This time last year, I was sitting on my sofa feeling conflicted. On the one hand, I was eagerly anticipating my upcoming trip to Playa Del Carmen in Mexico, but on the other, I felt like something was missing. We would be spending 11 nights in Mexico, but as a teacher, I would be spending another three weeks, at home, twiddling my thumbs. It didn’t take long for my mind to wander towards another holiday, and after a very short debate over home or abroad, we settled on a weekend staycation to York. There are a variety of reasons a staycation is perfect for a last minute break, so allow me to elaborate.
Firstly, the British landscape is awe-inspiring. From the mountains of the Scottish Highlands, to the beaches of Cornwall, Britain’s landscape is one everyone who lives here should see. Britain’s geography and history surely sets us apart from other countries – just take the incredible valleys of South Wales. They’re Britain’s only mountainous coal fields, were industrialised during the Victorian era, then closed and essentially abandoned in the 80s. The remnants of the industry are a fascinating must see. Moreover, each county seems to have its own personality and quirks, as well as cool independent shops and trinkets: you might want to pop to the Lake District for some Kendal mint cake, Derbyshire for bakewell tarts, and Essex for some Tiptree jam.
If immersing yourself in the landscape isn’t quite your cup of tea, the UK is home to some amazing must-see attractions. My first choice would be something historical – we have a thousand years’ worth of castles to visit, or historical houses. However, if you don’t like Britain’s rich culture, and prefer an adrenaline rush, we have some of the best theme parks in Europe that you could visit. I’ve only been to Chessington and Legoland, but I’ve heard very few complaints about Thorpe Park or Alton Towers.
Perhaps the must see attraction of the UK is the seaside town, lined with slightly tacky but charming arcades. Many of the promenades sport independent chippies, pubs and bars, and we all know there’s nothing better than tucking into a seaside Mr Whippy ice cream, with sauce and a flake, while sitting on the beach wall. Plus, there’s no attraction so quintessentially British as taking a walk along the pier on a summer afternoon.
Truly though, a huge pull towards staycations for me is how straightforward they can be. Instead of the hassle of airports and transfers, all locations are within day’s drive away. Our public transport system is pretty good too, so although it can be pricey, it wouldn’t take too long for you to pop to a neighbouring city. No one can deny that it’s easier to travel around an area where the locals speak the same language, where the laws are the same, where the currency is the same, where they drive on the correct side of the road. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an incredible experience to visit other countries and cultures, but it comes with stresses that you just don’t get while rambling through the UK.
Although we didn’t stay in a luxury location, didn’t book restaurant reservations or attractions, and poorly coordinated our stay, we had a great time in York. I’m sure, if you booked a last minute staycation today, you wouldn’t regret it!