When you think of holidays, you probably think of white sandy beaches, swishing palm trees and paper parasols floating in fruity cocktails. Sound about right? Yet, even in the age of £10 flights, more of us than ever are choosing to holiday in the UK, with the younger generation leading the charge. But with no guarantee of sunshine – this isn’t Spain, let’s be honest now – you’ve got to pick your destination wisely. So where to head to in search of the best British staycations?
The Coastal Option: Soak Up the Sea Air in Cornwall
Early morning swims, fresh seafood, long coastal walks, yoga on the beach: if you can resist the allure of going too overboard on the pasties and cream teas, then Cornwall’s outdoorsy lifestyle lends itself perfectly to those looking for a healthy holiday.
Fitness fans will relish the chance to explore the turquoise waters of Kynance Cove, surf at Lusty Glaze Beach - which has been recognised as one of the UK's best - and take on the Camel Trail, a 17-mile cycle trail that hugs a picturesque estuary at one end and passes through a champagne-producing vineyard at the other.
If you do happen to get lumbered with a rainy day, hide away from the world with a spa day at the clifftop Scarlet Hotel, which boasts an outdoor barrel cedar sauna, natural reed filtered outdoor pool, a deep relaxation space and meditation room, in addition to all the usual offerings.
For a Breath of Fresh Air: Explore the Scottish Highlands
According to the Office of National Statistics’ annual wellbeing survey, which measures quality of life around the metrics of satisfaction, feelings of worth, happiness and anxiousness, Scotland is the only part of the UK that’s actually getting any happier. With that in mind, it seems like the ideal escape for a mindset reset.
Spend a few days driving through the Scottish Highlands, soaking up its stunning natural scenery, stopping off to admire its lochs and castles, rambling around the country’s many forest parks and testing out it's latest addition, the UK's first vegan hotel. The phone signal isn’t always strong up here, and you might get blown around a little, but that’s precisely the joy of it.
For an more intense experience, combine your trip with a visit to ecoYoga Scotland, who run retreats dedicated to sustainable living, complete with a glass-roof hot tub, outdoor showers, baths built into natural gorges and an artisan sauna. Predominantly based around Ashtanga yoga, retreats include your practice, food and accommodation.
The Unusual Choice: Reset Your Gut in Worcestershire
Home to a warren of waymarked walking trails, cycle routes and hike worthy hills, Worcestershire is arguably one of the most underrated counties in when it comes to weekend getaways. Flirting with the edge of the Cotswolds, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it's central location also makes it easily accessible from other parts of the UK.
Although there are plenty of gorgeous spa hotels to choose from, its retreat selection is really worth discovering. Among the most exciting of these is The Clover Mill, which focuses specifically on gut health. Based around the concept of Ayurveda, and the belief that that “most illnesses, mental and physical, stem from poor digestion”, their retreats aim to ‘re-set’ your gut using a combination of yoga, Ayurveda-inspired nutrition, meditation, ayurvedic massage, and mindset talks.