Where do you dream of travelling in the months after lockdown? Perhaps the question should be: where will you be allowed to travel, and how will you feel about it?
Tunnels Beaches, Ilfracombe in Devon
Best UK holidays after lockdown
It seems clear that for many people the UK will be our first port of call. But don’t let all those photos of sardine-packed beaches in Southend and Brighton put you off. This is an opportunity to discover – or rediscover – the remarkable beauty, rich culture and regional diversity of our own country.
Here, Mark Hodson of 101 Holidays, selects 10 of the most appealing UK holidays to book after lockdown.
Charter a barge in Scotland
If you’re looking for a real treat, you can charter a luxury hotel barge in the Highlands. The Scottish Highlander sleeps eight with a crew of four and cruises along the Caledonian Canal from April through to October. You can book a berth or – better still – charter the whole vessel with European Waterways, to enjoy gourmet food, wine included and fascinating shore excursions.
Boutique hotels in Wales
Wales boasts a wealth of cosy boutique hotels with countless miles of gorgeous countryside on the doorstep. i-escape has put together a guide to the best including Llys Meddyg, a restaurant with rooms in Pembrokeshire National Park, and Ffynnon, a small stylish hotel with six bedrooms in Snowdonia.
Walking in the Lakes
Many of us have been dreaming about long walks in the Lake District, with endless views and cosy pubs. If you want to splurge, book one of the lake houses at The Gilpin. To keep costs down, stay at small friendly Hassness Country House, which is owned and run by Ramblers Holidays and welcomes both couples and singles.
Cottages for two
If you don’t like the idea yet of mixing with others, you could rent your own cosy little cottage for two. Rural Retreats has more than 600 rental cottages that sleep two. You’ll find them in every corner of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. They range from a simple wood-built shepherds hut in woodland in Suffolk to a Victorian hunting lodge overlooking 1,000 acres of Capability Brown parkland.
Take a spa break
Who doesn’t love a spa break? Many of us will be craving a spa treatment right now, whether it’s a reflexology massage or a French manicure combined with the calming environment and healthy food of a spa retreat. Specialist spa hotels are working hard to establish new protocols and many will be well placed to open soon. The Healthy Holiday Company is your best guide to where to stay.
Drive the North Coast 500
The North Coast 500 in the Scottish Highlands is one of Europe’s most beautiful driving routes and it’s on my travel wish list. You’ll discover wild beaches, dramatic ruined castles and traditional fishing villages. McKinlay Kidd has designed a seven-night itinerary with stops at charming inns and small hotels. You can drive your own car or rent one in Inverness.
The North Coast 500, Scotland
Indulge your passion for music
If you love classical music, you can join fellow enthusiasts at a small specialist festival in the UK. Kirker Holidays runs its own festivals where you can attend recitals and mingle with the artists. This includes a three-night festival dedicated to chamber music in the historic and incredibly pretty village of Alfriston in East Sussex in November.
Walk the Welsh borders
Would you like to spend your days enjoying the superb countryside of the Welsh borders and your evenings at a gorgeous cosy little hotel? Then book a stay at the four-star Castle Hotel in the delightful market town of Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire. It’s been around since 1719 and knows how to look after its guests.
Castle Hotel in Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire
Find a waterfront cottage in Norfolk
You’ll typically pay a hefty premium to rent a cottage on the waterfront, whether it’s overlooking the Thames or the coast of Cornwall. But Norfolk has such a wealth of coastline, rivers and lakes, that it’s a great destination if you want to gaze out over your own little patch of water. Kett Country Cottages has an inspiring collection that includes coastguard huts, modern harbour-front apartments and pretty houses overlooking the Broads.
Waterfront cottage in Norfolk
Group trips for singles
If you’re on your own, or your prefer to travel solo, there are some group trips just for you. Solos Holidays has a range of UK breaks including three nights in Harrogate in October and a hike through the Cheddar Gorge in September.
Cheddar Gorge in Somerset
I hope this has given you some UK inspiration for travels closer to home after lockdown. I’m looking forward to spending more time outdoors with some hiking in the UK’s stunning scenery. For more ideas, visit 101 UK Holidays.