If you’re anything like me, you’re pretty desperate to go somewhere, ANYWHERE right now. Us Brits are known as world travellers (is it an island thing?), and love nothing more than exploring interesting places and sunning ourselves in tropical climes.
Scratch that, more like in any climes. Just look at any park when it’s slightly warm and sunny and shirts will be off and bikinis on. You know what they say, “mad dogs and Englishman go out in the midday sun’. Oh, that’s actually from a 1931 Noel Coward song, so might not be as profound as I originally thought. Anyway, I digress…
Having been locked away for nearly a year, many a thought has turned to the coming summer. Will we be able to get away? With travel restrictions, it’s not looking good for going abroad, but maybe we’ll be free to enjoy UK holidays, exploring our own green and pleasant land. I am someone, and I don’t think I’m alone in this, who has often overlooked the UK for lands much farther away. Up until a couple of years ago, I’d been to New Zealand, but not to Scotland. It’s not just covid either, there’s also a moral dilemma involved – climate change. Air travel isn’t doing our planet any favours, especially flights that whisk you over to the otherside of the planet. Perhaps then, it’s time to explore closer to home.
But hang on a second, you didn’t come here for moral debates or to read about such depressing things! As much as going abroad on holiday is just extra special, the UK is a fabulous destination in it’s own right. I mean, we have a 7,700 mile coastline, there are definitely some decent beaches in there somewhere right? We need to look for the best of both worlds, where you can stay in the UK, but feel like you’ve flown/sailed/driven to another country entirely, to make summer 2021 just that little bit less rubbish and a little more magical.
So here they are, the UK breaks that will make you feel like you’ve ventured abroad:
Isles of Scilly
Sat just 28 miles off of the coast of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly get the balmiest weather in the UK. With a slow pace of life similar to that found in hotter lands, the Scillys are also home to beautiful white sand beaches, turquoise waters and lush tropical gardens. If you try really hard, you could kid yourself that you are in the Caribbean.
The Wine Garden of England
Once just the Garden of England, Kent has had upgrade! The county encompasses a large area of chalk down, just like France’s champagne region, and has gained a reputation for excellent sparkling wine as well as it’s beautiful scenery. Come in the summer and embark on the Wine Garden of England trail of seven wineries, including England’s largest, Chapel Down, and Domaine Evremond partly owned by the Taittinger Champagne family, and you’ll fancy yourself in the south of France.
A little slice of the ‘Bel Paese’ on the Welsh coast, Portmeirion is a fanciful resort village modelled on the coastal settlements of the Italian Riviera, with palm trees, colonnades and pastel hues a plenty! Begun in 1925 it took Sir Clough William-Ellis 50 years to complete his homage to Italy at the age of 90. Beautifully set on a forested peninsula, Sir Clough’s creation is a unique and whimsical beauty; many of the buildings are holiday lets so you can stay and explore the village and the gorgeous surrounding countryside and beaches for a few days.
Obviously, Cornwall is already a top destination for UK breaks, but there are many aspects of this extraordinary county that will give you the feel of being in another land. The mysterious St Michael’s Mount is a great place to start, especially as it has a sister tidal island, Mont St Michel, just across the channel in Normandy. Then you’ve got the beaches; Kynance Cove channels the Med, whilst Sennen,with its wild Atlantic waves has South African vibes, and Porthcurno smacks delightfully of the Algarve.
Snowdonia and Ben Nevis
The UK’s mountains (kind of want to put mountains in inverted commas…) are on a somewhat smaller scale than the likes of, say, Canada. In the end, though, who’s to say that one snow-capped peak is more or less spectacular than another? Driving towards Snowdonia you could be forgiven for thinking you had been transplanted over to New Zealand’s South Island, or when hiking around Ben Nevis that you fell through a portal into the Alps. The views will still be awesome, the air fresh and the walking flippin’ hard going.
Isle of Skye
Scotland’s second largest island, off of it’s west coast, Skye’s epically spectacular scenery is akin to Iceland or Norway. Rugged and moody with rolling mists, jagged peaks, waterfalls and towering sea cliffs galore, you’ll even find some Scandi-style architecture around Quiraing. It’s a great place for those who love hiking and if you visit at the right time and you might even be lucky enough to spy the Northern Lights.
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