Running on Empty: Where to Staycay When You’re Out of Annual Leave
With the arrival of autumn, many will be reminiscing warm summer days spent enjoying time out of the office with friends and family. But, as so often is the case, with holiday days used up over summer and plans for time spent over Christmas, those treasured days of annual leave are looking pretty sparse.
However, this realisation and apparent downturn in fortunes needn’t scupper plans to explore new places. And, while a staycay isn’t nearly as glamorous as a week soaking up the sun on a beach at Saint Tropez, dealchecker is waving the flag for the United Kingdom, with a round-up of brilliant weekend escapes in the British Isles.
The consumer champion of ‘Real Deals’, a selection of two-night breaks are bookable now through the trusted price comparison website:
Home to chocolate box cottages, made from honey-coloured Cotswold stone, this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a favourite for any traveller in search of picturesque views and market towns.
For a weekend’s escape, base yourself in one of the charming communities, such as Bourton-on-the-Water or Stow-on-the-Wold, and acquaint yourself with the closest pub.
Must-sees in the area include Capability Brown’s majestic Broadway Tower, the National Arboretum at Westonbirt and the iconic Model Village.
North York Moors National Park
Often overlooked in favour of the Peak or Lake Districts, the North York Moors combine moorland, coastline, forests and rugged dales.
With welcoming locals, hearty cuisine and more than its fair share of traditional pubs on offer, it’s clear why it’s called God’s Own Country.
Dotted with charming market towns, you’re sure to find somewhere special to base yourself, such as Yorkshire’s Food Capital, Malton, or Dracula’s seaside lair of Whitby.
In between these charming settlements, you’ll find many intriguing ruins to explore, including Rievaulx Abbey, Helmsley Castle and Mount Grace Priory. With miles upon miles of public footpaths to traverse – from the easy saunter to the sweat-inducing – walking boots are a must.
Isle of Wight
Just a short ferry trip from either Southampton or Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight will bring a touch of laid-back living to any weekend. A favourite hideaway for writers and poets in need of inspiration, the island is now most famous for its annual festival, the milder, sunnier climate and a thriving red squirrel population.
Base yourself on the southside of the island for unspoilt seascapes and easy access to the stunning Military Road, a coastal route that takes in the isle’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty all the way to the Needles at the landscape’s tip.
For those with an interest in royal history, the island is a veritable gold mine: Carisbrooke Castle is where Charles I was imprisoned by Oliver Cromwell, while Osborne House was a beloved residence of Queen Victoria. A hike across Tennyson Down is sure to shake away any cobwebs that have developed after a week at the desk and the numerous beaches will satisfy any seaside cravings.