travel musings · united kingdom

Staycations in 2021 – What We’ve Got Planned

2020 was the year of staycations. 2021… is also going to be the year of staycations.

If you’re wondering what a staycation is, the definition is a surprisingly controversial topic. For some, staycations are holidays within your own city; for others, they are holidays within your own country, whether it’s a hotel city break or a rural glamping getaway. I’ve even heard people insist that a staycation is only a staycation if you don’t leave your house.

Your house?! Yep – literally, pretend you’re on holiday within your own four walls; eat food from the country you’re pretending to visit, or even go as far as pretending to be on the flight to your fantasy paradise destination! To be honest, despite the rallied cries of people who use it to mean this, I’ve only heard of one family actually doing this and you can read about it here!

Whatever your definition, a few people are upset that the terminology somehow suggests that their holidays within the UK have been written off as “not real holidays”. I vehemently disagree – no matter what you call it, domestic travel is still a holiday! A new term for it doesn’t change that.

In this post, we’ll be using the “within the UK” definition – and let me tell you, I’ve got tons lined up for this year already.

Last year, I started bringing you more content about Scotland, and that’s not about to change. On April 26th, Scotland will (all being well) finally be opening up again for domestic tourism, and I can’t wait to get out there again. We haven’t even been allowed to leave Edinburgh since November! I’m excited to share our next few months of adventures, even if they’re a bit closer to home than usual.

Disclaimer: this post has been written in collaboration with Hotels.com, but all views and topic choices are my own.

It’s also important to note that all of these plans are of course dependent on government restrictions while the pandemic is still ongoing.

Luss, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Scotland

Argyll – Loch Lomond, Scotland

This is actually the most recent trip I booked, but it’s also the soonest. I took a gamble and happened to book a hotel very soon after the restrictions lift, and although it’s only one night, it’s also only a couple of hours away, which means we’ll pretty much have two full days to explore.

I definitely feel a hike coming on for this one, because Loch Lomond has loooooads of hikes! I might end up taking us around the Trossachs a bit more too, as the last time we tried, it was a disaster! Let’s hope the weather is a bit better for this one. As it’s our first trip since September, let me guess it absolutely won’t be.

North Coast 500, Scotland

Assynt, Sutherland, Scotland

A couple of weeks later, we’ll be off to the first place I booked – a beautiful cabin in one of my favourite areas of Scotland, Assynt! Assynt was one of the highlights of my North Coast 500 trip a couple of years ago, which was a road trip I did with my friend rather than Ash, so I can’t wait to show Ash this astoundingly beautiful area!

As much as I’d love to climb that hill in the background of the above photo (Stac Pollaidh), I’m not sure we’ll have time in amongst all the exploring I want to do.

Assynt has loads of wonderful waterfalls, beaches and mountains, and I can’t wait to see all the bits we missed last time (because the more I research, the more it seems to have been… a lot!).

Read more: A Camping Guide To The North Coast 500

Ring Of Brodgar sunset, Orkney, Scotland

Orkney, Scotland

Although we haven’t booked anything yet, we are hoping that from our fairytale cabin stay, we can continue along the NC500 and wind up in Orkney for a few days. I haven’t been back to Orkney in TWO whole years, which is ridiculous. I haven’t seen any of my close friends since 2019, except for one who I managed to see last year. There are friends I haven’t even seen since the last time I was home, including one of my bridesmaids.

I’m really hoping we’ll get to catch up, but the restrictions to the islands remain to be seen.

The Lake District, England

Our wedding in June has been postponed – AGAIN. Third time lucky, right…?

However we’ve still got the time booked off, and Ash’s parents were planning making a trip out of it, including a visit to the Lake District which they are going ahead with as long as they’re allowed. I’ve been really keen on visiting the Lake District, so we’ve decided to book a couple of nights in a hotel and meet them there!

I cannot wait – the Lake District looks SO beautiful, and I haven’t been there since I was a kid.

In fact, I can tell you exactly when I was there – we stayed at my aunt and uncle’s B&B (they’ve now retired) and we woke up one morning to the news about Princess Diana.

So yeah. It’s been a while.

As well as hitting up all the beautiful spots, I have, naturally, curated an itinerary that includes such ridiculous stops as the Pencil Museum, and a drink at the wonderfully named Drunken Duck pub.

I mean you’ve got to, haven’t you?

Manchester, England

From June, we have nothing planned until August, when I’ve booked to go down to Manchester for the bank holiday weekend. I’m going for Manchester Pride with some friends, and I’m SO excited to actually make plans with people!

Who knows if it’ll really go ahead, but it’s made me feel better just dreaming about it.

It also means I’ll get to see my sister and do some last-minute wedding planning with her, so that’ll be exceptionally lovely!

st paul's cathedral, london, millennium bridge

London, England

We do have some plans in September, but I’ll come back to those. Next on the staycation list: London!

It’s again been two years since we’ve been to London – actually two years this week, I believe – and by the time we go in November, it’ll be closer to three. Which means it’s the longest I’ve gone without visiting London since 2006.

We’ll be going down to the capital for a gig (which is the reason for virtually every single visit I’ve ever taken to London, so not to break tradition!) and then spend the weekend there, hopefully catching up with some friends.

One of the plans on the agenda? The Harry Potter (or Warner Bros) Studio Tour!

We actually did this way back in 2013, but loads of things have been added since, such as the Forbidden Forest. I’m really looking forward to doing it again, taking lots of silly photos and of course lots of awesome ones too! I’m sure I’ll notice loads more things this time around too, as there is so much to look at in all the different sections.

Read more: Off-Beat London: A Quirky Weekend In The Capital

Loch Earn, Scotland
Potentially coming up: Perthshire!

6 trips already?! Anything else, you crazy woman?

I am fully expecting to book more trips soon, and I have so many plans formulating it’s bordering on ridiculous. In fact, I’ve written down 30 day & weekend trips I’d love to do. Thirty.

Here are some of the top of the list:

Lewis & Harris

We’re not sure yet whether we’ll have a few days to play with, so the top of my list for a longer trip in Scotland is the Isle of Lewis & Harris.

This is the largest island in Scotland so it stands to reason that there’s a lot to do, and it definitely deserves a few days. Some of Scotland’s best beaches are here – just google Luskentyre! – as well as some of the most interesting historic features in the UK. The iconic Callanish Stones are estimated to be as old as the Ring of Brodgar in Orkney, and possibly even more scenic. The Gearrannan Blackhouse Village also looks really interesting – although much more recent than the rest of the history.

Northumberland

We only live around an hour’s drive from the border to England, and Northumberland has a surprising amount to explore. From sections of Hadrian’s Wall snaking through lovely little towns such as Corbridge (which we passed through a couple of years ago) to coastal castles like Bamburgh, there’s a lot we’d really like to see. One of the main things on our list is Alnwick Castle, home of Hogwarts (you might have heard of it) where you can even partake in Quidditch lessons!

Luckily, because of its close proximity, this will be easy to do in a weekend.

Wales

I’ve got vouchers for the fastest zipline in the world, in north Wales! So we’d better get there. I also have a challenge to climb the highest mountains in Scotland, England & Wales, so Snowdon is on the list. Not sure when we’ll get to do this yet but I want to make it happen!

Perthshire

I’ve got a voucher for the Kenmore Hotel in (surprisingly) Kenmore. We absolutely loved that area when we visited last year, although as you may remember, our trip did not go to plan at all. I’m hoping this time around we’ll have a much better experience, although I haven’t booked a date just yet.

Sligachan bridge, Isle Of Skye, Scotland

Isle of Skye

I really need to get back to the Isle of Skye, because I’ve only been there once, and Ash has never been! This should be doable in a weekend, so I’m hoping we can get there. I only went up the east side of the island last time, so I’d like to explore more areas such as the Fairy Glen, Neist Point and Dunvegan.

Inchcolm Island

This will be the easiest one to do, as the day tours leave a 20 minute walk from our house. Inchcolm Island is a tiny island out in the firth of forth, closer to Fife than it is to Edinburgh, but tours go from this side. It’s home to a historic abbey, and makes for a lovely day trip out on the water.

On top of these, we’ll undoubtedly do plenty of trips to the likes of Glencoe, the Cairngorms, Moray, Glasgow and Ayrshire, whether they’re camping trips, day trips or weekend trips. Like I said – I have 30 potential plans!!

And what about abroad?

We have also got one international trip booked so far – we’ve got flights booked to Italy at the end of September! We’re waiting to see what’s going on before we make any concrete plans, but the ideal first choice is to spend a couple of days in Venice and the rest of the time in Slovenia.

We really have no idea if cross-border travel will be possible, and I know that Slovenia was one of the first countries in the world to close its borders last year, so it may also be one of the last to open. If we’re able just to go to Italy, I’m having a real hard time narrowing down an itinerary, but #1 is Lake Garda, with its exceptional new bike track around the entire lake! It looks mindblowing.

Some good old northern Italy mountain roads would round off the perfect road trip, but to be honest I keep going a bit mad. Why not head up through Austria to Liechtenstein and back down through Switzerland? Cause we don’t have time, that’s why. Try telling my brain that!

View across Glencoe, start of Buachaille Etive Beag hike, Scotland

Anyway, here’s hoping Italy goes ahead. If not – we’ve got pleeeenty of other ideas! I’m excited to write more about our adventures after not being able to leave our immediate area for almost six months.

Trust me when I say I’m going to be making the MOST of sweet freeeeedom!

As much as I’m really (really, really) missing international travels, it’s pretty evident that staycations are going to be on trend this year, and let’s face it, we certainly won’t be running out of ideas any time soon.

Are you planning a staycation this year? I’ve got loads of ideas for you!

My Highlights Of Edinburgh
An Off-Beat Weekend In London
A Festive Weekend In York
Four Islands, One Epic Weekend On The Isle Of Mull
A Camping Guide To The North Coast 500 In Scotland
Exploring The Cute Coastal Towns Of Fife

Disclaimer: this post has been written in collaboration with Hotels.com, but all views are my own

16 thoughts on “Staycations in 2021 – What We’ve Got Planned

  1. I have honestly never heard of “staycations” being controversial, but now that you’ve mentioned it, you have a point. I’ve always interpreted staycations to mean staying at home during otherwise holiday break from work, but to be frank, I don’t see the difference between that and just, well, staying home to rest haha. And the concept of staycation within your country is absurd to me, because isn’t that just “domestic travel?” Technicalities aside, it’s incredible that Scotland is moving forward to open up to domestic travel so soon, and I hope you can take advantage of it all– and safely! You’ll have to keep us updated on your upcoming adventures. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rebecca! And yeah I agree, that’s just living normally surely? Haha. Staycations to me has always meant, say, if you stayed in a hotel in LA and did touristy stuff for a weekend, or if I did the same in Edinburgh! But since Covid it seems to have changed into any domestic travel. I definitely don’t think it detracts from domestic holidays though, it’s just another term. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We just had a screen saver with this gorgeous scene and when I clicked to see where in the world it was, I was surprised to see it was the Lake District. So beautiful. I didn’t know it was that hilly. The UK is small compared to the US, but I’m learning more and more that it has quite the array of landscapes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I tend to think of a staycation as being a holiday within the UK, though I can see why some consider it a holiday spent exploring your local area, using your home as a base. I’m not planning any trips abroad for the foreseeable, but I’m crossing my fingers for a few walking trips and some time at my parents’ when my sister returns from Hong Kong (I’ve not seen her since Christmas 2019, which is nuts!). ZipWorld is such fun! I went a couple of summers ago, and the views across to Anglesey are fab. Bamburgh is a lovely part of Northumberland. I went on a school trip there years ago, and still remember the ferry trip to see puffins and day spent on Lindisfarne 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’ve always considered staycations to be staying in a hotel in your city and exploring it as a tourist, but Covid has made it a trendy term that seems to encompass any domestic travel. I’m kind of on board with it though!

      Fingers crossed you get to see your sister soon – I haven’t seen mine for a long, long time either! 😦 Ahh brill, I’m so excited for ZipWorld, I’ve wanted to go for ages! Just need to figure out when we can fit it in. I think Ash is really keen to visit Lindisfarne, so that’ll probably be on the list! (Also ooooh, puffins!)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So many places to visit! The UK is full of amazing locations to visit and explore. Always thought a staycation was when you had a holiday at home but had a lot of days out from there. I think that was the original English meaning but the American one is holidaying in your own country as far as I know.

    Liked by 1 person

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