cornwall to the extreme northwest of the Lake District, Cumbria is the third most popular destination for Britons looking to holiday or take a short break in the UK.

It is a National Park, of course, so its 2,000 square kilometres or so of unspoilt natural beauty remains just that – unspoilt.

If you are planning a staycation in the Lake District, why not first impress your friends and neighbours with what is probably a little known fact. It’s called the Lake District, of course, because you’ll find 16 official “lakes”. But only one of these – Bassenthwaite Lake – is technically a lake. The others – such as Buttermere, Windermere, Derwentwater and Coniston Water – are meres or waters (with a tarn or two also thrown into the mix).

Shetland Isles

For some, the problem with the Lake District – and many other of our suggestions – is that it is likely to be bursting at the seams with crowds this summer as any other.

If you want to really get away from it all, the quietest getaway of all in the UK this summer is likely to be West Voe in the Shetland Islands, suggested the website The Resident in an article on the 5th of June.

Strangely, the article finds that West Voe resembles somewhere called Yyteri Beach in Pori, on the west coast of Finland – which may be a plus point, perhaps, for the more reluctant staycationer who is chomping at the bit for foreign destinations.

Isle of Mull

In the same listing of quiet, away from it all, staycation destinations, The Resident also tips Langamull Beach on Scotland’s Isle of Mull, describing it as one of the island’s best kept secrets.

With more an exceptional dose of sunshine, says the article, this northerly location on the Isle of Mull might look just like Crane beach in Barbados!

Cliveden, Berkshire

Returning to the well-trodden paths of the English Home Counties, you might want to treat yourself to a staycation courtesy of Cliveden House hotel in Berkshire, on the quiet banks of the River Thames, near Maidenhead.

This is where the Duchess of Sussex spent her last night before marriage to Prince Harry – and is currently accepting bookings from lesser mortals, according to Hello magazine on the 25th of June.

If it mattered that much to you, it might be some comfort to know that you’d be only a 30-minute drive away from where the Prime Minister might be staying at his official residence at Chequers, only 20 or so miles away on the other side of the Chilterns.

Dorset

The county of Dorset is also right up there among the most popular parts of the UK to visit and stay awhile.

It boasts a spectacular – and archaeologically historic – Jurassic Coast, countryside that remains as verdant and luscious as described by its famous son Thomas Hardy, and the shopping and bathing of bustling Bournemouth when you want a break from the rural life.

The villages and hamlets of Dorset remain as attractive and picturesque as ever, with well-marked bridle paths, walks and trails to make it a walker’s and rambler’s paradise, according to Visit Dorset.

Lancashire

It might surprise you to know – unless you’re a true Lancastrian at heart – that Lancashire follows hot on the heels of rural Dorset as one of the best-loved places in which to staycation in the UK.

That’s likely to be because it’s a county that has something for everyone. Its towns and countryside, coastline and canals provide the backdrop for some stunning natural views, rare wildlife, and quiet lanes between sleepy villages. The sea is never far away, from the huge expanse of Morecambe Bay in the north to the level and fertile coastlands surrounding the Ribble Estuary and Ormskirk.

Its popularity may also be explained by the ease with which you can get to Lancashire from practically anywhere in the country – just 2 hours by train from London, a two and a half hour drive from the Midlands, an hour and a half from Leeds, and just 2 hours by train from Glasgow.

Pembrokeshire

One of the most underrated staycation destinations in the UK, said the Telegraph newspaper on the 25th of June is Pembrokeshire, a county in the far southwest of Wales that is sure to steal your heart – praise indeed.

The coastline, with its mile upon mile of well-marked footpaths, is an obvious draw, but the hinterland offers a history and culture that also has a character all its own. The Preseli Hills, for instance, have crags and moors every bit as rugged as Dartmoor or Bodmin and – some 5,000 years ago – gave up the famous blue stone that even today makes the inner ring of standing stones at Stonehenge.

Home to St Davids, Britain’s smallest city – and to Dylan Thomas, one of Britain’s best-loved poets.

North Wales

Travel to the north of the Principality and you’ll stumble across the magical village of

Portmeirion (Penrhyndeudraeth in the local tongue).

The village is an artifice – built between 1925 and 1975 – and modelled on the Italian village of Portofino. Its architecture, colour and sense of fun can easily trick you into thinking you’re soaking up some Italian Mediterranean sun, according to a piece in the Express newspaper on the 4th of June.

It’s not only the village itself that might make Portmerion the place to stay. A short distance away, a sandy beach stretches for more than four miles along the coast, while the majestic Snowdonia National Park looms overall at the head of the valley.

North Yorkshire

Another destination with something to offer for everyone is North Yorkshire – home of big skies, rugged moors, and undulating dales.

North Yorkshire has not just one, but two national parks within its boundaries and is home to three areas of outstanding natural beauty. The small towns and villages of the Yorkshire Dales will seem immediately familiar as the setting for many a TV series and you are soon likely to be drawn into the warm embrace of its tranquil atmosphere.

The North York Moors provide an altogether more rugged and forbidding landscape – evocative of the novel Jane Eyre.

Throughout the Dales and Moors, you will also find the surprisingly well preserved ruins of medieval abbeys such as Fountains and Rievaulx Abbey.

To the east is a stunning and rugged coastline interspersed with sandy beaches and small fishing villages such as Robin Hood’s Bay, Runswick Bay and Staithes. Further along the coast you come across the seaside town of Whitby and a chance to sample some of the best fish and chips in the UK.