Winter and Autumn staycations have become increasingly popular time for my family and I to get away in recent years. Discovering and exploring the beautiful landscapes and hidden gems that the UK has to offer is more affordable in the cooler months and a welcome break without all the hassle and luggage limitations of going abroad.
We recently had an Autumn break away at Combermere Abbey with no great weather expectations and every intention of being wrapped up and outdoors. We loved it. We’ve also been gathering our festive spirit with a trip to the Manchester Christmas market and a whizz around the ice rink.
There’s plenty of Christmas light displays and winter illuminations to be enjoyed all across the country with magnificent country houses and their beautiful gardens transformed with twinkling lights to add some winter. Not forgetting the zoo’s and safari parks with lantern parades and light sculptures keeping the twinkles child friendly and memory making.
You don’t need snow to make it memorable. Water in any form can make the memory, here’s some of my favourite places.
Loch Lomond in Scotland was always my go to place for a winter break, this was in my life before kids we would enjoy a lodge break in January or February. It’s somewhere I would love to take my kids now they are older too. It is the second largest lake in Britain (after Loch Ness) and attracts huge crowds in summer, so autumn and wintertime are the perfect to visit its glassy waters – plus it’s the best time of year to spot red stags!
The Lake District is spectacular at any time of the year, but when the temperature drops and the leaves turn golden and crisp, the area is particularly exquisite. Walk the fells, soak in the scenery and sample a locally brewed craft beer in country pub, there’s no shortage of ways to pass the time and when it isn’t peak season, you’ll be able to enjoy the popular spots in peace.
Wales can be often overlooked when it comes to picking a winter staycation, but Monmouthshire has some of the finest attractions anywhere in the country. Along the southern stretch of border with England, it encompasses to picturesque landscapes of the Wye Valley to the East and the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park to the west. The area is packed with historic castles and magnificent abbeys to explore.
If you’re feeling a bit more energetic there’s also Snowdonia available for climbing! Britain’s second highest peak makes for a great getaway challenge and the beautiful seaside town of Conwy isn’t far away and is packed with quaint independent shops and cafes, but its biggest draw is it Unesco World Heritage-listed castle, sitting atop a hill with views surveying the historic streets below. Or the Victorian village of Betws-y-Coed, which is known as the Gateway to Snowdonia, is an idyllic starting point for exploring the stunning woodland – so you don’t *have* to climb the mountain to see its natural splendour!
Cornwall is my second home and in winter Cornwall is truly magical. We visit all the same beaches just with extra layers! We do get in and surf but not for as long and more often we paddle along deserted beaches, enjoy windswept coastal walks and watch storms drift over the Atlantic. Ice creams are replaced with hot chocolate and dolphin watching becomes storm watching. The firework displays on the beach are wonderful as are board games, books and movies beside the wood burner.
Not sure about where to go or what’s in driving distance of you check out this interactive map by Regatta with loads of Wintertime inspiration across the UK.