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Bristol
Photograph: Shutterstock Bristol

Five reasons why you should take a UK staycation this summer

Itching to get away? Pristine coastline, lush forests, buzzing cities and charming villages are all on your doorstep – and there’s never been a better time to discover them

Written by Time Out. Sponsored by 'Enjoy Summer Safely'
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Here’s the understatement of the century: Summer 2020 has been unexpected. There may have been a time, several months back during lockdown, when you resigned yourself to the fact that you wouldn’t have a summer holiday at all. We’ve got good news: you totally can. And you totally should. We’ve all played our part in lockdown to get the UK’s businesses, attractions and accommodation safely open again; now, it’s time to get out there and support them – in a responsible manner, of course. For the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing you all the inspiration you need for your ultimate UK day trip, weekend break or proper holiday, in partnership with the ‘Enjoy Summer Safely’ campaign. Pack your bags: let’s get out there.

Find more UK holiday inspiration here

Solway Coast
Solway Coast
Photograph: Shutterstock

1. You’ll discover hidden corners of your country

No doubt you’ve visited some pretty excellent spots across the UK. But how many of us make time each summer to get to know our country on a deeper level? Swerve the usual (busy) tourist spots and prepare for the unexpected. For a remote escape from city lights, head north-west to the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Cumbria – home to dramatic cliffs, dunes and panoramic views across to the hills of Galloway in Scotland. Under-the-radar bucolic bliss can also be found in Norfolk, where you can treat yourself to a night or two in a repurposed railway carriage at boutique glamping spot Settle. While you’re in the region, why not visit Norfolk Lavender and pretend you’re in the south of France? For woodland relaxation a little closer to London, check out Blackwood Forest in Hampshire, where you can stay in one of 60 lodges framed by nothing but towering beech trees.

Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond
Photograph: Shutterstock

2. You can stop putting off that classic UK holiday

We get it. Summer rolls around, and your mind wanders to adventures abroad. ‘I’ve always wanted to take a steam train through the Scottish Highlands’, you say, ‘but that’ll be there next year’. That time is now, friends. You’ll be surprised at how many bucket-list attractions and locations are welcoming visitors back, all with Covid-safe practices and guidelines on their website on exactly what’s running. You could finally go on that romantic loch-side amble at Loch Lomond, or get the classic British seaside experience on Great Yarmouth’s colourful Golden Mile (extra vinegar on those chips, please!).

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Blackpool
Blackpool
Photograph: Shutterstock

3. Staying closer to home is smarter

Not only is travelling within the UK more sustainable than air travel, but you won’t need to worry about self-isolating when you return from your holiday. And, by travelling within the UK, you’re not putting yourself at risk of having to stay abroad longer than planned. There are many other measures in place to protect you, too, including Visit Britain's new ‘We're Good to Go’ industry standard. Any business with this mark means that they have put necessary social distancing and staff training in place. Remember: take a look on the website of any attraction you’re thinking of visiting in advance, as any now require pre-booking to avoid crowds. You’re in safe hands, buddy. 

Photograph: Jim Robertson
Photograph: Jim Robertson
Photograph: Jim Robertson

4. You can support great local businesses

We don’t need to tell you that lockdown has been an incredibly challenging time for independent businesses across the UK. We’re sure you’ve already done your bit, whether it was shopping at your local grocer a bit more often or buying handmade masks with proceeds going to charity – but you can take this one step further by helping businesses in towns across the UK that rely on tourism to survive. One of our faves is the The Old Neptune Pub in Whitstable, where you can drink a pint right on the beach. Or, you could browse antiques and secondhand treasures at Petticoat Lane Emporium in Ramsgate, feast on fresh pastries from The Hoxton Bakehouse in Winchester or browse mountains of secondhand paperbacks at The Petersfield Bookshop

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Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Photograph: Shutterstock

5. There’s a city break for every taste

If, like us, you still have loads of UK cities to tick off your list, then now’s the time. Wander the winding streets of Bristol in search of street art, then have a pub lunch by the water. Get a dose of history and culture in Canterbury (the famous cathedral is back open, but be sure to pre-book tickets) or use Chichester as your charming base for beach adventures. Looking for something a little buzzier? The Edinburgh Fringe may not be going ahead this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy The Meadows and the many excellent restaurants closeby, now open in accordance with Covid-safe guidelines. And over in Liverpool, lots of museums and experiences are open for business, as well as nearby Chester Zoo.  

Find more inspiration and guidance for your UK summer holiday here.

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