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The Complete Guide to Holidays in the UK

Travel

The UK is a great place to go on holiday and explore new places. With such a diverse landscape, there are so many destinations to explore. Whether you're looking for rugged coastlines, quaint countryside villages, mountain ranges, seaside resorts or city breaks, the UK has a lot to offer and can be a great place for families to go on holiday.

However, everyone is looking for something different when it comes to a holiday so while camping and exploring the countryside might work for some people, others might prefer a spa break to a camping stove. So, how should you holiday in the UK and where do you start? We've put together this comprehensive guide to help you plan your next UK break where we'll cover:

  • Camping Holidays
  • Caravan Holidays
  • Staycation Holidays
  • Walking Holidays
  • Cycling holidays

Camping Holidays

What is a camping holiday?

A camping holiday, quite simply, involves sleeping, cooking and living outdoors in a tent. Getting outdoors and embracing nature is certainly not for everyone. But for those who love it, camping can be an exciting and inexpensive way to holiday in the UK. Whether you're pitching up on a basic site with few amenities or taking home comforts with you and benefitting from electric hook-ups, camping is a great way to enjoy a holiday.

A camping holiday is a chance to switch off from technology, enjoy the outdoors and just be at peace with nature. Whatever the weather, as long as you've got the right equipment, you can have a great time come rain or shine.

How to find camping holidays

If you've never camped before, finding the right campsite for you may seem a bit daunting. However, there are a few things you can keep in mind to make your search for the perfect pitch a little bit easier.

Distance

If it's your first time camping and you're not sure if you even enjoy it yet, it's always best to stay close to home. For your first trip, we'd suggest travelling no further than 1-2 hours away from your home so if it's not what you thought it would be, you don't need to travel too far to get home. Equally, you probably only want to stay for 1-2 nights on your first trip.

Once you've built up your confidence, you might be willing to travel further afield and how far you want to travel will be different for everyone. So, consider how far you're willing to travel for your holiday in comparison to how long you will be staying for. For example, an 8-hour drive might be fine for a week or two away but may be a bit far to go for 3-4 nights.

Location

What are you looking for in a camping holiday? Do you want to be close to the beach? Do you dream about exploring rugged mountain ranges? Perhaps you prefer quaint villages. Or maybe you want to be close to a new city. Deciding on what you'd like to do once you're on your camping holiday can help you narrow down the location.

Facilities

Some campsites have extensive facilities like a swimming pool, playground and on-site entertainment. Meanwhile, others only have basic facilities like a toilet and shower block and washing up facilities. So, decide what's important to you before beginning your search.

Budget

The cost of camping can vary greatly depending on where you stay and what facilities are available. A site with basic amenities is often much cheaper than one with multiple facilities. You should also consider additional things you may need to pay for such as children, extra vehicles, gazebos, pets and larger tents as these often incur an additional fee.

When you've narrowed down your search, you can look for suitable campsites via Campsites or the Camping and Caravanning Club.

Top tips for camping in the UK

While you can go camping in the autumn and winter, this time of year is usually best for seasoned campers with the right equipment. The best time to go camping is usually in April-September as it usually isn't as cold but the weather in the UK can be unpredictable so you should always be prepared.

Whatever the weather, our main piece of advice is to have fun! Whether it's playing board games in your tent, enjoying the sun or finding somewhere to explore on a rainy day you can always create your own fun.

For more inspiration, check out these fun outdoor activities for kids now.

What equipment do you need for camping

It goes without saying that you need a tent in order to go camping. You'll also need somewhere to sleep, cook and relax so going camping can involve taking a lot of equipment.

Read our camping checklist here

Caravan Holidays

What is a caravan holiday?

Much like camping, caravan holidays get you back in touch with nature, but with the added luxury of four walls to keep you a bit warmer than a tent.

How to find caravan holidays

Finding the right caravan holiday will largely depend on whether you have a touring caravan, a static caravan or want to rent a caravan.

If you have a touring caravan you will have more freedom to take it wherever you want, provided you find a caravan site that is suitable for touring caravans. Of course, you will need to narrow your search down by the facilities you want, the location and how far you're willing to travel. But once you've done that, you can find a suitable caravan site here.

A static caravan is more restricting as it will remain on the same site so you will be holidaying in the same place time and time again. So if you want to buy a static caravan, it's important to fall in love with the location and the caravan site first.

Alternatively, if you're looking for a caravan holiday where you just turn up and rent the caravan for a week, you don't need to worry about any of the set-up or making sure the site is suitable for static caravans as they will already be there. So, think about the location, distance and the facilities available when you get there.

Top tips for caravan holidays in the UK

Caravan holidays are a great way to enjoy the outdoors without sacrificing too many of your home comforts. To help you make the most of your stay, here are some of our top caravanning tips:

What equipment do you need for caravanning?

The equipment you need for a caravan holiday will depend on the type of caravan you are staying in. If you're in a static caravan, you'll likely just need clothes, food and entertainment. However, if you're holidaying in a touring caravan you'll also need a towbar to transport your caravan, an awning and tent pegs, a ground sheet, camping chairs, bedding, cooking and washing equipment, water containers and hoses, toilet liquids and cleaning supplies.

Staycation Holidays

What is a staycation holiday?

A staycation is a holiday within the country you live in. While you could camp or stay in a caravan, you could also consider staying in a hotel, cabin, treehouse, glamping hut, cottage, apartment or house. A staycation gives you the opportunity to explore everything your home country has to offer without travelling too far afield. It is perfect for those on a budget, people who don't like flying and those looking for a shorter holiday not too far from home.

How to find a staycation holiday

Start by choosing a location and narrow your search down from there. Think about whether you'd prefer to visit a city, the countryside or a seaside resort and also consider how you're going to get there. If you don't drive, it's still possible to reach a number of beautiful places by using public transport, so try looking for somewhere that's easy to reach using trains and buses.

You should also consider the season you're travelling during. A seaside holiday might be better for the summer while you may prefer a cabin with a hot tub during the winter.

Check out some of the best winter holidays in the UK here.

Top tips for staycation holidays in the UK

Our top tip for enjoying a staycation is to do your research and plan ahead. Make sure there is plenty to do in the area to keep you entertained during your stay come rain or shine and have a backup plan ready for if something falls through. A staycation is also a great opportunity to spend time with friends and family or relax and unwind on your own. So, why not check out the best games to take with you or get lost in a great book to enjoy on staycation.

What equipment do you need for staycation holidays?

Many staycations offer a home away from home experience so you probably won't need to take much with you aside from some essentials. We'd suggest packing clothes, towels and food as well as swimwear if your accommodation has swimming facilities or a hot tub. If your accommodation has a log fire or BBQ, you might also want to take some wood or coal to use the facilities.

Walking Holidays

What is a walking holiday?

A walking holiday is the perfect break for hiking and walking enthusiasts. A walking holiday involves hiking along a pre-planned route across multiple days. They often take part in the countryside or through a mountain range. When stopping for the night, you may stay in a tent, hotel, inn, B&B or hostel, reaching a new destination each evening.

How to find a walking holiday

When planning your walking holiday you could choose a self-guided trip or embark on a group tour.

Self-guided walking holiday

A self-guided walking holiday means you'll have to do all of the planning yourself. This will involve planning the route and organising all of your own transport and accommodation. The benefit of a self-guided walking holiday is that you can choose the location as well as any points of interest you wish to stop at along the way. You have the freedom to choose when you set off and how long you spend in each location and spend more time having lunch if the mood takes you.

Organised walking holiday

In contrast, an organised walking holiday does all of the hard work for you. They'll plan the routes, provide the maps, organise accommodation, transfer your luggage and organise your food. You'll likely walk with a group of like-minded people and discover some of the best walks in the UK. Although everything is taken care of, you may be more restricted to keeping to a stricter time schedule.

Discover some of the best walking holidays in the UK now.

Top tips for walking holidays in the UK

Being well-prepared for your walking holiday can make or break your trip. So, to make the most of your time, here are some of our tip tips for your walking holiday:

Duration

If it's your first walking holiday, why not try a shorter trip first? Opt for a 1-night stay rather than a week-long hike to test the waters, build your stamina and see how you enjoy your first walking holiday before booking a longer hike.

Train for your trip

As much as a walking holiday is great fun, you'll probably struggle if you've not been on a few practice walks. Ideally, you'll be a keen walker already and you should plan or book a trip that is in line with your current fitness level. But to be fully prepared, you should go on hikes in all weather, terrains and inclines to prepare.

Prepare for the weather

The weather in the UK is famously unpredictable, no matter what time of year it is. That's why it's important to prepare for any weather. As well as packing waterproofs, layers, woolly hats and dry clothing, you should also pack thinner layers, shorts, sun cream and a sun hat.

What equipment do you need for walking holidays?

Taking the right kit on your walking holiday is essential to making sure you have a comfortable trip. Here are some thing you should consider taking on your walking holiday:

  • Walking boots and socks
  • Walking trousers
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Walking sticks
  • Compass and maps
  • Blister plasters
  • Hat and suncream
  • Snacks
  • Waterbottle

Cycling Holidays

What is a cycling holiday?

Much like a walking holiday, a cycling holiday involves following a planned route and stopping off in multiple locations along the way. Whether you're a road biking enthusiast, prefer mountain biking or like the assistance of an e-bike, a cycling holiday is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and explore.

How to find a cycling holiday

You could organise your own cycling holiday or take the stress away and book an organised group trip.

Self-guided cycling holiday

A self-guided cycling holiday means you will be responsible for planning all of your routes, organising accommodation, transporting luggage and preparing food. You'll have the freedom to explore wherever you like, go off the beaten track and create your own schedule. If you don't want to travel as part of a group, you may even be able to find a tour company who can organise your cycling holiday for you so you only need to turn up and explore alone.

Organised cycling holiday

An organised cycling holiday takes all of the stress away as someone else is responsible for planning and running your cycling holiday. With a tour group responsible for planning and booking everything, all you need to do is show up and enjoy the cycling. An organised trip will be more structured so you may not have as much freedom as a self-guided holiday but you won't have to worry about a thing.

Check out some of the best cycling holidays and the best mountain biking holidays in the UK now.

Top tips for cycling holidays in the UK

While a cycling holiday can be great fun, it can also be hard work if you're not properly prepared. So, follow these top tips to make your cycling holiday one to remember:

Plan your distance

If you're organising your own cycling holiday, it's really important to carefully consider your distances and any inclines you plan on doing. That's because cycling 5 miles on flat ground is very different to cycling 5 miles on an incline so on days where you plan to cycle uphill more, you should reduce the number of miles you will cycle for that day.

Padding is your friend

When cycling for long distances, it's quite easy for your bottom to become uncomfortable. That's why finding a padded saddle that is comfortable and suitable for you is crucial as it will really help you to get comfortable on your ride. You can also use additional aids like padded cycling shorts to improve your comfort levels when cycling long distances.

Train for your trip

A cycling holiday is not for the faint of heart and it's certainly not the same as cycling 20 minutes to work every day. It can involve multiple long days of cycling across multiple terrains and in all weather conditions so it's important to train ahead of your holiday so you can keep up on your holiday. Shorter rides every day will help to build your stamina more than one long bike ride every so often but you should aim to increase the distance of your long-distance ride by about 10% each week.

What equipment do you need for cycling holidays?

It goes without saying that to embark on a cycling holiday, a bike is absolutely essential. But there are plenty of other things you need to pack for a successful cycling holiday. These include:

  • Bike repair kit
  • Cycling clothes and extra layers (including waterproofs)
  • Helmet and cycling shoes
  • The right bike for the right terrain
  • Backpack
  • Water and snacks
  • Bike rack (travelling to and from your holiday destination)

So, now you know how to plan the perfect UK holiday for you and your family, it's time to get booking! Say goodbye to flight delays and hello to new destinations right on your doorstep. Whether you're thinking of trying camping for the first time or you're a seasoned cyclist planning your next adventure, there is so much to enjoy by holidaying in the UK. Fancy travelling further afield? Check out the most popular holiday destinations by country here.

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