2020 has been a strange ol’ year so far, hasn’t it? If, as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, someone had whispered in my ear that there was going to be a global pandemic and the world as we knew it would change I would have brushed them off as having one too many celebratory shandies and having lost their senses. But here we are – it’s really happening. So, as we get used to the way things are now we are starting to think about how we can rebuild a semblance of our old life within the realms of the new, safe way of living, and one of those things that people are looking forward to is taking a break and going on holiday.
(Because, let’s be honest, I think the majority of us are in need of getting away from it all and checking out of everyday life for a while. I know I am!)
We were actually really lucky – or unlucky, depending on how you look on it – as we had three holidays booked this year (two of them being a UK holiday), but all of them were cancelled due to the pandemic (understandably). Our first holiday was a return to Bideford in Devon after a lovely long weekend spent there previously, then we had a weekend booked in Norfolk with my best friend and her family, and finally we were jetting off to Crete (my soul home) for 11 days and nights of bliss during which we were hoping to meet a wedding planner! A disappointment but we completely understood the reason why this had to be done.
But as we start to see the holiday industry opening back up I thought I’d share some of the UK holiday destinations I’ve visited and loved.
Let’s start with this one as it’s one of the places we were booked to go and somewhere I’ve been lots of times before. Devon is an absolute dream of a location here in the UK – in fact, I love it so much that my cat is named Devon and the other’s official name is Woolacombe Wilf, after a particularly lovely area with a beautiful beach that I’ve spent many an hour sitting on watching the waves.
One of my favourite things about Devon is the whole vibe of the area. Everything feels a little less rushed, a little more laid-back and I always feel like time has no meaning there. Plus, the locals there are so friendly! The countryside is endless, the beaches are beautiful, and the food and drink there is so, so good! You have got to have fish and chips by the beach if you go there – they’ll be the best you’ve ever had! Obviously you have to stop off for cream tea whilst you’re there too, but make sure you make it the Devon way (cream then jam)!
One of our favourite places we visited when last there was a little village called Clovelly – but, be warned, you’ll need comfortable shoes and a good set of knees as the road that runs through the village down to the harbour is extremely steep, but there’s some lovely pubs there if you need to take the weight off your feet and get some refreshments! Years ago they used to use donkeys to take people up and down the road, but these days they’ll transport you from the bottom via car if you don’t feel you’ll be able to make it. However, the donkeys are still there and you can go and give them a stroke – we spent ages ruffling their ears!
We visited Wells last year without really meaning to – it was booked purely as we were going overnight ghost hunting at Shepton Mallet Prison – but we absolutely loved it there and have said we would really like to go back. We didn’t know anything about the area before we went, but when we arrived we found a beautiful, leafy area with some of the most incredible houses! After popping into the town for a walk during one of the days we were there, we found ourselves in the middle of an absolutely stunning historical area with a huge cathedral, surrounded by incredible gardens. We covered so much ground during that one day, exploring as much as we could in the time we had, but we definitely want to go back one day. We only realised after we left that it was actually where Hot Fuzz was filmed too!
A couple of years ago Ben took me to Windsor for the day as a surprise but when we got there we were having such a brilliant time that we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to stay overnight. We walked down by the river and watched the (many!) swans, we visited the castle, we had dinner at a beautiful steak restaurant, and visited a few of the local pubs. It was quite strange to be drinking a glass of wine in the pub and think that the Queen was so nearby!
The home of William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon is brimming with history. The streets are lined with old buildings, all slightly wonky with movement over the years, and full of grandeur. You can, of course, visit sites related to Shakespeare, such as his childhood home, the site where he built his house as an adult, the church that he worshipped in, and even his grave, but there is so much more to the town than just him. There is a beautiful river running along which you can walk and watch the swans and ducks, there are restaurants and pubs galore, and beautiful parks to explore. We had such a lovely weekend there!
Another destination where we spent just one day and night (a flying visit for me to get a tattoo done!) but we fitted in as much as possible while we were there! We got up early and walked around the historical centre, taking in the old buildings – of which the incredible University is probably the most stunning – and sitting by the river watching both nature and people go by in their canoes and gondolas. There was so much more that we didn’t get a chance to see that I can definitely envisage a return in the years to come!
Our first holiday together, I took Ben here for his birthday when we first started dating. I’d been to Edinburgh before and fell in love with it and I just knew that Ben would feel the same – and he did! With it’s split between the old town and the new town, the hilltop castle, cobbled streets, incredible buildings that rise and fall with the various levels of the town, and so much history everywhere you turn, I feel like it’s somewhere you could visit time and time again and never get bored – and round every single corner is another perfect photo opportunity; it really is stunning!. A little bit of my heart definitely stayed there when we left!
Holidaying in the shadow of a pandemic is never going to be the same as before and we all need to take all the precautions necessary, but if you are in need of a break this year and feeling a bit too anxious about travelling abroad, there are so many amazing UK holiday destinations to choose from!
A little disclaimer here: Obviously, before booking and travelling, be sure to check the latest Government advice, and research the area you’re looking to go to as well, just in case they have any special measures in place. You might also need to think about pre-booking anything you want to do while you’re there, as with social distancing in place and fewer staff members for a lot of businesses, there may be less availability. Also, take your PPE! Masks, gloves and anti-bacterial gel are your friend.
I really hope that soon we will see this pandemic beaten and we can go back to how life used to be, but until then, we have to make the most of what we have and this little island of ours has everything we need for a fantastic holiday.
This post is a collaboration with Hotels.com but all comments and views are my own
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