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11 UK stay-cays that could be abroad

Get ahead of the crowds for when we can take a stay-cay *crosses everything* with these 11 UK holiday spots with a distinctly foreign feel - can you guess where they are?

With overseas travel still precarious, 2021 could once again be the year of the staycation. While the potentially dodgy weather is beyond my control, I can help with some sexy suggestions for UK breaks that have a pleasingly overseas vibe. Allons-y …

Like Copenhagen? Try Tenby, Wales

Tenby, Wales

Fun fact: the Welsh name for Tenby means ‘little town of the fishes’, which seems appropriate seeing as this pastel-palette Pembrokeshire town is famed for its fishing history, delicious fresh seafood and four golden beaches (Castle Beach was even named The Sunday Times Beach of the Year last year). It’s not all postcard sunsets, colourful houses and mild weather though (although that certainly is a draw) – there’s plenty of culture and art here to keep you entertained. Don’t miss Caldey Island, which is just a 20-minute boat ride away.

Like Provence? Try the Cotswolds 

The Cotswolds

There’s a reason that this bucolic part of the country often pops up on lists of must-see British holiday destinations – historic architecture, gorgeous landscapes and amazing dining options – you can even get your Provençal-style lavender fix by visiting Cotswold Lavender in Broadway (above). If you get sick of the countryside (with those views? As if), pop into Cheltenham, Oxford or Bath for a smattering of culture.

Like the Amalfi Coast? Try Portmeirion, Wales 

Portmeirion, Wales

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, this is definitely Wales! It’s no coincidence that this super-cute corner of the country looks like it hopped straight out of an Italian postcard, as designer Sir Clough Williams-Ellis was reportedly a big fan of the Italian Riviera (aren’t we all?). You’ll get the (practically) the same amazing sea views and beach walks in Portmeirion as you would in Portofino, and the weather is generally pretty lovely – although we’d recommend packing your umbrella all the same.

Like Corsica? Try the Isles of Scilly

Isle of Scilly

White sand beaches, plenty of local seafood and wine, and water sports and local wildlife for days – without a doubt, you don’t need chic Mediterranean islands when you’ve got the Isles of Scilly. Sure, the average temperature may be slightly lower, but Scilly still boasts some of the best weather in the UK, and rarely gets packed with tourists even in the height of summer.

Like the Alps? Try Snowdonia, Wales

Snowdonia, Wales

For a mountain range on your doorstep, Snowdonia has to be on every rambler’s bucket list. For the some of the most breathtaking views in the UK, head up Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales – it may take you around three hours, but the sense of achievement (and excellent Insta snaps) makes it totally worth it. Closer to the ground, there are more Welsh castles than you can shake a stick at, as well as the Italian-style Bodnant Garden, Llanberis Lake Railway for an old-school steam train ride and Swallow Falls waterfalls.

Like the Loire Valley? Try Sussex

Sussex

Hear us out! The British wine industry is having a hell of a moment, particularly when it comes to sparkling wine, so if you’re on the hunt for a vineyard holiday, there’s no need to head over the channel. There are some fantastic vineyards in Blighty, but our top pick has to be Sussex, home of English sparkling wine Nyetimber (above) and Bolney Wine Estate. Pop in for a winery tour and private tasting before exploring West Sussex’s other biggest tourist pull, South Downs National Park.

Like Alcudia in Spain? Try Treen in Cornwall

We mean … does this need any words?? You’ll be lost for them if you make it to this stunning beach located in the deep south west of Cornwall. It’s a rough and ready climb down some rocks to reach it but once you get there it’ll feel like you’ve stumbled into paradise. Or, head for it’s even easier to access neighbour Porthcurno Beach. Just minutes away is the amazing Minack Theatre where you can catch cliff-top outdoor theatre throughout the summer overlooking this view.

Like Finland? Try Shetland

Shetland

Looking at pictures of Shetland, it’s hard to believe that these Scottish islands didn’t pop straight out of a Game of Thrones book – which is partly to do with the jaw-dropping scenery, and partly to do with Shetland’s strong Norse history. In fact, the place is so unique that it made Lonely Planet‘s top 10 destinations in the whole of Europe last year. Time it right and you’ll be able to see the Northern Lights (apparently they’re most visible in summer).

Like Lake Garda? Try Windermere, Cumbria

Windermere, Cumbria

It’s the UK’s biggest national park so there’s naturally a lot to choose from here but we say head straight for the big guns with the largest lake, Windermere. There’s year-round boating and cruises on offer here, as well as a wealth of water sports as you’d expect, but if you don’t want to spend your entire holiday in a life jacket, then head out to HRiSHi at The Gilpin Hotel for a Michelin-starred dining experience, or strike out onto one of the many Wordsworth-worthy walks nearby.

Like the Greek islands? Try the Scottish Isles 

Scottish Isles

Instead of island-hopping around Greece, Scotland is the hottest new holiday destination (er, although maybe not literally). They may not have Mediterranean sunshine all year round, but the Scottish Isles regularly top lists of the most beautiful beaches in Britain – and you’re guaranteed to battle fewer tourists than if you head to any of their southern cousins. Plan a trip around the islands that take your fancy (we love Mull, Lewis and Harris), hitting up as many whisky tastings as you can on the way, and you’ll barely feel the cold of the water *hic*.

Like San Sebastián? Try Ludlow, Shropshire

Ludlow, Shropshire

The northern Spanish city of San Sebastián is famed for its food but there’s plenty to keep your tastebuds entertained closer to home in Ludlow, Shropshire. Food festivals abound with plenty of local produce to scoff and quaff. In normal times there’s the Ludlow Spring Festival (May) which combines food and drink with classic cars and live music, while Ludlow Magnalonga in August blends feasting with an 8-mile countryside ramble. Keep everything crossed and get planning!

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