UK Region Guide
Looking for staycation ideas? The UK has it all, from incredible countryside and stunning coastlines to vibrant cities, historic towns and charming villages.
In fact, there is so much to see and do across the nation that planning your camping holiday might seem a bit overwhelming. Never fear, this guide will help you decide where to go and what to do when you get there!
From steep mountains and wild moorland to rolling green hills and soft meadows, the UK has a huge variety of landscapes to explore. There are 15 National Parks and 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to choose from - all of them offer fantastic holiday experiences.
The Peak District is the most popular National Park in the UK and the second most popular in the world. The limestone hills and moorland are a particular highlight for walkers and photography lovers.
For trees it has to be the New Forest, the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley or Galloway Forest Park in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland.
The UK's waterways are also stunning. In particular the Norfolk Broads, Llangollen Canal and, of course, the River Thames.
If you want to be really wowed in the UK then head to one of our exceptional natural wonders, such as the Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall or Dan-yr-Ogof caves in Wales; Cheddar Gorge Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door in England; Fingal's Cave or the Fairy Pools in Scotland; and Giant's Causeway in Northern Island.
Beaches and Coastline
As an island nation, there's not much us Brits like better than a day at the seaside. Fortunately, we're not short of fabulous beaches and coastlines to explore.
If you are thinking about a beach holiday, the regions known for having the best beaches are Devon and Cornwall in England, Pembrokeshire and the Gower Peninsula in Wales, and the highlands and islands of Scotland. But you can find fantastic beaches anywhere there is a coast, from wild and remote windswept shores to sunny coves. Other popular destinations for seaside holidays include Norfolk, Northumberland, and the Isle of Wight.
If you want to take a family beach holiday with plenty of entertainment nearby, the UK has plenty of famous seaside resorts. Offering traditional family holiday fun, these towns can be found all over the UK, each with a slightly different vibe. Why not try hedonistic Brighton in East Sussex, brash and fun Blackpool in Lancashire, bustling Skegness in Lincolnshire, elegant Cromer in Norfolk or ever popular Weymouth in Dorset?
Cities, Towns and Villages
Everywhere you go in the UK you will come across vibrant cities, bustling towns and charming villages. It is fascinating to compare the regional similarities and differences you can find in places even just a few miles away from where you live.
Quieter seaside towns are also a British speciality and some of the most charming options include the wonderful Padstow in Cornwall, Tenby in Pembrokeshire in Wales, Filey in Yorkshire and Fort William in Scotland.
Walking, hiking, cycling, horse-riding, climbing, white water, adrenaline sports, rock sports, fishing, boating, sailing, watersports, golf: the list of outdoor activities on offer is pretty much limitless.
The best way to explore our beautiful landscapes is to get out into them on foot, hooves or wheels. There are 15 National Trails (long distance walking paths) in England and Wales, and a further 26 Great Trails in Scotland.
Some of these are up to 630 miles long, but all can be enjoyed in much shorted stints of course! (See our top ten national trails)
You'll find an excellent network of footpaths, cycle paths and bridleways anywhere you go in the UK.
Cycling is a brilliant way to check out what a region has to offer and there are excellent opportunities for mountain biking too, particularly in upland regions like the Welsh and Scottish Mountains, the Lake District and Yorkshire.
Watersports such as swimming, sailing, boating, surfing, wind surfing, kite surking, paddlesports and so on can be practised up and down the coast and on our many rivers, lakes and waterways. It is normally very easy to enjoy taster session, hire gear and find instruction wherever you go.
For a fun day out you could try one of the latest adrenalin sports to pop up in the UK. Coasteering involves navigating your way around the coast by rock climbing, swimming and cliff jumping, and is brilliant fun. Pembrokeshire in Wales is the home of this sport, but there are many places to try it including in Dorset and Cornwall.
Go Wild with the Animals
Britain is teeming with wildlife and our national parks and protected landscapes are great places to spot birds and animals in their natural habitats.
If you are wild about wildlife, National Nature Reserves can be found all over the UK and these offer great opportunities to experience the best of UK wildlife and geology. There are 224 national nature reserves in England, 73 in Scotland, 67 in Wales and 48 in Northern Ireland. In addition, the RSPB maintains over 200 nature reserves in the UK (some are also National Nature Reserves - there's some Great British bureaucracy for you!).
For coast and marine wildlife from porpoises to puffins, try a day trip to the Farne Islands in Northumberland, Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire, Lundy Island in Devon or the St Kilda archipelago in Scotland. (See our top ten UK wildlife experiences)
But it isn't all about having an animal experience of a lifetime. Kids have just as much fun at the local farm, looking at the lambs and piglets!
The UK has a fascinating past and there are thousands of amazing historic buildings of all ages and purposes to explore on your holidays.
There are 25 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including important buildings like Canterbury Cathedral, areas like Ironbridge Gorge preserved for its industrial heritage, and entire cities such as Bath famed for its Roman history.
Stonehenge in Wiltshire should not be missed – it's the most famous prehistoric monument in the world. But we also have lots of other must see megalithic sites: stone circles, standing stones, burial chambers, rock art and prehistoric villages. Highlights include the Callanish Stone Circle in the Scottish Hebrides, Castlerigg in Cumbria, Arbor Low in Derbyshire, Skara Brae Neolithic Village in Orkney, and the Avebury Stone Circle in Wiltshire.
Also interesting are the England's ancient chalk hill figures such as the Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset, the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire and the Long Man of Wilmington in Sussex.
Another world famous landmark not to be missed is Hadrian's Wall, which runs coast to coast in northern England and remains intact in many places, most notably Northumberland. The Romans left their mark on Britain in many other places too, for example Chedworth Roman Villa in Gloucestershire, the Roman Baths in Bath and Vindolanda in Northumberland.
The UK landscape is covered with castles. Wherever you go there will be a castle in easy reach, from remote ruins to huge impressive fortifications: there are over 1500 surviving castles in England alone. A trip to a castle makes a brilliant day out, and many of the larger and better preserved castles offer all kinds of attractions that will keep people all ages entertained for hours. Good examples include Bodiam in Sussex, Caernarfon in Wales, Tintagel in Cornwall and Stirling in Scotland.
Stately homes are another shining example of our history and can be these stunning buildings are rich in cultural attractions and often contain museums, art galleries and have stunning gardens and grounds. Both Yorkshire and Derbyshire have a high concentration of stately homes but you will find them in every county. Some of the finest examples of country house architecture are Chatsworth House in the Peak District, Castle Howard in Yorkshire, Burghley House in Lincolnshire and Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.
Each region you visit will have a whole wealth of history unique to its past, if you are up for a spot of culture, every region of the UK is populated with excellent museums, art galleries and gardens to visit.
Fun Family Days Out
If you are looking for fun days out that every member of the family will enjoy, the UK has a ton of things on offer. This article has already covered a wide range of days out that will appeal to families, such as a day at the beach, exploring history via castles and stately homes, or an active day out in the countryside, but there are a lot of other options too…
Adventure parks like Adrenaline Quarry in Cornwall or high wire and tree top courses like Go Ape (nationwide) are perfect for active families.
Theme parks are always a massive hit with people of all ages and the UK's bigger theme parks provide awesome rides and entertainment. There are theme parks all over: famous examples include Alton Towers in Staffordshire, Thorpe Park in Surrey, Oakwood in Pembrokeshire.
Water parks are also great fun family days out with slides and rides and there are some great water parks across the UK, try Splashdown which has waterparks in Devon and Dorset, Sandcastle Waterpark in Blackpool or Alton Towers Water Park in Staffordshire.
Families who love animals will find a huge amount of options wherever you go. You can see native animals in their natural habitats at any of the nature reserves mentioned above. If animals parks are what you are after, you will not struggle to find excellent zoos and wildlife parks across the country, from Marwell Zoo in Hampshire and Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, to Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire and the Cotswold Wildlife Park in Oxfordshire. Perhaps even The Parrot Zoo in Lincolnshire. Farms and farm parks also make great days out where you can get close to and learn about domestic animals.
If it's raining, you might want to take your explorations underground. There are some spectacular show caves to visit: highlights include Wookey Hole and Cheddar Gorge Caves in Somerset, the National Showcaves Centre for Wales and White Scar Cave in Yorkshire.
Or, for something a bit different, the UK has all kinds of weird and wonderful attractions that make great days out, from Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker in Essex to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and the excellent Museum of Witchcraft in Cornwall, you are sure to find something fascinating and unusual in every region you visit.
If you are looking for free days out, many museums and galleries are free to enter, you could visit an ancient sites or chalk figure, a day at the beach is always free, a day in any one of the incredible landscapes mentioned above, and many cities offer free walking tours.
Festivals and Events
Basing your holiday around an event is a good idea and there is no shortage of brilliant events in the UK. Our arts scene is famous throughout the world and this is the birthplace of top world sports such as football, rugby, tennis and cricket. So whatever you are into, from music, literature and comedy to participation and spectators sports, there are bound to be events that will take your fancy at any time of year.
One of the biggest arts festivals in the world, Edinburgh Festival and Edinburgh Fringe Festival need no introduction. Brighton Festival is also a massive event. We have world famous summer music festivals: Glastonbury (Somerset), T in the Park (Scotland), Isle of Wight, Download, Wireless, and the list goes on and on when you add in the hundreds of smaller and niche festivals.
We also have world class literary festivals from the giants like the Hay Festival and Oxford Literary Festival to smaller highbrow affairs like Wigtown Book Festival in Scotland and Stoke Newington Literary Festival in London.
And finally, you might like to try a holiday based around one of the many scrumptious food festivals in the UK: highlights include Ludlow Food Festival in Shropshire (September), Abergavenny Food Festival in Wales (September), The Isle of Wight Garlic Festival (August), and Jimmy's Sausage and Beer Festival in Suffolk (July).
The UK is also known for its unusual, quirky and eccentric events, many of which have their roots in some very fine old traditions, cheese rolling at Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire, for example, attracts thousands of people every year. Or how about the annual Man Vs Horse Marathon in Wales? Or the World Stone Skimming Championships on the Island of Easdale in Scotland? Keep your eye out for crazy British events, they make for a brilliantly eccentric day out.
Food and Drink
Wherever you choose to holiday in the UK, one of the highlights will be discovering the local food and drink. There are all kinds of classic regional foods to try, for example the Cornish Pasty, Yorkshire pudding, Lancashire hotpot and Bakewell Pudding.
There are also some brilliant regional drinks to sample, like scrumpy cider in the West County or Whisky in Scotland. Wine is on the up and the UK produces some excellent wines, particularly in Kent and Sussex but vineyards can be found all over the country. A trip to a vineyard is a great day out: try Chapel Down in Kent, Ridgeview in Sussex, Denbies in Surrey or Camel Valley Vineyard in Devon.
No Need to Go Abroad
The UK really has so much to offer holiday makers, from family beach holidays to outdoor micro adventures and classy cultural explorations to exciting adrenalin experiences. Once you get exploring you might find you never want to go abroad again!
- County Durham
- Forest of Dean & Wye Valley
- Isle of Man
- Isle of Wight
- Lake District
- New Forest
- North York Moors
- Peak District
- South Downs
- The Broads
- Tyne and Wear
- Yorkshire Dales
- Northern Ireland