words Alexa Wang
It’s 2018, and with the January blues setting in, it’s likely you’re already planning your trips away for the year ahead. However, before you start spinning a globe looking for your next exotic getaway, have you considered a location that’s closer to home?
Each year more and more holiday-makers are opting for staycations in the United Kingdom (UK), ditching their passports and expensive flights in favour of exploring their homeland; partially for economy, but mostly because the UK has so much to offer. From bustling cities to quiet countryside and quaint villages to picturesque beaches, there are a wide range of locations to suit all right here.
Before you reach for your passport, here are just a few must-visit holiday locations that available right on your doorstep.
The New Forest is a beautiful corner of the UK that is sometimes forgotten. It does not offer a busy high street or exuberant nightlife, but if you are in search of a relaxing getaway, the New Forest in Hampshire is the perfect holiday destination for you.
As the name suggests, the New Forest is rife with wildlife and nature. The whole family can enjoy nature walks through glorious woodlands, across sandy beaches and over peaceful hills.
In the evenings, you can relax and enjoy a glass of bubbly under the stars in the hot tubs available at the luxury lodges in Sandy Balls New Forest Holiday Park.
If you need something faster-paced for the little ones, there are a few theme parks, as well as outdoor adventure parks, paintballing, quad biking and much more nearby.
Brighton offers the perfect mix of lively night life and a fantastic British beach experience. It has gained a name for itself as being a quirky hipster haunt, with independent shops dotted along the twisting alleyways, known as the lanes, alongside a selection of great restaurants and cafés offering amazing fresh food.
Of course, there is the beach. Although it is a pebble beach, you can still grab yourself a deck chair and soak in the sun. If lounging around isn’t your style, there are plenty of amusements on the sea front and the pier to keep everyone entertained.
At night, grown-ups can enjoy a wide variety of entertainment, including comedians, jazz, burlesque and unique cocktails.
A more recent addition to the Brighton skyline is the i360. As the world’s tallest moving observation tower, it provides the public with a 360 degree view of Brighton, the sea and surrounding areas.
It wouldn’t be a list of top UK destinations without including the fabulous capital. London is world famous for its sights and museums. Where else can you see an inhabited palace, a giant clock, a Shakespearean theatre and a cathedral all in the same city?
London offers a wealth of culture, from the musical greats in the west end to world famous paintings in the museums. It is a city with so much to offer. There is a wide selection of fantastic eateries, so whether you are in the mood for Michelin star restaurants or a dirty burger at a hipster joint, you won’t be disappointed.
London also benefits from being multi-seasonal, meaning you can plan your break in summer and enjoy the open-air theatre in Regent’s park, dance your heart out at British Summer Time Hyde Park or bask in the colour and sounds of the Notting Hill Carnival. In winter you can enjoy the Christmas lights all around London, visit Winter Wonderland or go ice skating at Somerset House.
Whatever the time of year, there is always something to do in London and remains one of the best cities to visit in UK.
From the capital of England to the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is renowned for its heritage and culture with sights and entertainment aplenty.
If you are a history buff you can enjoy a visit to Edinburgh castle, see Scotland’s crown jewels, the old stone vaults that held real prisoners, the great hall and much more.
Once you have soaked up the historic elements of the city, you can turn to the amazing array of shops and restaurants.
Edinburgh is also famous for its Fringe festival, this takes place annually and features new and renowned acts, from comedy and drama to burlesque. Each year the festival pulls in a large crowd of spectators and is definitely worth visiting if you are a fan of this type of entertainment.
While you are in Edinburgh, a visit to Edinburgh Zoo shouldn’t be missed, where you will be treated to seeing the UK’s only Giant Pandas, on loan from China. Tian Tian and Yang Guang are big attractions at the Zoo, but be sure to book in advance as entry is ticketed and sells out fast. There are also many other exotic species to enjoy such as Koalas, Sumatran Tigers and Blue Poison Arrow Frogs, to name a few.
Chester is famous for many things, including having the most complete city walls, the largest Roman amphitheatre in Britain, a beautiful 1000-year-old cathedral and unique shopping streets including the famous rows – original medieval shops which are still functioning as shops today.
This quaint city is perfect for a short break, whether you are a couple, on your own or a family, Chester offers a range of exciting experiences.
Aside from its picturesque town centre, Chester is also home to the UK’s number one zoo, which is featured in the Channel 4 programme ‘Secret Life at the Zoo’. It’s one of the best places to visit in UK with kids. There are over 15,000 species residents at Chester Zoo which is set in 125 acres of zoological gardens. Chester Zoo is renowned for its conservation efforts and is visited by 1.9 million people each year.