Where can I go on holiday in the UK?
With the government’s new roadmap indicating a route out of lockdown and back to a restriction-free life, keen travellers have been searching and booking up their summer holidays in the UK.
It’s exciting times, but it’s not a completely simple affair. England, Scotland and Wales all have different plans and Northern Ireland is yet to release theirs (a roadmap is set to be published on 1 March).
In our guide to UK holidays for 2021, we’ve set out the key dates you need to know, and rounded up the best holidays destinations in the UK.
When can I go on holiday in the UK?
Essentially, this depends on where you’re from and where you want to go, as each of the devolved nations has their own plan. Here are some of the key dates, which are subject to change:
England’s un-lockdown roadmap:
- March 29: ‘stay local’ rule to be dropped, meaning day trips to other parts of England are allowed
- April 12: self-catering accommodation reopens
- May 17: hotels, restaurants and pubs reopen; possible resumption of international travel
- June 21: all social restrictions to be dropped
Wales’ un-lockdown roadmap:
- 12 March: stay at home restrictions to be reviewed and possibly dropped, meaning if you’re in Wales you can travel to other parts of the country
- 4 April: self-catering accommodation should reopen by this date, allowing Easter weekenders to travel to and around Wales
Scotland’s un-lockdown roadmap:
- 5 April: ‘stay at home’ restrictions to be dropped
- 26 April: return to levels system with a view to all of Scotland being in Level 3, which allows bars, restaurants, pubs and all accommodation to open, but alcohol cannot be served
Northern Ireland’s un-lockdown roadmap:
- 1 April: all lockdown restrictions proposed to end, opening the country up for tourism
Where to go on holiday in the UK
Want to know our favourite holiday destinations in the UK? Here are the top spots we recommend, but if you’ve got somewhere in mind, we can arrange it. This is just a taster…
The Cotswolds is the quintessential English landscape: rolling hills, chocolate-box cottages in quaint villages, and fields of livestock for miles. This is a place to slow down – not least because you’re likely to get stuck in a traffic jam behind a herd of sheep at some point. It’s also a place of high-end luxury, exceptional food and some good old fashioned countryside pursuits. Think clay pigeon shooting, archery, or just a spot of rambling across the rural landscape.
Exceptional hotels are ten-a-penny – we love Ellenborough Park – and proper English pubs abound. Spend a weekend here and you’ll find you come home refreshed and revitalised, perhaps with a new taste for countryside living.
Last year was supposed to be Galway’s year. It was the European Capital of Culture 2020, except the pandemic put paid to much of the creative celebration that was meant to take place. Still, the city and surrounding region is an enthralling getaway and there’s never been a better time to visit – 2021 will be their year instead, with performances and exhibitions continuing throughout.
Foodies should head straight for Galway Market to sample oysters, crab, cheese and local beers, and active types should beeline for the coast for a surfing lesson in Lahinch – the Atlantic waves here are superb for beginners. Back in Galway, you can tour the medieval city walls, meet buskers on the streets and hop from pub to pub for some good old Irish craic. If you’re craving some natural wonder, head out to the dramatic Cliffs of Moher.
The Scottish Highlands and Isle of Skye
The Scottish Highlands have seen a boom in tourism in recent years – the mountainous landscapes and utterly spellbinding glens entice travellers to drive, camp or hike across the region. Join them, and you’ll discover a land of fascinating history, exceptional food and whisky, and some seriously warm hospitality.
Our Scottish Highlands itinerary takes you from London to Inverness on the Caledonian Sleeper, and you’ll get to explore the city’s beautiful cathedral before travelling through the Highlands to visit the likes of Eilean Donan Castle. Driving through the Highlands’ most spectacular scenery, you’ll then step onto the Isle of Skye where Talisker whisky tastings and the otherworldly Fairy Glen await. This island is remote, but its scenery is well worth the journey out. Finally, you’ll head back to Inverness and take the train to capital Edinburgh to enjoy all its sights, including the castle, Holyrood Palace and the views from Arthur’s Seat.
The medieval city of York is an extraordinary place. Dominated by the gargantuan York Minster, it is as picturesque as it is fascinating. The cathedral is the largest of its kind in northern Europe and there has been a church on this spot since AD 600. Today, the evolution of this religious hub can be seen in the very fabric of the building, with foundations and walls dating from the 11th century.
Elsewhere in the city is a tangle of medieval lanes where independent shops and cafes take up residence inside higgledy piggledy houses that lean so far inwards it looks like they might collapse. Don’t miss touring the city’s great traditional pubs, take a river cruise to see the city from the water and spend some time at the JORVIK centre to get a flavour of local viking history. The National Railway Museum is a brilliant spot for anyone with a penchant for transport, and The York Chocolate Story will round off your weekend with sweet treats.
The Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons National Park has some of the most beguiling scenery in all of Wales. From rolling hills cloaked with grasses and heather to waterfalls and plunging valleys, the region is a true outdoors adventure playground. Hiking is, of course, the main attraction here – there are endless walks along footpaths and trails for rambling across the beautiful landscapes. But there are historical attractions too – think ancient Welsh castles, prehistoric monuments and stone circles, and centuries-old church ruins set amid forested hills.
Book yourself into a self-catering bolthole here – preferably with a hot tub for optimum nighttime stargazing – and you might find you never want to leave.
Can I book a UK staycation?
We are here to help you search for holiday cottages and self-catered holidays, and can also look ahead to 17 May, when hotels and B&Bs are due to open. Our services are free, so leave us to search for availability and come up with some fantastic ideas for a UK holiday.