6 Ideas For An Active Staycation In And Around Britain For 2021
The British Isles is a diverse and beautiful place, spanning over 190 inhabited islands, with 15 national parks and over 20,000 miles of coastline. There are 10 indigenous languages, as well as almost 40 dialects, so it is easy to see why over 23 million overseas visitors head to the British Isles every year. In 2021, instead of heading abroad, more people than ever are looking at what they can do closer to home, so we’ve put together this list of off the beaten track staycation ideas to show you how to get away, without getting away. From a jet ski in Jersey to hiking in the Hebrides we've got some great ideas for a great family staycation in 2021, right on your doorstep.
1. Explore the Channel Island of Jersey
First on the list is a short hop over to the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands, close to the coast of France in the bay of St Malo, Jersey is a British Crown Dependency, and as such is self-governing and therefore not part of the United Kingdom. It is however part of the Common Travel Area, which means that unrestricted travel is possible from the UK. The island has a unique identity, heavily influenced by the UK, with more than a touch of French influence, all rolled up to form the Jersey culture that exists today. The island is also home to a large Madeiran population, which brings an element of Portugal into the mix, in fact, Portuguese rolls have become something of a staple in Jersey. Jersey is well known as a dog friendly destination, offering a range of dog friendly accomodation. Dogs are welcomed in a huge number of bars and restaurants, and there are some great walks for your four legged friend around the islands coast.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Channel Islands history is the occupation by Nazi Germany from 1940 – 1945. The remnants of the occupation are highly visible on the island today, with many bunkers and towers still dotted around the coast. The Jersey War Tunnels, an underground hospital built by the occupying Nazi forces now houses the museum telling the story of the occupation.
Jersey is also a great water sports destination, with Jet skiing, paddle boarding, rib trips, canoeing among the beach activities. Speaking of beaches, it is also home to some of the best beaches in the British Isles, in particular the award-winning St Brelade’s bay with its selection of bars, restaurants, and cafes dotted along the promenade. Check out Absolute Adventures in St Brelades bay for the best water sports and adventure activities on the island.
Getting to Jersey is a simple affair, with flights from London taking around 35 minutes, or 45 – 55 minutes from the north of England and Scotland. You can choose from EasyJet, BA and Jet2 who offer up to 25 flights a day between them in the summer. You can also take your car and dog by jumping on the ferry from Poole. The trip takes 4 hours with a quick stop in Guernsey on the way.
Channel Island Direct offer weekend breaks including flight and hotel from £195 per person, and week-long trips from £489 per person.
2. Walk the Pennine Way
The Pennine Way is the UK’s very first ‘National Trail’. It spans the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Parks and passes Hadrian’s wall, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The whole trail has an ascent higher than the peak of Everest and is a challenge to take on in one go. If the whole route sounds a bit daunting, don't worry, the route can be (and is usually) split into more manageable sections.
Macs Adventure offer adventures from 15 to 21 days to take on the whole thing, or 7-day trips covering one section at a time. This is a self-guided walk, with Macs Adventures arranging accommodation, breakfast, and luggage transfer from point to point, as well as detailed information, guidebook and maps and emergency support should you need any help, meaning you only need to worry about the walking! The tours start from £535 per person. For more information visit Macsadventure.com.
3. Explore the Outer Hebrides
The Outer Hebrides or Western Isles is an island chain off the west coast of Scotland, consisting of over 100 islands, 15 of which are inhabited. The largest town in the Outer Hebrides is Stornoway on Lewis.
People flock to the Outer Hebrides to tackle the Hebridean Way, covering almost 200 miles across 10 of the most beautiful islands in the archipelago. You can walk or cycle the route (the walking route is only 156 miles). You will cross 6 causeways and take 2 ferries while exploring the natural habitats of otters, birds of prey and a whole host of flora and fauna.
While in the Outer Hebrides you might also want to check out the birds of prey from the North Harris Eagle Observatory. This purpose built observatory is the perfect spot for spotting Golden Eagles as well as the occaional Sea Eagles, or enjoy a tipple at the Isle of Harris Distillery.
You can reach the islands on the ferry from Oban and Ullapool or take a flight to Lewis from Edinburgh or Glasgow.
McKinlay Kidd offer a range of holidays to the Outer Hebrides, including fly-drive and car free holidays.
4. Tackle the South West Coastal Path
The South West Coastal Path stretches for 630 miles from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset, running through both Devon and Cornwall. It is a challenging trail, with a total ascent 4 times the height of Everest! The path runs through two world heritage sites, the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape and the Jurassic Coast. You will pass some beautiful towns and villages in Cornwall, as well as some beautiful places in Devon and Dorset.
Macs Adventure offer tours from £380 per person, allowing you to split the path into as many sections as you like, which includes door to door baggage transfers, detailed info, maps and guidebook, all breakfasts and emergency support.
5. Discover the Isles of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly is an archipelago off the southwest of Cornwall, with the island of St Agnes incorporating the most southerly point in England. The islands are part of the county of Cornwall though they have their own unique identity and culture. The islands are home to just 2,200 people spread across 5 inhabited islands. For a small group of islands there is a huge amount to do, including snorkelling with seals, glass bottom boat tours, kayaking and paddle boarding. There is beautiful flora and fauna, and the sub-tropical Abbey Garden is home to astounding exotic plants, or stop by the St. Martin's Vineyard, Winery and Visitor Centre, a coastal vineyard producing organic red, white and rose wines. You an enjoy self-guided tours and tastings, as wel as picking up souveniers from the winery shop. Beer fans should e sure to try the beer from the 'Ales of Scilly' brewery, the onmly brewery in the scilly isles and one of the best breweries in Cornwall.
Isles of Scilly Inclusive Holidays offer tailor made holidays to the Isles of Scilly, including air or sea transfers, and accommodation, as well as self-catering or bed and breakfast accommodation.
6. Head over the sea to Skye
Skye is the largest of the Inner Hebrides with imposing mountain ranges and dramatic coastlines, ‘The Cullin’, the mountain range running down the centre of the island provides a stunning backdrop to all of your island adventures. Skye is a very active island, with a huge mount packed in to such a small space, with a huge amount to do in and around the island.
Although Skye is an island, there is a bridge connecting it to the mainland, so getting there is relatively easy. Once a toll bridge, it has been free since 2004 and provides easy access to the island. The bridge connects the village of Kyle of Lochalsh on the Scottish mainland to the village of Kyleakin on the island. Though the bridge is the easiest option, many opt for the more scenic option of driving to Glenelg and taking the ferry to Kylerhea. The Glenelg-Skye ferry is the only manually operated turntable ferry in Scotland.
To experience a bit of Skye history, visit Armadale Castle Gardens & Museum to discover the history of Scotland's largest Clan, Clan Donald and wander the enchanting gardens surrounding the castle ruins.
At Raasay House you can try a range of outdoor activities including sailing, coasteering and canoeing. Raasay is a 20-minute ferry ride from Sconser on the east of the island.
To really see the vest best of the Scottish coast, you could take a take a small boat cruise from Red Moon Cruises. Embarking from Kyle of Lochalsh, Red Moon offer bespoke itineraries around Sky and the Scottish coast, allowing you to get a view of Skye that you can’t get from the mainland. Choose from 4 to 8-night adventures, which include full crew service, accommodation, and all meals.
One of the most popular things to do on Skye is to jump on the boat on a day trip to St Kilda. Lying 85 miles west of Skye, St Kilda is a UNESCO world heritage site and national nature reserve, and home to the largest colony of Gannets & Fulmars in the world, and the largest colony of Puffins in the British Isles. Boats depart from Stein from April to September.
The Fishing in and around Skye is abundant and anyone with a passing interest in fishing should consider a trip to one of the hill lochs to fish for brown trout or try to land Atlantic Salmon in the Highland Spate River. Try Skye Fishing to discover the best fishing on the island.
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