Great British Holidays
As the UK is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, it seems crazy to look abroad when it comes to our own holidays – so we’ve put together these great places to stay, whether you’re one for glamping, exploring or escaping…
More than 40 million people visited the UK last year, which isn’t really surprising when you consider the diversity of geography and culture that’s on offer: endless miles of coastline with stunning beaches, hidden coves, dramatic cliff tops, wild mountains with snow-capped peaks, moors, glens, lakes, woodlands, fields and dales. Steeped in history, our island is packed full of historic sites just waiting to be explored, from crumbling castles to soaring cathedrals and ancient villages. And if it’s culture you prefer, we have plenty of arts, festivals, museums and galleries scattered the length and breadth of the land, from the world-class to the wonderfully quirky and obscure. There’s just as much choice when it comes to choosing a place to stay: as well as fancy hotels and traditional B&Bs, there are now safari tents under the stars, seaside retreats and houseboats to choose from – and even plenty of places and spaces where you can take your beloved dog…
Cuckoo Down FarmWest Hill, Ottery St Mary, Devon cuckoodownfarm.co.uk 01271 377432
Deep in the heart of Enid Blyton country, just a few miles from the sea, lies Cuckoo Down Farm. The glamping meadow’s four safari lodges and two yurts each have their own compost loo, kitchen, standpipe of drinking water, campfire and wood-burning stove, while the lodges also have their own hot showers, and one has a hot tub.
By day, there are pony rides, chickens’ eggs to collect and meadows and a wood to explore. When evening comes, toast marshmallows around the fire and gaze up at the stars above.
Have hot meals delivered to your tent, made by Carolyn and Paul Bellinger on their local farm using home- grown fruit and veg and home-reared rare-breed meat.
The World Heritage Site coastline at Sidmouth is just a short drive away, as is a donkey sanctuary. For walkers, the South West Coast Path is a must.
Prices start from £235 for a three-night weekend in September, rising to £785 for a three-night weekend in a safari tent in peak summer (August).
4 more to try
Camp Kátur, North Yorkshire A hobbit pod, a cute vintage caravan, tepees and safari tents, among others, set within the Camp Hill Estate near Ripon. campkatur.com
Eco Retreats, Powys
Stay totally off the grid in an individually themed yurt in the middle of the Dyfi Forest on a working organic farm. ecoretreats.co.uk
Craighead Howfs, Perthshire
Luxury glamping in stone-built hobbit houses or a stunning tree house in the rolling hills and stunning scenery of Dunblane. craigheadhowf.co.uk
Happy Days, Suffolk
Vintage airstream glamping on a car-free, tree-lined site in the Suffolk countryside close to the seaside towns of Aldeburgh and Southwold. happydaysrv.co.uk
Richardson’s Boating Holidays richardsonsboatingholidays.co.uk 01692 668981
For a holiday with a difference, head to Norfolk, hire a boat and explore the Broads. This beautiful National Park with more than 125 miles of navigable lock-free waterways is surrounded by picturesque countryside and olde-worlde towns and villages. A network of 40 or so shallow lakes connected by seven rivers, the Broads form the country’s largest inland waterway system.
Haven’t sailed a boat before? No problem. There’s plenty of help to ensure you choose the right boat and all boaters are given a demonstration and a trial run beforehand.
Sit back and relax as you potter along, taking in the watermills, windmills, stately homes and thatched cottages. Bordered by trees and tall reeds, wildlife is in abundance, and you may spot an otter, a kingfisher or a tusked Chinese water deer.
Evenings are ideal for mooring up by a pub for a drink or dinner, then retiring to your boat to watch the sun go down. In the northern Broads, Horning has various riverside pubs, tea rooms and eateries. Children will love BeWILDerwood (bewilderwood.co.uk) – an adventure play park a 15-minute walk from Horning. In the south, Norwich, with its cathedrals and museums, is worth exploring, while to the east Great Yarmouth has markets on Saturdays and Wednesdays and a host of attractions, from the Hippodrome Circus to the Pleasure Beach. A week-long off-peak boating break for up to four people with Richardson’s Boating Holidays costs from £319.
4 more to try
There are plenty of guided or self-guided walking holidays, from Cornwall to the Highlands of Scotland. hfholidays.co.uk
Grand Union Canal
Hire a narrowboat and see the towns, villages and countryside of Oxford, Stratford- upon-Avon or Leicester, to name a few. canalholidays.co.uk
Moray Coast and Whisky Trail
Cycling and whisky fans will love this ride while sampling a dram or three. headwater.com
Brecon Beacons Camping Adventure
A host of activities including paddleboarding, abseiling, bushcraft and zip wiring.
Hot tub havens
Hoseasons Birches Lodge hoseasons.co.uk 0345 498 6130
Just a short walk from the town of Llangollen are the Penvale Lakes Lodges, part of the Evermore Lodge Holidays collection, nestled in a stunning 33-acre valley on the riverside. There are tranquil areas suitable for a romantic break or busier areas with a playground for children and an outdoor heated pool for families. Adults can enjoy the gym and try trout fishing.
The luxury architect- designed lodges are spacious and modern.
Birches Lodge VIP is spread over two floors and sleeps up to eight. With designer kitchen and bathrooms, Wi-Fi and a Bluetooth sound system, it’s a far cry from other holiday lodges! The impressive vaulted ceiling and huge cathedral windows allow for a light and airy feel and there are four bedrooms including a king-sized master with en suite bathroom, a double with en suite bathroom, another double and one with bunk beds. Explore the area: Snowdonia National Park, with its myriad paths to hike or bike, and rivers to raft, canoe or fish in, is close by – and then come back to eat out on the decking area, then relax under the stars in the outdoor hot tub.
Birches Lodge VIP costs from £839 per week. Accommodation to suit all budgets is available at hoseasons.co.uk
4 more to try
Lake District Lodge Holidays, White Cross Bay, Windermere
Lodges with hot tubs across the Lake District. lakedistrictlodgeholidays.co.uk
Elm Lodge, Somerset On the edge of Exmoor National Park – explore inland or the coast before returning to your luxury lodge and tub. sykescottages.co.uk
Rose Cottage, Hexham A cedar cottage in the Northumberland countryside with a private hot tub and a wood-burning stove for cooler days. hottubhideaways.com
Sussex Holiday Cottages Ultra- luxurious oak-framed yurts with upstairs bedrooms and fully integrated bathrooms and kitchens. Heavenly. ruralretreats.co.uk
Best hound-friendly holidays
The William Cecil Hotel Lincolnshire hillbrookehotels.co.uk 01780 750070
May hotels claim to be pet-friendly, but this one really has the bow-wow factor. The William Cecil Hotel in Stamford, which is set within the Burghley Estate, has everything for a luxury getaway for you and your pooch.
There are brilliant walkies on tap with the countryside on your doorstep, plus Burghley House Deer Park. Rutland Water, where dogs are welcome on a lead, is also close by. Dogs can join you for a bite to eat in the bar, conservatory or on the terrace, and there’s even a dog room service menu. Canine guests also get a welcome pack with a towel and a map marking places to walk. Rooms come with a dog bed, bowls and treats.
Bed and breakfast costs from £120 a night, but there are often last-minute offers on the hotel website or sites such as booking. com. A one-night Sunday Stopover is just £50 a room when you spend £75 in the restaurant or bar. The dog supplement is £15 per dog per night, and two dogs are allowed per room.
4 more to try
Letheringham Water Mill Cottages, Suffolk
Cottages with thoughtful pet touches and a pond they can swim in.
Blue Hills Touring Park, North Cornwall
A quiet campsite with a designated exercise field, hose-down areas as well as dog sitters or walkers on hand.
Holiday accommodation on a friendly family farm with enclosed gardens ideal for dogs, and there are paddocks, so you can even bring horses or ponies too! lindores.co.uk
Penrhiw Cottage, Carmarthenshire
A charming and immaculate 300-year- old cottage that provides doggy beds, bowls and treats and offers dog sitting too. penrhiwcottage.com