20+ of the Best Staycations in England

bridge over the river in Castle Coombe

After living through the travel restriction of 2020 and 2021 and with foreign travel still not on the cards, staycations are becoming more and more popular. The UK has much to offer and there are so many places to have a staycation in England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales. Explore the countryside, the history, coastlines, hills, mountains, lakes, cities, towns and villages and everything else in between.

I reached out to some of my fellow travel bloggers to share their experience of staycations in England that they have enjoyed. I hope you find some inspiration for when we are free to take a holiday in England again.

coastline with sea and cliffs with the words 20+ Ideas for a Staycation in England superimposed

The Best Staycations in England

Salisbury

the standing stones of Stonehenge at dawn in yellow light with mist on the surrounding fields
Stonehenge at Dawn – ©Wandering Bird

If you’re heading to Wiltshire for the weekend or a staycation, why not base yourself near the beautiful Cathedral city of Salisbury. 
This charming city has everything you need to entertain you for a few days – great shops, delicious restaurants and plenty of things to do nearby if you want to venture further afield. 

One of the best nearby attractions to Salisbury is the famous stone circle of Stonehenge. It’s still not known entirely how or why the circle (and several others like it came to be there) but it’s definitely well worth a visit. If you can, we highly recommend visiting at sunrise, or camping near Stonehenge so you can be there first thing- it’s utterly magical.

Back in Salisbury, be sure to visit the beautiful Cathedral which has been standing since 1258. Wander just down the street and have lunch at the Cosy Club – a breathtakingly beautiful Grade II listed former arts college and home to plenty of delicious food. 

If you enjoy art, be sure to take advantage of Salisbury’s fame for arts and theatre- there are plenty of plays, performances and exhibitions happening throughout the year. If you time it right, you could also visit during the International Arts Festival which happens every year.   Don’t miss a trip to Fisherton Mill, which is a cafe/ gallery/ art studio where you can watch many local artists at work. 

by Kat from Wandering Bird

Canterbury

Canterbury cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral – ©Dr Jam Travels

Canterbury is Kent’s most famous city among tourists. Here you can enjoy historical sites, strong cultural scenes, pilgrim, shopping or dining.

With a history dating back to palaeolithic and ancient Rome most important historical buildings inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site are from medieval times. Examples would be the ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey, Eastbridge Hospital, and Westgate Towers.

But crown jewel among site would be Canterbury Cathedral. It is the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England, and of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It dates back from the 11th century, and since it has been modified in different architectural styles ranging from Norman to Romanesque and Gothic. In the 236 feet high Harry bell tower there are more than 20 bells. Prior to visit check if there is closure for rituals, while the church is still operational.

For shopping one should check Whitefriars, open-air shopping centre, Fenwicks store is in the centre, or shops in the King’s Mile area. You can rest at Café St Pierre or Café des Amis.

To experience the pilgrims visit an interactive exhibition, The Canterbury Tales. If you are more of a nature lover try rowing boat trips on River Stour, Dane John Gardens, Westgate Parks, or Howletts Wild Animal Park.

By Džangir from Dr Jam Travels

Rottingdean

windmill standing on its own against a blue sky with two people walking away from it
Rottingdean – ©The World in My Pocket

Rottingdean is an old historical village on the outskirts of Brighton, nestled between the white cliffs of the South Downs National Parks. This peaceful village has been a refuge for many famous artists over the years, with its most famous resident being Rudyard Kipling. There are so many fantastic things to do in Rottingdean. Firstly, Rottingdean, because of its privileged position at a break in the cliffs, was a heaven for smugglers during the 13th century. The village butcher used to be one of the heads of the smuggling network, who moved goods through the underground tunnels below the street level. You can see one of these tunnels if you go for lunch or dinner at Ye Olde Black Horse, the oldest pub in the village.

On the hill just outside Rottingdean, in the Beacon Hill Nature Reserve, you can see the Rottingdean Windmill, a grade 2 listed landmark. The best time to come here is at sunset, when the sky lights up red behind the mill.

The village also features a beautifully landscaped garden bearing the name of Rudyard Kipling. When he used to live in Rottingdean, the gardens were part of his home. Near the gardens you can see a Victorian post box that it’s still used by the Royal Mail for collections.

Rottingdean is a gateway to the coastal path as well. If you follow it to the east, you can reach Saltdean, Peaceheavan and, further on Seaford and the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs.

By Joanna from The World in My Pocket

Lincoln

Lincoln Cathedral across the fields with trees in the foreground
Lincoln Cathedral across the fields – ©Lincoln and Beyond

In many ways, Lincoln is the perfect place for an off-the-beaten path weekend break. With a wealth of history and culture to explore around the city, you can pack plenty of sightseeing into a couple of days. Meanwhile, it is surrounded by lush British countryside, and in just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre you can emerge into colourful open fields and peaceful waterways.

Lincoln Cathedral is the city’s centrepiece, looming high on the main hill and visible from many miles away in all directions. In medieval times the cathedral was the tallest building in the world, and it has been at the crux of many major historical events over the centuries. A few steps away stands Lincoln Castle, which was built by William the Conqueror, and in an underground vault inside its walls you can see one of the four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta.

Some other captivating things to do in Lincoln include exploring Roman ruins, sipping a cuppa in one of the city famous tea rooms, trying a proper Lincolnshire sausage roll, walking the Fossdyke Canal trail, browsing the street markets and independent shops on Steep Hill, and taking the award-winning Ghost Walk. If you’ve got your own wheels, a half-hour drive will take you out to the Lincolnshire Wolds, where you will find some of the UK’s most beautiful countryside interspersed with sleepy rural villages.

By Alex from Lincoln and Beyond

Peak District

two small children walking down a hill with a tree to their left and trees and fields in the distance
Pilsley, Peak District – ©Peak District Kids

Escape to the green rolling dales of the Peak District National Park, for dramatic escarpments, open pastures, and quaint villages with characterful pubs. You will feel a million miles away, but actually, as the Peak District is in the middle of the UK it’s very accessible as a weekend staycation destination, especially from Sheffield, Manchester, Nottingham, and even London.

Hiking is the best way to spend a weekend in the Peak District. Dovedale is popular if visiting from the South, but it can get awfully busy at weekends. Instead, drive a little further into the National Park to Hartington or Monyash. Or if you want dramatic escarpments, head to The Roaches or Stanage Edge. Alternatively, you could bring your bike and enjoy a long cycle ride along one of the many disused railway tracks, such as Monsal Trail or High Peak Trail.

If you prefer a more relaxed day out, head over to the Chatsworth Estate, one of the grandest houses in the country. Or ride the cable car up to The Heights of Abraham and explore the old minding caverns, as well as the many other things to do in Matlock.

The best way to finish a day is at a local pub with a pint of Peak Ale; soak in the summer sunshine from a beer garden, or in the winter snuggle by a roaring log fire. Whatever the weather, as this is the Peak District, muddy boots and muddy paws are always welcome!

By Jenny from Peak District Kids

Manchester

streets in Manchester with painted walls - the left is abstract colours and the right has a golden snitch on a landscape of yello
Manchester streets – ©Average Lives

Manchester is a lively city in the North West of England and is one of the best weekend break destinations in the UK. You should be able to get around mostly on foot, but luckily the trams are convenient too. Make sure you get the weekend pass – it is much cheaper.

First, explore the Northern Quarter to discover the ever-changing street art and the independent coffee shops. Walking around the city is a joy too, if you start in St Peter’s Square, you can admire the library and the Midland Hotel. Alternatively, if you enjoy shopping, Manchester is the place for you, and you can visit either the Arndale or the out-of-town Trafford Centre. People travel from all over the UK for Manchester’s shops – it is a fact! They also travel for football too and both United and City offer stadium tours and host live matches.

There are also many museums, including Manchester Art Gallery, The National Football Museum, and the Science and Industry Museum to keep you entertained. For the best pizza in the city, head to Noi Quattro in the Northern Quarter, and this quarter and Canal Street are full of great bars if you want to check out Manchester’s trendy nightlife.

By Rachel from Average Lives

Nottingham

Stately home with two towers and central section.
Wollaton Hall, Nottingham – ©Book It Let’s Go!

Nottingham is the largest city in the Midlands and is full of history and culture. It is the perfect place for a weekend staycation in the UK for couples with many things to do and lots of romantic date ideas in Nottingham.

A must see on any visit to Nottingham is Wollaton Hall which is home to the Nottingham Natural
History Museum and Nottingham Industrial Museum where you can find the 5 industries that Nottingham is famous for. In the grounds of the hall there are free roaming red and allow deer which make for great photo opportunities.

For nature lovers there are many green spaces around Nottingham city like The Arboretum which is the oldest park in the city dating back to 1852 and is rumoured to be the inspiration for JM Barrie’s Neverland.

In the city centre you will find tributes to Nottingham’s most famous resident Robin Hood, visit the tales of Robin Hood or Nottingham Castle to learn the tale of the fabled outlaw and his band of merry men. Then delve into the hand-carved caves hidden beneath the city in some of the oldest pubs in England or take the City of Caves tour to learn how they were used.

With many places to stay in Nottingham from modern luxury 5* hotels, to cheap quaint bed and breakfasts there is accommodation to suit any budget.

By Steph & Lewis from Book It Let’s Go!

Castle Combe

bridge over the river in Castle Coombe
Castle Coombe – ©The Wanderlust Within

One of the best weekend trips in the UK is to the beautiful villages of the Cotswolds, especially the chocolate box village of Castle Combe. Situated in the county of Wiltshire, it is often dubbed the prettiest village in England.

With no new houses built in over 400 years, visiting Castle Combe is like stepping back in time. The historic streets are lined with locally quarried honey coloured stone, and add to the quaint and unique look of the small village.

As well as exploring the nooks and crannies, it is worth visiting St Andrew’s church which is home to one of the oldest working clocks in England. The other must-visit building is the regal and ivy-covered, Manor House Hotel. As well as being one of the most luxurious hotels in the Cotswolds, it has an 18 hole golf course, and a Michelin star restaurant.

Luckily though, you don’t need to stay there to explore the perfectly manicured gardens, instead choose a beautiful Cotswolds Airbnb cottage nearby and visit the small village on a day trip.

Other things to do in Castle Combe include afternoon tea at the Old Rectory Tearoom, or for adrenaline hunters, visit one of the fastest motor car racing circuits in the country, and have a supercar track day at Castle Combe circuit.

By Roshni from The Wanderlust Within

Rye

row of quaint cottages with red roses round tudor windows and a cobbled path
Rye – ©In Search of Sarah

A visit to medieval Rye, East Sussex, makes for a perfect weekend staycation. This ancient town is full of character with cobbled streets, half-timbered homes, history, and a diverse collection of shops, restaurants, pubs, and tearooms.

A weekend break in Rye should include must-see places like the Ypres Castle, built in the 1200s to protect the city from raids by the French. Visiting the Rye Model shows 700 years of history in a sound and light show with a scale model of the town. Located above the Rye Model is a Vintage Penny Arcade filled with fully functioning machines as old as the 1900s!

On clear days, climb the church tower at St Mary’s Cathedral for sweeping views of the town and beyond.

There are numerous unique shops to browse through, from pottery, antique markets, gift shops and more. Stop for an afternoon tea at one of the many tearooms like Cobbles, Fletcher’s, or Hayden’s.

There are plenty of BnB options to pick from, as well as hotels and Airbnbs.The town is small, so any location is within walking distance to shops and restaurants.

No visit to Rye is complete without visiting the Mermaid Inn – a pub and hotel rebuilt in 1420. The cellars here date back to the 1100s and there are even reported ghost sightings! Cosy up next to the Giant’s Fireplace in the evening with a nightcap.

Rye is a beautiful place to visit during any time of the year, with plenty of things to do during all seasons.

By Sarah of In Search of Sarah

Swanage

green grass overlooking a bay and the town of Swanage
Swanage – ©Family Camping Europe

Swanage, a beautiful town on Dorset’s Jurassic coast and the perfect place for a UK Staycation. This stunning coastal town not only has one of the best beaches in Dorset, but it is also home to a world-famous steam railway. So famous, Christopher Nolan used it for his 2017 hit film Dunkirk.

There is so much to see and do for just a weekend. Whether it is a scenic walk to Dancing Ledge, a steam train trip to Corfe castle or just a tasty chippy tea on the seafront you will find it hard to see and do everything.

If you enjoy seeing a place when it comes alive, the best time to visit Swanage is during the carnival week. There are incredible firework shows to see from the beachfront as well as nightly live music. There is the yard of ale contests, and wheelbarrow pub crawls for the drinkers. For the kids, there are talent shows and bouncy castles. For the sporty ones, there are triathlons, races and more. It is the best time to visit Swanage.

To properly experience a place like this, camping in Swanage is a great option. The natural scenery and vast countryside are perfect for pitching up a tent and exploring the outdoors. There are two campsites a short walk away from the town centre; Tom’s field campsite and Downshay farm. Both of them have different facilities and can get very busy during carnival week. Therefore, it would be advisable to book ahead. If camping is not your thing, you’ll also find a whole host of BnB’s to suit every family and budget.

By Breanne from Family Camping Europe

The Yorkshire Dales

Ruins of a Fountains Abbey with green grass around
Fountains Abbey – ©Map Made Memories

The Yorkshire Dales is a fantastic destination for a weekend break as it offers something for everyone. History fans can visit medieval era Skipton Castle or the monastic ruins at Bolton Abbey or Fountains Abbey.

Waterfall lovers are spoilt for choice with approximately 50 waterfalls to admire. Visit secluded Cotter Force, local favourite Aysgarth Falls, or Hardraw Force which is England’s highest single-drop waterfall.

Foodies should head to the Wensleydale Creamery, home of the famous cheese, or visit one of Yorkshire’s craft breweries such as the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham. Both companies offer tempting tasting tours.

Hikers can enjoy scenic walks suitable for all ages and abilities ranging from easy trails such as the flat paths surrounding the impressive Ribblehead Viaduct to more challenging hikes such as climbing Whernside, Yorkshire’s highest peak. One hike that should not be missed is the circular route from Malham village to Gordale Scar Gorge that culminates at Malham Cove. The cove is an enormous 230-foot-high natural stone amphitheatre that featured in the Harry Potter movies. The view from the limestone top of Malham Cove across the rolling Yorkshire Dales landscape is spectacular.

For an idyllic rural break, stay at the cosy ‘Lister Arms’ in Malham village.

By Sinead from Map Made Memories

Worcester

Worcester Cathedral standing on the banks of a river
Worcester Cathedral – ©R J on Tour

Worcester is a beautiful and historic place with many things to see or do, a great destination for a city break. Worcester is on the banks of the River Severn, a place for some very nice waterside walks. On the river is Worcester Cathedral, an impressive building with a thousand years of history within it. Visiting the cathedral is a must-see attraction when visiting the city, it is absolutely stunning with many stories to tell.

This is the birthplace of Edward Elgar, the composer, and also the site of the last battle of the English civil war. The Commandery Museum and Fort Royal Hill are brilliant spots for you to learn about the civil wars’ last days. There are many other museums and historical sites in Worcester to visit, and lots of timber-framed buildings, most with great backstories. For visitor into sports, Worcester has a horseracing track, a big cricket stadium and a premiership rugby club. Time your visit right then you may attend a fixture.

The city has lots of options for visitors to dine out or have a drink, some pubs have an interesting history too. For instance, The King Charles House is where Charles II escaped after losing the English Civil War. For somewhere to stay, Fownes Hotel has a central location, this hotel calls a former Victorian factory home. They are a three-star establishment with a restaurant, good value and they are also dog-friendly.

By Richard from R J on Tour

Bath

Crescent shaped row of cream coloured houses with a circular green lawn in front
Royal Crescent, Bath – ©Pocket Wanderings

Bath is a truly beautiful city with its honey-coloured buildings, open green parks, and picturesque gardens. Known for its 2,000-year-old Roman baths and its stunning Georgian architecture, Bath is the perfect destination for a romantic UK city break. It is surrounded by the rolling countryside of Somerset while being only 1 hour 20 minutes from London by train.

As a World Heritage Site, Bath is a city of historical and cultural significance. It has a thriving scene of music, theatre, art and literature, being the backdrop for some of Jane Austen’s much-loved novels. There are also plenty of museums to discover, as well as world-renowned annual arts festivals.

Bath is a city of wellbeing and relaxation. A visit to the city would not be complete without experiencing the UK’s only natural hot springs you can bathe in at Thermae Bath Spa. For a more historical experience, explore the traditional Roman baths which are wonderfully well preserved.

Bath is home to plenty of fantastic bars and eateries, from fine dining Michelin star restaurants to cosy pubs and trendy cocktail bars. Wander the city on foot to take in all the beautiful sites, including the iconic Royal Crescent and the Grade I listed Pulteney Bridge. There are also a number of exceptional hotels and Airbnbs for the ultimate weekend break.

By Jessie Moore from Pocket Wanderings

Brighton

pairs of rusting iron posts leading into the sea
Brighton – ©Flying Fluskey

The city of Brighton and Hove has long been a popular destination for pleasure seekers. Family-friendly, sun-soaked beaches, a retail sector with a fierce independent streak, and an open-minded attitude to people from all walks of life, Brighton has a slightly eclectic personality. Happily, this makes it a great location for everybody.

Spend some time in Brighton’s iconic original bachelor pad, the Pavilion. Inspired by Indian palaces on the outside, and sporting Chinese opulence within, this was the beach house of George IV back in the early 1800s. His presence made Brighton the coolest place to be. Brighton likes to think it never lost the title.

Pass through the Old Steine, en route to Brighton Pier and the beach. If it’s a cold day, take a stroll along the wooden boards of the pier as it extends over the rolling grey waves. Grab a bag of boiling doughnuts, freshly fried and thickly coated in sugar. In warmer weather, find a spot and take some time on Brighton’s pebble beach. Just skip the fish and chips down here, they are subpar and the seagulls won’t leave you alone!

If you have some money to blow, meander through The North Laine and The Lanes. These are Brighton’s shopping districts packed with small, independent vendors, alongside a plethora of cool cafes and some seriously fantastic cocktail bars. 
For a centrally located hotel, you can’t beat Hotel Du Vin. Comfortable and close to the beach, with some nice stylish touches and it’s own great cocktail bar, it won’t disappoint. 

By Rosie from Flying Fluskey

Swindon

building with green window frames and a banner saying The STEAM Museum
The STEAM Museum – ©The Silver Nomad

On the edge of the Cotswolds and with easy access to the M4, Swindon may not be the most obvious place to spend a staycation, but it is a great place to base yourself to explore the area.

Swindon has long had an association with the Great Western Railway. The STEAM museum follows the history and its association with Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Brunel was involved in nearly all aspects of the Great Western Railway from London Paddington through to Bristol and further. The museum is in a restored railway building formerly used by the Swindon Railway Works. Next to the STEAM museum is the Outlet Centre with shops and food stores to keep you busy.

In the centre of Swindon is The Museum of Computing. Follow the history of computers and their development through the years. Remember floppy discs, mainframes, Commodore SX64s and other computing items that have faded into the past.

Visit the beautiful Lydiard Country Park with its Palladian Lydiard House and stroll through 260 acres included the Walled Garden, walk around the lake and woodlands and stop for a cup of tea in the tea rooms. Coate Water is

If you are staying in Swindon, you can easily visit the Cotswolds. Avebury Stone Circle which dates back over 6,000 years is also nearby. Not as well known as Stonehenge, at Avebury, you can get up and personal and touch the stones.

By Larch from The Silver Nomad

Bourton on the Water

Bridge over the river in Bourton on the Water in the Cotswolds, with cream stone houses in the background
Bourton on the Water – ©Globalmouse Travels

Bourton on the Water is the perfect place for a weekend break and an ideal location from which to explore the Cotswolds from. This whole area is really picturesque and nowhere more so than this pretty village.

It is the quintessential Cotswold location with honey-coloured buildings and crisscrossed with bridges over the river that runs through the centre. It’s easy to see why it is often described as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ as water is ever-present here. There are pubs and restaurants throughout, along with some lovely shops to pick up souvenirs or home interiors.

Within Bourton, there is a fantastic model museum and the wonderful Birdland which is a really large park full of a whole variety of animals and birds. All around Bourton are fantastic country house hotels if you want a real treat but there are also some great UK family campsites in this area to help keep the costs down if you’re on a budget.

The Cotswolds really are about keeping life simple and enjoying the beautiful surroundings from walks out in the countryside with pub lunches afterwards to cycling through the villages. This is somewhere to have a great UK break and Bourton on the Water is the ideal location for this.

Thank you and all best wishes,

By Nichola from Globalmouse Travels

Keswick

Keswick town centre on market day
Keswick – ©Urban Abroad

When looking for the ultimate weekend break in the UK you can’t forget about the Lake District in Cumbria. With so much to see and do in the lakes, though, where do you start?

Keswick is known as one of the best towns to stay in the Lake District and it is not difficult to see why. This small town is home to many places historic landmarks and offers a range of activities for all visitors.

With the famous Catbells Lakeland Walk starting nearby you have a great place from which you can base your staycation. If it is your first time in the Lake District then whilst looking for ideas on what to do in Keswick you won’t want to miss out on the local Saturday market.

Other things include rowing on the lake, playing crazy golf, and browsing the local art galleries. There are many local shops here that you can support whether that be in the form of getting a bite to eat or buying a souvenir for a family member.

All in all, in Keswick you can find a host of activities for both families and couples, and this quaint town should mark a crucial stop for any staycation in the Lake District

by Daniel from Urban Abroad

Dartmoor National Park

stone in the foreground with fields of green and purple in the background
Dartmoor – ©Travel Addict


Dartmoor National Park is a fantastic weekend break in mid-Devon. This gorgeous moorland offers a variety of activities, stunning views, and outdoor experiences. Which makes it a fantastic destination for a weekend break. 

Visiting Dartmoor is a wonderful experience for nature lovers for a scenic escape. And there are many things to see on Dartmoor and places to visit within the national park.

On the edge of Dartmoor is Castle Drogo, a National Trust property. It has fantastic grounds and gardens to visit and a lovely interior exhibit of this completed and full castle. Buckland Abbey is another fantastic historical place to visit and is the former residence of Sir Francis Drake.

Postbridge is worth a stop during your visit to Dartmoor. This ancient clapper bridge dates back to the 13th century and visitors can cross it as well as view it.

Dartmoor is known for its wild ponies and you can learn more about their role on Dartmoor at the Dartmoor Heritage Trust visitor centre.

There are plenty of great marked walks in Dartmoor but it is often recommended to arrange for a guide. The moors can be extremely dangerous and it is important to stay on marked trails or hike with a guide. One of the easy to reach walks is Haytor and at the top there are amazing views of the moors.

There are a few options for hotels in Dartmoor. Bovey Tracey is one of the best-ranked luxury hotels in the region or for a more budget-friendly stay there is also the Two Bridges Hotel.

Tip: House of Marbles is a fun place to visit for shopping but more importantly they have an absolutely fantastic cream tea on offer.

by Jamie from Travel Addict

Oxford

Tom Quad, Christ Church at Oxford University with lawn to the front and tower in the centre over an arched gateway
Christ Church, Oxford – ©What’s Hot?

Oxford is a brilliant city to visit for a weekend trip as it’s small enough to be a walking city but it’s still packed with things to do. Oxford is famous for the renowned university that calls this city home and lots of the best activities in Oxford revolve around Oxford University sights. The architecture is absolutely stunning and a peep into some of the biggest and most famous colleges is a must on any Oxford weekend trip.

If you only visit one college, make sure it’s Christ Church. It’s one of the most prestigious Oxford colleges and is one of the best places to seek out Harry Potter filming locations in Oxford  The dining hall served as inspiration for Hogwarts Great Hall and you will no doubt be awed by the vaulted ceilings and long tables down the centre. Bookworms will also love that it’s also the college where the real-life girl that inspired Alice in Wonderland grew up.

A quintessentially British summertime activity in Oxford is punting. You can choose to punt yourself down one of Oxford’s rivers or sit back and relax whilst someone else does it for you. Don’t forget strawberries and prosecco to make this really special as you glide past the backs of some beautiful Oxford colleges. 

For even more stunning and historical buildings, a tour of the Radcliffe Camera (one of Oxford University’s library), the Divinity School, Duke Humfrey Library and more is a must. This is an official tour offered by the Bodleian library into areas that usually only students are allowed into. 

By Laura of What’s Hot?

Norwich

Spires of Norwich Cathedral from bridge
Norwich Cathedral from bridge – ©Norfolk Local Guide

Norwich is the perfect place to base yourself for a weekend staycation in Norfolk, UK.  You could spend some time enjoying the historic city and also get some time in nature at either the North Norfolk Coast or the Norfolk Broads.

While in Norwich, you must visit Norwich Cathedral.  It’s the most complete Norman Cathedral in England and one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe.  Also, take a stroll down Elm Hill, arguably one of the prettiest streets in England.  Shoppers will love the Norwich Market, one of the largest and oldest outdoor markets in the country.  Art lovers can check out the diverse collection at the Sainsbury Centre for the Arts on the University of East Anglia campus.

The Norfolk Broads is a National Park made up of a network of rivers and lakes.  The best way to explore it is by hiring a boat.  You don’t need any previous experience as the speed limits are low to protect the reeds.  If you need a break from the water, stop to see the ruins of St.Benet’s Abbey or climb the tower of the Cathedral of the Broads for panoramic views.

If you enjoy the beach, head to the North Norfolk Coast.  There are about 90 miles of coastline so whatever type of beach you are looking for you can find it.  Some of my favourite spots are Cromer, Wells-Next-The-Sea, and Sea Palling.  You could also take a boat trip to see the seals at Blakeney Point.

By Anisa from Norfolk Local Guide

West Sussex

Halnaker Tree Tunnel with trees reaching over from both sides
Halnaker Tree Tunnel, West Sussex – ©Sussex Bloggers

West Sussex is one of England’s most diverse counties with a wonderful stretch of coastline, historic villages, stately homes and the sweeping hills and valleys of the South Downs National Park. Whether you base yourself in inland or by the coast, everything the county has to offer is within relatively easy reach.

Walking in the South Downs is one of the counties greatest attractions with an intricate network of paths and trails to suit all abilities. You’ll discover stunning hilltop views, ancient woodlands, and sleepy villages dating back to before the Doomsday Book.

Scattered around the hillsides there are numerous cosy traditional pubs serving local beers and fine food made from Sussex produce – a fitting reward after all that exercise. For fabulous beer brewed onsite check out The Gribble in Oving or for the best Sunday Roast head to The George in Eartham.

There’s a wonderful choice too when it comes to places to stay. If you are seeking peace and tranquillity, the villages of Halnaker and Boxgrove at the foot of the South Downs near Chichester, have a good choice of Airbnb holiday homes including this cosy shepherd’s hut. Wine connoisseurs will enjoy the luxury lodges overlooking the vineyards of the Tinwood Estate. While beach lovers should check-in at the Beach Hut Suites right on the seafront at Felpham with stunning ocean views – perfect for couples or a family of four.  

by Kathryn from Sussex Bloggers

London

London Eye shot during the Airbnb Photo Experiences in London | The Silver Nomad
London Eye at Night – ©The Silver Nomad

If you are looking for the best weekend break in the UK, look no further than London! This is one of the most popular and visited cities within the UK and has something for everyone.

Whether you drive to the city or use the robust public transportation, you are going to fall in love with everything London has to offer.

When you are planning out your London bucket list, here are some of the best things not to miss in the city: Tower of London, Big Ben, afternoon tea, see all the colourful homes in Notting Hill, watch football at a pub, spend a day at the British Museum, which is free, try bangers and mash, and get wonderfully lost in the city.

If you are a big Harry Potter fan, don’t miss the photo opportunity at platforms 9 ¾’s!

One thing to note when planning your weekend break is that lines can get very long at popular attractions. You may want to book advance tickets with “skip the line” features so that you can maximize your weekend away. Another tip is to check if any major events are happening within the city when you visit. This can cause a rise in prices for hotels or sold out rooms.

by Nicole from Bucket List Lists 

 Portsmouth

Spinnaker Tower, a pointed tower with open tiers surrounded
Gunwharf Quays & Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth – ©Wandering Bird

If you’re looking for a place to head to for the weekend, consider Portsmouth on the south coast of England. 

Portsmouth is one of the largest towns in Hampshire and is FULL of attractions and things to do. You won’t be able to see everything all in one weekend, but there are some definite highlights you should do. 

One of the most historic places is the Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, which houses the Mary Rose Museum & HMS Victory- two ships which changed the history of the UK. You can easily spend a day here learning about the history of the Navy. 

From there, head into Gunwharf Quays for some shopping, bars and restaurants. If you want the best view in the area, take a trip up to the top of Spinnaker Tower to see the harbour and if you’re lucky, an amazing sunset. If you have a vehicle, another great viewpoint is from Portsdown Hill just outside of town.

The next day, take a boat tour around the harbour, stop on the Gosport side and explore the submarine museum or the Explosion museum, both of which have an incredible amount of history. 

If you’re on a UK motorhoming holiday, there are plenty of campsites near Portsmouth, but if not stay at the Ship Leonard, near Gunwharf and the Historic Dockyard. 

by Kat from Wandering Bird

Staithes

The port of Staithes with houses on the left and cliff and see to the right
Staithes – ©Many More Maps

With rugged coastal hiking trails and plenty of charming seaside villages, the Yorkshire coast is the ideal destination for a weekend staycation in the UK.

Although there are a number of fabulous places to stay along the Yorkshire coast, you can’t go wrong with deciding to stay in Staithes, a gorgeous and tiny fishing village often overlooked for the busier destinations of Robin Hood’s Bay or Whitby.

With plenty of old-timey shops and cafes selling trinkets, strong cups of tea and handmade cakes, a stroll around Staithes Harbour should be the first thing you do on arrival. Along the coast, there are plenty of rockpools to explore, and if you time it right, you may even see the catch of the day being hauled into the harbour. Every pub or restaurant you go to in Staithes will serve up the freshest seafood you could imagine, so you can’t miss sampling some. The fish served in Staithes is normally caught the same day, so you can’t go wrong with where you get it from.

The reason most people visit Staithes is to complete the Staithes to Runswick Bay coastal hike, which is approximately three miles long. The short hike, part of the larger Cleveland Way, boasts dramatic landscapes and jaw-dropping scenery before ending on the sandy beach of Runswick Bay.

by Ella from Many More Maps

South Cornwall

people in wet suits with body boards in the surf in Cornwall
Southern Cornwall – ©Globe Totting

The south Cornwall coast stretches north from the Lizard Peninsula via Falmouth, Truro and right up to Plymouth in the neighbouring county of Devon. This beautifully rugged coastline is home to rocky coves, turquoise waters and wide open sandy beaches. There’s some wonderful hikes to enjoy, charming fishing villages and some excellent attractions too.

The highlights of south Cornwall are many but there are some places that you simply can’t miss. Fowey – pronounced ‘Foy’ – was once a rope and ship-building hub but is today a picturesque waterfront town filled with winding lanes and characterful shops. The view across the harbour to the town of Poluran is one of the best in Cornwall. A seasonal ferry service runs from Fowey to Mevagissey, the nearest harbour to the spellbinding Lost Gardens of Heligan. 

Other gardens that you simply must visit while in South Cornwall are at The Eden Project, set within its iconic bubble-like Biomes. This spectacular place is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Cornwall with kids but the enormous rainforest, Mediterranean Biome and 30 acre outdoor garden will impress all visitors, no matter their age. 

Right down the southern tip of Cornwall you’ll find Mousehole, famous for its Christmas lights, and Porthcurno, a beautiful beach that featured in the BBC historical drama, Poldark. Sennen is also nearby, a gorgeous strip of sand that’s home to big waves and home to the UK’s oldest surfing club. 

Finally, you can’t visit Cornwall without a trip to the Minack theatre. This incredible open-air theatre sits carved into a granite cliff overlooking Porthcurno Bay. It looks like it’s been there for hundreds of years but the theatre was actually only constructed in 1931. Performances take place rain or shine.

by Katja from Globe Totting

York

The soaring face of York Minister with tall arched windows and turrets
York Minster – ©Smudged Postcard

The medieval city of York is packed full of attractions for a weekend away. The best place to begin an exploration of York is the city walls which surround the historic centre. From the walls, visitors have excellent views of the city’s Gothic cathedral – York Minster. There are plenty of places to climb down from the walls to visit the many excellent museums or to find a local pub for lunch.

One of the best destinations in York is the Jorvik Centre – an award-winning attraction which charts the city’s Viking past. This interactive museum is one of the best things to do in York with kids. For an insight into the UK’s more recent past, visitors should pay a visit to the National Railway Museum which is packed with all of the most significant locomotives in history – a replica of Stephenson’s Rocket, a Eurostar and the Mallard.

For anyone with a sweet tooth, a trip to York’s Chocolate Story – a museum charting the history of chocolate production in the city – is essential. Alternatively, head to the famous Betty’s Tea Rooms for a proper English cuppa, accompanied by seasonal cakes and biscuits.

If you’d like a historical and characterful place to stay in York, the Guy Fawkes Inn takes some beating. This small hotel, just around the corner from the Minster, is where the infamous plotter was born.

by Annabel from Smudged Postcard

Dover 

The coast at Dover looking over the grass towards the sea and coast
Dover – ©Travel with Mansoureh

On the south-east tip of England lies Dover, Europe’s busiest ferry port. Many people might only travel to Dover for crossing the English Channel, but this historic city in Kent has a lot to offer. 

This coastal town is easily accessible by train and it is only less than 2hours drive from London, which makes it a perfect place for a weekend getaway.  

It is good to book your accommodation close to the town centre since there are many affordable hotels and B&B. While in the centre, you can visit the Dover town hall, known as Maison Dieu Hall. It is the oldest and most prominent building in the city, which was built in 1203. 

Only a 20-minute walk from the town hall, you can find the Dover Castle rising above the English Channel. The castle offers the best views across the seas, the countryside and Dover city. Inside the castle, you can visit the Great Tower, the ruins of the Roman Lighthouse and the Church of St. Mary. 

A trip to Dover is not complete without a visit to its white cliffs, the most famous and iconic landmark in England. Here you can take a coastal path towards South Foreland Lighthouse. On the way, you will be rewarded with amazing views of the cliffs and see the chalk grassland plants. You can end your walk by visiting the victorian lighthouse was built in the year 1843.

by Mansoureh from Travel with Mansoureh

Map of the 20+ Best Staycations in England

Don’t forget to pin this article so you can come back to it later

coastline with sea and cliffs with the words 20+ Ideas for a Staycation in England superimposed
20 BEST STAYCATIONS IN ENGLAND
WHERE TO GO FOR A STAYCATION IN ENGLAND

22 thoughts on “20+ of the Best Staycations in England

  1. Avatar of Laureen Lund
    Laureen Lund says:

    Great info, even for non-staycationers! I’ve been to a few of these places but can’t wait to come back and see some more. Thanks for the great ideas, and your photos are awesome.

  2. Avatar of Sue
    Sue says:

    This is fantastic! As an avid traveller, it’s been hard to spend so much time in the UK but it’s also given me the opportunity to appreciate the country more. Now we are opening up again (fingers crossed), it’s still going to be a while before I leave the country. I will definitely be back to this post more than once for some inspiration!

    • Avatar of Larch Gauld
      Larch Gauld says:

      I haven’t spent so much time in the UK for the last five years, and I have loved being able to get o know more of the country, and I will be visiting some of these when I can.

  3. Avatar of Linda (LD Holland)
    Linda (LD Holland) says:

    I am glad to hear that England may be opening up a bit. Good idea to look at staycation ideas. We figure we will still be staying close to home this year too. I must admit a weekend in the Cotswolds sounds idyllic to me. So many great little towns and wonderful scenery too. Some great ideas if we visit London and want to get out of the city.

  4. Avatar of Caroline @ PACKTHESUITCASES
    Caroline @ PACKTHESUITCASES says:

    I think we’ll all be ‘staycationing’ this summer! I’d also add Liverpool, my home, and Northumberland. I’m not too familiar with down south so some of these are new to me – great ideas.

    • Avatar of Larch Gauld
      Larch Gauld says:

      Liverpool is a place that I have never really explored just been there to get the boat to the Isle of Man… maybe I should spend some time there before my next IOM trip?

  5. Avatar of Elena Pappalardo
    Elena Pappalardo says:

    Wow, what great staycation ideas! I’m seriously in awe of Halnaker Tree Tunnel – what a cool spot! Thanks for this inspiration, pinned for later!

  6. Avatar of Sarah
    Sarah says:

    What a fabulous post! Everywhere I’ve been in the UK has been so incredibly scenic. I can’t wait to get back over and check out some more of these beautiful places. Thank you for the inspiration! It’ll help plan my next trip back!

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