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For obvious reasons, the past year and a half has seen a huge rise in interest in staycations. UK-based vacation rental company Independent Cottages, for example, has experienced an increase of 300% in bookings, while the term “staycation” saw year-over-year growth of over 500% in 2020, according to Statista. And even when some travel restrictions were lifted for a short period last year, the holiday destination with the highest year-on-year growth on Google was in still the UK. Brits are booking in their close-to-home holidays like never before, and as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the globe, perhaps this trend is here to stay(cation) (sorry).
Right now, group sizes for domestic holidays in England are limited to six people or two households. The same goes for Northern Ireland. In Scotland, the numbers are a little higher – depending on what “Level” your destination is in. Wales, on the other hand, has stated that “all holiday accommodation is now able to fully open” and it’s likely the other three nations will follow suit within the next few months. However, despite restrictions lifting, some people may still be nervous to travel in groups. Or perhaps after a year of getting used to our own company will see an increase in solo holidays. Either way, if you like the sound of a mini break that you can enjoy all to yourself, the UK is actually a great place to travel alone.
Some practical advice before you starting planning: UK holiday accommodation is booking up fast, even for 2022, so if you want to go anywhere anytime soon, I’d get booking. And planning ahead will also help lower the cost of train travel, which can be pretty extortionate at times. Make sure you look around lots of different trainline sites to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Plus – of course – always check the government website for COVID guidance and make sure your accommodation has a decent cancellation period.
All of this practical stuff aside, there are some really stunning areas of the UK that offer culture, amazing food, friendly locals, and unrivalled scenery. Here are a pick of the best.
The Lake District is a place I would recommend everybody to go, no matter your age, taste, or time limit. Not only does it offer the perfect sample of life in the English countryside, the scenery is amazing, and the people are super friendly, meaning going on your own is really no big deal. You can get some amazing Airbnbs in The Lake District in areas such as Cumbria.
There are so many things to do and see in Bath. I’d recommend finding a cute little Airbnb just outside of town, booking in for an afternoon at the Thermae Spa (they do some great packages), taking the roman bath tour, and finishing the day with a meal and ale at The Chequers pub.
Having recently visited The Cotswolds myself, I feel confident in recommending it for solo travellers. It’s quintessentially British, and super safe. Hire yourself a car and book in at Mollie’s Motel & Diner, just outside of Oxfordshire. The motel, which was created by the same minds behind Soho House, offers simple yet stylish rooms complete with Cowshed products. Eat breakfast at the diner before driving down the The Cotswolds (about a 40-minute drive) to explore little villages such as Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Bourton-on-the-Hill.
Tenby in Pembrokeshire, Wales, is a cute little seaside town that has buckets of charm. Grab yourself an Airbnb on the seafront, take a coastal walk, and enjoy the best of British in terms of food, from ice cream aplenty to oodles of fish and chips. The people are super friendly here, meaning you can feel safe and at home, even if you’re on your ones.
A short distance from London, Brighton is easy to travel to for a day trip, or as a longer stay. Get lost in The Lanes (a cute little shopping area) before heading down to the seaside and indulging in some local fish and chips. Brighton locals are very friendly, making it a great place to visit alone.
Belfast has so much to offer, and history lovers will be especially impressed with the various Titanic monuments and museums around the city and the stunning architecture at every turn. Plus, if you’ve got the time, you could even take a little road trip to Derry and along to the Giant’s Causeway – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and certified Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Cornwall is a super chilled out place that will be perfect for the solo traveller looking for a little down time. With beautiful beaches, delicious Cornish ice cream, and friendly locals, you can’t go wrong with a quick trip here. Go for a hike, and be sure to visit The Watering Hole, which is the only bar on a beach in the UK.
Now I may be a little biased here (I went to The University Of Nottingham), but Nottingham is a great place to visit alone. There are tons of shops and places to eat, lots of pretty scenery, and an amazing main Uni campus, which is surrounded by lakes and impressive old buildings. Visit the vegetarian and vegan eatery Alley Cafe, and don’t miss out on the night life, which is legendary.
Glasgow is a UNESCO City of Music, meaning it’s a must for music lovers, and is full of lively events. As well as great food too, there are plenty of gorgeous parks and botanical gardens, and if you fancy a long hike, Trossachs National Park is just an hour away.
One of the most popular staycay spots, Devon has plenty of great options for some time on your own. Croyde is a beautiful village with sandy beaches (check out Putsborough) cute little pubs, too. Plus it’s just an hour’s drive to Dartmoor National Park, which is homes to river valleys, moorlands, and unique wildlife.
The Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is another hugely popular British destination, and one look on Instagram will tell you why: this small isle connected to Scotland’s northwest coast by bridge has some incredible landscapes and scenery. Portree looks like a lovely town to visit by yourself, and is full of harbourside pubs and shops to fill your time with. If you’re a big Airbnb person who always likes to find the most amazing destinations, the Isle Of Skye is the perfect place to look thanks to its many options. You may even get lucky and see the Northern Lights.