The top UK holiday destinations to visit this year

The top UK holiday destinations to visit this year

Looking for holiday ideas to explore Britain’s wonderful highlights? We’re here to help and have rounded up the very best UK holiday destinations to visit.

When it comes to escaping the daily grind, UK holiday destinations offer incredible sites you just won’t find abroad. From our amazing railways taking you through breathtaking countryside to our quaint villages and historic cities, there’s so much to explore at home.


The best UK holiday destinations are found all around Britain too, from north to south. There are the Scottish Highlands, offering wild, remote beauty, and the Cotswolds, whose enchanting rural scenery will leave you utterly mesmerised.

Pembrokeshire is an exceptional place for dramatic views, while the Isles of Scilly are ideal for experiencing Caribbean-like beaches without the carbon footprint. The opportunities to see the charms of the UK are endless.

Whether you’re planning on travelling as a couple, with your family, or solo, you’ll find a variety of places in the UK for an amazing staycation this year.

1. Scottish Highlands

Scenic, remote and one of the real treasures of Britain, the Scottish Highlands offer a truly wild escape, where you can get lost among mountains, lochs and beaches. Home to Britain’s largest national park, the Cairngorms, as well as the legendary Loch Ness, mighty Ben Nevis and Eilean Donan Castle, the Highlands are also where you can ride the amazing Jacobite steam train, aka the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter film series.

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Taking you over the 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct, just like Harry and his friends, and close to Ben Nevis, Loch Morar and Loch Nevis, the Jacobite is an absolute must-do. You can experience a ride on the Jacobite with Country Living during a four-day Scottish steam break and enjoy a talk and Q&A from Scottish TV presenter Kirsty Wark.

When? July 2024


Alternatively, you can join another well-loved Scottish TV personality, weather presenter Carol Kirkwood, while you explore the Highlands on a memorable cruise. Carol will give you a talk about her life and her childhood growing up in Morar during the luxurious seven-night sailing.

When? May 2024



2. Northumberland

England’s northernmost county is prized for its expansive rural landscapes, from vast grazing land in the north to the Pennine moors and dales in the southwest, as well as the sandy beaches and dunes of the eastern coast. There are many mysterious castles dotting these landscapes, like Alnwick Castle, which has made appearances in the Harry Potter films and Downton Abbey.

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Another of Northumberland’s selling points is its pristine dark skies and extremely low levels of light pollution. It’s one of the best places in the country to discover the night sky and go stargazing, boasting International Dark Sky Reserve status. There are plenty of cosy B&Bs to book in rural Northumberland, where you can curl up by open fireplaces with a drink, or put on your walking boots and head outside witness a spectacular show in the skies overhead.


3. Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire is an incredibly scenic part of south-west Wales. Surrounded by the sea on three sides, this county offers seemingly endless coastal walks with awe-inspiring views. Along the coast, you will discover meandering trails leading to quaint harbours, hidden coves, and quirky towns, including Britain’s smallest city, St Davids.

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One highlight of the Pembrokeshire coast is the pretty village of Fishguard. From here you can explore the ancient woodlands of the Gwaun Valley, on a walking trail that takes in the River Gwaun, the medieval Llanychllwydog Pillar Stones, and the ancient St Brynach Church.


4. Cotswolds

One of the most picturesque regions you’ll find in all of Britain, the Cotswolds are home to chocolate box villages, miles of rolling countryside and grand stately homes. Covering 800 square miles of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, you can only imagine how much there is to explore – from ‘England’s prettiest village’ Castle Combe to the gardens of King Charles’ country retreat Highgrove House.

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The views of green fields and sleepy rivers trickling under stone bridges are so heavenly that any aspiring artist will be inspired to capture it on canvas. If you join Country Living’s very special five-day watercolour painting retreat you’ll be able to do exactly that, working under the guidance of an expert tutor in the comfort for a Grade II-listed house in the idyllic village of Bourton-on-the-Water.

When? November 2024


5. Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales offer spectacular rural scenery where you can truly soak up the beauty of England in the north of the country. This is a land of rolling hills, scenic rail journeys, quaint market towns and bracing walks. Travelling by heritage railway is one of the best ways to explore the gorgeous Dales, and the Pennine Bridleway offers fabulous routes for taking in the scenery by foot.

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Walking is an excellent way to take in the Yorkshire Dales’ breathtaking views and charming villages. You’ll also want to hop aboard the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway, and steam through the landscapes that inspired the Brontë sisters. You can experience them all during a five-day rail and waking break with Country Living.

When? August and October 2024


6. The Hebrides

The wildlife, white sand beaches and ample walking opportunities, Scotland’s Inner and Outer Hebrides are an utter delight. The more than 50 inhabited islands off the west coast of the country offer island hopping at its finest – because who needs Greece and Croatia when we have the islands of Islay, Mull, Harris and Lewis?

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It’s here that you can truly immerse yourself in Britain’s natural beauty by spotting puffins, eagles and deer. There are enchanting castles to discover too, such as Duart Castle on Mull and Dunvegan Castle on Skye, plus there’s whisky to try and dark skies for stargazing. Experience the ultimate island hopping adventure around the Hebrides with Country Living on an 11-day cruise.

When? May 2024


Alternatively, if you’re keen to explore these mysterious isles but are looking for a slightly shorter trip, join Country Living for a six-day tour where you’ll learn about the fascinating history of the Outer Hebrides. You’ll be joined one evening by Dr Charlie Main, a local wildlife expert, who’ll teach you all about the incredible flora and fauna you might spot on this trip.



7. London

It might not be the first place you think of for a staycation if you’re looking to practice slow travel, but there’s more to the capital than its famous squares and skyscrapers. Look beyond the concrete and there are some glorious gardens and green spaces to find peace and nature in the city. Royal Botanic Garden, Kew is a classic example. With over 320 acres of green space and tropical glasshouses, it’s a little paradise in the city.

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There are also many smaller or lesser-known gardens to discover, such as Chelsea Physic Garden, located on the edge of the Thames and home to one of the oldest rock gardens in Europe. It also has a herb garden with culinary and medicinal plants, rare plants and tender species, and the largest outdoor olive tree in Britain.

Then, of course, there are the capital’s many famous parks, from Hyde Park, with its spectacular 40-acre Serpentine Lake, to Richmond Park, with its ancient trees and free-roaming deer. A stay in Richmond will also put you in prime position to discover nearby Kew Gardens. Check in at the Richmond Hill Hotel with our special offer and you’ll be moments away from the park, with sweeping vistas over Petersham Meadows.


Alternatively, if you fancy checking out some of London’s finest palaces and historical buildings, why not join Country Living’s exclusive four-day trip with Tudor historian and author Tracy Borman. You’ll visit Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle from your base at the wonderful five-star Royal Horseguards Hotel on the banks of the Thames.

When? May 2024



8. Kent

A haven for gardeners, Kent is a superb county for seeing England at its very best. Here, you can stroll through writer Vita Sackville-West’s Sissinghurst Castle Garden, take in the impossibly pretty manor house Ightham Mote and sip delicious wine at Chapel Down.

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White Garden. National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

There’s plenty to explore in Kent, from gorgeous gardens to vineyards and castles. A great place for a couples’ escape, there’s romance all around and if you’re after a quintessentially British country getaway, there are miles of it to discover on two feet – or two wheels!

Kent has a huge range of hotels, cottages and cosy inns for a mini-break, but for a special trip in the summer, join garden designer Sarah Raven on an exclusive tour of Kent and Sussex’s gardens. You’ll also have a private tour of Sissinghurst and lunch at Sarah’s garden at Perch Hill.

When? June 2024



9. Jurassic Coast

A place so beautiful it often features on posters for British tourism, the Jurassic Coast is a UK holiday destination everyone should visit at least once. It was England’s first natural UNESCO World Heritage Site and if you like beaches, you’ll find a whopping 95 miles of dramatic coastline to discover.

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Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door are its most iconic spots, while the pretty seaside towns of Swanage, Lyme Regis and West Bay are worth adding to your list. This spectacular region in Dorset has plenty of history, too – we’re talking dinosaur history! Famous around the world as one of the richest heritage sites for prehistoric remains, the Jurassic Coast is the place to join a fossil hunting walk.

With direct access to the Jurassic Coast, Dorset House is an elegant Regency house standing at the top of Lyme Regis’s steep main street, a 10-minute walk from the seafront. It offers upmarket yet cosy B&B accommodation in just five rooms and boasts stunning sea views.



10. Isles of Scilly

Sitting 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall, these idyllic islands are the UK’s answer to the Caribbean. The heavenly white sands, turquoise waters and slightly milder climate make the Isles of Scilly a UK holiday destination everyone should have on their bucket list. Five of the 140 isles are inhabited (St Mary’s, Tresco, St Martin’s, Bryher and St Agnes) and boast some of Britain’s most outstanding attractions, including Tresco Abbey Garden.

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There are dark skies for stargazing, wildlife that thrives (including puffins and Atlantic grey seals), plus the laidback lifestyle that’s high on most island holiday wish lists.

You’ll find a range of hotels, cottages and B&Bs to book in the Isles of Scilly, such as St Mary’s Hall Hotel in Hugh Town, St Mary’s. But for an unforgettable tour of the islands, join Country Living’s exclusive trip with wildlife and nature expert Julian Branscombe to really get to know the flora and fauna of this wonderful archipelago.

When? September 2024



11. Norfolk

With its royal attractions, wonderful wildlife and postcard-perfect scenery, Norfolk is a marvellous destination for your UK bucket list. Marvel at its windmills, watch the seals and their pups and be amazed by the unspoilt countryside. There’s no better way to explore Norfolk’s charms than by train, with the Bittern Line, Poppy Line, Bure Valley Railway and the Mid-Norfolk Railway providing relaxing rides.

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Join Country Living on a special trip to Norfolk with acclaimed historian Lucy Worsley. You’ll visit the Royal Family’s Sandringham Estate and take in the nature of the Broads on a paddle boat. Lucy will give an illuminating talk about Sandringham and the Modern Monarchy and answer your questions in a Q&A session.

When? May and September 2024


12. Cornwall

The Cornish coast is home to some of the best beaches in the UK. With its miles and miles of picturesque coastline, with quaint fishing villages, golden sandy beaches, and rugged, towering cliffs, it’s easy to see why this county is one of the UK’s favourite spots for a staycation. But the beaches are far from the only reason people love Cornwall. It’s also known as a foodie haven, especially the pretty port town of Padstow, where top chef Rick Stein has opened several restaurants and cafes.

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Get to know Cornwall’s stunning coast and excellent food with a special stay in one of Rick Stein’s Shepherd’s Huts, nestled in the grounds of his pub, the Cornish Arms, just minutes from Padstow. With Country Living’s special offer, you’ll be treated to a three-course dinner at The Cornish Arms and a portion of cod and chips to take away from one of Rick Stein’s fish and chips shops.

13. Peak District

The Peak District is one of the UK’s most beloved National Parks thanks to its dramatic scenery of wild, rolling moors and hills adorned in vibrant purple heather. It’s a favourite of walkers, who find quaint pubs nestled within historic villages to warm up in after memorably scenic strolls. It’s also a magnet for landscape artists, who come here to capture the beauty of its awe-inspiring vistas on canvas.

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If you’ve always wanted to give landscape drawing a go, or revisit an old hobby, what better location to do so than in the inspirational Peak District? Country Living is offering a special four-night break where you can do just that. You’ll be staying at the wonderful Peveril of the Peak, a country house in the tiny village of Thorpe, where you’ll be surrounded by idyllic countryside and where you’ll have several workshops with an expert tutor.

When? October 2024


Looking for holiday ideas to explore Britain’s wonderful highlights? We’re here to help and have rounded up the very best UK holiday destinations to visit. When it comes to escaping the daily grind, UK holiday destinations offer incredible sites you just won’t find abroad. From our amazing railways taking you through breathtaking countryside to our…

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