Ideal for those seeking a holiday off the beaten track.
Britain’s holiday destinations have been somewhat overlooked in recent years, with budget flights further afield allowing people to travel to their heart’s content. For obvious reasons, the first two years of the 2020s have seen holidays in the UK making a huge comeback, with safety and saving money the top priorities for tentative travellers venturing out after a lengthy spell in lockdown.
And long may this continue into 2023. Yep, the Great British staycation will be the watchword for the foreseeable future, and we’re all here for it.
Should you be looking to find something refreshing, distinct and tranquil from a country you’re already familiar with, then look no further than these 6 remote, rural UK staycations for 2023.
The Lake District
The Lake District has been a muse to romantics, writers and walkers for centuries. Its more than 2000 square kilometres of proud hills, peaks, paths, rugged terrain, quaint cottages and just one lake (the other so-called lakes are actually meres, as they are shallow in relation to their breadth) have inspired legions of artists over the years. An illustrious list includes Helen Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth who wrote the quintessential Lake District poem ‘Daffodils’ and Alfred Wainwright who wrote several guidebooks on the area.
The Lake District is actually home to England’s largest National Park, England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike and England’s largest natural lake, Windermere. It has recently been named as a World Heritage Site, joining the likes of the Grand Canyon and the Taj Mahal in its status. The variety of accommodation here will appeal to travellers of all persuasions, with campsites, hostels, or hotels across the Lake District accommodating for all kinds of budgets. It’s a great choice if you like fishing, too.
Barricane Beach, North Devon
As Neil Bevan, General Manager at Manor & Ashbury Resorts in Devon enthuses, it’s exciting to see the current trend of holidaying from home and staying within the UK when travelling.
When asked for a hidden gem in his home country, he goes on to recommend the frequently overlooked British spot of Barricane Beach, which is a secluded cove in North Devon, around an hour’s drive north of the resort. The view from this hidden beach is epic and best enjoyed at sunset. There are also cafes nearby for when you want to return to civilisation and refresh yourself.
One of the best things about Barricane is that it has dozens of exotic seashells. Legend has it these shells came from the shore of a Caribbean island and travelled thousands of miles across the Atlantic to reach the North Devon coast. That makes Barricane a great British summer spot for beachcombing, another activity with roots in British history.
If you’re going to make the trip to Barricane, make sure you have the right tools to enjoy it. Say, for instance, that you find an exotic seashell there that you want to bring home, but it’s dirty or worse for wear. It’s worth noting that there are many DIY ways to clean seashells and all you need is an old toothbrush, bleach, and water. If you’re into collecting these souvenirs, be sure to take your kit of trusty instruments with you so that you can polish up your treasure before you bring it home.
The Welsh Beaches
Combine beach and Wales in a sentence, and a troubling scene involving the world’s biggest mammal run aground comes to mind. But a jewel in the crown of the country of the same sounding name, and one not so well documented, is that it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK. Indeed, Wales is a country with 157 miles of coastline, rugged and arresting in equal measure, and very much ticking the boxes of ‘rural’ and ‘remote’.
If you’re looking for a beach holiday Wales, there are a surprising number of options available to suit all tastes. Most first timers looking to enjoy Wales’ best beaches make first for Pembrokeshire in the south of the country (only a couple of hours drive from Cardiff) for excellent sand, sea and surf. Indeed, both the area’s Broad Haven and Barafundle beach have in recent years been given the Blue Flag award which honours water quality and environmental protection of beauty spots globally. What’s more, in 2017, Barafundle was bestowed with the title of being one of the world’s best beaches by Passport Magazine. High praise, indeed.
Yorkshire has so much going for it, with a proud history and unique identity all of its own. Indeed, residents refer to it as God’s Own County, and considering it gave us Yorkshire pudding, ginger parkin, fantastic tea and the Bronte sisters, they might just be onto something.
That said, if you’re seeking a staycation which has the power to transport you abroad (in the mind, of course) then the village of Knaresborough is often been compared to a quaint hamlet in the south of France. It’s a market town with French-style cobbled streets, as well as a Norman castle and a viaduct.
If you’re a history buff, you’ll have a lot to learn as you walk around Knaresborough – the constable of Knaresborough (Hugh de Morville) lead the four knights who murdered the ‘turbulent’ priest Thomas Beckett. The market, in particular, is an event, and has been held every Wednesday in the market square since 1310. A chance to stock up on some of those local delicacies, perhaps?
Glencoe, The Scottish Highlands
Do you want to experience the UK’s alternative to the Alps? Hey, who wouldn’t? If so, Glencoe is your place to go. This beautiful highland mountain, which sits by Loch Leven, has a dedicated ski resort (Glencoe Mountain Ski Resort), and although it’s smaller than some of the bigger, more prestigious alpine destinations (it only has 20 runs), if you fancy visiting for a few days and churning some snow, it’s a great choice. You can stay in a lodge around the area and spend your weekend skiing as well as taking in the serene Scottish wildlife and scenery.
Tobermory, Isle Of Mull
Tobermory sounds a touch too much like Balamory, the 2000’s TV show for children, to be a coincidence. Any fans of the program will have a surreal experience on the island, which was actually where Balamory was filmed. It looks like a Nordic fishing town, and shares some wildlife with Scandinavia, like puffins, whales, and dolphins. It also has a whisky distillery and an aquarium, as well as a range of beautiful hotels or cottages to stay in.
Tobermory is also famous for its golf, and has a 9-hole golf course in the cliff tops with incredible views across to the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. If you’re seeking somewhere which boats pure remote and rural escapism, the Isle of Mull should rank high on your list.