Previously, few might have mistakenly devalued the vacation option we have at home, which is perfect for a staycation in the UK. In fact, whether you are looking to get lost in a small charming village, escape to white sandy beaches or get the pulse going on a mountain hike, you can find top-notch choices without leaving Britannia.
Make a UK staycation feel like a vacation
One of the benefits of travelling without leaving the British isles is that you can avoid wasting time at crowded airports and hit the road straight after work, which is both time-effective and COVID-friendly.
For a UK holiday, we would recommend going on a proper road trip, as it provides the freedom and flexibility to discover local wonders along the way. A good tip is to keep an open mind on the road, as you might drive past hidden gems or the perfect campsite.
As many have started planning a staycation for the first time, one should make sure not to miss some of the best natural wonders the British isles have to offer:
The Brimham Rocks – Perfect for a family staycation
The unique natural stone sculptures of Brimham Rocks are worth a visit to the Yorks alone. The historical landmark that has been shaped by wind and ice over millions of years, offers a range of fascinating and funny stone formations, from the “Smartie tube” to the “Idol”.
Definitely a hit for the whole family. While there, check out the range of activities available in North Yorkshire. If you are planning to spend the night in the Yorks we would suggest settling down at Studfold Caravan, Camping and Glamping Park.
Cheddar Gorge – for adrenaline junkies and foodies
In addition to being the birthplace of cheddar cheese and having some of the best ciders in the country, the area also feels as if it’s “made for road trips” with its cinematic scenery of rolling hills and limestone gorges.
The unique limestone formation Cheddar gorge took its form during the Ice Age, when the rover carved into the limestone rock, creating the steep 137m-deep cliffs near the village of Cheddar. In addition, the area has recently been restored with new and improved walking and climbing routes for various levels around the gorge. If you are planning to spend a few days we would suggest spending the night at Petruth Paddocks.
Wistman’s Wood in Dartmoor
This astonishing site consists of something as rare as remote high-altitude oakwoods, placed at 380-400 meters, in the valley of West Dart River in Dartmoor, Devon. The forest is one of the highest oakwoods in Britain and is listed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The National Nature Reserve encompasses a range of beautiful and relatively easy walking routes in spectacular natural surroundings. While visiting the area we would suggest staying at the high-quality campsite Langstone Manor Holiday Park & Glamping Pods, which is both dog-friendly and has a restaurant at the site, perfect for the family getaway!
Snow Roads Scenic Route in Scotland
Britain’s highest public road is a 90-mile drive in the heart of Cairngorms National Park is one of Britain’s most unique roads, offering completely different views depending on the season.
In summer you can experience rolling purple hills, while you can go skiing in Scotland’s largest winter resort, Glenshee Ski Centre during the winter months. The route is easily driven in a day, however, the snow roads should best be enjoyed as slow roads, so ensure you have the time to enjoy everything the area has to offer.
The road takes you through iconic Cairnwell pass, castles, small whiskey distilleries and includes several viewpoints. In the area, there are spectacular hiking routes, such as the summit of Morrone and the hill of Craigendarroch.
The impressive castle Royal Deeside in a beautiful native pine forest is also worth a visit. The Braemar Caravan Park offers great camping in the area, with full facilities and a great spot to gain local tips from which hikes best fit your plans to the best distilleries to visit.
Hiking Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr
In Snowdonia, North Wales is a great bucket list idea. Glyder Fawr and Fach can be found in the Glyderau range, just to the north of Snowdon, with the two tops being 994 and 1001 meters high. The relatively short routes are perfect for a day trip or weekend to Snowdonia. However, be prepared for some parts being steep, with more challenging footpaths.
In Snowdonia, we would camp at Dolgam Campsite on the bank of river Llugwy, surrounded by stunning nature with electric hookups, showers, bathrooms and washing rooms. Make sure to book before you arrive to ensure a spot during the peak season.
Gaping Gill cave in North Yorkshire
This natural cave in North Yorkshire is one of the largest known cave chambers in the UK. The spectacular cave, part of an extensive system of caves 100 meters underground, is accompanied by a waterfall pouring down in the middle of the chamber.
The chamber is often said to be so big that a whole cathedral would be able to fit inside. Usually, the cave is only accessible by experienced cave explorers. However for two weeks each year (usually in May and August), local cavers provide public access by safely lowering people down the shaft.
Our favourite campsite in Yorkshire is the Orcaber Farm Caravan & Camping Park, with large flat fields, lots of space and with both pubs and the famous 3 peaks within walking distance.
Isle of Skye, Scotland
The small island in the north-west is easily accessible by the mainland through the scenic Skye Bridge. The island offers anything from historic castles and villages to charming green landscapes and exotic wildlife.
Skye is ideal for anything from epic hikes in remote nature to disconnect on faraway beaches. Check out Camas Daraich beach on the south side of the island or the large Glen Brittle Beach, with close proximity to a campsite.
We recommend staying by the seaside at Kinloch Campsite, a cosy and quiet space by the bay, with all the facilities and views you need to really recharge your batteries. A good tip is to bring good walking shoes so you can experience Sky’s majestic geological sites, up close.
Check out the Old Man of Storr and the rocky mountains of Cuillin Hills for a real adventure. If you are lucky, you might be able to spot some of the area’s wildlife along the way, such as red deers, whales, dolphins, hairy coos or seals.
Snake Pass and Winnats Pass in Peak District
If you are thinking about a campervan trip to Peak District, make sure not to miss these picturesque roads built for a road trip. Head to the scenic green valley of Winnats Pass, from there you can make your way through Hope Valley.
Along the way consider walking up to Stanage Edge, before heading into A57 and the legendary Snake Pass in Derbyshire. The pass with tight corners and twits is not only a great drive but is rewarded with views of the National Trust’s High Peak Estate.
While in Peak District we would suggest staying at Castleton Club Site in the middle of the national park, with easy access to lots of outdoor activities for the whole family.
Did you know that the name Jurassic coast comes from the fact that the area includes rocks and fossils from Jurassic time? The historic coastline between Devon and Dorset is England’s only site listed on UNESCO Natural World Heritage site.
The white cliffs and scenery around the Jurassic Coast make it perfect for a few days of relaxation during a UK staycation. The area holds numerous white cliffs and exquisite beaches, old English pubs with locally brewed beer and decaying castles.
The historic coastline is actually listed as a World Heritage site. Did you know that the name Jurassic coast comes from the fact that the area includes rocks and fossils from Jurassic time?
We would suggest stopping by West Bay, Old Harry Rocks, swing by Corfe Castle, as well as the iconic Durdle Door. Spend the night right by the beach at Golden Cap Holiday Park.
The Malham cove is an 80 meter high and 300 meters wide curved limestone formation in Malham, North Yorkshire. The wall has been formed by a waterfall that carried meltwater from glaciers during the Ice Age.
The 12,000-year-old cove holds a large limestone payment at the top of the cove, which makes you feel like you are right in the middle of an adventure film, partly due to the fact that the Malham Cove was featured in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” – this is definitely on our bucket list!
Spend the night in the quiet village of Cononley at Riverside Campsite, a small family-run campsite that is the perfect starting point for a trip to Malham Cove as well as main sites in the Dales.
Southern tip of Devon – For a romantic getaway
The coastline coined the English riviera stretch for 22 miles is scattered with idyllic villages and majestic beaches. Make sure to take some time to explore the parts of the Southwest coast path along the route such as the spectacular rock formation in the valley of the Rocks in Lynmouth
It is not without reason South Devon is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, offering anything from the historic island of Bigbury-on-Sea, the sandy beaches and coves in Salcombe, the 3-mile long beach Torcross and great surf in Bantham.
Our suggested campsite is the family-run Karrageenn Camping Park, in proximity to everything you want to see in the area.
With these ideas, you might be one step closer to your dream staycation in the UK. Next step is to make sure you make the most of your trip. Check out our essential campervan travel tips, and know-how to make a minimal impact on the local environment along the way.
About the Author
Curious metropolitan who loves travelling and activities in the wild, from snowboarding, to hiking and surfing. Since renovating her first van in 2016 she's been hooked to the vanlife and outdoor adventures.