You don’t have travel to a far off paradise to experience a memorable holiday. The UK has so much to offer with breathtaking national parks, picture postcard beaches and plenty of attractions for the whole family to enjoy. In this week’s Lux guide we’ve taken all the stress out of planning your next staycation. Here’s our top picks for the UK.
Here you’ll find some of the finest beaches in the country – many have been awarded Blue Flag or Green Coast status for their outstanding water quality and environment. Barafundle Bay is a hidden gem, closer to a Caribbean paradise with soft golden sands and surprisingly clear waters. To fully enjoy this landscape, you can walk the Pembrokeshire coastal path, renowned as being one of the best long distance trails in the world. As you amble across wild flowers you can take in the stunning ocean views and spot beautiful birds. Wildlife fanatics should also make the day trip to Skomer Island accessible via boat. Home to a national nature reserve, you can marvel at thousands of puffins which head to the island to breed. If you enjoy fishing, try Dale Beach, renowned for its Bass, whilst Newgale beach remains a watersports mecca attracting both surfers and kitesurfers.
Where to stay: The Grove Narberth. This luxury country house hotel features beautifully designed suites, in room spa facilities and a restaurant offering fine dining.
With plenty of historical sights and breath-taking architecture, you’ll fall in love with this beautiful city. Tourists and locals alike flock to Thermae Bath Spa, a contemporary glass building sat next to Bath Abbey. Opened in 2006, this offers a range of therapies as well as steam rooms, a large indoor pool and Minerva bath. Most impressive is the thermal heated, rooftop pool where you can unwind in the 33 °C water with a stunning vista overlooking the city. After enjoying some modern day pampering, take a step back through time and visit the Roman baths. You’ll learn about the ancient world of spa therapy with audio guides and actors playing out their Roman characters. Prior Park Landscape Garden offers the best views of the city. These national trust grounds are an excellent spot for an afternoon stroll and you may even get to see one of the resident deer’s. For some retail therapy, you’ll find boutique shops alongside great restaurants at Milson Place. Lined with Georgian buildings and courtyards, it’s an impressive amphitheatre for your shopping splurge.
Where to stay: Royal Crescent Hotel. This historic hotel features a luxury spa, secluded gardens, an impressive art collection and is situated close to the main attractions including the Jane Austin Centre.
This spectacular region has unspoilt stretches of coast, castles and amazing wildlife. In the summer, you can try a variety of watersports at one of the many lochs. Morlich and Insh both offer windsurfing, kayaking and sailing classes. You can also join guided mountain biking tours from here. At the River Spey, you can enjoy world famous freshwater fishing with plenty of salmon, trout and pike. For a great day out, head to Murray Firth, a triangular inlet of the North Sea, where you can take a boat cruise and spot the northern most dolphin colony in the world. Children will also love a day at the Highland Wildlife Park, home to a zoo and safari. Feeding time for the wolves, red pandas and snow monkeys is particular exciting. There’s an array of historical sights to visit but Urquhart Castle is a must with incredible views overlooking Loch Ness. Here you’ll find a visitor centre with a great collection of medieval artifacts where you can learn about the castle’s tumultuous past.
Where to stay: Glencoe House. Expect world class service at this hotel which has spacious bedrooms, luxurious furnishings, wood burning fireplaces and a deep soaking tub in the bathroom.
This is English countryside at its best with sleepy villages, medieval churches and stately homes. It also has great beaches for a traditional seaside holiday. At Cromer Beach in the North, you can stroll along the peer, watch a puppet show in the theatre pavilion or get your heart racing at the fun fair. The Norfolk broads – the largest protected wetlands in Britain – are also worth checking out. Home to many rare plants and animals, you’re best exploring the many tidal rivers via boat or yacht. You can stop at one of the charming villages such as Ransworth, a relaxing spot for a pub lunch or explore its famed medieval churches. The whole family will enjoy a trip to Banham Zoo, which has over 1000 animals across 35 acres. Voted one of the top three zoos in the country, you can expect to see rare cats, such as a snow leopard or siberian tiger. The children will also enjoy feeding the Giraffes.
Where to stay: Brasted’s. This luxury inn has a secluded location but still remains close to all the sights and attractions. Guests can enjoy beautifully decorated bedrooms, fine dining and manicured gardens.
Another seaside favourite, this remains a trusted holiday destination amongst Brits for good reason. This eccentric city offers something unique with loads to see, perfect for a family or couples break. Spending an afternoon at Brighton Pier may not seem very glamorous but you’ll have plenty of fun. Ride the dodgems, play the slots and gorge yourself on candy floss. But there is much more on offer than just the beach. You can’t miss a trip to the Royal Pavillion, the city’s most iconic attraction. This extravagant former palace, has unusual architecture and a dazzling interior. You can expect hand painted Chinese wallpaper, flying dragons and mechanical Mandarin figurines. Shopaholics will enjoy North Laine, a trendy street crammed with flea markets, vintage boutiques and cool restaurants. For a day spent relaxing, hop on the open top 77 bus which takes you to the nearby South Downs National Park. It’s a great place for long walk and a lazy picnic.
Where to stay: Drakes of Brighton. This romantic hotel is perfectly situated, just a short walk to the pier and royal pavilion. The rooms are beautifully designed and the hotel has its own luxury spa.
Old fashioned seaside towns, glorious beaches and national trust properties – Dorset has it all. A visit to the adjacent beaches of St Oswald’s Bay and Man O’War Cove will leave you in awe. These are separated by a dramatic limestone arch known as Durdle Door. This unspoilt stretch of coast has spectacular scenery and is a great spot for a family picture. Lulworth Cove, less than a mile away, is not as secluded and includes cafes’ and toilets. A visit to Mapperton Gardens is a must, arguably the nicest stately home in Dorset, surrounded by the rolling countryside. The Italianate garden at this Elizabethan manor is the perfect place for a stroll, where you can enjoy a picnic and browse souvenirs at the gift shop. The kids will love a day at Monkey World, a 65 acre ape rescue centre home to 250 endangered primates.
Where to stay: The Priory Hotel. This English country house hotel has period charm, beautiful landscaped gardens and an award winning restaurant.
This Italianate style village has a rugged cliff-top location overlooking the beautiful Cardigan Bay. Surrounded by sub-tropical woodlands and endless beaches, it has a European vibe. The architecture is impressive with colourful, Riviera inspired houses, statues, arches and winding streets. At Whitesands Bay you can explore the many hidden caves and gullies. There are also woodland trails and coastal paths for long distance walkers. This village hosts the family friendly, Festival No.6. Taking place every September, you can expect great headlining acts, cultural shows and unique venues. A visit to Snowdonia national park is a must with plenty of fun filled activities to be had. Adrenaline junkies can ride the longest and fastest zip line in Europe with speeds of 100 mph. Alternatively, head to the newly opened WaveGarden, an artificial surf lagoon where beginners and pros alike can further their ability.
Where to stay: Hotel Portmeirion. A focal point of this picturesque village, this hotel features beautiful antiques, exotic gardens and a wide choice of accommodation options including self-catering cottages.
Home to some of the cleanest beaches and surf breaks in the country, this is a scenic getaway. Blackpool Sands is a secluded beach in the South, with a sweeping shoreline and unbelievably clear water. There is also a pontoon off the shore – an excellent place to relax when temperatures soar. Here you’ll find another not-so secret spot, the Venus Café’ which serves up a gastronomic feast. You can enjoy sustainably sourced seafood and local produce such as surf and turf. For the active individual, there’s an abundance of pursuits. Halden Forest Park is 3,500 acres of woodland – a mountain biker’s paradise. Alternatively, you can explore one of the many walking trails. Explore Britain’s longest footpath and discover secluded sandy coves, windswept cliffs and peaceful hamlets. Plymouth Aquarium is an exciting day out where you can marvel at tropical and local species from seals to sharks. There’s also a 3D underwater film which the kids will love. After all that excitement, why not indulge in the local favourite – a cream tea. A warm home-made scone, clotted cream and jam is best enjoyed in the sunshine.
Where to stay: Glazebrook House Hotel. A fantastical retreat with opulent and sumptuous rooms, fine dining and pre dinner whiskey/wine tasting.