Over the last 18 months, the term staycation has entered many holidaymakers vocabulary. With the Euro at an all-time low against the pound, and uncertainty in the jobs market, the prospect of a weekend away in the UK appealed to a large percentage of the population. With the UK hopefully on the verge of emerging from the darkest times, find out why UK City Breaks may stay just as popular in summers to come.
First decision for staycationers is where in the UK to visit. The most obvious decision is London, which offers something for everyone. Sightseeing-fans can enjoy the traditional sights of the Tower of London, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and so much more. Even regular visitors to London are highly unlikely to have seen it all. An hour on the train can land you amongst the beautiful royal city of Windsor, home to the Castle and a Royal Visit if you are lucky, Chessington Theme Park, Thorpe Park and Legoland. A boat trip down the Thames can take you to Hampton Court, and a quick trip on the Tube can see you on a guided tour of Wimbledon Centre Court in no time.
With several rail stations, all in the heart of the city, travelling by train removes the hassle associated with out-of-town airports and the usual taxi costs or waiting times for luggage and transfer coaches. London Kings Cross serves the East Coast of England and Scotland, with a journey-time of around 3 hours to Newcastle and just 4.5 to Edinburgh. With regular first-class ticket offers for booking ahead, it needn’t be as expensive as claimed.
Upon arrival in London, your hotel is likely to be near some of the most famous landmarks in the world. Stay at the end of Oxford Street at famous names like the Cumberland and Marriott and be just seconds from Marble Arch and Hyde Park. Book the Copthorne Tara in Kensington and be near Harrods and Harvey Nichols, or stay on the Strand and watch the real West End come to life at night with an endless row of theatre shows just minutes walk from Covent Garden. Oyster Cards make tube travel a cheap way to explore by bus or tube, with tube journeys from just £1.60 per single and £3.80 a day, and bus journeys across the capital from just £1.
Great last-minute offers on West End shows, especially through the week, make evenings out very affordable. Pre-theatre dinner menus in a host of central restaurants allow you to relax and enjoy your night out in style. Many famous chefs such as Marco Pierre White, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey and Gary Rhodes base their restaurants in London, with a seemingly never ending choice of bars and restaurants.
For those who don’t fancy a trip to London or really have seen it all, the UK has plenty more to offer. Edinburgh in August houses the Festival and Tattoo, with bookings needed to be made early as the city becomes very busy during this time.
Newcastle has gained a well-deserved reputation as a great city for a night out. Regularly ranked amongst the to 10 in the world, the famous Bigg Market and Quayside provide bars and clubs for all tastes. Sports teams such as Newcastle United (it’s much easier to get a ticket these days), Newcastle Vipers, Newcastle Eagles and Newcastle Diamonds offer the men plenty of weekend activity while the women enjoy the shops of Eldon Square, Monument Mall and the Metro Centre. Restaurants such as Azzuri, Piccolinos and Blackfriars are a gourmet delight, with the Gate offering a huge range of restaurants bars and a cinema.