The best coastal staycations in the UK

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We’ve waited all year for it, and summer is finally here. While this year may be different as far as travel as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, that doesn’t mean you have to skip out on a summer holiday. Yes, you could hop on a plane to Europe or farther away this summer, but many see July and August as the best months to enjoy the U.K. — especially when you may not feel comfortable hopping on a plane right now. Enter the ‘staycation‘.

Related: Summer staycation gets a boost: England tourism to reopen from 4 July

Hardly a new concept, the term became commonplace after the 2008 financial collapse and is increasingly popular for summer 2020. Whether travelling by train, car, ferry or plane, we at TPG U.K. are interested in all things Britain this summer. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but here is our round-up of the best places to staycation in the UK this season.

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North — Isle of Skye

Rather than head to Norway for rugged landscapes and exploring the outdoors, go north this summer to the Isle of Skye off of Scotland’s northwest coast. Top sights on Isle of Skye focus on hiking to see the stunning views of the rugged coastline including Old Man of Storr and Quraing, or braving the elements in the cold waters of the Fairy Pools. If you want to get a bit off the beaten path, visit Brother’s Point for a one-hour hike with stunning views of the coastline just up from Old Man of Storr. For rainy days, check out the pubs in Portree and visit Dunvegan Castle, the island’s lone castle.

Related: From paradise beaches to world-class golf, here’s why Scotland should be on your bucket list

Leuchtturm Neist Point, Nationalpark Isle of Skye, Schottland, Großbritanien
Leuchtturm Neist Point (Photo courtesy Getty Images)

Part of the adventure of the Isle of Skye starts with the journey there. Many people enjoy the drive because the journey on the A82 is a scenic road trip. By train, you can go from Glasgow to Mallaig (approximately six hours) and then take the 20-minute ferry across. Otherwise, you can go by train from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh and over the Skye Bridge. You can also take “the last manually operated turntable ferry in Scotland” ferry from Glenelg to Kylerea on Isle of Skye. The closest airport is Benbecula Airport, a private Scottish regional airport on another island.

Related: 5 of the coolest ferry journeys from the UK

South — Cornwall

Pristine blue water, seafood and a castle? We’re not talking about Croatia, but Cornwall. Head to Kynace Cove, a National Trust site, to see the almost-tropical looking waters around the cliffs.

Related: Leave your passport at home: 7 UK destinations with an international feel

Kynance Cove Cornwall England

Save yourself a trip to Le Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy and stay here in the U.K. A trip to St Michael’s Mount, the castle resting on a tidal basin 500 metres off the coast, can be a holiday highlight. The little island off the coast of Penzance is linked by a manmade causeway and accessible by foot or a short boat ride. Double-check the timetables, as the castle is closed on Saturdays and gardens are closed Thursday to Saturday.

St Michaels Mount Cornwall with rainbow
St Michael’s Mount (Photo courtesy of Mike Newman / St Michael’s Mount)

If you want to spend time nearby St Michael’s Mount, you can stay in a holiday cottage perched above the castle with a balcony overlooking it.

Related: How to use your points and miles for a UK beach staycation

Cornwall can take longer to reach from other parts of the U.K. than Europe, but Visit Cornwall insists it is a five-hour drive from London. It is highly driveable and is well connected by rail to Penzance station, including the Night Riviera Sleeper Service from Paddington. Megabus and National Express also serve Cornwall by coach.

East — North Norfolk

In North Norfolk, you’ll find beaches and lavender, save yourself a trip to the south of France and have authentic fish and chips to boot.

Nearly 100 acres of lavender fields are waiting for you near the western coast of Norfolk and are open until 17 August.

Norfolk Lavender farm
Norfolk Lavender (Photo by Geography Photos/Universal Images Group / Getty Images)

For your beach time, head to Holkham Bay, often considered Britain’s top beach. If you’re seeking a proper fish and chips, head down to French’s in Wells-next-the-Sea and round your stay off in one of the iconic multi-coloured beach huts along the coastline.

The nearest airports to North Norfolk are London Stansted and Norwich International, then you’ll need a car or travel by rail. The closest train stations are Cromer or Sheringham. National Express travels daily into north Norfolk from the Midlands, London and the southeast.

Related: Your guide to the UK’s many staycation-worthy islands

West — Pembrokeshire, Wales

Sometimes called a less-busy version of Cornwall, Pembrokeshire is known to have the most beautiful coastline in the U.K. with 52 beaches, a dedicated National Park and the smallest city in Britain, St. Davids.

Pembrokeshire has a variety of accommodation, and AvGeeks will want to check out the private 1970s jet that has been converted into an Airbnb for up to four people.

Related: Castles, culture and Cardiff: 4 reasons why Wales is on my bucket list

1970s private jet airbnb in wales
‘The jetstar’ (Photo courtesy of Airbnb)

The closest airport to Pembrokeshire is Cardiff (CWL). The well-connected Pembrokeshire rail station encourages many visitors to arrive by train. Should you wish to avoid a car hire or driving once you arrive, the Pembrokeshire coastline has its own bus routes called the Puffin Shuttle and the Strumble Shuttle.

Once you’re in Norfolk, the quaint The Wells & Walsingham and beach railways are fun to explore, and the local coach services make it possible to get around without driving.

Bottom line

The U.K. is largely an island. And as such, you can expect to find miles upon miles of coastline. While in years past, we may have passed over the beaches here on our doorstep, the summer of 2020 is the perfect time to explore them. Whether you’re heading north, east, south or west, you can experience some terrific beaches that are accessible by car.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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