With the number of British people choosing to holiday at home increasing year-on-year (rising by over a quarter in 2017 compared to the previous year), it’s fair to say that the staycation is becoming a firm favourite. Almost one in five of us now choose to explore the countryside on a walking trip and it seems that our love of the outdoors is set to transform the tourism industry – after all, business is booming.
With such a variety of stunning locations on our very own isles, we’ve taken a look at some of the best luxurious countryside breaks on offer in the UK.
This idyllic Scottish town is quickly becoming one of the top destinations for walking enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy a slow walk along the banks of the River Tray, whilst, just like the Lake District, the region has ties to Beatrix Potter.
If you’re after a spot of relaxation, the Dunkeld House Hotel (pictured above) is nestled in the Perthshire hills and offers luxury countryside living, boasting award-winning dining, spa facilities, fishing spots and geocaching. 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.
Howie’s Bistro is a good choice for food lovers. With home cooked meals and fresh produce, this is a cosy establishment that attracts the attention of many locals and regulars alike.
The hidden gem of Northumberland in North East England has won many accolades for its beauty, offering rolling hills, castles and ancient settlements. You don’t need to hike for miles to enjoy its peaceful ambience and its linked by quiet roads crossing the beautiful countryside.
To experience Cragside in Northumerland as many have never seen it before, Cragside House, Gardens and Estate is simply spectacular. With waterfalls, a rock garden and 30 miles of footpaths and lakeside walks, you’ll never run out of places to explore, all while enjoying the views of the Simonside Hills and Coquet Valley.
For truly luxurious living, Walwick Hall offers a sophisticated, laid-back atmosphere with 10 individually designed rooms, a Jacuzzi and pool and its own masseurs on hand.
Harry Potter fans can also rejoice – the nearby Alnwick castle offers broomstick training lessons in the same setting as the film!
The Lake District
The Lake District is home to beautiful countryside, with treks and hikes full of postcard-worthy views, so it won’t come as a surprise that it’s by far the UK’s most popular national park. There is, after all, a reason why 15 million people visit each year to explore the region. It was also recently named a UNESCO World Heritage site. 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, there really is something for everyone here.
This region, often referred to as ‘The Lakes’ was once home to William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, and you can actually visit their homes – Wordsworth’s Rydal Mount and Potter’s Hill Top.
As for Lake District accommodation, you may find yourself spoilt for choice, as the region offers a vast array to suit any budget. You’ll be well looked after in The Lake District, whether you choose to stay at a luxurious country house or a quaint campsite.
If you’re truly looking to get away from the hustle and bustle, Cragwood Country House Hotel is set in its own estate, leading down to the shores of Lake Windemere, offering the perfect setting for secluded relaxation. It’s also dog-friendly, so you won’t have to leave your four-legged friends at home. You can also indulge in some fine dining without even setting foot outside, as the hotel boasts an AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence.
If you want to try something a little more adventurous, why not give Simon Rogan’s Michelin Star winning L’Enclume a try. This Cartamel restaurant puts its own unique twist on British cuisine and is not for the faint hearted. The restaurant changes its dishes on a regular basis depending on what’s in season, and every day has the potential to have a new meal available.
The Cotswolds in South Central England is a haven for walking enthusiasts. The Cotswold Way offers 102 miles of magical views through picturesque villages and ancient sites.
For those who want to set a base for their trip, why not consider De Vere Torthworth Court in the South Cotswolds? With 30 acres to explore and country heritage-style bathrooms, this beautiful spot is close to many historic castles, including Blaise Castle Estate and Castle Combe.
Lovers of science and history will want to take a visit to Dr Jenner’s House, Museum and Garden. Located just 15 minutes’ drive away from Fe Vere Torthworth Court, the famous home of this physician, surgeon and pioneer of the smallpox vaccination is housed in a grade II listed early 18th century building called the Chantry.
Foodies will want to try the 3AA Rosette Award winning Lumière Restaurant. Just a stone’s throw away from the famous Cheltenham Promenade, this relaxed eatery offers a discreet and delicious dining experience.
Causeway Coast and Glens, Northern Ireland
If you fancy getting away from the mainland to explore further afield, the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland topped Lonely Planet’s ‘regions’ section of their Best in Travel roundup in 2018. This popular year-round destination can really take your breath away – with the UNESCO World Heritage site at Giant’s Causeway and the world’s oldest licensed distillery, it’s well worth a visit. There are also Game of Thrones excursions available with the series often being filmed in the region, such as the Dark Hedges in Ballymoney.
For a luxury stay with a side of history, why not relax in a boutique hotel that was once a coaching inn in the 1600s? Ideally located for easy access to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant’s Causeway, The Bushmills Inn can offer a myriad of places to hide from the world.
Of course, there are many more locations that could have been on this list, proving that the UK has a lot to offer in terms of the staycation. It’s no wonder that more people than ever before are choosing to holiday closer to home. So, put that passport away and take a look around at the beauty that’s on offer on our own shores.