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Our Ultimate Guide to a Socially-Distanced Staycation This Year

As your dreams of sun-kissed Mediterranean beaches fadequicker than your grandma’s holiday snaps you may be feeling a bit glum aboutyour summer holiday choices for this year.

But don’t despair. Britain has so much to offer! If the ideaof a wet weekend at the seaside doesn’t float your boat, then read on.

Self-catering top of the list
Given that hotels will take a while to get back on their feet, more and more ofus are realising that self-catering may well be the answer to asocially-distanced getaway.

The unpredictability of the British weather has long been agood enough reason to jump on a plane and head for the sun. But let’s be honest,dragging two tired toddlers through the airport as you make a dash for thedeparture gate isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. And having spent half your firstweek’s spending budget in the shops at the airport, you may be wondering ifit’s all worth it.

While camping holidays and country cottages are still ourgo-to choice for holidaying at home, there are plenty of other ways to rechargethe batteries, keep the family happy and stay safe.

Britain is a country known for its creativity and nowhere isthis truer than in the country’s holiday industry. With our tourism sectorhaving to compete with Europe’s holiday hotspots that creativity has come tothe fore; the range of unusual options for a UK break is almost endless, andfor many self-catering options are top of the list for best picks.

From luxury yurts to 5-star campsites, we’ve got it all!

So, to get you started here are Holidaysafe’s top socially-distancedand self-catering staycation picks for 2020.

Camping
There has been a resurgence in the UK camping scene. No longer does campingmean putting up a tent in a field full of cow pats or trying to light a campingstove in a force eight gale.

If that’s your thing and the kids are up for a bit of back-to-basics,then there are still sites where you can pitch up with your tent and set upcamp in a field. But you’re more likely to be pitching your tent in a campsitewith all mod cons. From the basics like hot showers and barbeque areas, you canalso find pools, saunas, hot tubs, clubs for the kids and evening entertainment.

Some of the camping locations in Britain are absolutelystunning. Waking up every morning to a breath-taking view over a bay is hard tobeat. Or maybe you fancy making a camp in the woods? The kids can explore whileyou rustle up dinner and although some of the facilities may be a bit basic,woodland sites like Foxwood Camping (foxwoodcamping.co.uk) in the South Downs National Park are alwaysa big hit for families looking for a true taste of outdoor life.

Glamping
The origins of the word glamping are unclear. It’s short for ‘glamorouscamping’ and is one of the more recent additions to the self-catering scene. Thebig difference between camping and glamping is summed up in one word.

Luxury.

There has been a boom in this type of holiday in recentyears. It attracts those of us who want the joys of living in the open air butdon’t fancy trudging to the communal showers for our morning rituals.

Among the most popular are Yurts – round-walled structures, with a canvas exterior which originated in Turkey and Russia. But actually, glamping is more a question of comfort than structure – so tipis, pods, cubes and domes are all out there for discovering. If you want to know more, the Lake District National Park has a beginner’s guide with everything you need to know.

Caravan
We’ve all been stuck behind them on narrow country lanes, and perhapscursed as they trundle along at a steady 32 miles an hour with a two-mile tailof traffic behind them. But if you’re behind the wheel, towing your ownpersonal space then the perspectives are a whole lot different.

And if you fancy giving it a go, you can hire caravans foras little as £200 per week (although there will be a deposit to pay on top). Thebeauty is you can go where you like, although it’s always advisable to book asite in advance. The positives of caravanning are endless, you can pull up fora cuppa in a layby, take your own stuff with you and snuggle down to yourfavourite TV programmes in the evening.

You’ll be joining some illustrious company if you take tothe road with your caravan in tow – Mick Jagger, Lorraine Kelly and RioFerdinand have all shared their love for the freedom and flexibility it offers.

Campervan
If the thought of towing a caravan behind your car puts you off as a bitchallenging, you can always hire a campervan – the next best thing.

At the top end you have fully-fitted mobile palaces thatoffer luxury and space in equal measure. The classic American-style Winnebago maybe beyond most people’s budget, but there are affordable smaller campervansthat are just as much fun.

These mobile homes are great fun for the family and come with all the home comforts you could possibly want. Demand is likely to be high this year, given the number of people who will be staying in the UK, so it’s advisable get in early for the best deals. The Cool Camping website has a useful guide for beginners that’s worth checking out.

Country Cottage
If you think of self-catering, the first image that comes to mind is probably acountry cottage – somewhere remote (but not too far from the village pub) andpeaceful. We all dream of finding that rustic (but not too rustic) gem, full ofcharacter with breath-taking views of the surrounding countryside.

Rustling up delicious meals on the built-in Aga, sitting bythe open fire listening to the sounds of nature outside – it’s what many of usdream of to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

They’re a favourite of families with young children, as theycan be exciting and different, while offering some control of yoursurroundings. Location is the key. Cottages with sea views or with a river atthe bottom of the garden tend to get snapped up first so you’ll need to be onyour toes!

Treehouses
They come in all shapes and sizes. They’re found in all kinds of unusualplaces. But they all have one thing in common – they’re nestled in woods andforests all over the UK.

As people seek out more and more unusual places to stay,treehouses have shot up the ‘trendy location’ charts. You’re up there with thebirds in the trees, in your own little nest – and think of the photos you canshare with the rest of your family back home.

If you’re worried about the kids making the climb up to thehouse, then there are child-safe options around, but bigger kids will love it.

They come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re feeling flush you could try a few nights in the treehouses at the luxury Chewton Glen in Hampshire – but at £950 a night it might be out of the reach of most people’s budgets. But there are plenty of cheaper options around and comes highly recommended as a self-catering holiday with a difference.

…and finally how about a night behind bars?
If you look hard enough there’s no end of unusual places to stay, canal boats,river cruisers, lighthouses and even converted chapels.

And no, we’re not suggesting you go and rob a bank to getlocked up. But if you want a real taste of solitary then how about booking aprison cell for a night? It does (just about) sleep two (in bunks) and thebeach is just a three-minute walk away.

Penny Rope is hidden in a Georgian property in the heart of Margate which has undergone a transformation in recent years and is seen these days as a cool, hipster hang-out.   It’s a bit short on natural light, and the catering is on the basic side, but think of the raised eyebrows when you get home and tell your friends you stayed in a prison cell for the night.


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