The great British staycation. What was once nae has recently and most affirmatively turned into yay where the question of holidaying at home is concerned. Indeed, in 2017, the number of Brits opting to holiday closer to home increased by almost a quarter compared to the previous year. 

The rise of the staycation is down to a number of reasons, of course, but one key component is the current relative weakness of the pound against other currencies, giving UK businesses something to smile about in these tough, unpredictable times. With such a wide variety of scenic serenity sitting on our own doorstep, it can sometimes be difficult to choose where to ‘stay’. To help you narrow things down, here are 5 IDEAL places in the UK for a luxury countryside escape.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Northumberland is something of a hidden gem; maybe not the first place which would spring to mind when natural, rugged beauty is quoted. Located on the North East coast of England, this area has won various awards for its amazing rural wonder. Here, you’ll find castles, ancient settlements and mysterious stone formations – and you won’t need to walk for miles to enjoy them; it’s linked by quiet roads over the countryside.

For those who want to enjoy the peaceful ambience of the area with a bit of added luxury, there’s the opportunity to stay in the spectacular grounds of the Cragside Estate. With 30 miles of lakeside walks and footpaths, waterfalls and a rock garden, you won’t ever run out of places to explore, all while taking in the views of the Coquet Valley and the heather topped Simonside Hills

Elsewhere, if luxury is your top priority, Walwick Hall is home to 10 individually designed rooms and a laid-back, sophisticated eating area. And if you get tired of the jacuzzi and pool (who are you?) this country house has its own masseurs on hand to ease away the strains of the day in a relaxed treatment room.

Whilst in Northumberland, you’ll also have a chance to visit the Farne Islands via boat from Seahouses. You could also try exploring Alnwick Castle for a day of broomstick training in the very same spot that Harry Potter had his first flying lesson in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone!

THE LAKE DISTRICT 

This iconic location provides postcard-worthy views, breathtaking countryside and treks and hikes full of adventure. It’s no surprise that The Lake District is by far the most popular national park in the UK. Recently named a UNESCO World Heritage site, this beautiful area is visited by 15 million people each year. With a huge range of walks available, from the family-friendly circuit of Latrigg that takes in the lovely views of Keswick, to the 14 mile trek that will put you on top of the highest mountains in England including Scafell, the Lake District offers something to suit all tastes.

This region, which is often referred to as ‘The Lakes’, was also home to William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter – you can even visit their homes, including Wordsworth’s Rydal Mount, if you don’t fancy spending all of your time in the great outdoors.  

And what about Lake District accommodation? Whether you’re looking for budget or boutique, you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice here. With such a diverse selection of locations on offer, you’re guaranteed to be well looked after whether you’re staying on a campsite or at a countryside manor.   

Set in its own secluded estate, Cragwood Country House Hotel leads down the the shores of Lake Windemere, which is the ideal setting for tranquil relaxation. It’s also dog friendly, so you can share your adventures with your four-legged friend. If fine dining is what you’re after, you can indulge without even leaving the hotel, as it’s restaurant boasts an AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence.

If you want something really adventurous however, why not try Simon Rogan’s Michelin Star winning L’Enclume. This Cartamel eatery puts its own unique spin on traditional British cuisine and is not for the faint hearted! With no set menu to choose from, every day has the potential to have a new meal available, with the restaurant deciding on its dishes depending on what local produce is available.

THE COTSWOLDS

If a walking holiday is what you’re looking for, look no further than the Cotswolds in South Central England. Spanning over 102 miles, the Cotswold Way is an excellent destination for walking enthusiasts. However, for those who want to set a base for their trip, why not consider consider De Vere Tortworth Court in the South Cotswolds? With 30 acres for you to explore and many historic castles close by including Castle Combe and Blaise Castle Estate, this beautiful spot is an adventurers paradise.  If you’re a lover of science and history, Dr Jenner’s House, Museum and Garden are located less than 15 minutes’ drive away.  For culinary enthusiasts, trip advisor names the 3AA Rosette Award winning Lumière Restaurant as the best in the area. Close to the famous Cheltenham Promenade, this restaurant offers a discreet and relaxing dining experience.

CAUSEWAY COAST AND GLENS, NORTHERN IRELAND

For a trip that’s away from the mainland but still comfortably close to home, you could explore Belfast and the Causeway Coast, which topped Lonely Planet’s ‘regions’ section of their Best in Travel roundup for 2018. Home to some of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful scenery, the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough is a popular year-round holiday destination.

With the UNESCO World Heritage site at Giant’s Causeway and the world’s oldest licensed distillery, this destination is definitely worth a visit. With the Game of Thrones TV series often being filmed here, you can also try a Game of Thrones excursion, such as the one at Dark Hedges in Ballymoney.

Any trip to Northern Ireland will be steeped in history, but why not spend some of your staycation relaxing in a luxury boutique Hotel. The Bushmills Inn was once a coaching inn in the 1600s, but now offers a taste of luxury with easy access to the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

DUNKELD, SCOTLAND

When you think of visiting Scotland, Dunkeld may not be the first location that comes to mind, however, this idyllic destination is fast becoming one of the top spots for walkers. Visitors can enjoy a walk beside the beautiful River Tray, whilst, just like The Lakes, this region also has ties to Beatrix Potter.

For a bite to eat, Howie’s Bistro is an excellent choice. Offering fresh produce and home cooked meals, this cozy establishment is popular with many locals and regulars.

For a more relaxing option, the Dunkeld House Hotel nestled in the Perthshire landscape offers luxurious countryside living. According to their website, this hotel boasts an unrivalled experience of Scottish country living – it’s also just 90 minutes away from 90% of Scotland. With award-winning dining, spa facilities, geocaching and fishing spots, this stylish hotel is a good choice if you’re looking to unwind.

The UK is full of beautiful locations, and there are many which could have made this list. It’s no wonder that more Brits than ever before are choosing to take a staycation. So, this summer why not put away that passport and take a look at what’s on offer closer to home?

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Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street.