02 Aug Staycation Guide: 12 Places in the UK that will make you feel you are abroad

Staycations are again on the rise with more and more Brits deciding to stay home for their holidays. But where in the UK should you go if you have never had a staycation before or fancy trying something new? Our Staycation Guide is here to help.

The UK is a dynamic place full of history, natural beauty, dramatic coastlines and historical cities. Every corner has such an individual identity that no two places are alike. Some UK destinations might even give you a little taste of Europe! Here is our Staycation Guide: 12 Places in the UK that will make you feel you are abroad:

Citybase Staycation

Love the Algarve? Try Devon

Ladram Bay, Devon, South West England

Ladram Bay, Devon, South West England

Branded ‘the English Riviera’, Devon is fantastic for families and beach holidays. It is also home to five areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, UNESCO Heritage Sites and Natural Parks.

For a cultural city break, try Plymouth or Exeter, both rich in Roman history. If it’s the relaxed coastal life you want, try South Devon. For surfing, go for North Devon and Exmoor. And for the true Riviera experience, try Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. There are also many smaller towns and villages worth exploring if you fancy going for a drive.

Love Tuscany? Try Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria

Traditional British village in English Lake District of Hawkshead Cumbria UK in summer with blue sky church and red roses

Hawkshead Village, Lake District, Cumbria, North West England

North West England and the region of Tuscany in Italy share two things in common: beautiful green panoramic views and amazing food.

Famous for its artisan food, locally sourced produce and niche eateries, the counties of Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria will entice any foodie traveller with their food festivals and farm shops galore. To work up an appetite, you can visit the castles, museums, theatres or seafront towns or you can go hiking and take in scenery so beautiful that Queen Elizabeth is reported to have said she would like to retire here.

For more active travellers, highlights are the Yorkshire Dales, the Pennines and the Lake District, where you can try all sorts of sports from golfing to sailing and paragliding. For those wanting a peaceful hideaway, try smaller market towns such as Kirkby Lonsdale, Hebden Bridge or Clitheroe. And if it’s sea you seek, try Whitby, Scarborough or Lytham St Annes.

Love Switzerland? Try Scotland

Snow covered Ben Lomond overlooking Loch Lomond, Scotland, UK in winter

Ben Lomond overlooking Loch Lomond, Scotland

If you are partial to mountain ranges, lakes and a pair of skis, then Scotland is the perfect staycation for you.

With beautiful scenery, imposing castles and interesting cities thrown in for good measure, both Switzerland and Scotland will give you jaw-dropping views. Switzerland has some of the most famous ski resorts in the world, Scotland has the best ski resorts in the UK. The Swiss have the alphorn and Schnapps, the Scots have the bagpipe and their world famous Scotch whisky. Hell, the Scottish accent might even make you feel you’re abroad!

Jokes aside, Scotland is indeed a beautiful country, with intriguing and grand history, beautiful landscape and stunning natural reserves. Even Her Majesty has a residence here, Balmoral Castle. For a city break, both Glasgow and Edinburgh are famous for their nightlife and culture. And if you like to drive, we would highly recommend the drive from Glasgow to Dundee. The views are to die for.

Love Rome? Try York

Clifford's Tower York

Clifford’s Tower, York, Yorkshire, England

The Italian city of Rome is one of the most famous destinations in Europe, known worldwide for its rich history and vibrant culture. In the UK we have our own little version thanks to the Romans themselves.

Although York existed as a settlement before the Roman invasion, it was during that period that it was declared a city of importance. Constantine the Great was proclaimed a Roman Emperor here. Even going out for a pint will yield a history lesson in pubs that used to be churches or monasteries. In recent years, York has become famous for its retail and nightlife as well as its history and although it’s much smaller than Rome, you will definitely have plenty to do and see.

Love Berlin? Try Liverpool

Liverpool skyline and waterfront

Albert Dock, Liverpool, North West England

Berlin and Liverpool share many commonalities. Both have witnessed their fair share of political and social change, but are today UNESCO Heritage Sites and European Capitals of Culture.

In the UK, Liverpool is the city with the most galleries and national museums outside of London. The birthplace of The Beatles, it also boasts a very strong art scene. On a more outrageous note, it has been said that the Liverpudlian velvet tracksuit is as infamous as the German beach thong! Liverpool is a vibrant and dynamic city, ideal for any art, fashion or music lover.

Love Barcelona? Try Portmeirion

Portmeirion Central Piazza

Central Piazza, Portmeirion, North Wales

What does an Italian inspired village in Wales have in common with larger than life Spanish Barcelona? The Mediterranean lifestyle, architecture and innovative thinking.

The coastal village of Portmeirion not only has beautifully coloured buildings that will make you feel like you are exploring Mediterranean culture, but it was also designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, a Welsh architect that wanted to show how naturally beautiful sites could be developed without being spoiled. Portmeirion today receives thousands of visitors a year and is one of Wales’ main attractions. It’s so stunning that it has featured and inspired many films, books and TV series. Visually pleasing, vibrant and busy – a little piece of Barcelona right here in the UK.

Love Dubrovnik? Try St Ives

Porthminster Beach St Ives Cornwall England UK

Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall, South West England

St Ives’ narrow old market streets, Mediterranean cafés and white sandy beaches will certainly make you feel you could be in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The Mediterranean lifestyle, its sand and sea, and the walled old town of Dubrovnik have enchanted visitors for years. Wandering through St Ives in Cornwall you will have a similar feeling. If sitting in a café and watching life go by, shopping in winding market streets and walking on sandy beaches doesn’t make you feel you are on holiday, we don’t know what will! Definitely one for the beach and sea lovers and fantastic for families.

Love Amsterdam? Try Newcastle

Newcastle and Gateshead at sundown showing Gateshead Millenium Bridge and Tyne Bridges

Newcastle and Gateshead, North East England

The nightlife of Amsterdam needs no introduction and neither does the award winning nightlife of Newcastle. If partying, art, architecture and technology are your thing, this modern city has plenty to offer.

Although Newcastle’s nightlife is a must when visiting, there is much more to the city than its fun-loving ways and you can explore an array of international restaurants, theatres, galleries, libraries, music venues and festivals. Like the Dutch, Geordies are also famous for being straight talkers, so don’t ask them a question if you don’t want an honest answer. Here, your holiday will be anything but boring.

Love Paris? Try London

Westminster and Big Ben, London

Westminster and Big Ben, London

The Thames and the Siene, Big Ben and the Iron Lady, the National Portrait Gallery and the Louvre, Harrods and Gallerie Lafayette… The city of love could only find its match in our beautiful London.

Still craving a slice of la culture française? Why not visit the Institut Français in London, where you can watch films, visit exhibitions, read books and take part in events – all French, of course. You can also sample French cuisine in one of London’s many restaurants and bistros.

If you are a Londoner, why not explore parts of the city you have never been to? When author Tom Jones thought he was bored of London, he went exploring and he ended up writing a book on all the wonderful things he came across. Be inspired, explore and fall in love with London all over again.

Love Budapest? Try Bath

Cobbled streets of Bath

Cobbled streets of Bath, Somerset, South West England

Hot springs, spas and wine. Need we say more?

The only place in the UK with hot springs and famous for its Roman baths, the whole of Bath has World Heritage Site status. It’s also located in Somerset, the wine producing region of England. Sophisticated, historic and beautiful, Bath definitely has the wow factor.

Love Athens? Try Edinburgh

Sunset view of Edinburgh from Holyrood Park, Scotland, UK

Edinburgh, Scotland

Famous for its history, cultural festivals and nightlife, Edinburgh was once called the “Athens of the North” and some say it wasn’t too bold a claim.

The two cities share some interesting commonalities. Both hold UNESCO Heritage Site status, have mastered the art of mixing old and new architecture and were at some point centres for philosophy, technology and medicine. On a fun note, while the Greeks used to wear chitons (tunic-like clothing), the Scots continue to wear kilts.

Today, Edinburgh and Athens are home to vibrant art scenes. But one thing Edinburgh does better than Athens? Whisky. Scotch whisky is famous all around the world and there are places in Edinburgh where you can enjoy sophisticated tastings. Rephrasing the famous quote, when in Scotland… why not have a look at the amazing tartans and try a kilt, ay?

Love Venice? Try Canterbury

The River Stour in Canterbury, Kent, England

The River Stour in Canterbury, Kent, South East England

Although there are no floating cities like Venice in the UK, if you want a taste of gondolas and canal life, visit Canterbury.

This historic medieval city was once one of Europe’s great places of pilgrimage and the old part of the city is what remains of a walled medieval town. As well as having tons of history and being a classy and sophisticated destination, Canterbury has a couple of rivers that run through it with old buildings sitting right at its edge and… wait for it… It also has gondola type boats that you can hire for river tours. You can even have a romantic boat trip at dawn similar to what you would have in Venice! A taste of the glamorous life right here in the UK.

Staycation Benefits

  • Get up and go – No passports, no inflated flight prices, no waiting at airports
  • No losing money in currency exchange on your way out and in
  • No bank charges for shopping or cashing money abroad
  • No worrying about crazy mobile phone bills
  • You speak the language
  • No struggling to find a doctor
  • You will help the local economy and boost local business.

 

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Francis Buchanan

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