Secret Britain: Hidden gems for stay-at-home travellers
The UK's holiday hotspots will be packed this summer, as millions forgo overseas trips. All the more reason, says Simon Calder, for you to choose your destination with care
Saturday 17 July 2010
For years, the British have proved to be the bedrock of international tourism. Whatever blight afflicts the travel industry – from disease to terrorism – we can usually be tempted abroad by keen prices and the promise of sunshine.
Starting last year, though, our seeming insatiable appetite for overseas travel went into reverse. The plummetting pound and recession – combined with the stress and uncertainty of 21st century air travel – have been dampening our appetite for foreign parts. According to the Office for National Statistics annual Travel Trends survey, we took 15 per cent fewer foreign trips last year. While some of the figures in the report have raised eyebrows (no-one in the travel industry seems able to substantiate a claimed fall of 60 per cent in UK visitors to Barbados, for example), we have evidently cut back greatly on foreign trips, which were down 10 million last year, according to the survey.
That does not mean an equal and opposite boost to British tourism. Indeed, half the people who chose not to travel abroad are pursuing a "staycation" in the original sense of that term – staying in their homes, but exploring the local area. The increase in domestic trips with at least one overnight stay was just five million.
Even that is good news for the domestic travel industry; but it also means a more crowded Britain in the summer months. With the school holidays about to begin in England and Wales, holidaymakers who have not yet finalised their plans would be well-advised to think laterally.
The usual British holiday suspects – Cornwall, Snowdonia, the Lakes – are heavily booked. So the shrewd traveller will choose a destination that is off the beaten track and where space is still available. At the risk of creating another term as irritating as "glamping" (glamorous camping), choosing a holiday in an under- visited part of Great Britain and Northern Ireland could be termed a "UKation". Whatever it is called, such a trip could involve going to extremes, such as Lough Erne or the Isle of Lewis in the far north-west of the kingdom. But you can find equally fine scenery and solitude inside the M25 if you track down the North Downs Way. And, fringeing Scotland's third city, Aberdeen, there is a beach to match Barcelona's.
The 10 destinations featured here might not spring automatically to mind when the subject of UK holidays is mentioned, but that is all the more reason why they might repay your investigation.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
- 4 Pansexual: What is it - and when did the term gain popularity?
- 5 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms
£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...
£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...
£26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Product Development departm...
£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...