Don’t get me wrong, city breaks are wonderful. And I have an endless list of European cities that I’d like to visit some day soon – Edinburgh, Lisbon, Florence and Reykjavik to name a few. But this year, I’m hoping it becomes the Year of the Staycation for me.
I’m a country-mouse at heart and love nothing more than long walks in the countryside with a dog in tow, followed by a good roast in a cozy pub, followed with an open fire and a glass of hot port (trust me on this one!) in winter. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful countryside in Ireland having grown up there, but considering I’ve spent nearly seven years in London, I’ve seen very little of the great British countryside.
To remedy that, I’ve made a list of the best UK countryside holidays I can think of! If you’d like to get your welly boots muddy, have a bright red nose from long walks in the wilds and gulp down lungfuls of fresh air, come join me.
I’m no surfer, but the coastline of Cornwall sounds like a dream place to disconnect from the noise of the city and find some peace and quiet. While it’ll take some amount of coercing to get me into a wet-suit and into the surf of the Celtic Sea, I won’t hesitate at walking the shoreline for hours on end. Idyllic locations like Botallack Mine and coastal area of St. Loy looks incredible. The only downside, is the very long drive/train ride from London.
Sarah introduced me to The Southdowns while we were preparing for our Kilimanjaro trek, and we started off in the small town of Alfriston in Kent and walked for hours through tumbling countryside. Being a countryside lover too, Sarah was the perfect hiking partner, and I’m ready to see more of the 260 square miles of this national park. Maybe on horseback if Sarah will let me run wild!
The Peak District:
As much as I love the sea, I adore a mountain hike too, and the Peak District will tick off so many boxes to achieving a long weekend retreat and adventure. Getting to see some of the great sites like the Pavillion Gardens and Buxton Baths (and maybe even popping in to Mr Darcy’s home turf of Chatsworth house ) followed by long evening in reading good books and looking out onto some breathtaking mountain views. Book me in for an autumnal visit!
Brecon Beacons, Wales
This has been on my Bucket List since we signed up to Kilimanjaro over four years ago. What we should have done as part of our training was head straight to Pen y Fan – the highlight of the Beacons Circuit. At 886 meters, the summit of Pen y Fan promises some spectacular views of almost the entire national park. Maybe this year, now that our walking boots have been thoroughly broken in.
Lunan Bay, Scotland
A pensive pooch at Lunan Bay by @brian_wilson_15. Lunan Bay in Angus is thought to be one of Scotland’s most beautiful beaches and has attracted visitors throughout the ages, from Viking armies in the 10th century to generations of holiday makers. #beach #coast #dogsofinstagram #angus #scotland #visitscotland #lovescotland #scotspirit
I spotted this photo on Visit Scotland’s Instagram page and fell in love. Where in the world can you see such a perfect pastel pink sky? And the adorable looking Labrador only made the beach look more appealing! Unfortunately, Google tells me this is a NINE hour drive from London, but if I can catch it on a good summer’s day, those long travelling hours will be all worth it.
Are you planning a holiday in the UK this year? Let us know your favourite countryside retreats in the comments below! We’re happy to extend the list! Happy staycationing!