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One of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK is the bustling city of London. It attracts millions of tourists from across the globe every year to marvel at its history, rich culture and royalty. But are you looking for something a bit different? Maybe a break from all the crowds and the stresses of modern life, or a holiday which feels more relaxing than working out which is the nearest tube stop to your next attraction.
A weekend on the Great British seaside or rolling country hills could be just what you are looking for. Forget the Great Tower of London, and think more great tower of cream teas, beautiful country walks, traditional cosy pubs and a different side to British history and culture. Here are your top five spots for an English holiday outside of London worth booking.
If you are looking for a seaside break with stunning coastal views, beautiful blue waters, and plenty of fish and chips and ice-cream, Cornwall is the place to start. But with two long stretching coastlines, it is hard to decide where to base your holiday. St Ives is the perfect place for families and couples to enjoy the British seaside, as being great for a day on the beach, or a walk round the coast
St Ives’ beauty has attracted hundreds of artists, and their work can be found in many of the galleries dotted about the quintessentially British seaside town, such as the Tate St Ives. There are plenty of stunning hotels to stay and relax overlooking the ocean such as the St Ives Harbour Hotel and Spa or Carbis Bay Hotel making a British break feel like a luxury trip somewhere must hotter.
They also have no shortage of delicious food to enjoy either - for that fine dining experience head to One Fish Street for their delicious seafood tasting menu, or try Porthminster Cafe for lunch with a stunning view!
When people think of heading to the coast, they think of Cornwall, and often forget its sister county, beautiful Devon. Even more secluded is the coastal area of North Devon, where you will find the small village of Croyde, the perfect spot for surfers, families and seaside lovers. Think surf lessons in the morning, a stunning walk around the breezy cliffs, a hearty pub lunch at The Thatch, and sunset over the ocean before heading to one of its bustling restaurants for food, drinks, and live music.
Croyde may be small, but it is the ideal central place to base yourself for a weekend over the summer. Less than a fifteen minute drive will take you to other popular beaches such as Woolacombe or Putsborough; and just down the road you can find the lively village of Braunton, filled with many cosy pubs and popular restaurants such as SQ Bar and Restaurant. If Croyde catches your eye, check out Saunton Sands Hotel or The Chalet Saunton for luxury accommodation, or try Ruda Holiday Park and Airbnb to find something a little more budget friendly.
The Lake District is England’s largest National Park, a World Heritage Site and is home to its highest mountain, Scafell Pike and its deepest lake, Wastwater. It is a stunning area of natural beauty, featuring sixteen lakes and more than 150 high peaks. Its vast landscape leaves thousands of tourists every year with an overwhelming choice of activities; swim in the lakes, scale the mountains, fishing, golf, paddle boarding, or how about even zip lining through Grizedale Forest?
If you are looking to stay somewhere that has a little bit of everything, try Windermere; cosy cafes, water activities, lakeside walks and a little bit of history (think Beatrix Potter’s old house). We’d recommend The Swan Hotel & Spa, worth the money to wake up overlooking the lake and the opportunity to relax in a hot tub. If you are looking for something completely out of the way, try looking for the least visited areas of the district such as Loweswater, you will find no real ‘village’ but just a collection of houses, which is all the more appealing to get off the grid and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the lakes.
For those of you that like an escape but can’t quite let go of the bustle of city life, Bath is the perfect place. Combining contemporary city life with a rich culture and history, Bath will draw you in with its unique charm and beautiful architecture. But city life doesn’t have to be hectic, the city has been the original wellbeing destination since Roman times.
Start with a visit to the Roman Baths to get to know its history, and then take a trip to Thermae Bath Spa which houses the only natural hot springs in Britain which you can bathe in. Once fully relaxed, soak in some of Bath’s rich food and drink scene, whether its wood-fired pizzas at The Oven, a totally British cream tea at The Pump Rooms, or a cocktail in the secret room at Opium, there is something to whet everyone’s appetite. Get into the quirky Bath spirit and book yourself in to a boutique hotel or B&B such as The Bird or No.15 Great Pulteney - conical-flask cocktails and lost earring chandeliers? Sign us up!
The rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales are the breath of fresh air you need if you want to get away from the chaos of modern-day life. An avid walkers’ dream, the Dales can have you ambling for miles through vast fields, under natural waterfalls and around lakes and reservoirs with the promise of a proper Yorkshire pub at the end.
If you are heading out on a lengthy expedition, make sure to stop over night at the famous Tan Hill Inn, the highest inn in the British Isles. Or if you fancy a look at one of their many famous waterfalls, pop in to the Green Dragon on the way back from Hardraw Force for a few refreshments.
If all that open space is a bit too vast for your liking, head into York for a little retail therapy. Navigate your way down The Shambles, one of the best-preserved Medieval shopping streets in Europe - think cobbled streets and artisan chocolates from Monk Bar Chocolatiers. Equally, York has a plethora of boutique independent shops and galleries in characterful buildings down winding narrow roads.
So dust off your walking boots, grab your dressing gown for the spa, and get ready to eat your way through cream teas, drink your way through British ales and come back refreshed and revived.