16 March 2020
While we're usually dreaming of visiting a range of marvellous destinations across the globe, it is often easy to lose sight of the fact that there are so many lovely destinations and experiences on our doorstep. So, if you're looking to holiday closer to home this year, why not try one of these underrated and lesser-known UK attractions?
Portmeirion, North Wales
Famous Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis succeeded in bringing a corner of the Mediterranean to the coast of Northern Wales.
The huge project of a playful, modern estate centring on themes of Italian villages and the ruins of Medieval Castell Deudraeth is itching to be explored. The village was made famous by the 1960s series ‘The Prisoner’ - so expect to hear many quotes from any fans of the show whilst visiting!
Cayton Bay, North Yorkshire
A short drive from the more famous Yorkshire coastal attractions of Whitby and Scarborough, Cayton Bay is an unspoilt natural landscape. A great pick for those that prefer the quieter option.
The long arch of the beach framed by high cliffs gives the area a stunning scenery. However, the main attraction of the Bay is its reputation as a home for year-round surfing opportunities. There are excellent facilities on the cliff top at Scarborough Surf School - or if you prefer you can opt for other water-based activities from paddle boarding to kayaking.
The small village located in the heart of Cornwall has a true quaint charm you can only find in the South-Western countryside of the UK. There are steep and narrow streets ripe for exploring and an incredible natural landscape.
Make your visit worthwhile with a short trip outside the town where you’ll find an iconic viaduct over 37 metres high with 18 metres wide arches. On a warm spring day, the location is perfect for taking a boat ride down the River Tamar to appreciate the enormity of the overarching structure.
Vertical Chill, London
It may seem unlikely that a trip to London could remind you of the Norwegian Fjords – but not if you experience glacier climbing in the capital!
Vertical Chill is a climbing wall with a difference; the structure is made completely out of real ice. Book a session here and you have the chance to overcome the extreme elements alongside the help of a professional instructor and equipment. The company caters to all experience levels, so don’t worry if it’s your first time doing any sort of climbing. It can be a fun session for all - but you may leave feeling exhausted!
Snaefell Mountain Railway, Isle of Man
The summit of Snaefell Mountain offers a treat for anyone wishing to literally see the whole of the UK. At 620 metres above sea level, it is the only place in the world where on a clear day you can look out over England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales all at the same time.
You do have an option to hike up the mountain, but we preferred to enter the skies by taking in the relaxing 8 kilometres climb on the mountain train. Conquer the highest point on the Isle of Man via the vintage railway which has been operating since 1895.
Dolphin Watching at Moray Firth, North Scotland
Forget the Loch Ness Monster, Scotland is proud to be home to one of the world’s best on-land spots to see wild dolphins gracefully swimming by.
Who wouldn’t love the chance to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat? The bottlenose dolphins who are resident on the Moray Firth coast are the northernmost dolphins in the world. They are bigger in size than their cousins in warmer climates due to the extra blubber needed to insulate them from the harsh North Sea temperature. The best place to spot them is at Chanonry Point, as this is where they often come to find food. Keep your eyes peeled and you may be lucky enough to find a Minke Whale too!
One of the lesser known areas in the Lake District, Buttermere has the advantage of being practically untouched by tourists.
The lake is extremely photogenic and a great spot for some true peace and quiet. The path around the lake is on a flat, easy surface making it very suitable to take a family stroll. At a relaxed pace it will take you 2 to 3 hours to make your way around the full lake; be sure to take your camera to capture the beauty in the surroundings.
Clifton Arcade, Bristol
Home to Bristol’s most unique shopping experience, you can easily spend a few hours window-shopping in the Victorian arcade.
Originally built with an intention of housing the finest independent stores in 1878, it took over a century for this dream to become a reality! The variety of goods available will please everyone who likes an original gift; whether that’s music, art, designer clothes, antiques or jewellery.
Dunbar’s Close, Edinburgh
This garden is arguably Edinburgh’s best-kept secret.
The walled 17th century style park is a bubble of tranquillity in the midst of the hustle of the city surrounding it. Spend a relaxing few hours in here on your next city break in the Highlands for some relaxed time - it’s the perfect spot for a family picnic.
Treasurer’s House, York
The Grade 1 listed mansion in the centre of York has gained a reputation as not only a way to walk through history, but also one of the most haunted buildings in the UK.
The house has an expansive history. It was built in the late 11th century meaning that encompassed within the mansion you can observe the architectural style of several eras. The mansion belonged to Frank Green, who lived there during the late 19th century and is now believed to haunt the area. Since his passing, it was handed over to the National Trust as the first every property that had a complete collection of belongings and furnishings.
Affleck’s Palace, Manchester
Home of the quirky, Affleck’s is a palace for any alternative shopper. The grand building is located in the city’s Northern Quarter; home to a large collection of boutiques and independent stores.
If you’re heading for a short break in the city put some time aside for exploring. Whether you’re after a unique gift, vintage clothes or an old style photo booth, you’re sure to find it here.
Rhaeadr Falls, Powys
Adeptly named as one of the ‘7 wonders of Wales’, this is an impressive waterfall hidden in the forest of the country.
The water falls down a 73-metre drop on to the River Rhaeador, framed by a natural arch in the rock face. It’s also possible to look down on the waterfall by taking a short 20-minute walk to higher grounds for a truly fantastic view.
If you'd like to book your UK staycation, contact your Travel Counsellor and take advantage of exclusive benefits including full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your trip.