Travelling to far off lands is always high on my priority list, but as a travel addict, I have to find ways to satisfy my thirst for a mini-break without mini-breaking the bank. Enter the ‘staycation’ – the perfect way to unwind for a few days and take time out to explore the UK.
After all, there are some great little places to uncover right here on your doorstep (depending on where exactly your doorstep is, of course). I’ve spent the last few years squeezing in these teeny weeny holidays, and would like to share with you some of the best I’ve found.
1. Keswick – The Lake District, Cumbria
You can’t go far wrong with a trip to the Lake District. Incredible natural beauty and friendly locals keep tourists coming back year after year, and my favourite place up in this quaint area of England is Keswick.
Do: Climb Catbells (it can be a bit of a scramble near the top but the 360 degree views are breathtaking), take a boat (rowing boats £8, motorised boats £18 for half an hour) out onto Lake Derwent and catch a Saturday morning market in market square (in the centre of town)
Eat: For budget eats, there are loads of pubs serving decent grub, and a few takeaways such as the fish and chip shop in market square. Medium range try Casa Bella – their simple Italian food is delicious and they do a great cheese fondue! High end, you can’t beat Morrels. But wherever you choose make sure you book ahead, especially on bank holiday weekends.
Stay: Consistently highly rated on Tripadvisor (and personally recommended by me), Allerdale House B&B is a fantastic choice for couples and walkers. Barbara and Paul make you feel so at home, and are always on hand to give you insider tips on the local area. And their full english breakfast is seriously top notch. Rooms from £78 per night for 2 people.
Travel: For those on a budget, National Express buses run daily to Keswick from London (warning: takes approx 9 hours) from as little as £35pp (25% discount for students). If you’re lucky enough to own a car, the drive through the lakes is beautiful and most B&Bs including Allerdale House have free parking.
Budget: For a 2 night stay including transport from London, accommodation, meals and activities, budget £160 – £240 per person for your Lake District staycation.
2. Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Not only do I love Lincoln’s oldy-worldy vibe, but it’s criminally cheap to staycation here.
Do: Walk up Steep Hill to Lincoln Cathedral where the sheer size will dwarf you. You can pay a few quid and go right into the centre of this impressive cathedral or just wander around in the free section. Make sure you also visit Tattershall Castle.
Eat: Lincolnshire sausages! There are butchers all over this pretty city, but my favourite sausages are from Elite Meats (again, on Steep Hill) – a little on the pricey side but well worth it, and the wall of sausages is pretty entertaining too!
Stay: Accommodation is very cheap, and if you’re a family or even if there are 2 people travelling, a holiday home can be a good choice. Holiday Lettings and Cottages Direct do some reasonable cottages – expect to pay £40 – £60 per night for a 2 bedroom cottage. If you’re looking for something a bit cosier, the Creston Villa B&B consistently scores well on Tripadvisor, and is a bargain at £60 per night for 2 people.
Budget: For a 2 night stay including transport from London, accommodation, meals and activities, budget £110 – £150 per person for your Lincoln staycation.
3. Hastings (and Battle), East Sussex
Full of history and on the south coast, Hastings is often overlooked but is actually a pretty decent place for a minibreak. There are loads of accommodation options to suit loads of different budgets and it’s on the direct overground line from London Bridge.
Do: Visit Hastings Castle or venture out to nearby Battle (the site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066) for a history lesson to take you back to your school days. The Old Town is a great place for a cream tea or a swift pint. Be sure to visit the FILO (First in Last Out) for real ales, local banter and live music nights.
Stay: The Phoenix Guesthouse is constantly highly rated with a vibrant red decor and starts from £70 per room per night. When we stayed in Battle we stayed at Senlac Wood campsite, about 10 mins outside of Battle (a £10 cab ride) and within an easy drive to everywhere. You do need a car here though (as we found out when trying to cycle from Battle train station – it’s hilly!!!). Tent pitches start from £15 a night.
Budget: For a 2 night stay including transport from London, accommodation, meals and activities, budget £190 – £230 per person for your Hastings staycation.
Still looking for travel inspiration for your staycation? Check out this article from The Crazy Tourist which shows the top 25 things to do in England.
Where is your favourite place for a Staycation in England or the rest of the UK? Leave a note below, I’d love to hear!