You might not have noticed in the past few weeks, but British Summer Time is now in full effect. Glastonbury has been and gone and Wimbledon is now in full swing. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to explore our wonderful country during the height of summer before, then do so soon, as there has never been a better time to do it! With wonderful offers including the Young Person’s and Couple’s Railcard, taking to the railways is a far more convenient and affordable option than taking a flight. What’s more, there’s no need to lose out exchanging currencies and you’ll never struggle when asking for directions!
Lets assume that your decision has now been swayed. Already, you’re cancelling the flight to Ibiza and scratching back your deposit on your luxury villa. You’ve got a tonne of cash to spend, and the whole of the UK to explore by rail: happy days. If you’re at a loss of what to do now, have no fear; here are three solid, thoroughly British holidays you can enjoy at the same price of one big summer blow-out.
1) Go to the Seaside
A classic British holiday resort of yore; there was nothing more that Victorian Brits loved than a lovely trip to the seaside. Whilst its fair to argue that a large swathe of British seasides have struggled in the advent of cheap air travel, there are still a handful of charming destinations left here that will have you shelling out a pocketful of ha’pennies for cockles and questioning the alarming amount of ankle on show. With train links to all sections of the coast, there are plenty of viable options.
The top pick from this writer is Llandudno, Wales. Having survived a handful of recessions, as well as few atrocious British Summers, this quaint town captures the very essence of the seaside. Grand, stately hotels line a stunning promenade with a fully functioning tram line, an amusement pier captures the charm of a retro arcade (without the modern-day distractions) and a wealth of Fish and Chip shops serve up the freshest incarnation of one of Britain’s favourite fast foods.
2) Go for a hike
If you’re not quite enthralled with the idea of taking a dip into our chilly waters, then maybe you should keep your feet on dry land and go for a hike through some of our wonderfully accessible mountain ranges. Thanks to our temperate summers, you won’t need to be a Bear Grylls or Ray Mears to survive the great British wilderness, (although packing a fur gilet or two probably wouldn’t be a bad idea!) all you’ll need is a sturdy pair of boots and a rucksack big enough to carry your picnic.
As far as unique destinations go there are a plethora to choose from, all accessible by rail. The top pick, in terms of sheer beauty and access has to be the Peak District. Just hop on a train to Buxton and within minutes of leaving the station you’re surrounded by some of the best countryside that England has to offer. Just make sure you stick to the paths, pack plenty of food and don’t forget that fur gilet; it may be Summer, but every Brit knows not to trust in England’s weather!
3) Take a break in the City
You don’t have to book an easyJet flight to enjoy a metropolitan weekend away. If you’re a country bumpkin in need of a shot of adrenaline or just a city rat looking for change of scenery, Britain’s major cities are packed full of culture, great food and awesome sights. The capital is always the soundest option when consistent weather is being sought after, but for those not wanting to sweat it out on the underground for a weekend, there are other options up North.
You may risk being rained on, but there’s a lot to be said for the big Northern powerhouses of the likes of Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle. Not only will your money stretch further up there, but thanks to fresh money being pumped into these cities you’ll be able to find art galleries, shopping centres and architecture that really push the boundaries of what is expected in a modern British city. There are plenty of decent accommodation options from Air B&B alternatives to solid two-star hotels in the centre of the action, none of which are liable to break the bank, leaving you with more cash to enjoy the vast range of bars, pubs and restaurants on offer.
So there you have it, three rock-solid alternatives to leaving the country this Summer. You may not wow your Instagram followers with exotic locales or your hot dog-leg snaps, but you will be able to enjoy three times as much holiday as your jet-setting colleagues at half the price; and who doesn’t love a bargain?…