The ten best UK holiday destinations

Discover stunning coastlines and countryside

Marcus

by Marcus Webb | Independent Money Mentor

Editor of Delayed Gratification and independent journalist


In the age of cheap flights and budget travel it’s easy to overlook the fact that we live in a beautiful country blessed with unique destinations for amazing holidays. It may be small, but the United Kingdom is impressively diverse in terms of culture and landscape, and the weaker pound makes going on staycation an attractive option. Here are ten of the best UK holiday destinations to consider.

The Northumberland coast

Just south of the Scottish border is one of the most unspoilt stretches of coastline in Britain. Stretching from Berwick-upon-Tweed to the village of Cresswell, the Northumberland Coast Path offers visitors dramatic landscapes, sandy beaches, a wonderful variety of wildlife and historical sites such as the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, which can only be reached at low tide. It’s an unbeatable destination for walking holidays.

Durham

This ancient university town is a handsome and dizzyingly romantic place laden with historic pubs, cosy cafes and spellbinding churches. It’s in a particularly beautiful part of the country too, surrounded by rolling countryside and sleepy villages.

The Peak District

Slap-bang in the centre of Britain, the Peak District national park is easy to reach and even easier to fall in love with. Villages such as Bakewell, Castleton and Edale are ridiculously idyllic, and you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to characterful pubs, homely B&Bs and scenic walking trails.

Margate

This buzzing Kentish town has been dubbed ‘Shoreditch-on-Sea’ due to the influx of creative people who’ve swapped London for its coastal charms. As such it’s become a great spot for art and music, and many top-notch bars and restaurants have opened here in recent times. The town is also home to the Turner Contemporary art gallery and the relaunched Dreamland theme park, making it a fun family destination.

The Causeway Coastal Route

The mysterious beauty of Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s only Unesco heritage site, has long been a tourist draw, but the rest of Northern Ireland’s magical coastline is now getting its moment in the sun. Hit TV show Game of Thrones, partly filmed in the region, has helped shine a spotlight on a wonderful region that’s dotted with medieval castles, scenic glens and picturesque coastal villages.

Llandudno

This north Wales resort town was hugely popular in the Victorian era and its faded 19th-century grandeur continues to draw the crowds. It’s a classic British beach resort with donkey rides, Punch & Judy, Britain’s only remaining cable-hauled street tramway and a pier replete with amusement arcades and doughnut stalls. The stately, towering Conwy Castle is just a ten-minute drive away.

Bridport and West Bay

If you’ve seen TV crime drama Broadchurch you’ll be familiar with the dramatic landscape offered by charming market town Bridport and its neighbouring beach resort, West Bay. But there’s more than just the striking as-seen-on-TV setting to get excited about – there are excellent restaurants in Bridport and hikers can use the town as a gateway to the Jurassic Coast walking trail.

The Cairngorms national park

Situated at the heart of Scotland, the enormous and mind-blowingly attractive Cairngorms national park is a joy for outdoor sports fans. In the winter you can ski here while in summer it’s perfect for mountain biking and pony riding. All that hard physical work need not go unrewarded – some of the best malt whisky distilleries in the world are right on your doorstep.

Bristol

This is the city of two Bs – Brunel and Banksy. At Bristol Harbour you can climb aboard the SS Great Britain, the ship designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who was also the brains behind the city’s world-famous Clifton Suspension Bridge. This southwest English city is also where street artist Banksy made his name, and some of most famous artworks are still proudly etched on Bristol buildings. The city’s also justly proud of its fascinating museums, incredible restaurants and quirky shops and boutiques.

The Norfolk Broads

For a relaxing yet adventurous family holiday it’s hard to beat a boating trip on this network of navigable waterways. The Broads wind and weave their way through East Anglia, taking in picturesque villages, charming market towns, medieval churches and abbeys, as well as spectacular wildlife – it’s a great spot for birdwatching.

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