With lockdown restrictions beginning to ease across parts of the UK, soon it might be possible to enjoy the Great British summer from somewhere other than the back garden! While jetting-off to the tropics might be off the cards for now, there are plenty of charming towns, rolling hillside villages and costal retreats to discover across the British Isles and providing the perfect alternative. We take a look at five of our favourites...
The Isle of Skye
Glittering lochs hidden between craggy peaks, the dramatic landscapes of The Isle of Skye are truly breath taking. An island offset, Skye is Scotland’s second largest island, with 50-miles of wilderness to explore. Connected to The Highlands by bridge, its picturesque villages provide a cosy base for exploration with numerous self-catering cottages available for the ultimate off-the-beaten-track escape. Alternatively, sample some of Scotland’s finest whisky by visiting the Isle of Raasay Distillery on neighbouring island, Raasay.
On the sleepy northeast coast of England, the village of Bamburgh in Northumberland is famed for its iconic castle believed to date back over 1400 years. Overlooking a pristine beach, Bamburgh’s friendly locals will happily point you in the direction of a coastal walking trail or cosy coffee shop. For a much-needed dose of sea air, go horse riding across the sand or alternatively visit the charming nearby town of Alnwick, where scenes from Harry Potter were once filmed!
Chocolate-box cottages and luscious green hills make up the landscape of The Costwolds - an area of outstanding natural beauty that spans across five of England’s central and southern counties, covering over 700 square miles. With numerous places to choose from, stay in the quaint town of Chipping Norton or rent a honey-coloured cottage in Bourton-on-the-Water, known as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’. Wherever you decide to make a base it’s likely that you’ll spend your days lounging in pretty beer gardens and exploring the expansive countryside; a much needed escape just a few hours from London. Visiting for an occasion? The luxury cottages at Daylesford Farm are well worth the splurge!
Slightly further south in North Devon, an award-winning three-mile beach is Woolacombe’s main attraction. Surrounded by dramatic coastal cliffs and clear waters, on a warm day, it’s hard to believe you’re in England! From trendy campsites to manor house hotels, Woolacombe will likely be the best alternative to the Mediterranean this summer – you might even be lucky enough to catch a candy-coloured sunset.
Whitstable, on the Kent coast is a quintessential English seaside town offering a slightly livelier scene than Woolacombe and Bamburgh, mentioned above. Famed for it’s delicious oysters, foodies flock here to visit its quirky seafood eateries, many of which are currently offering takeaway services and hope to reopen in July – we recommend Wheelers Oyster Bar for a traditional experience. But it’s not all about the food; Whitstable has a great art scene, plenty of independent shops and of course, the beach!
So while lockdown is still in force, a Great British holiday is something we can all look forward to... Happy planning!