Many Brits have recently decided that staying in the UK is just as good as jetting off abroad — and is a lot less stressful. There are hundreds of stunning places with plenty to do right on your doorstep. So to help you pick the perfect UK holiday destination this summer, we’ve listed our top nine locations for you to choose from.
Best for: Outdoor adventures
An ideal location for families who love the great outdoors, Derbyshire is of course home to the expansive Peak District National Park. The huge variety of wild landscapes here makes it impossible to run out of outdoor activities to entertain yourself with. Why not try kayaking on the coast this summer, have a picnic in the woods, admire the views from the top of a mountain or wander across the moors?
Place to stay: Little House is an incredible barn conversion with a stylish interior and a balcony with spectacular views across the valley.
Best for: Castles and the Cairngorms
Aberdeenshire, in the Scottish Highlands, might not be an obvious first choice for a summer break. But the long list of impressive things to see and do makes it well worthwhile. It’s here that the holiday home of the Royal family is located — Balmoral Castle, which was bought by Queen Victoria. Go on a challenging hike up a Munro, wild swimming in waterfalls and lochs, or drive along the highest road in the UK in the Cairngorms. Heading towards the sea, there are lots of stunning coastal walks. Also, don’t miss out on seeing the striking Dunnotta castle.
Place to stay: Enjoy a magical stay in Cottage in Aberdeenshire, which has a castle-like, turreted exterior and a quirky, colourful interior.
3. Isles of Scilly
Best for: A quieter getaway with lots of beautiful beaches
Each of the five main islands in the Isles of Scilly, off the Cornish coast, has unique characteristics and is all worth a visit. With the summer sun, the palm tree-lined white sandy beaches on St Martin’s feels like the tropics. If you’re into small coves and clifftop walks, go to Bryher. The busier islands with independently run crafty and creative shops are Tresco and St Mary’s. Then for something a little wilder, St Agnes and the tiny uninhabited islands are for you.
Place to stay: Stay in a traditional sixteenth-century castle by the sea with a swimming pool and secluded gardens on St Mary’s at Star Castle Hotel.
4. North Wales
Best for: Quaint villages and mountainous landscapes
North Wales is an incredibly beautiful place to visit in the UK. The landscape is striking with towering mountains and cascading waterfalls being the main features of the popular holiday destination Snowdonia National Park. Then surrounding that are many fairy-tale villages; the most unique of which is Portmerion — when you walk through this place it feels as though you could be in the Mediterranean due to its warm micro-climate and sub-tropical plants. There are also long stretches of sandy beaches on the coast and plenty of castles to explore.
Place to stay: Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the nature-inspired interior and hot tub in the secluded Olive Tree House.
5. Isle of Wight
Best for: Beaches and lots of family-friendly activities
Bring the bucket and spade along on your getaway to the Isle of Wight. Spend some time relaxing on one of the many award-winning beaches with an ice cream in hand. If you stop off at Compton Bay, keep an eye out for dinosaur remains. Venturing inland, there are an array of perfectly kept gardens to relax in, lots of fun activities to do with the kids like mini-golf and go-karting and plenty of pretty towns full of tempting shops.
Place to stay: Perched on a clifftop above Freshwater Bay, Cottage in Isle of Wight’s sea views are second to none.
Best for: Animal lovers and sea views
On top of beautiful little seaside towns, vast stretches of golden sandy beaches on the South Coast, secret coves and gorgeous walks along the Jurassic Coast, Devon has a lot to offer inland, too. Take the kids to see the adorable Dartmoor ponies or visit one of the many animal sanctuaries, farms or the local zoo. There are also plenty of lakes and rivers for some wild swimming if you would rather be somewhere less crowded than the beach. Or visit Tavistock which is a World Heritage Site with stately homes and is also great for a cream tea.
Place to stay: Hunker down with a hot tub in Cottage in North Devon, which is full of beautiful wooden beams.
7. County Antrim
Best for: Striking landscapes
Explore some of Northern Ireland’s most impressive sights in Country Antrim. Here you can find rugged coastlines which you can get up close and personal with a wild cliff-face walk at The Gobbings. Learn about the mythical tales of the Giant’s Causeway, visit the buzzy city of Belfast, take a trip to the peaceful Whiterocks Beach or explore the walking trails at Glenariff Forest Park — don’t miss the waterfalls here!
Place to stay: Make the most of the indoor heated pool, mini-golf and BBQ facilities at Dunamoy Cottages & Spa.
8. Yorkshire Dales
Best for: A rural retreat
The Yorkshire Dales is increasingly desirable as a summer holiday destination. Spending time in its vast green countryside will make you feel like you’re a world away from the everyday stress of back home. Stroll through the deep valleys and moorland that is glowing with purple heather. Feel close to nature while taking a dip in the cascading waterfalls dotted around this stunning part of the UK. Also, visit the bustling market towns and surrounding historic cities.
Place to stay: Experience rural life during your holiday at the beautifully renovated Barn in North Yorkshire with a bubbling hot tub.
Best for: A beach holiday and family activities
The list of UK summer destinations wouldn’t be complete without Cornwall. The beaches, good weather and to-die-for pasties here never disappoint. It’s an ideal location for surfers, families and foodies. Beyond the lovely seaside towns and coastline, there’s an abundance of nature reserves, peaceful lakes, fascinating history, thick woodland, castles and lighthouses as well as an impressive creative side to the locals which is showcased in their boutiques, art galleries and craft shops.
Place to stay: Admire sea views from multiple rooms at Longships GRM which is located just 250 yards away from a beautiful sandy beach.