April 2021 - Pikl

The top 10 UK staycation spots you should reconsider for summer 2021

With prospects of a holiday abroad looking increasingly unlikely, UK staycations are the hot topic in 2021. But, with so many Britons looking for a holiday, the top staycation spots are booking up fast and prices are on the rise. But Louise Birritteri, Founder and CEO of Pikl Insurance, has a solution.

“The UK is getting booked up fast for summer 2021, so holidaymakers need to get smart. The good news is that there are plenty of staycation spots that often get overlooked for no good reason.”

Louise has combed through thousands of destinations to find the places that provide the best balance of activities, natural beauty, and budget-friendly holiday-making. Here’s her list of top ten UK staycation spots that you should reconsider:

Margate

Maybe Margate isn’t currently knocking the Lake District or the Scottish Highlands off your list of UK staycation spots, but there’s a reason why Margate drew Londoners to its sands for hundreds of years.

For example, fans of museums will find a visit to Margate right up their alley. Kids and adults alike will love the Hornby Visitor Centre, a museum dedicated to all things Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix and Corgi. If that isn’t your cup of tea, you’ve got plenty more options, from the Turner Contemporary art gallery, through the carefully-restored Tudor House, to the local history found in the Margate Museum housed in the old police station and court!

For those sunny days where it’s best to be outdoors, Margate offers its Main Sands beach as well as Palm Bay. The latter is for those who want uninterrupted sand and sea, the former who like to accompany their sand castles with restaurants and bars.

Both the picturesque Whitstable and Broadstairs are also within easy reach of a Margate staycationer.

Lastly, anyone visiting Margate must visit the Shell Grotto, a breath taking series of underground rooms and passageways decorated with an astounding mosaic of 4.6 million shells. No-one knows who made it or why, but you’ll be glad that you saw it with your own eyes!

Torquay

You might think Torquay is full of Basil Fawltys, but you’d be mistaken. With sea fronts full of palm trees giving it an almost tropical feel, you’ll find plenty to fill a staycation. For the adventurous, there’s sea kayaking and jet skiing to be had along the beautiful coast. For the explorers, there’s the likes of Kents Cavern, a set of caves still home to the remains of mammoths and sabre tooth tigers. And those looking for a more relaxed break can enjoy the local spas and perhaps even the annual Agatha Christie festival.

Torquay also makes a good base camp for some of the spectacular attractions in the wider area. Rick Stein’s native Padstow, the stupendous Eden Project, and Dartmoor National Park are all within driving distance of Torquay, making it a perfect spot for a jam-packed staycation without the eye-watering cost.

Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s claim to fame last year were the photos of jam-packed beaches during the pandemic. And there’s a reason for that: Dorset beaches are spectacular! Thankfully, there are quieter beaches available

Bournemouth is surrounded by incredible attractions. Neighbouring Poole features a warren of independent shops to explore and a beautiful Quay to walk with an ice cream in hand. Or take the ferry out to Swanage to take a ride on the steam railway, stopping off to explore the beautiful ruins of Corfe Castle.

Dorset offers plenty for explorers, too, with Brownsea Island (where the cub scouts were founded), the stunning New Forest, and of course the Jurassic Coast to wander. There’s plenty to do in Dorset, and Bournemouth is a great place to stay while you explore!

Scarborough

Simon and Garfunkel once asked us if we were going to Scarborough fair. Perhaps we should. After all, the beach is fantastic, with plenty to do for families, and the harbour is the perfect spot to relax and watch the world go by. Visitors can take a quiet walk through Broxa Forest, or visit the Scarborough Fair Collection and take a look at its magnificent working collection of vintage cars, steam engines, and fairground rides.

Venture just a little further afield and you’ll find neighbouring Whitby, with a beautiful harbour of its own, as well as a stunning beach and a lovely abbey that’s worth a visit. If both Scarborough and Whitby aren’t enough beach for you, nearby Filey is home to another stunning stretch of sand and sea. The Bird Garden & Animal Park is also perfect for kids!

We can also recommend a visit to nearby Runswick Bay, a beautiful village that rewards wanderers of its narrow lanes with a charming pub and a cosy cafe when it’s time to recharge after walking the gorgeous sweeping coastline.

Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth may have lost its status as a top UK staycation destination, but perhaps it’s time it was reinstated. This seaside town has a perfect balance of affordability, things to do, and surrounding attractions to be on your list of destinations this year.

Yarmouth itself features a beautiful stretching beach, paired with a stretch of amusements and restaurants, along with Yarmouth Pier itself. True explorers can even find a tiny museum dedicated to wind farm technology to go with its own spectacular wind farm.

Yarmouth is also superbly placed to enjoy everything Norfolk has to offer. Quieter beaches such as Caister or Horsey are just a short drive away, and the Norfolk Broads will be right on your doorstep, full of walks and boat rides perfect for beautiful sunny days.

For those looking for more urban adventures, the market city of Norwich is a stone’s throw away. You can spend a whole day exploring the market stalls, and the Norwich Lanes are a stupendous collection of independent shops full of treasures.

Tynemouth

If you don’t have Tynemouth on your list for a UK staycation, think again.

Visit one of the surf schools for an exciting new experience on the water, explore the markets or visit the beautiful attractions such as the Priory and Castle. Home to the spectacular Longsands beach, you might be tempted to spend every day amongst the sand and the sea. If so, we recommend visiting one of the surf schools; it’s a fantastic chance to enjoy the sea in an exciting new way!

For a quieter day, venture inland to explore Tynemouth’s indoor market or visit the beautiful Priory and Castle. Kids will love Tynemouth Park with its boating lake, dinosaur miniature golf, and a maze with treasure hidden everywhere for the kids to find!

If you’re still on the fence, consider this: where else in the UK can you enjoy all of this and a quick jaunt over to Amsterdam too? Book the overnight ferry to arrive fresh the next morning and spend the day exploring. That’s a UK staycation with a twist!

Eastbourne

Londoners might not think to rush to Eastbourne when the weather is nice, but they’re missing out. Less than an hour and a half by car, Eastbourne features award-winning beaches as well as the stunning South Downs, a national park filled with incredible walks and breath-taking views, including the sort of chalk cliffs that people think can only be seen in Dover.

We recommend a day trip that takes in the Seven Sisters just around the corner and then on to the beautiful Seaford Beach.

There’s plenty here for families, too, from the Miniature Steam Railway Adventure Park to Fort Fun, a park of a far wetter nature! In short, Eastbourne is proof positive that you don’t have to travel the length of the country to find a staycation spot; there’s one right on the capital’s doorstep!

Blackpool

You might think there’s no more to Blackpool than the Tower and the Illuminations, but you’d be wrong. Anyone leaving Blackpool off their staycation bucket list is missing out on so much more.

Firstly, let’s not discount the Tower or the Illuminations themselves. The Eiffel Tower might get all the love, but the glass viewing platform at Blackpool Tower offers a stunning view (though perhaps not for those scared of heights!) And the Illuminations offer a different show every year, each seeking to surpass the last. You can spend hours marvelling at the displays, and kids especially will delight in the experience.

Beyond the tower and the lights, you’ll find plenty more in Blackpool. Families in particular will enjoy the Pleasure Beach, a fantastic theme park filled with rides for all ages, and the Sandcastle Waterpark offers even more thrills.

For days when you’re looking for a little less adrenaline, Blackpool Zoo is a good time for everyone, and Wyre Estuary Country Park, offering scenic walks, picnic spots, and special family-themed activities, is just a short drive away.

So, if you’re planning a family staycation in the UK, you can’t go wrong with Blackpool!

Llandudno

The beautiful spot in Wales is often overlooked when people talk about UK staycations, and we think that’s a very great shame. While it might not offer the family-friendly adrenaline of Blackpool, Llandudno is perfect for the UK holidaymaker who is looking for a holiday spot filled with quiet beauty.

For instance, the headland known as Great Orme offers views that are simply breathtaking. A cable car will take you to the peak, where you can enjoy picturesque walks. Alternatively, you can head down the Great Orme Copper Mine, which is part underground adventure, part museum, and all-in-all a fascinating walk back into the Bronze Age.

We can also recommend Angel Bay, which offers stunning views, peaceful walks, and a chance to see some seals! Happy Valley Gardens is filled with flora of all sorts of vibrant colours and varying shapes and sizes, not to mention nods to Alice in Wonderland in the forms of statues and dioramas (Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice, took holidays to Llandudno as a child).

Speaking of children, they’ll love the amusements and rides available on Llandudno’s incredibly long and beautiful pier! There’s so much there that you can spend multiple days exploring it. Llandudno also enjoys the dubious honour of being home to the smallest house in Great Britain, but don’t worry; the local rental properties are big enough to accommodate even the biggest families!

Bognor Regis

A Which? survey named Bognor Regis one of the worst seaside resorts in Britain, but there are plenty of reasons why travellers should think again before dismissing this beautiful seaside town.

For a start, you’re not going to find a sunnier place to spend your summer: Bognor Regis enjoys an average of 1,902 hours of sunshine per year! It’s perfect for families, too. The local Butlin’s is perfect for a day visit, and there are plenty of local attractions to fill the days. Hotham Park, for instance, offers miniature golf, a boating lake, a train and a nature trail, perfect for entertaining the little ones for hours.

And, of course, there are the beaches. Aldwick and Pagham are the best. They’re both shingle beaches and both perfect for quiet strolls. For those with little ones, we would recommend Pagham as that has an amusement arcade for when the little ones get bored of the shore.

Hidden treasures no longer?

Of course, now that we’ve published this list, these often-overlooked holiday spots won’t be available for much longer. If you’re thinking about a UK staycation this year, don’t delay. Book your place to stay now!

Oh, and if you’ve got a short-term rental property in any of these areas? Get it spruced up and ready now. Louise has some advice just for you:

“Firstly, provide guests with hints and tips about the local area. After all, you’ve got the knowledge that your guests need to have a good time! Secondly, take a look at your competition and make sure your listing really highlights the things that make your property unique. Finally, make sure you’ve got specialised insurance; you’d be surprised what isn’t covered by likes of AirBnB and Booking.com, so make sure you’re won’t be left out of pocket if something happens.”

Lousie Birritteri is Founder and CEO of Pikl Insurance, a Norwich-based provider of insurance to those letting property to holidaymakers through platforms such as AirBnB and Booking.com. She didn’t share her favourite staycation spot because she wants it all to herself, but she does quite like Llandudno.