Planning a staycation this year? After a couple of years of turmoil (spent largely indoors) we all deserve an escape – even if that means driving just a few miles down the road.
But with so many looking forward to a holiday this year, where are the best staycation destinations in the UK? Places where you can get away from it all and let your car stretch its legs a little?
For those planning a UK break this year, we’ve put together a complete list of staycation spots that are perfect for drivers. Covering England, Wales and Scotland, these destinations are ideal for putting your car through its paces and enjoying some much-needed family time.
Choose Your Region
Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors
Boasting two national parks and mile upon mile of scenic drives, Yorkshire offers no shortage of staycation options for those keen on a rural – or coastal – escape. Between the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors, motorists will find plenty to see and do this summer, as well as the opportunity to drive some of northern England’s best roads.
If you’re ready to strap on the walking boots and hit the trail, there’s nowhere better than the Dales, whose Three Peaks – Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent – are beloved by walkers. Or, if you’d prefer fine coastal scenery with the option to lounge on the beach, make for one of Yorkshire’s fine Blue Flag beaches; Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay and Runswick Bay to name a few.
Destination options: Whitby, Scarborough, Pickering, Settle, Hawes and Masham
With its big skies, open spaces and remote beauty spots, Northumbria may be the perfect antidote to a year of lockdowns. From Kielder Forest to Lindisfarne, this idyllic English county is revered for its peaceful walks and illustrious history – the perfect place to escape for a few days of staycation R&R.
Because it’s so big and there’s so much to see, Northumbria is prime for a driving holiday. Start your trip in the Kielderhead Natural Reserve, a place known for its majestic nights’ skies, before proceeding to Northumberland’s beautiful North Sea coast, dotted with castles, beaches and cosy pubs.
Destination options: Seahouses, Bamburgh, Alnwick, Otterburn
Lake District National Park
There’s a reason the Lake District is one of the UK’s best-loved staycation destinations. With spectacular scenery, quaint towns and villages, and endless outdoor activities, Cumbria’s iconic national park is on par with the best that Europe has to offer.
As well as endless beauty spots, did we mention that the Lake District is also home to its share of great driving roads? From the 48-mile Ambleside to Ullswater trail to the A591 Kendal to Keswick route – Cumbria’s roads are regularly voted some of the best driving routes in Britain.
Destination options: Kendal, Grasmere, Buttermere, Cockermouth, Bowness-on-Windermere
Warm weather and iconic coastal scenery make the South Downs a great staycation option for those hoping to escape to the south of England. An hour from London, this AONB is perfect for walkers and beachgoers alike, as well as those hoping to enjoy the very best of the summer sunshine.
The South Downs National Park has a lot to offer drivers, with incredible scenery capturing the best of town and country. Add to that a close proximity to stimulating coastal destinations like Chichester, Brighton and Bognor Regis, and you’ll be all set for a memorable UK break.
Destination options: Petworth, Haslemere, Chichester, Brighton
Cornwall and Devon
If you can embrace the busyness, Cornwall and Devon are likely to be among the most popular staycation destinations for Brits in 2021, thanks to their beautiful beaches and balmy summer weather. Sure, they’re bound to be busy come July and August, but most of us are ready for the hustle and bustle after such a quiet 12 months.
What’s more, drivers are in for a treat in this neck of the woods. Southwest England offers some of the best driving routes in the country, particularly in the far west of Cornwall, where the quiet lanes of ‘the Lizard’ lead to beaches of unparalleled beauty.
Destination options: Where to begin?! Newquay, Bideford, St Austell, Penzance, St Ives
When some people were fleeing the UK for the Costa Del Sol, those in the know were travelling to the Cotswolds. This historic beauty spot has been one of England’s favourite staycation destinations for decades, with chocolate-box villages, rolling hills and an amazing array of country pubs adding up to a charming country retreat.
And that’s not all. The Cotswolds is home to several glorious driving routes, connecting ancient villages and vibrant market towns. We’d recommend the A44, which weaves through the northern Cotswolds and is perhaps less busy than the so-called ‘golden triangle’ around Stow-on-the-Wold.
Destination options: Burford, Stow-on-the-Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh, Chipping Norton
Brecon Beacons National Park
If you’re for an all-outdoors getaway this summer, look no further than the Brecon Beacons National Park. Spectacular rugged moorlands combine with far-reaching mountain views, providing a great backdrop to a country adventure.
What’s more, the Brecon Beacons may be the best place for a driving holiday in the UK. Don’t believe us? Remember, this spectacular national park once featured in an episode of BBC Top Gear.
Destinations options: Hay-on-Wye, Cwmyoy, Crickhowell, Brecon
If you want a coastal getaway in Wales, it has to be Pembrokeshire. Located in the southwest corner of the country, Pembrokeshire is the UK’s only coastal national park, and its beaches, towns and seaside resorts are renowned as some of the best in Britain.
The options are endless if you’re planning a coastal trip to Pembrokeshire. From Tenby, the most popular town in the area, to Saundersfoot, Pembroke and Milford Haven, there are plenty of great bases for enjoying a break in this beautiful corner of Wales.
Destination options: Tenby, Pembroke, Milford Haven, Saundersfoot
Anglesey is a wonderful year-round staycation destination, but if you’re planning a family holiday this summer, you can enjoy the best that the island has to offer. Spectacular beaches and ancient heritage sites mean there’s plenty to see and do, whether you’re happy to laze on the sand or prefer a little culture.
And don’t forget, getting to Anglesey is all part of the fun. Take the scenic route through the Snowdonia National Park, a place known for its spectacular driving routes, before descending down to the Irish Sea, where the iconic Menai Suspension Bridge will take you the rest of the way.
Destination options: Beaumaris, Rhosneigr, Treaddur Bay, Benllech
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs
Of all Scotland’s mesmeric national parks, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs is easily the most accessible and the best for driving lovers. Whether you live in Scotland, England or Wales, the park’s central location means it’s much less of a hike than other destinations north of the border. Plus, it’s well provisioned with roads, towns and villages, making finding a place to stay a doddle.
While there are several historic towns and villages around Loch Lomond, most people travel here for one reason and one reason only: the great outdoors. Whether walking, cycling, canoeing or rock climbing is your thing, you’ll be well catered for in this spectacular region.
Destination options: Callander, Luss, Balloch, Kinlochard
Looking to go deeper into Scotland for a true taste of adventure? Head to the Highlands and experience the splendour of the Cairngorms. This rugged mountain range is among the most picturesque beauty spots in the UK – just make sure to pack your waterproofs, as the weather can be a little changeable here.
What’s more, as far as driving destinations go, there’s no place better than this spectacular region of the Highlands. The A82 is famous for its jaw-dropping scenery, to the point where drivers may struggle to keep their eyes on the road as they pass through.
Destination options: Aviemore, Pitlochry, Braemar, Blair
Isle of Skye
For an even more far-flung staycation this summer, make for the Isle of Skye, which is easily one of Scotland’s most remote and stunning destinations. Littered with ancient castles and otherworldly scenery, Skye appears as if straight from a historical epic – an amazing place to blow out the cobwebs after a year spent largely indoors.
And much like Anglesey, the Cairngorms and Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula, part of the joy of visiting Skye is the journey. You’ll pass through the Highlands, with opportunities to spend a night or two in destinations such as Fort William and Glencoe – something we’d wholeheartedly recommend.
Destination options: Portree, Uig, Borve
So, there you have it, our pick of the best staycation destination for UK drivers in 2021. Don’t forget to prep your car before any long journeys, particularly if you haven’t used it much over the past year. At Prestone, our high-performance car maintenance tools and fluids can help get your car ready for a new season of driving. For more information, visit the homepage.