Staycations in the UK have become increasingly popular. With foreign travel restrictions in places during 2020 and 2021, more people are choosing to spend their holidays exploring different parts of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Wales and Northern Ireland have so much to offer, coasts and lakes, hill, mountains and flat areas, countryside and towns, castles, gardens, peace and quiet and beautiful views.
I invited fellow travel bloggers to share their experience of staycations in Wales and Northern Ireland that they have enjoyed. I hope you find some inspiration for when we are allowed to take a holiday again.
For now, travel is not permitted. Our content is intended as inspiration for future visits only. This article refers to a visit or visits made before the travel restrictions put in place to deal with the 2020–21 Covid-19 outbreak around the world. Please take into account the advice from your local government before planning any travel and click here to see the current UK government advice regarding Covid-19
Best Staycations in Wales
Conwy is not one of the top places that comes to mind when one thinks of a weekend getaway! Largely known for Conwy Castle, many travellers only stopover in Conwy to see the castle. But the truth is, there are many interesting things to do in Conwy and it’s surrounds.
Due to its location, it is a perfect base to explore Isle of Anglesey or Snowdonia National Park, or in fact any of North Wales.
This stunning walled market town is located on the river estuary of the same name. The Conwy suspension bridge, part of National Trust, is one of the very first suspension bridges in the world. The bridge is now accessible by foot.
One of the popular attractions in Conwy is the Conwy Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered as one of the finest example of 13th century military architecture in Europe.
Conwy Town Walls, that runs through the town, were built as a defensive structure to protect the town This 1.3 mile long walk includes 21 towers and 3 gatehouses and provides some of the best views of Conwy town. Alternatively, visit the smallest house in Britain, a quirky attraction in Conwy, located in the quay. Conwy is such a compact town and is an ideal choice for weekend breaks in the UK.
By Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple
Check out the best places to stay in Conwy
Just 6 miles from the border with England, Abergavenny is a great town to base a visit to Monmouthshire and the Brecon Beacons.
The area is perfect for experiencing the outdoors with three hills, Blorenge, Sugar Loaf and Skirrid within easy distance. Offa’s Dyke Path passes close by White Castle, just outside Abergavenny.
Learn more about the town and its history dating back to prehistoric times in the Abergavenny Museum in the 19th-century square hunting lodge in the grounds of Abergavenny Castle. Now in ruins, the castle dates back to the 11th Century. Close by is Linda Vista Gardens and the Castle Meadows. Two beautiful places to wander and enjoy nature.
Abergavenny is a great place for foodies. In September join in the fun at the Abergavenny Food Festival where you can sample and buy Welsh produce direct from the makers. For amazing food, try the Michelin starred Walnut Tree Inn, the Oak Room at the Angel Hotel or eat delicious vegan food at Bean and Bread.
A bit further out from Abergavenny, you can enjoy canoeing, cycling or walking by the Monmouth and Brecon Canal at Goytre Wharf, or even try to catch a fish or two. Maybe go on a vineyard tour and taste some of the wonderful Welsh wines at White Castle Vineyard or try your hand at baking some artisan bread at the Abergavenny Baker.
by Larch from The Silver Nomad
If you are looking for accommodation try these Airbnbs in Abergavenny or for some luxury, try the Angel Hotel in Abergavenny
Wales is a true wonderland. It is a place of adventure, epic nature scenes, history and rugged coastlines. North Wales has all of this in abundance and the best place to stay to experience it all is Llandudno.
Making Llandudno your base to see all the very best things in North Wales will make your trip to Wales easy. From Llandudno, you can easily hit the road and drive through the amazing countryside. From mountains that are a green you’ve never seen before to ones that are grey, covered in old slate that was mined for years in the area. The mist rolls into the valleys and covers some of the mountains that surround it. You will find there are plenty of hikes in the area that you can do during your staycation in North Wales that are only a few hours long to all-day hikes.
Visiting some of the ruined castles in North Wales will take you back in time. Being able to imagine them in all of their glory adds to the mystery of what is left of them. You can also visit castles that have lasted the test of time and are still guarding Wales. Many of these have some of the best views of the surrounding mountains or of the coastline. On a clear day, you can see for miles.
There are also museums in North Wales that are great for everyone. You can learn about how important the slate industry was to Wales and how it shaped the country. Touring a mine is also a brilliant way to see how the mining was done and you can do that at Llechwedd Slate Mine. If you love adventure you can also zip line, mountain bike ride and glamp here too.
As you can see there is so much to do in North Wales on your weekend away. You will want to return time and again to get the very best this amazing area has to offer.
by Bec from Wyld Family Travel
Find a place to stay in one of the Airbnbs in Llandudno
Snowdonia National Park
Covering over 820 square miles Snowdonia has it all; outdoor activities, nature, history, arts and crafts and beautiful towns to visit.
Try walking, climbing, cycling, horse riding in the mountains or take to the rivers and lakes for kayaking, paddleboarding or fishing. There are over 200 miles of coastline to explore or try wakeboarding, body boarding or sailing.
The most famous of mountains to climb is Snowdon, at 3,560 feet, it is the highest in Wales and England. With six different routes up to the top, from the easiest, Llanberis Path to the most difficult, Crib Goch, it is worth the trek for breathtaking views over Snowdonia, Anglesey and across to Ireland.
History lovers can explore castles, including the imposing Harlech Castle, the fortified Caernarfon Castle or the stunning Criccieth Castle. Travel down to Barmouth and visit Dians Oleu, “Citadel of Light” with views across to Cader Idris. Donated by Fanny Talbot, it was the first piece of land donated to the National Trust. Nearby are the Dyffryn Ardudwy Burial Chamber, a pair of Neolithic tomb. The smaller one was constructed first and then a larger tomb about 100 feet long.
Visit the picturesque Italianate village of Portmeirion. Wander through the colour-washed houses and enjoy the 70 acres of gardens, flowers, trees, coastal lines through over 19 miles of pathway.
Near Portmeirion is the harbour town of Porthmadog. The Maritime Museum recounts how the town thrived in the 19th Century with shipbuilding and exporting of slate. A haven for narrow-gauge railway enthusiasts, Porthmadog has three lines and also a miniature railway line.
If you choose to go to Snowdonia for your staycation, it will keep you busy for a weekend of for much longer.
by Larch from The Silver Nomad
Find a place to stay in one of the Airbnbs in Snowdonia
Hidden Valley Yurts, Chepstow
If you are looking for the perfect getaway in the UK, then look no further than South Wales. If you want an experience that gets you closer to nature without giving up your home comforts like a proper bed, showers and toilets then glamping is the answer and one place that can offer you this is Lower Glyn Farm also known as Hidden Valley Yurts and Lake House.
Hidden Valley Yurts sits on 80 acres of beautiful wildflowers and woodland. It offers two choices of accommodation from 5 amazing Mongolian style Yurts. Each has a brightly hand-painted door in the traditional Mongolian style, with its own decking, a BBQ and table and chairs.
On the inside, it’s fully insulated and has a log burning fire that sleeps between 5 to 7 people. Yurts 1 and 2 have their own kitchen whilst the other Yurts have a communal kitchen. The glamping area also has showers and a bath as well as a composting toilet. There is also the Lake House which is beautifully furnished and with a beautiful view of the lake.
If you are not in the mood to cook, then you could hire local caterer Barny of Infamous Catering whose food is mouth wateringly tasty.
Whilst there is plenty of activities to do on-site which includes outdoors actives like football and Babington, long walks or visiting some of the animals on the farm.
So, if you are looking for that perfect getaway then Hidden Valley Yurts is the perfect choice to digital detox with your family, friends or with a partner.
By Lisa from One Epic Road Trip
Best Staycations in Northern Ireland
Portrush in Northern Ireland is the number one holiday destination in the country, and for good reason. It’s a seaside town so you have 2 beaches on either side of the town that you can walk to plus numerous other beautiful beaches within a short drive. The main reason Portrush is such a good holiday destination is that it gives you access to all of the most beautiful places on the North Coast of Northern Ireland.
It sits along the Causeway Coastal Route, which is a spectacular coastal drive from Derry to Belfast. Within a short drive from Portrush you will find some of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. To the West of Portrush is Mussenden Temple and Castlerock Beach, two of my favourite places anywhere in the world. Mussenden Temple sits precariously on the edge of a cliff high above the crashing waves below.
If you head East, you’ll find the Giants Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is home to unique volcanic formations. You’ll also come across Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge which sits 100 feet above the Atlantic and connects the mainland to Carrick-a-rede island via a short but thrilling walkway. Keen golfers will also enjoy the chance to play on Royal Portrush golf course, which was home to the British Open in 2019.
The Atlantic View B&B is a great place to stay as it is located right in the heart of Portrush and offers sea views out over the harbour and towards West Strand Beach. Portrush is such a cool little town and the perfect hub to explore the incredible North Coast of Northern Ireland.
By Luke from Wild about BC
Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland is one of the best places to explore within the United Kingdom. Whether you are looking for a weekend break or a staycation while staying home, Belfast won’t let you down.
While Belfast had a long and troubling history, today it boasts a range of tourist attractions and exciting things to do. Put another way, what makes Belfast unique is its character and diverse atmosphere.
If you are looking for graffiti that speaks volumes, look no further than Belfast’s rich street art. Filled with powerful examples of street art and urban-style street graffiti, Belfast is the place where the famous RMS Titanic was built.
While the Titanic Tourist attraction and SS Nomadic ship may be Belfast’s most famous attractions, the Belfast City Hall and Ulster Museum belong to the most often-visited attractions.
The stunning views offered by the observation deck of the Dome into Victoria Square make it one of the best things to do in Belfast. Feel free to book a free of charge tour to enjoy 360° views of the city.
With all those attractions, allow two days to see Belfast’s top sights, even more so to explore the famous attractions the city hosts, like the Albert Memorial Clock, the Big Fish Statue, and Belfast Castle.
By Evelina from EvBeing
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Larch lives a semi-nomadic life. Her life changed 20 years ago when a silly accident left her with restricted use of her right arm and neck and was told she would never work again. She turned her life around, retrained herself and set up as a self-employed website designer. This allowed her to work wherever she was in the world. Her passion for travel led her to start up her travel blog The Silver Nomad, to inspire over 40s to explore new destinations and expand their horizons. In 2019 Larch qualified as a CAA Drone Pilot which she combines with her travels.