Ancient ruins, stunning mountain views, and some of the best beaches in Europe: it’s easy to forget just how much a staycation has to offer. After all, there’s a reason millions of tourists come to our fair isles every year, but it’s easy to take what’s on your front doorstep for granted. The UK is still an underrated destination for all kinds of holidaymaker, whether you’re a culture vulture or just want to unwind in a paradisiacal setting, especially now when it’s easier than ever to head to Land’s End, John o’Groats, and everywhere in between.
The four countries and crown dependencies that make up the UK and the surrounding islands all offer something unique and inspiring to the potential visitor, from the breath-taking beauty of the highlands to the delicate biodiversity of the Welsh rainforest.
It’s simply up to you to take advantage of what’s on offer, but first you have to decide what you want to do. We’re here with some of the best short break ideas in the UK; with any of these you’ll undoubtedly come away with a renewed appreciation for this wonderful land and memories that will last a lifetime.
Twenty years on from the turbulence of The Troubles and Belfast is thriving. Whilst Northern Ireland is often seen as a junior country in the UK, a visit to the capital will leave you under no illusions as to just how wrong this view is. Aside from having excellent pubs, enlightening museums, and trendy stores that wouldn’t look out of place in East London, Belfast is now home to one of the busiest and most viewed attractions in the UK: the Titanic Experience. This four-day tour gives you the chance to experience the bustling city and this important tribute to the most famous ship in history.
The Titanic Experience is housed in a spectacular building, standing on the site where the famous ship was built and hubristically declared as unsinkable, and is a great historical resource as well as a tribute to the former shipbuilding industry and the passengers who sadly perished over a century ago. The story of the ship is brought to life by exhibitions and audio-visual media, as well as life size reconstructions and interactive features.
Other city highlights include Stormont Castle, City Hall, and the famous Peace Wall, offering a both glimpse into our turbulent recent history and a sobering reminder as to how fragile peace is. Northern Ireland’s relatively small size also means we can offer an optional excursion to the otherworldly Giant’s Causeway, a National Trust heritage site. This unique geological formation is breath-taking and a must see for anybody interested in nature. In between all of this, you can sit back and soak up the culture of Belfast, tucking into a hearty meal or having a few pints with the friendly locals.
Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth were both so inspired by the Lake District that they settled there; when you get a chance to spend some time in this magical corner of North West England, you can see why. There are hundreds of small cottages and larger houses to rent for your break in this serene location, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation.
There is so much to do here, from long, inspiring walks to kayaking in one of the many lakes that make up the area. It’s not all literature, nature, and exercise though: the reason the Lake district is a great option and one of the best short break ideas in the UK is because of the diversity of activities. There are dozens of stunning golf courses, trendy boutique stores, and a foodie scene that would make even the most ardent big city evangelist take a second look. An unmissable slice of English beauty, the Lake District is a must visit.
Culture and nature combine on this unforgettable trip to the Scottish capital, where you’ll also get a chance to visit Glasgow and the ethereally beautiful Loch Lomond. Undoubtedly one of the best short break ideas in the UK, this trip offers a chance to see the impressive Edinburgh Military tattoo in all its glorious pageantry, as well as explore the beautiful old city and everything it has to offer. The Tattoo is a famous event for a reason, and a chance to see it live is something to tick off the bucket list: you’ll get to soak in all the fun of the military band and be awed by their talent and dedication.
Once you’ve taken in all the capital has to offer, you’ll be able to wander around the glorious beauty of the Trossachs, before cruising around the stunningly serene loch. Live commentary on board means you’ll have all the local knowledge about what makes this area so special, so you can truly appreciate just how incredible this spot is. There’s also the chance to amble around Glasgow and soak in the atmosphere of a Scotland’s largest city, a place that’s truly on the up. The close proximity of all these places means there’s also the option of visiting the Falkirk wheel, a feat of engineering that connects two of the most important waterways in Scotland.
Find out more about our Loch Lomond & Edinburgh Tattoo tour.
Long stretches of golden sand, calm, cyan seas as far as the eye can see (except on a clear day, when you can see France), and an interesting history of conquest and reconquest: the largest Channel Isle has everything you’d want from a Mediterranean break without having to leave the English Channel. There are a whole host of activities available on this holiday, including a fascinating trip to the famed Jersey War Tunnels. Avid shoppers are also in heaven here: the tax-free status of the island means cheaper prices on many high-end goods.
It’s not just Jersey’s wartime history that’s a draw for those looking for more intellectual pursuits: you can see some of Britain’s best-preserved castles when you navigate around the coast, as well as the gorgeous sweeping beauty of calm bays and rugged cliffs that make up this island. The package finishes with a cruise so you can see the splendour of the island from the water, and truly take in the magnificent coastline. Sun seekers be assured: a hop over to Jersey truly is one of the best short break ideas in the UK.
Find out more about our Jersey: Sun-Kissed Channel Isle tour.
Despite being a fairly small county, Pembrokeshire is jam-packed with historical, cultural, and natural wonders. If you happen to stroll down Castle beach in Tenby on a sunny day, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve wound up in Sardinia; the long stretch of glorious golden sand is flanked by the sort of colourful buildings and charming little cafes you’d expect from a fancy Mediterranean getaway, not the Welsh coast. Tanners and sun seekers aren’t the only ones who’ll have a wonderful time here; the birthplace of Henry VII, Pembroke Castle, is in the region, surrounded by beautiful rolling hills. Amblers can head down the Pembrokeshire Coastal path for dramatic views of the plunging coastline, and if you’re looking for a real thrill, you can even head to Oakwood Theme Park.
If you’re willing to get on a boat, you can take a trip to the secluded Caldey Island, where you can visit Caldey Abbey. Here, Cistercian monks still observe a number of traditions held from Celtic times, offering a glimpse into our pagan past and how it influenced the early Christians. Nature lovers will enjoy the island just as much as theologians; Caldey is home to rare sheep and diverse flora and fauna. Pembrokeshire has everything you’d want from a holiday and more; it’s no surprise that many consider it one of the best short break ideas in the UK.