30th Sep 2020
Towards the end of the summer 2020, the news has been inundated with quarantine enforcements on travellers returning home from sunny destinations across the world. After months of lockdown and the restlessness provoked by being cooped up inside, we were all dreaming of space, sun, and fresh air. Although there are many who had written off packing up their flip flops and jetting off for a week, a littering of out of office replies and social media posts this month would lead us to assume many had decided to head to places promising clearer skies and warmer seas than the UK.
A few members of the Bw team opted for something somewhere in the middle – a staycation – and they weren’t alone. There have been many reports on one of the few positive stories amidst perpetual lockdown measures – the boom in tourism on our home soil. People have cottoned onto what the UK can offer, something which is often overlooked when its patchwork green landscape is left behind for the inflatable-dotted pools of Europe throughout summer.
The mass exodus to the more scenic areas of the UK brought with it a competitive haste to snap up the charming, reasonably priced accommodation on offer. Unless you had hedged your bets as soon as travel restrictions in the UK were lifted and booked a trip straight away, finding something in the usual throng of tourist spots – Cornwall, the Lake District, the Cotswolds, Dorset – wasn’t an easy feat this summer. The prices rose to eye-watering levels and the places that were left available weren’t quite the quirky seaside cottages or rustic, beamed barn conversions one might picture for a staycation.
However, once bookings were made, one advantage of the staycation is avoiding the usual kerfuffle of packing a week’s supply of liquids into a small plastic bag to comply with cabin luggage rules; you could pack as much as you fancied, even your own pillow. It trades in long queues through security and panic-buying travel insurance at the airport, for an exchange cost of fidgety and tedious queues of traffic. However, with your playlist and (fingers-crossed) functioning air-con on, you’ll eventually arrive at your destination and embrace the eccentricities of the chirpy Airbnb host who arrives on a 6ft long surfboard/skateboard hybrid he made himself, talks about his Olympic gymnast past and asks for advice on his love life (perhaps only applicable if you stay in the ‘quirky 1 bed apartment’ in Weymouth).
Holidaying in the UK also brings with it a whole new itinerary of daily activities. The abroad fail-safe option of ‘relaxing by the pool with a good holiday read’ doesn’t really wash in Cornwall; the sun might peep out long enough to warrant SPF, but it’s unlikely to be a reliable enough presence for donning your swimwear for the day. Agendas therefore take on a more active shape with an abundance of sight-seeing walks, surf lessons, paddle boarding, manor house visits and hikes. If the UK does one thing right, it’s scenery. Even on a soggy, windy day you can’t wish for more when faced with long stretches of rugged coastline curved around pebble beaches or basically anywhere the eye falls in the Lake District.
Once you accept the lack of 4G, learn to negotiate the crowds trying their best to socially distance in cramped seaside towns, and come to terms with having fish and chips for the third night in a row as booking somewhere to eat is nigh on impossible when half of England has descended upon typically tight spots of the country, it’s surprising how many times you hear yourself saying “why do we go to so much effort and spend so much money to leave Great Britain for our holidays, it’s really quite nice here”.