The way we work has changed. No longer chained to the office nine to five, hybrid, part-time and remote working have become the norm, with many employers (including Virgin Money) allowing colleagues to work from anywhere in the UK.
And we’re all the better for it. As our recent A Life More Virgin research Link opens in a new window has found, the majority of us believe that having greater flexibility over when, where and how we work hugely improves our mental, physical and even financial wellbeing; with 73% of us saying it improves our general happiness in all areas of our lives.
One of the most exciting results of this increased flexibility is the chance to take a workation and recharge our batteries while on the job. So, what is a workation? Essentially, it’s a working holiday, whereby rather than sit at home staring at the same four walls, you make the most of not having an office by travelling somewhere interesting, beautiful or fun to work remotely from your laptop. Not only is the change of scenery bound to boost your wellbeing and productivity, but you can fully relax while exploring in your downtime.
What’s more, there’s no need to go abroad. The UK is full of fabulous places to work remotely, from glamping pods with Wi-Fi to stylish aparthotels, high-spec beach huts and even boats! To inspire you, we’ve rounded up the best, budget-friendly workation destinations that make great remote offices – at any time of the year…
Best for…Your carbon footprint
Location: Tiny Homes eco holiday cottages, near Cowes, Isle of Wight
Cost: From £95 per night
Escape city life with a workation as close to nature as possible… without giving up home comforts. The Tiny Homes site on the Isle of Wight is a boutique retreat of six architect-designed, off-grid eco-cabins in a meadow bordered by woodland. Created to be as planet-friendly as possible, the charming yet high-spec cabins all have clever interiors comprising a fully-equipped kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom, outdoor BBQ and solar panel-powered USB sockets. There’s even an electric vehicle charging point.
While the cabins don’t have Wi-Fi to allow guests to switch off and enjoy the tranquil surroundings, you will have 24-hour access to the cosy on-site studio with kitchen area and woodburning stove, which does – meaning you can work there during the day. When you’re done, you can relax in a wood-fired sauna and outdoor hot tub. Bliss!
Best for…Culture seekers
Location: Cassia Collective Co-Working Space Link opens in a new window, Bath, Somerset
Cost: From £21.60 per day
With culture, history, shopping and a thriving foodie scene, picturesque Bath is a great place for a break – and thanks to several cool co-working spaces, it’s also an ideal location for remote working, too. Cassia Collective is one of the newest, and includes a chilled-out café where you can eat, drink and work for a couple of hours for free; as well as a dedicated workspace with proper desks and office chairs available to rent by the day on a pay-as-you-go basis – no membership required, and free tea and filter coffee thrown in.
When you’re not working, Bath has so much to enjoy, including the ancient Roman baths and Georgian architecture; or you can take a post-work dip in the New Royal Bath roof-top pool, Britain’s only natural thermal spa, with spectacular views over the city and surrounding hills.
Best for…Instagrammable views
Location: Further Space Glamping Pods Link opens in a new window, Glenarm Castle, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
Cost: From £140 per night
Insta-worthy scenery doesn’t get much better than the Giant’s Causeway and Antrim Coast, an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Game of Thrones filming location. So, for a wow-factor workation, head for the luxury glamping pods in the peaceful grounds of 17th century Glenarm Castle, offering amazing hilltop ocean vistas and jawdropping sunrises. Each domed pod sleeps four, with a mini kitchenette, shower room, USB ports and free Wi-Fi, car parking, bedlinen, towels and toiletries all provided, as well as your own firepit for toasting marshmallows.
During breaks, stroll in the castle’s walled garden, woodlands and grounds, or have coffee in the on-site tea rooms. When you’re not working, you’re walking distance from Glenarm Harbour, a short drive to the stunning Glenariff Forest Park, and within easy reach of spectacular coastal views, sandy beaches, the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, the Giant’s Causeway and several whiskey distilleries. Sláinte! (Cheers!)
Best for…Dog owners
Location: The Globe Inn Link opens in a new window, Wells-Next-the-Sea, Norfolk
Cost: From £126 per night
With its miles of unspoilt sand, picturesque dunes and salt marshes as far as the eye can see, Wells-Next-the-Sea is regularly named British Beach of the Year. Amazing for long dog walks, your furry friend will enjoy it as much as you do, so book in for a workation at The Globe. The recently-refurbished cosy coastal inn has four lovely dog-friendly rooms, serves great food, and offers ‘Sandy Paws’ stays with special treats and breakfast included for both you and your pawsome companion.
Guests are welcome to work and use the Wi-Fi in the bar, restaurant or numerous snug areas during the day; and when you’re done working and dog-walking, you can venture out for freshly-caught seafood at the many local gastropubs or friendly fish’n’chip shops on the quayside.
Best for…City dwellers looking to escape
Location: Café Alf Resco Link opens in a new window, Dartmouth, Devon
Cost: From £135 per night (includes parking permit & breakfast)
Friendly and relaxed, Café Alf Resco is a firm favourite with Dartmouth locals and tourists alike. The buzzy café has an open-plan kitchen and outdoor dining area, and serves hearty food and drink including Dartmouth-baked bread and pastries, freshly-squeezed orange juice, locally-roasted coffee, and generous breakfasts with ‘special recipe’ sausages. What makes it an ideal workation spot is that as well as being welcome to use your laptop in the café, you can stay there too – in one of five B’n’B rooms or self-catering apartments.
All decorated in a nautical style, the most impressive is the top floor Captain’s Cabin – a self-contained flat with balcony views over the River Dart and out to sea. On days off, the pretty harbour town is a great base for walking, cycling and watersports; exploring the area’s many historic houses, gardens and castles; enjoying beautiful Dartmoor National Park; taking a steam train; or visiting Devon’s best beaches.
Best for…A glamourous city escape
Location: Eden Locke aparthotel Link opens in a new window, Edinburgh, Scotland
Cost: From £110.50 per night
Designed specifically with workations in mind, the super-stylish Eden Locke aparthotel in the heart of Edinburgh gives you the best of both worlds –home-from-home comforts, paired with the fancy décor, service and facilities of a boutique hotel. The 72 spacious self-catering studio apartments are perfect for remote working, with fully-equipped kitchens (even including a dishwasher) and tastefully designed living rooms with Smart TVs and bespoke statement sofas.
When you fancy a change of scene, you can work downstairs in the equally hip communal areas and grab a craft beer at the in-house bar. In your downtime, head out for a stroll around the historic streets, climb up the hill to the castle, or spend a relaxing afternoon in the beautiful botanic gardens.
Best for…Seaside vibes
Location: Bournemouth Beach Lodges Link opens in a new window, Bournemouth, Dorset
Cost: From £375 for a three-night stay
What could be better than working with the sound of the sea as your backdrop, walking out onto a sandy beach during your breaks, and enjoying a sunset BBQ after your last Teams call? Now you can do all this in a beach hut – with a difference.
Bournemouth’s 24 purpose-built miniature beach lodges sit on a raised deck above the promenade of Boscombe Bay and offer stylish open-plan dog-friendly accommodation for up to four adults and two children. Each cleverly-designed bijou home includes a fully-equipped kitchen, dining and living area (with an optional sofa bed); good Wi-Fi; a toilet and shower room; and a mezzanine bedroom as well as a balcony with uninterrupted sea views. The very definition of a workation, just a few steps away from your laptop will take you to the soft sand and lapping waves of a beach that feels almost private after the sun goes down.
Best for…Good old-fashioned fun
Location: Club Jupiter Link opens in a new window, Birchington near Margate, Kent
Cost: From £140 per night
Photo credits: Joanna Bongard
Relive the holidays of your youth – but with a fun, modern twist – at this glamorous, wow-factor caravan recently renovated by a trio of well-known interior designers. Described as ‘Pontins meets Palm Springs,’ Club Jupiter sleeps up to six, and has a mid-century-inspired open-plan living, dining room and kitchen area with chequered flooring, curvy velvet sofa and dining table which could easily double as a desk; alongside a bathroom and three Americana-themed double bedrooms with Instagrammable décor such as bamboo-clad walls and custom-made velvet headboards.
Situated on a well-kept holiday park close to Margate, there’s plenty to do in your downtime, from visiting the Turner Contemporary art gallery on Margate seafront; trawling for vintage treasures in the cavernous Petticoat Lane Emporium; or enjoying the amusements before watching a gig at the town’s legendary Dreamland entertainment complex.
Best for…Trying something new
Location: Houseboat Till Link opens in a new window, York
Cost: From £250 per night (sleeps six)
Why work from an office when you can work from a boat? Comfortable and surprisingly roomy, this 75ft-long barge was originally commissioned in 1904 to haul cocoa beans to York’s chocolate factories, but now contains three bedrooms, a modern kitchen, a bathroom with walk-in shower, a spacious lounge with wood-burning stove, and the all-important Wi-Fi. In fact, it’s so well done-up that once aboard it’s easy to forget you’re floating – tethered to the city centre’s only residential mooring.
When you fancy a break, take the ten-minute stroll into historic York for elevenses at Betty’s Tearooms (the legendary Fat Rascals are a must-try), enjoy a spot of retail therapy in the winding medieval shopping streets, step back in time at Yorvik Viking Centre, or for a blast of fresh air, explore the beautiful Yorkshire countryside.
Best for…Nature lovers
Location: Ivor’s Houses Link opens in a new window, Tenby, Wales
Cost: From £130 per night
A traditional Welsh welcome (comfy beds, upcycled furniture, cosy throws) meets all mod cons (large bathroom with rainfall shower, Smart TV and good Wi-Fi) in this friendly, Tardis-like Tenby cottage. With a separate dining room for WFH - or the garden on sunny days - it’s located just five minutes’ walk from the town centre and a sweeping sandy beach, making it ideal for both work and play.
On days off, you can go for walks along the beautiful Pembrokeshire coastline, visiting dozens of beautiful golden beaches, exploring ancient castles or taking boat trips to see colonies of seals and puffins. Don’t miss the breathtaking Bosherston freshwater lilyponds on the National Trust’s Stackpole estate – lush, green and teeming with wildlife, it’s the perfect place to recharge after a stint at your laptop.
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