Travel

Staycation Settings: Making the Most of the UK

With the uncertainty of global travel, many of us have been forced to postpone or even cancel our holiday plans this summer. But alas, do not fear. We have got you covered by assembling some of the must-see places to visit in the UK this summer season (and beyond).

North Wales

By Caitlin Parr

This year, a lot of people will understandably be looking a lot closer to home to experience any form of affordable holiday escapism, and what better way than a staycation right here in Wales? Not only does North Wales offer an adventure you won’t forget, but your contribution to local tourism will also help to support small businesses and attractions across Gwynedd, Clwyd and Anglesey, who have taken a significant economic blow following the coronavirus lockdown being over the usual peak season.

Since long before I was born my family have been taking summer staycation trips to North Wales. Us heading up the coast to explore the outstanding natural beauty, heritage, and outdoor activities has become an annual family occasion. With scenery that nowhere else can compare to, North Wales quickly became my favourite place to spend my summers, and here’s how you can make the most of your new favourite adventure too:

Must-See Beauty Spots in Snowdonia National Park

Climbing Snowdon Whether you reach the summit by taking one of the 8 walking paths or on Llanberis’ Snowdon Mountain Railway, the spectacular views are not to be missed. 

Hikers on the Miner’s Track [Credit: Scott Parr]

Betws-Y-Coed Betws-Y-Coed is not only home to a variety of local small businesses and outdoor-wear stores, but also to some of the most beautiful hidden gems in the Snowdonia National Park. These include Swallow Falls, the Fairy Glen, and Pont-Y-Pair Falls in the village centre.

Pont-Y-Pair Falls. Betws-Y-Coed [Credit: Benjamin Parr]

Llyn Ogwen
The circular walk of Llyn Ogwen is an easy route that provides incredible views of Tryfan and the Glyderau – making the walk a perfect way to experience the wonders of the National Park without having to partake in any demanding summit hikes. For an extra adventure, take a detour to The Devil’s Kitchen to see what’s cooking above Llyn Idwal and experience extra stunning scenery.

My Top Attractions in North Wales

Surfing at Adventure Parc Snowdonia Take a surfing lesson or course in the world’s first inland surf lagoon! A highlight of any trip being able to surf amongst the beauty of Dolgarrog and the Conwy Valley.

Portmeirion Village In Sir Clough Williams-Ellis’ idea of an ‘ideal village’, the Italian Riviera meets the North Wales countryside in this infamous and unique spot.

Portmeirion Village [Credit: Caitlin Parr]

Zip World Zip World provides a variety of high-adrenaline experiences across North Wales, including the zip lines Titan and Velocity 2 (the world’s fastest zip line), and their Fforest Coaster amongst many more.

Zip World Fforest Adventures, Betws-Y-Coed [Photo Credit: Julie-Ann Parr]

National White Water Centre / Canolfan Dŵr Gwyn Genedlaethol For even more high-adrenaline adventures, make sure to visit the National White Water Centre for white water rafting, river safaris and canyoning experiences.

Anglesey RibRide RibRide on the island of Anglesey offers a variety of excursions, ranging from marine life watching right up to high velocity rides on the Menai Strait. Located near the world-famous Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrngogogoch, there is lots to do once your RibRide experience is over – including trying a selection of incredible local seafood restaurants or exploring the island.

Tenby

By Rhiân Lock

If you are looking for a weekend escape out of Cathays and want to dig your toes into sandy beaches and feast on some of the best fish and chips in Wales, look no further than Tenby.  Whether I’m walking through the cobblestone streets, spending hours venturing into the caves of Shrinklehaven, or cooling off with a pint in a cosy pub, visiting Tenby always feels nostalgic; the end of a weekend visit always leaves me wishing I had a few more days to spend exploring. 

Most known for its rainbow houses and stone walled town centre, Tenby has something to offer for all kinds of visitors: for history lovers, take a trip to the Tudor Merchants house to learn about what life was like in 15th century Wales, or climb up to Castle Hill for the best views of Tenby and to see the castle ruins. If you are looking to get some exercise, take a stroll along the 2.5 miles of beaches and get lost along the many coastal trails. No trip to Tenby is complete without a visit to the tranquil Caldey Island, which sits a few miles off the coast of Tenby, and is home to the Cistercian monks who produce some of the best perfume and chocolate in Wales. For shoppers, head to the high street and pick up some locally brewed beers and homemade soaps and visit the crystal emporium. After a long day of sight-seeing, hang out in The Lifeboat Tavern or any of the other local pubs for live music and friendly locals. 

Tenby is inviting and picturesque, and regardless of the unpredictable weather in Wales, you are sure to find something to do all year round. 

The New Forest

By Katherine Mallett

If you want to be in amongst nature, the New Forest is the place to be. As you drive through the green, tree covered countryside you won’t be stopping to let people cross the road… you’ll be stopping for cattle! The New Forest has so much to offer to those looking for a break from city life. This National Park is home to wolves, pigs, horses, cows and sheep – just to name a few of the local residents. There are great opportunities to be active outdoors with a variety of walks, cycling routes, outdoor activity centres and water sports on offer in the forest which makes it the perfect holiday destination for families and individuals alike.

To be fully immersed in the natural beauty of the national park, I would recommend good, old-fashioned camping. There are several campsites in the New Forest that offer amazing value holiday opportunities, with all the essential facilities. If you book through the website ‘Camping in the Forest’, a night on a campsite could set you back about £12 – a small price to pay for a well-deserved getaway.

One of the best places to visit in the New Forest is Lymington. The cobbled pavements of this river-side town lead you to brilliant pubs, museums, and boutique shops. It is a treasured spot for Sailing.

And if the weather is on your side, then you can wake up early one morning and take the 20-minute drive (or 25-minute train journey) to the sea front of Bournemouth. On a hot day you can feel the sand between your toes, close your eyes and you’ll forget that you’re not on that all-inclusive holiday to the Algarve!

Durdle Door

By Alice Clifford

While we sadly can’t be sunbathing on a white Spanish beach, Durdle Door is a rare UK spot that can transport you to the Mediterranean coast without you having to get on a plane. It is located on the Dorset coastline, and while a pebble beach is probably not what you have been dreaming about for the past few months, the small cove is a beautiful spot to spend the day. It is nestled between crystal clear water and the Dorset countryside, and is the home of the iconic rock arch that stands just off the shore.

Durdle Door [Credit: Alice Clifford]

However, if you aren’t the sunbathing type, the surrounding area is full of more beautiful spots where many activities are on offer. If you walk 20 minutes along the coast you will find yourself at Lulworth Cove, a small, cobbled, fisherman’s village, which is full of quaint shops and cafes. Also, if the 20 minute walk still leaves you feeling restless, then the vast coastal walk up and over the grassy hills along the Jurassic coast cliff top is a perfect hiking spot, with views that will make you forget you are in the UK. As well as hiking, there are also many more activities available, including kayaking, abseiling and scuba diving.

If one day isn’t enough, or you want to have a few drinks during the day, just behind Durdle Door you can find a campsite that has a walkway directly to the beach. So, whether you want to work on your tan all day, or swim to the depths of the ocean, Durdle Door could be the answer to your summer holiday woes.

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