Super Staycations – 12 top UK places that could be abroad
You don’t need to leave the UK to get that foreign-travel feel.
Even though lockdown has been lifted, Coronavirus has left many people wanting to holiday at home this year by staying in the UK and not jetting off overseas. And why head abroad when there are so many stunning places to discover in Britain and Northern Ireland? Here's our list of 12 remarkable places that are in the UK, and where you can pitch-up nearby to explore them...
1. Norfolk Lavender
Founded in 1932, Norfolk Lavender is England's premier lavender farm. With nearly 100 acres of lavender under cultivation you could be forgiven for thinking you were standing amid the lavender fields of Provence in France. Also on site is a garden centre, gift shop, animal gardens and a tea room - everything you need for a good day out.
Stay: Delph Bank Touring Park, Lincolnshire
2. Chapel Down Winery
Reminiscent of something out of the Loire Valley, the Chapel Down Winery in Tenterden is home to England’s leading wine producer. Chapel Down produces sparkling and still wines from grapes grown across the southeast of England, and is open daily to visitors. The winery building features a large wine and fine food store, plus a stunning restaurant and bar. Visitors can enjoy a guided tour to taste and learn about how the vines are grown and how the wine is made.
Stay: Tanner Farm, Kent
3. Newborough Warren
With a massive expanse of sands, backed by a dune system, Newborough Warren in Anglesey, Wales is akin to Cape Cod but without the miles to travel. The area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is the perfect place to spot wildlife. In summer the sound of skylarks can be heard in the forest and the sand dunes harbour many rare and interesting plants.
Stay: Bryn Gloch Caravan & Camping Park, Gwynedd
4. Cheddar Gorge
Looking like a scene from Lord of the Rings, Cheddar Gorge is an impressive sight among the Mendip Hills of Somerset, and saves you the 24-hour flight to New Zealand. Whether you want to explore below ground in the caves, or test your head for heights with clifftop walks, there's something for everyone in England's deepest gorge.
Stay: Dulhorn Farm Holiday Park, Somerset (for families) or Wells Touring Park, Somerset (for adults only)
5. Bude Sea Pool
In Australia, Sydney has many open air rock pools used for swimming, the most famous being at Bondi. To get the same natural-pool feel here in the UK, head to northeast Cornwall and the town of Bude. Here you'll find Summerleaze Beach and a sea pool that has provided free and safe bathing since the 1930s. This part natural, part man-made tidal swimming pool is topped up by the sea at high tide each day.
Stay: Smytham Holiday Park, Devon
6. Lulworth Cove
You might not get the guaranteed warmth and sunshine of a beach on the Balearic Islands, but you can get the turquoise-blue water at Lulworth Cove in Dorset. The area is famed for its geology, and whether you want to go rockpooling, walking or coasteering, take part in watersports, or simply just relax with an ice cream, you can do it all here.
Stay: Wareham Forest Tourist Park, Dorset
7. Giant’s Causeway
You can find basalt columns in many places on Earth, including Iceland and Northern Ireland. A quick ferry ride across the sea to County Antrim (well, quicker than a ferry to Iceland!) and you can see these wonderful formations - the result of basalt lava cooling and contracting very quickly once exposed to the surface air and hardening as it solidifies. The Giant's Causeway as it is known, is an area of about 40,000 interlocking columns.
Stay: Ballyness Caravan Park, Co Antrim
8. Wasdale Valley
California might lay claim to a very popular and famous National Park, but the Lake District in Cumbria can do jaw-dropping landscapes to give Yosemite a run for its money. Wasdale is a remote and wild area in west Cumbria, encompassing Wastwater (England's deepest lake) and Scafell Pike (England's highest mountain). Come here for walking, hiking and outdoor pursuits galore.
Stay: Shepherds Views Holidays, Cumbria
9. St Michael’s Mount
If Mont St Michel in France had to choose a lookalike, it would be St Michael's Mount in Cornwall. Both are small islands with hilltop castles cut off daily by the tide. The Cornish version is accessed either by boat if the tide is in, or a causeway at low tide, and has a fairy-tale castle, subtropical gardens and is steeped in history and legend.
Stay: Polmanter Touring Park, Cornwall
10. Chinatown Liverpool
Standing at an impressive 15 metres tall, the Chinese arch in Liverpool is the largest Chinese arch outside of China. It marks the city's Chinatown area and the twinning of the two cities - Liverpool and Shanghai. Liverpool is home to Europe's oldest Chinese community and Chinatown offers many restaurants and shops. It's a riot of colour every New Year and the arch has 200 dragons featured on it.
Stay: Willowbank Holiday Home & Touring Park, Merseyside
Intentionally designed to look like something from the Italian Riviera, Portmeirion Village, in North Wales is a unique place of pastel-painted buildings built into the cliffside overlooking the sea. It was designed and built by Clough William-Ellis in the 1920s, is now owned by a charitable turst, and features impressive architecture, gardens and fountains. The village has its own spa, historic cottages and award-winning restaurants.
Stay: Garreg Goch Caravan Park, Gwynedd
For a taste of Africa without needing the passport, head to Wiltshire and Longleat Safari Park. With lions, tigers and monkeys (to name a few of the many animals residing here) all set in the estate of a grand stately home, this is a top day out for the whole family. As well as the safari drive-through there is a farmyard, a maze, plus the house and grounds to explore, too.
Stay: Coombe Caravan Park, Wiltshire