It’s official. We have become a ‘Staycation Nation’ with over half of Britons choosing to take their annual summer holiday within the UK this year and 85% of us taking an average of three short UK breaks during 2018, a recent survey has confirmed.
And with the UK's breath-taking scenery, ease of travel and the opportunity to take the whole family along, it’s no wonder that families are opting to holiday at home – after all, we do live in one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
But what will you do once you arrive at your rural retreat? Relaxing with a glass of wine may seem like the perfect moment, but there is the day to fill before you get to that point. Choosing a destination with activities in mind is a great way to ensure that the whole family is entertained while benefiting from spending time outside.
Holiday rental company Original Cottages has created an outdoors-oriented search filter to encourage holidaying in the great outdoors. From 4,500 UK holiday houses, Original Cottages has identified nearly half offering the perfect outdoors escape.
Backing up commonly understood theories, author Florence Williams writes in her book The Nature Fix about how the great outdoors is good for mind, body and mental health. From pulling out the binoculars for a spot of twitching to finding inner calm in the cut-off countryside, these seven good-for-the-soul getaways are ready to prove a point while putting a smile on your face.
Combine a beautiful barn conversion, the depths of the Sussex countryside and a wildflower meadow, and you’ve got Birdsong Barn. This wildlife wonderland begs you to switch off from all devices (except perhaps your SLR) and listen. Tours of the property’s wildlife are personally guided by the owner who will help you spot the 120 species of bird that have been recorded here.
Discover the healing powers of your yin and yang through the ancient martial art of Tai Chi while getting off-grid with a stay at Shepherds Hut at Ridge Hall near Staithes, in Yorkshire. Tai Chi courses are available to book with the owner during your stay. Meanwhile, the shepherd's hut, surrounded by a glorious south facing meadow, provides that digital detox thanks to minimal connectivity - just turn data roaming off to complete the package. The hut is fully insulated with a king size bed, so hardly lacking in comfort. And breathe that countryside air!
Yorkshire most definitely claims the cycling title, but Bwthyn Sylfaen in Snowdonia packs in the scenery and the cycling challenges too. This almost cut-off corner of Wales provides tremendous views over the Mawddach Estuary and beyond, and nearby Barmouth is your gateway to the National Cycle Way. Bring your bikes or hire them from the Coed Y Brenin Mountain Bike Centre and choose from challenging climbs to family-friendly routes and woodland paths on the South Snowdon Greenway. Complete with storage space for bikes, the cottage also packs on the charm offensive for those struggling with saddle sore!
Surf. Kayak. Walk. Explore.
Move over Newquay, Sennen is where those in the know head to hit the surf and soak up the scenery. A stay at The Byre with its hillside position makes the early morning surf alarm an effortless get-up. For an explorer’s alternative, this spacious nest leads onto a footpath down to the magical Nanjizal Cove - one of Cornwall’s best/worst kept secrets; it’s only accessible on foot. Need something else to do? Land’s End is just around the corner.
What’s for dinner? Whether you’re buying fish straight from the fishing boats in the harbour or serving up your very own catch of the day, the serenity of a day’s fishing will excite all ages. Riverside Heronmere is a gorgeous family property on the banks of the River Bure in Norfolk. The holiday house comes ready and waiting for you with a fishing licence, a private mooring (if you’re already nautically inclined) or boat hire. The door to this tranquil waterways is open, all you need is some bait and a sense of direction. Head upstream to South Walsham Broad where the bigger bream are said to reside.
“A good walk spoiled” so said Mark Twain of the great game of golf, but it does, of course, depend on your perspective! Sandwich in Kent is one of England’s best preserved medieval towns. It’s also home to one of the country’s best golf courses. To combine the area’s history and fairway prowess a stay at Victorian Chapel House will surprise and delight guests after a round or two at Royal Cinque Ports, Princes Golf Course or Royal St. George’s.
Obsessed with achieving 10,000 steps each day? A stay in the Lake District will easily smash your target again and again. The Lake District is on everyone’s radar this year thanks to a certain Hollywood take on Beatrix Potter’s blue-coated rabbit, but there are so many routes to roam you’ll still manage to avoid any crowds. There are literally hundreds of walking routes whether you fancy a gentle ramble or a hearty hill hike. Back at base, Knipefold Barn, between Coniston and Hawkshead, provides comfortable family accommodation with luxury touches as well as the promise of more steps on the counter for the 1 mile wander to the pub.
About Original Cottages
Original Cottages is proud of its journey from humble kitchen-table beginnings in 1992 to today’s national brand. A leader in the UK holiday rental marketplace, with more than 4,200 inspected holiday cottages, we’ve made sure our unique company structure keeps the advantages of personal, local service but with countrywide reach. Proud to be family-owned and local, always finding you and yours the best places to visit and stay backed by outstanding service.
This is a collaborative post with Original Cottages.