It’s no surprise that UK staycations have become more popular than ever since the pandemic hit. And with all the uncertainty still around international travel, many of us have been rediscovering the UK on our summer getaways this year. In fact, UK holiday bookings in 2021 have soared by a huge 300%.
So if you’re swapping your overseas vacation for a UK staycation this year, we’ll help you choose where to go with our guide on the most popular staycation locations in the UK.
Home to award-winning beaches, medieval towns and two national parks, it’s no wonder Devon has become one of the most popular staycations in the UK. You’ll find England’s first-ever UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast, which stretches 95 miles from Exmouth all the way to Dorset. With its dramatic cliffs and iconic red sandstone rock, it offers some of the best views in the whole country. And if you’re not the outdoorsy type, you can enjoy festivals, live music, nightlife and restaurants in Devon’s historic cities, Plymouth and Exeter.
So whether you love sea views, country walks or the buzz of city life, you’ll discover fun for all the family in Devon. And whatever you do, don’t forget to try a famous Devonshire cream tea.
You could be forgiven for thinking that this English seaside county was a Mediterranean resort. Located on England’s most south-westerly point, Cornwall’s crystal blue waters and white sand beaches make it the perfect destination for a coastal retreat. Spend your UK staycation playing water sports, exploring picturesque coves or walking the many trails of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
It’s not all about its famous beaches though, beyond the coastline there’s a whole world of world-class restaurants, historic buildings and iconic attractions to discover. The award-winning Eden Project is a must-see. Discover its tropical biomes, greenhouse-type structures that are home to all kinds of global plant life.
However you choose to spend your Cornwall staycation, you’re sure to make memories that last a lifetime.
As the largest county in the UK, Yorkshire is famed for its vast panoramic landscapes, bustling cities and cosy country pubs. It’s even got its own coastline too. And covering over 4,500 square miles of land, it’s safe to say you’ll never run out of things to do.
If you’re a fan of the outdoors, you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice here. Discover the natural beauty of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, with its unspoilt countryside and iconic limestone valleys. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, you could hike the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks.
Cumbria is best known for being home to the Lake District National Park, arguably one of the most beautiful places in the UK. This popular national park is a hotspot for travellers wanting to revel in the beauty of its pretty towns, while outdoor enthusiasts have an abundance of Fells to hike (the Lake District’s spectacular mountains, and there’s over 200!). Stay in a luxury cottage, pitch a tent, go glamping or even stay in a holiday boat – it is the Lake District after all.
Visit the Lakes in winter to see this national park in its truest glory. It’s notoriously known for its unpredictable weather though, but the colder weather just adds to its dramatic landscapes and moody mountains.
Located in the beautiful South West Wales, this popular staycation destination stretches three counties – Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire. Dyfed’s stretching landscape offers amazing views of mountains, rugged coastlines, valleys and stately homes.
It’s the perfect base for exploring the local area. Take a road trip along Pembrokeshire’s coastline, best known for its watersports, wildlife trips and coves. Or even take a day trip to St. Davids – Britain’s smallest city. If you’re a history buff, you’re in luck too. Visit Dyfed’s many castles, museums and stately homes which can trace this county’s history right back to the 5th century.
Looking for a traditional seaside holiday, stunning architectural villages or even a national park adventure? Head to Gwynedd, a North Wales county famed for its epic contrasting landscapes. And it’s easy to see why, this popular UK staycation is home to over 200 miles of coastline, like Abersoch or Harlech beach, where you’ll discover fun for all the family.
Experience the magic of Portmeirion Village, an enchanting Italian-esque village designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in the 20th century. Today, it’s a relaxing holiday village full of spas, restaurants, cafes and gorgeous scenery – the perfect weekend getaway.
Plus you’ll find the unique landscape of Snowdonia National Park here too. It’s the biggest national park in Wales stretching 823 square miles. The park is covered mostly by charming mountains that stand at over 3,000 feet tall, but walk or cycle around this diverse landscape and you’ll also find breathtaking waterfalls, green valleys and tranquil woodland.
Situated on the east coast of England, a Norfolk staycation is full of endless activities whether you’re visiting for a summer holiday or a weekend break. Discover the man-made Norfolk Broads by boat, as you cruise down 125 miles of navigable rivers and take in the stunning scenery of quaint market towns and green countryside.
Take a day trip to Norwich and discover its abundance of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. If you’ve got little ones to entertain, there’s a wide variety of family-friendly attractions and theme parks too.
With some of the most stunning coastlines in the whole of Britain, Dorset is the home of the iconic Jurassic Coast – a 95-mile long World Heritage Site that has an impressive geological history dating back 185 million years.
Explore it all from gorgeous golden-sand beaches like Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove or Weymouth Beach, as you bathe in the sun or take a gentle coastal stroll. Embark on a fossil-hunting tour (that’s what the Jurassic Coast is for, after all!) and discover firsthand the history of this unique landscape.
Set on the edge of miles of countryside, you can explore rolling hills with charming villages and markets town nestled between. Here you’ll find country pubs and restaurants serving up wonderful dishes with some of the best local produce in the UK.
Looking to beat the summer crowds? Try visiting in autumn or winter, Dorset’s panoramic views make it the perfect holiday destination all year round.
Put on your boots and discover the breathtaking green spaces of the Brecon Beacons National Park. From caving to high mountains, trek off the beaten track and explore the rich wildlife, tranquil waterfalls and grassy moorlands of this impressive national park. At night time, it’s known to be one of the best areas for stargazing. Take your binoculars or a telescope and be dazzled by meteor showers and planets – on a really clear night you can even see the Milky Way.
But if you’re not the outdoorsy type, Powys has something for you too. The quirky market town of Machynlleth is a haven for people who love arts, culture and shopping. Visit its art galleries, antique stores or attend the annual Machynlleth Comedy Festival.
Machynlleth prides itself on its eco-friendly attitude too. The Centre of Alternative Technology runs sustainable living workshops on topics such as renewable energy, upcycling and earth ovens.
Visit Derbyshire and uncover stunning views, cosy country pubs and adrenaline-pumping activities. The idyllic Peak District National Park has bustling must-see towns, like Bakewell and Buxton, nestled between green countryside and mountain peaks.
Explore the home of royalty at the iconic Chatsworth House, an impressive manor house that’s home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. If you’re after something action-packed, visit the exhilarating Alton Towers theme park, or book an outdoor adventure at Pure Outdoor.
The most popular staycation locations in 2021
- Dyfed, South West Wales
- Gwynedd, North West Wales
- Powys, Central Wales
The rising staycation locations in 2021