Planning a staycation for 2021? We’ve picked out our favourite UK destinations perfect for your adventure a little closer to home. With this collection of stunning beaches, un-missable lunch spots, unique stays and activities the whole family will enjoy, let Saltee and Muddy Stilettos inspire your next getaway. Escape with us.
‘Bootiful’ beaches, broads and boltholes plus a capital city bursting with trendy accolades – Norfolk is one of our favourite staycation options this summer. You ready to rumble?
Traditionally the tourist crowds flock to the North Norfolk Coastal towns and villages, and why not? They’re awash with boutique hotels, glamp sites and self-catering cottages. However, with 90 miles of coastline and 125 miles of waterways there are plenty of cool ‘off the beaten track’ stays to be had.
Norfolk has flint cottages and thatched farmhouses in abundance, and you’ll find some of the best at staycation specialists Norfolk Cottages – over 550 properties from traditional fishermen’s cottages and beach huts to luxury townhouses and converted barns. If you’re looking for something extra special and high spec – … a lodge on the Holkham Estate for example? – go straight to their SALT range.
With so many amazing local producers in Norfolk the food scene is one of the best in the country. With many pubs and restaurants opening in the next few weeks keep an eye on our picks below.
Country pubs with thatched roofs, low beam ceilings and big inglenook fireplaces is what Norfolk does best. Coastal chic – The Orange Tree in Thornham, The Kings Head in Letheringsett, The Lodge in Old Hunstanton and The White Horse in Brancaster Staithe all make the Muddy mark. Plus, they all have rooms if you want to make a night of it.
In the city, Blue Joanna is beloved of the cool crowd – great tapas menu and regular live music. Or more centrally The Sir Garnet overlooks Norwich’s iconic market and is a higgledy piggledy collection of nooks and crannies.
Littlies will love ROARR Dinosaur Adventure. Get up close to some pretty convincing dinosaurs on the woodland activity trail before visiting the small animal farm and taking a ride on the deer safari. There are also both indoor and outdoor play areas including a fun splash zone (tip – bring swimmers) and a high ropes/zipwire which will keep the tweenies happy.
Hello Devon! Home to awesome coastlines, stunning moors and waist-expanding cream teas. For some, Devon is the county you travel through to get to Cornwall, but that would be missing out on more than 200 miles of South West Coast Path, two vibrant cities and some pretty amazing beaches.
Take your pick of self-catering beauties across the county with Toad Hall Cottages, or book in a family beach stay for up to 8 at Beam Ends at Beesands (it has a great pub and takeaway fish and chips a two-minute walk down the sand-strewn road). Want the best of both worlds? The Pig at Combe (opening for lunch and stays 6 July) has three self-catering cottages with kitchenettes and the option of tucking into the hotel’s home-grown fayre.
You have to visit Dartmoor– it’s breath-taking, steeped in folklore and legend, a green playground dotted with wild ponies and its iconic granite tors, each with its own evocative name and unique shape. Muddy loves Haytor near Bovey Tracey for the views from the top and Hound Tor, for its spooky Baskerville associations and deserted Medieval village which dates back to the Domesday Book. But there are more than 160 others to see. We usually park just up the road from Haytor and head to Saddle Tor to avoid the crowds – the views are just as awesome.
You have to have a cream tea, it’s the rule! For takeaway, head to the Horsebox at Otterton Mill near Budleigh Salterton or get a Cream Tea Picnic Hamper delivered from Devon Heaven, all made with the best local goodies. And when hotels open back up, go pinky-posh with an afternoon cream tea at Boringdon Hall, in their stunning Great Hall or take tea overlooking the awesome Humphry Repton landscape in the library at Hotel Endsleigh.
In North Devon’s surfer paradise, you’re spoilt for choice: the dune-backed beaches at Croyde (above), or Woolacombe or the gentler Saunton Sands– all large sandy beaches with good waves and rock pools. Off the beaten track, locals love Putsborough between Croyde and Woolacombe, and if you don’t mind a bit of walk and climb down the beach, the secluded Bucks Mill or Lee Bay.
the Cotswolds, one of the most idyllic and sought-after holiday hotspots in the UK. Birkenstocks and Barbours at the ready? OK, let’s go.
When people think of quintessential English countryside, chances are they’re picturing the Cotswolds – a slice of England famed for its honey-hued cottages and rolling hills dotted with picture-perfect villages.
We can’t argue; it’s as stunning as the guidebooks say. But whilst crowds may flock to the likes of Bourton-on-the-Water (the Venice of the Cotswolds) or the tearooms of Chipping Norton, the real Cotswold cognoscenti step off the beaten track, as there are oodles of cool and quirky places to discover.
For a back-to-nature bolthole with lashings of luxury head for the spectacular treehouses at The Fish Hotel in Broadway. Expect underfloor heating, hot tubs, a Nespresso machine and a friendly welcome for dogs.
The Severn Vale on the edge of the Cotswolds is great for walkers and The Glamping Orchard offers bell tents and a restored 1950’s Warwick Knight Caravan that has starred on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces. Sleeping a family of 4, with your own gin terrace on top.
Cowley Manor is a luxurious getaway, this Grade II-listed Regency hotel has the largest suite in the Cotswolds with a giant, wrap-around balcony. Head for the Cotswold House Hotel with its award-winning spa in charming Chipping Campden, or into Worcestershire, Broadway’s Lygon Arms which has great courtyard suites and an indoor pool.
A great day out awaits at Westonbirt Arboretum, home to the largest national collection of trees and a new 40ft high ‘skywalk’, built through the canopy of the trees, which is gorgeous to walk through.
Head for the incredibly pretty town of Castle Combe (beloved of Instagrammers) with its quintessential cottages, river and walks, and Bradford-upon-Avon. And take a trip to Lacock Abbey on the fringes, whose grounds are now fully open again, made famous in the Harry Potter films and WestWood Manor.
Cirencester Lido is one of the best outdoor pools you’ll ever go to, kids love it here. It has a great slide and is fed by spring water heated to 80 F in the summer. Bask on one of the sun loungers on the patio against a fairy-tale castle backdrop. Plus, there’s a brilliant vintage-tuck shop on site to keep everyone happy.
Think of Cornwall and chances are it’s the wild landscapes and quaint fishing villages that spring to mind, or maybe the laid-back towns of Falmouth and St Ives.
Pretty much everywhere in Cornwall has its own beauty but there’s no denying that the most popular destinations can also offer crowds and uninspiring accommodation. The key isn’t so much location as knowing how to find the gems – as even the most touristy places have them.
St Ives! Falmouth! Padstow! All beautiful harbours and picture-perfect towns but among the more popular (and crowded) places to stay. If you’re drawn to a town with a harbour, we’d recommend Bude, Looe, Mevagissy, St Mawes or even Newquay, which has shaken off the stag party image but is still vibrant.
Bude Sea Pool (above) is probably the most well-known, but off the radar of most tourist trails is Priest’s Cove, just south of Cape Cornwall, which is well worth a visit with little ones. It’s a small lido, carved out of the rocks. And then, if it’s rock pooling you’re after Polridmouth has some excellent pools at low tide, as does Hannafore beach near Looe.
The very best beaches are the ones that you have to work a little to find, or at least walk to rather than drive up. Some of our favourites a little off the beaten track are Polly Joke and the wild flower meadows at West Pentire, Nanjizal near Land’s End, Gwenver near Sennen and Lantic Bay between Fowey and Polperro.
Giving surfing a go is a must on a Cornish getaway (no, dipping your toes in wearing a wetsuit doesn’t count). George’s Surf School at Polzeath is great for individual coaching, or there’s Extreme Academy at Watergate Bay and the Sennen Surfing Centre, near Land’s End.
Try Stand Up Paddleboarding at Polkerris or Gylly Beach in Falmouth, and there’s also Cornish Rock Tours based at Port Gaverne, near Port Isaac, which will take you kayaking, SUP, coasteering or open water swimming. Check out Camel Ski School at Rock for waterskiing and sailing schools operate in Fowey, Rock, Mylor and Falmouth. Porthoustock, on the eastern side of The Lizard peninsular, is a great spot for kayaking
You can’t come to Cornwall without trying a pasty. The title of ‘best’ is fiercely contended (and there’s even a Cornish Pasty championships each year), but our favourites can be found at Ann’s Pasties in Mullion, Chacewater Bakery near Truro or a more classic one from Malcolm Barnecutt’s in Wadebridge (they all also send them nationwide). Boscastle Farm Shop also make a goodie from their own red ruby beef steak and their cheese & onion version features local Davidstow cheese.
Where are you headed on your staycation? Let us know in the comments section below!
Don’t forget to stock up on your Saltee. We want to join you on your adventures. With a premium collection on suncare and hand gel, you’ll have your everyday essentials ready for any occasion.