Staycation ideas: best places to go on holiday in the UK this summer

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Megan Murray
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Amsterdam canal on summer day

In a bid to discourage people from prematurely booking holidays abroad, a £5,000 fine could be coming into action from next week. 

It seems like a joyous coincidence that the coronavirus vaccine’s progress means that, as the months get warmer, we’ll be closer to enjoying the opening of hotels again as well as a chance to go abroad. 

But, while it’s good to stay positive, new coronavirus laws could mean a £5,000 fine for those attempting to book an international holiday before the go-ahead date on 17 May.

Legislation is due to be voted on by MPs on Thursday 25 March and would back up on the current ban on leaving the UK before the end of May with a fine.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also recently reiterated in an interview with BBC Today that it’s vital people hold off making holiday plans until a Global Travel Taskforce report is published on 12 April.

This will give recommendations for the immediate future of travel and that those interested in going abroad should wait to see the findings from this, remembering that travelling for leisure in or outside of the UK is illegal until 17 May.

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The rules quite clearly state currently you must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse (for example, for work or to attend a medical appointment). If you need to travel, you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live.

But, per Boris Johnson’s roadmap, hotels in England could reopen, at the earliest, on 17 May. So those dreaming of a summer holiday could start looking into the loveliest staycation destinations with some level of hope and positivity.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get a feel for some of your favourite international cities, though. Last-minute holiday booking platform Last Minute Cottages has looked into national statistics, Google trends and its own internal data to discover the British public’s favourite foreign destinations, and consulted with its holiday experts to reveal UK equivalents to these locations.

Below you’ll find ideas on which UK destinations are the perfect staycation swap for a much-loved international spot. 

  • Hankering to see NYC? Camden's the place

    Camden is just like Brooklyn, according to someone who has lived there.

    Stylist’s fitness editor Meriam Ahari moved to London from New York in 2019 and chose to settle in Camden because of how much it reminded her of Brooklyn. 

    She says, “It’s quirky, gritty, busy and artsy, just like Brooklyn. The open food market, people watching, graffiti and 3D store fronts; there’s just so much to do and see. I love that sometimes you’ll see punk rocker musicians playing right there on the street.”

  • Love Amsterdam? Try Bristol

    Colourful houses and waterways in Bristol
    Bristol is the new Amsterdam

    A thriving art scene, tons of bars, a cycle-first mentality and picturesque waterways; is this a description of Amsterdam?

    While it certainly could be, these are in fact some of the brilliant qualities that the UK’s Bristol has to offer. Situated in the south-west of England, this quirky city is buzzing with coffee shops (not that kind) and colourful architecture that could give the Dutch capital a run for its money.

    Spending a weekend here means getting comfortable behind the handlebars, taking things slow and enjoying the graffiti art scattered across the city. What’s not to love?

  • Keen to visit Paris? Bath is the next best thing

    Bath's creamy architecture
    Paris is still under heavy restrictions, but Bath could work for a staycation instead.

    Paris’ aesthetic is so strong that the city can be recognised in an instant for its creamy-hued buildings and regal architecture. And if there’s one place in the UK that can challenge this chic French city, it’s got to be Bath. 

    This historic city is brimming with gorgeously ornate architecture and is known for the specific Bath limestone which was used to build much of it, which glints golden in the sun, similar to Paris, has a beautiful cream colour. 

    Plus, thanks to its Roman baths and pretty countryside, Bath is thought of as one of the most romantic getaways in the UK, which goes some way towards matching Paris as a city for couples.

  • Can't wait for a Spanish beach holiday? Check out Pembrokeshire

    Pembrokeshire is the new Spain
    Pembrokeshire has over 100 beaches.

    Okay, we’d be lying if we said that taking a holiday to Wales would be exactly the same as going to Spain, but there’s a lot to be said for the beaches in this section of the UK’s coastline. 

    The weather may not be guaranteed but gorgeous views, interesting wildlife and sandy beaches most definitely are. 

    In fact, Pembrokeshire has over 100 beaches to choose from which is incredibly impressive and should help those who love laying back by the sea get their kicks.

  • Wish you were in the south of France? Next stop is the Wye Valley

    Rolling green hills of Wye Valley
    The Wye Valley is a picturesque swap for the South of France.

    If you’re imagining looking out to the tumbling green hills in the south of France, there’s a UK destination that could make for a picturesque swap.

    The Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley has an abundance of things to do this summer such as canoeing, mountain biking and hiking in the region bordering England and south Wales.

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Images: Getty Images / Unsplash


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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.

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