Going on your summer holidays has never been so complicated. Gone are the days when you could just buy a big red bus, gather up all your friends and sing and dance your way round Europe for a week or two. In fact, gone are the days when you could just pop into the travel agent for a cheapy trip to Ibiza in a cockroach ridden hotel 10 miles from the centre of anything 4 hours before you left.
Travel these days, apart from the attendant bag packing, airport security, “am I carrying too much moisturiser?”, “what if they think my eyelash curlers are scissors” trauma is an ethical and environmental minefield. Is the country you are going to supportive of terrorism? Is it likely to suddenly burst into civil war while you are there? Is the carbon output of your flight being offset by tree planting programs? Am I contributing to the cultural impoverishment because all the local tavernas are selling pie and chips to tourists?
My solution? A Staycation! In the UK you can get all the glamour you wouldn’t get abroad, your carbon footprint will be more of a carbon tip toe and there’s no need to change your money or hang around in a huge queue while someone asks everyone in front of you if they packed their bag themselves.
So today I’ve got a few staycation ideas for you.
If you’re really skint, as I often am, then why not REALLY holiday at home. Sleep in your spare room, stick a fire evacuation procedure notice on the door, buy tiny little boxes of cornflakes and pretend you’re staying in a hotel.
Wherever it is you live I bet there are any number of tourist attractions you’ve never visited, I know there are near me. Go look at them! Go on guided walks, visit your local cathedral/castle/gallery, eat in local cafes you’ve never visited before and generally act like a tourist. Go out for a picnic and see if your local council puts on any free activities over the summer. Check out your local tourist board for more information.
If you’ve got a bit of money to spend the choices are HUGE for full on luxury, areas of the UK vary hugely, book yourself a gorgeous cottage on the North Norfolk coast, you can go on seal watching expeditions, explore the fantastic unspoilt coastline and visit Cromer to go crabbing off the pier, and maybe catch yourself a crab for tea (or just buy one in the local fishmongers)
I spent the first week of my honeymoon in Well Barn from Blakeney Boltholes, so I can heartily recommend it. With a romantic galleried bedroom, complimentary bottle of wine on arrival, the luxury coffee machine, crisp cotton sheets and luxury toiletries I certainly didn’t feel I was being deprived of a holiday!
They also have a range of other cottages, and cost a maximum of £575 a week in high season.
Another area in which I can heartily recommend a cottage holiday visit is Suffolk. You can visit Southwold Pier and play with the bizarre penny slot machines. Or Aldeburgh for Artisan shops and a quiet walk on the beach. It’s also great for little country pubs you can walk to and enjoy a pint of ale. In fact, if ale is your thing why not visit St Peter’s Brewery? They do a fantastic organic ale.
I recommend Grove Cottages near medieval Lavenham for some great Suffolk cottages. Designed and run by an ex film director the cottages are rustic chic with all mod cons. On arrival you’ll find local bread, eggs, milk and bacon for a great breakfast, plus a folder showing all the local pubs and the country walks that will get you there!
I spent Christmas in the fantastic Dons Barn with it’s inglenook fireplace and millstone kitchen surface. But they also have other cottages in the area in a range of sizes.
For something a little more unusual than a cottage holiday, and if you’re really not up for slumming it in a leaky tent there are a range of more glamorous options in the UK.
Feather Down Farms and Yurtworks both offer luxury camping in the UK. Featherdown Farms has a range of working farms across the UK for you to spend time getting back to nature with sprung beds and flushing toilets. Where as Yurtworks in based in Cornwall, so ideal for grabbing a Cornish pasty!
If you fancy a structure that’s a little more permanent then Vintage Vacations on the Isle of Wight have a selection of retro American Airstream Trailers available. And the Isle of Wight is a great UK holiday destination with it’s own local vineyard amongst other attractions.
Of course, to keep your Carbon Footprint as low as possible you need to get to these places on public transport, or take a cycling holiday and get some exercise at the same time.
If this really doesn’t sound like your thing then make the journey into the Holiday by renting a retro VW Camper and setting off on an adventure, still better than flying and a lot more fun! There are several places in the West Country that will rent Camper Vans so you can eat cheese and drink cider in Somerset, eat cream teas in Devon and Cornish pasties in Cornwall before returning to your own regional stereotype free life.
Try Kampadaze, Snail Trail and Seven Degrees West.