The Year of the Real Staycation

It can’t have escaped your notice that this year we are actually having a Summer, not the usual one or two days of warm weather before we get back to cries of ‘where’s that blasted umbrella’, but prolonged spells of warm sunshine and bright blues skies over most of the country.

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There is nowhere better than Britain in the summer if the weather is like this; not too hot, a nice breeze and hours and hours of daylight to enjoy doing exactly what you want to do. The choice is vast from honey pots attracting visitors by the thousands to secret places off the beaten track just waiting to be explored. Visit Britain’s #OMGB GREAT Britain – Home of Amazing Moments marketing campaign was launched in January and is encouraging us all to experience how amazing this country really is. Check out their website for more details and use the hashtag #OMGB (Oh My GREAT Britain) to share your experiences.

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Economic Effects

With the value of the pound falling since the Brexit vote, it is hoped that more visitor from overseas will come to Britain to build on what is already proving to be an excellent year for incoming tourism.

As for us Brits, it is now more expensive to travel abroad than it was even just a few months ago, and as pointed out in an interesting article by Maev Kennedy in The Guardian, the recent terror attacks around the world are also having an impact on our holiday choices. So 2016 is a real opportunity for the tourism industry in the UK to show us that holidaying at home should be the first choice, whatever the weather.

But, and there is a but, if we are to staycation then our experience has to be really good, so good that it will make us want to staycation every year. We want what we can get if we travel overseas – reasonable prices, great quality, top-notch customer care, we know that the weather is unpredictable, but if everything else is right that won’t matter in the long run.

So Much To See, So Much To Do

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We have beaches as beautiful as anywhere in the world – how about Pembrokeshire or the the Scottish coast

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There is history and heritage by the bucket load from Stonehenge to the Industrial Revolution via Tudor England and the Civil War. Ancient castles, stately homes, historic landmarks and ruined abbeys can be found around virtually every corner.

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And then there is our countryside, not awe-inspiring in the way that the Grand Canyon or Himalayas might take your breath away, our countryside is in many ways more than that. It is on a more human scale, wild and exhilarating in places but picture perfect and contained in others.
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A great (and long) quote from Bill Bryson in the Road to Little Dribbling sums it up

‘…..with a few unassuming natural endowments, a great deal of time and an unfailing instinct for improvement, the makers of Britain created the most superlatively park-like landscapes, the most orderly cities, the handsomest provincial towns, the jauntiest seaside resorts, the stateliest homes, the most dreamily spired, cathedral-rich, castle-strewn, abbey-bedecked, folly-scattered, green-wooded, winding-laned, sheep-dotted, plumply hedgerowed, well-tended, sublimely decorated 50,318 square miles the world has ever known – almost none of it undertaken with aesthetics in mind, but all of it adding up to something that is, quite often, perfect. What an achievement that is.’

How true.

Accommodation and Dining

We are lucky in Britain to have some stunning boutique hotels and b&b’s to choose from. But why not try something different? You can stay in a Windmill or Oast House, go Glamping or tour the country in a camper van or even a gypsy caravan. It’s your staycation and it can be anything you want.

Adding to the attraction of the staycation is the way that Britain is now one of the foodie destinations of the world. Our restaurants, gastro pubs, bistros and cafes pride themselves on serving great food, sourced locally and cooked to the highest standards. You only have to check on how many Michelin starred restaurants there are around the country now, to see how things have changed for the better. But if you don’t want to eat in a restaurant, then you can choose from some amazing street food or visit the farmers markets and food festivals for treats to cook and eat at home.

Your Perfect Staycation (and Mine)

Staycations mean different things to everyone. If you have young children then building sandcastles, taking donkey rides or splashing in swimming pools could be what your looking for, with older kids it might be adventure holidays, couples may want to go for a city or spa break. I could go on, but the point is there is so much choice it makes sense from both a financial and practical point of view to staycation as least once a year.

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Personally I wish I could have a go at coasteering or hiking up Ben Nevis, but with my knees, I don’t think so. So, somewhere with a great beach or amazing views to wake up to, good food and a few dog friendly places to visit will be perfect.

Take a look on the national and regional tourist board websites to find suggestions and ideas for everything from days out and short breaks to much longer stays.

Everyone will have ideas about what tourists should see and why they should stop and visit this place or that. I would love to know which places in Britain inspire you, your friends and family.

Perhaps this year could be the Year of the Real Staycation after all.

 

Jacqueline Whitaker
July 2016

 

Photography Credits: Nick Harrison at Harrison Phair Photography, VisitBritain Images, Pixabay, Jacqueline Whitaker.

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