Going abroad is a real treat but if you plan on keeping it local and exploring the beautiful places we have here at home, you'll want to know the best UK holidays to experience at least once.
Providing you with quaint villages, sublime countryside and dramatic mountains, not to mention beautiful cities beyond London and Edinburgh, the best UK holiday destinations leave you with memories you won't make anywhere else in the world.
If you've always dreamed of taking to the Scottish Highlands and riding the legendary Jacobite train, or going on a luxurious spa break in the unsung Leicestershire countryside, you'll want to read on for inspiration to tick these holidays (and more) off your travel bucket list.
And because we don't do things by halves at Good Housekeeping, we've brought you a selection of exclusive UK breaks and hotel offers in these wonderful locations, which you can book safe in the knowledge that you'll travel with like-minded readers. Here are the top holidays in the UK, from the Isles of Scilly to Norfolk.
1. Get to know Scotland's coastline on a luxurious boutique cruise
From checking into the best hotels in Scotland and swish Scottish spas, there are so many ways to explore this beautiful country and we've got a couple in this roundup. One way to explore the country is by going beyond the cities and discovering the stunning coastline on a yacht-style cruise ship.
From the pretty town of Oban to the waterside ruins of Urquhart Castle, some of Scotland's wildest and most picturesque beauty spots are best seen on a boutique cruise. Taking place in spring when you can witness the beautiful colours of the season too, Good Housekeeping's luxurious sailing on the Lord of the Glens ship is the perfect way to see Scotland in style. You'll pause in front of the ruins of Urquhart Castle, get to know colourful Tobermory on foot and visit a whisky distillery in Oban.
Alternatively, add some celebrity appeal to your next getaway by joining TV star and Scotswoman Carol Kirkwood on a luxurious sailing around Scotland's Highlands, where you'll get to meet her and listen to an exclusive talk about her career.
2. Explore the great gardens of Cornwall
Cornwall is known for its outstanding natural scenery, with long stretches of golden sand, towering cliffs and azure waters. As well as its spectacular natural landscapes, the county is home to several of the UK’s finest gardens. Here you’ll find the incredible Lost Gardens of Heligan, which were once buried by brambles but have been beautifully restored and are now considered to be some of the finest gardens in the UK.
Spring is an extremely special season in Cornwall, when colourful blooms make this pretty county even more appealing. Join us on a short break in March and you’ll visit some of Cornwall’s best gardens, including the mysterious Lost Gardens of Heligan. What makes this six-day trip even more special is the company of gardening expert Helen Yemm, who’ll give a talk and accompany your visits to Trewidden House and Trebah Garden.
3. Soak up the quaint beauty of the Cotswolds
If you’re after quintessential English countryside, with gently rolling hills, honey-coloured cottages, limestone hills and ancient pubs, Cotswolds could be the spot for you. This postcard-perfect area of southern England draws visitors from all over the world, many of whom are attracted by the range of fabulous gardens to be found here. There’s Batsford Arboretum, which has a large collection of rare trees, Painswick Rococo Garden, with its stunning annual snowdrop displays, and the historic gardens of Sudeley Castle, where you can walk in the footsteps of past kings and queens, to name just a few.
On Good Housekeeping’s six-day trip, you’ll also visit the 650-hectare Cotswold Farm Park and be welcomed by its charismatic owner, Adam Henson. Adam will join you for a private lunch and give a talk about his conservation work and sustainable farming as well as his role as a TV presenter.
Alternatively, you can meet Gardeners' World presenter Rachel de Thame in June as you visit Bourton House, Hidcote, Batsford Arboretum and more.
4. Experience the railways and walking trails of the Yorkshire Dales
If a walking holiday takes your fancy in 2022, let it be in the mesmerising Yorkshire Dales, where epic views and charming villages await. It's also a fantastic place to experience English railways, like the heritage Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (which stops at Oakworth, made famous in The Railway Children) and the Settle-Carlisle Railway.
Wildlife fans can enjoy walking along the Bolton Abbey River Loop, while exploring the world of Wuthering Heights at Haworth and on a Bronte-themed walk across Yorkshire's wild moors is another must-do. You can experience the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales on an exclusive five-day staycation in April and October.
5. See the beauty of Norfolk with Lucy Worsley
With its royal connections, wildlife spotting opportunities and lovely river scenes, Norfolk is an absolute must-see - and there's no better way to experience it than with a celebrity expert and we have a terrific holiday, where you will be joined by historian Lucy Worsley. You'll get to visit the Sandringham Estate, lovely Cromer and the scenic Broads.
You can drink in the amazing landscapes - from unspoilt countryside dotted with windmills to pretty market towns - with relaxing train rides on the Poppy Line and Bure Valley Railway. During the May trip, you'll meet Lucy at Sandringham, where she'll give a talk and tell you about the royal residence.
6. Explore Scotland's untouched islands
Who needs Greece for island hopping when we've got the breathtaking Hebrides in Scotland which are waiting to be discovered? With their sandy beaches, spectacular wildlife and array of castles, the Hebrides will show you why some of the best UK holidays take place in Scotland.
There are hundreds of islands that make up the archipelago, which is divided into the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Islay, Mull, Skye and Harris are some of the most famous isles, where you can sip quality whisky, spot puffins and experience stargazing like nothing else. Island hopping on a cruise is a top way to see the Hebrides in one go and our exclusive trip in April and May will show you the best bits.
7. Learn the secrets of the English country garden in Kent and Sussex with Sarah Raven
Anyone with a passion for plants and flowers should head for the glorious gardens of Kent and Sussex. Here you’ll find English country gardens at their best, with acres of the loveliest manicured grounds surrounding stately homes and historic buildings. In the height of summer, these gardens are at their most brilliant, with the scent of dazzling blooms filling the air.
Take a trip to Great Comp Garden, near Sevenoaks, to appreciate its ornamental grasses and colourful borders, Pashley Manor, for its fragrant roses and lavender, and Sissinghurst, where you can wander along its beds of bright tulips, fritillaries and hyacinths. Visit Kent and Sussex with Good Housekeeping in June and you’ll also visit Perch Hill with garden designer, writer and broadcaster Sarah Raven, who has lovingly transformed this site from a ramshackle ex-dairy farm into an elegant, organic garden.
8. Sail around Fishguard, Dartmouth and more
Want to see the British Isles' best bits in one go? There's a cruise for that! Whether you want to sink your toes in the heavenly sands of the Isles of Scilly, feel a world away from the stresses of daily life in the charming fishing village of Fishguard or visit Northern Ireland's largest seabird colony on Rathlin Island, you can tick off a selection of bucket list experiences on our amazing cruise around the UK.
Taking place over 13 days, you'll start from Dover and take in the likes of Pembrokeshire, County Antrim, St Kilda, the Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly and pretty Dartmouth. An excellent range of excursions are included in the cruise, which has departures throughout the summer, so you can make the most of your time in every location and you'll stay on Hurtigruten's expedition ship MS Maud, so you can feel like a true explorer.
9. Be amazed by the wonderful wildlife and gardens of the Isles of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly are just a short boat ride from the coast of Cornwall, yet once you arrive you’ll feel a million miles away. This stunning archipelago is undoubtedly one of Britain's most beautiful places, teeming with wildlife and bordered by pristine white-sand beaches. You'll be delighted by the range of wildlife to be spotted on the Isles of Scilly, with many species that can't be seen anywhere else in the UK. Thanks to the isles’ unique geography, there’s a wonderful array of flora and fauna to spot here, including porpoises, dolphins, seals, and many species of birds.
On Good Housekeeping’s tour, you'll explore the islands with Julian Branscombe, the Chief Executive of the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust who knows the isles inside out. You’ll also visit some of the isles’ spectacular gardens, including the sub-tropical Tresco Abbey Garden, described as 'Kew without the glass.'
10. Visit the Peak District’s grand homes and hunt for antiques with Paul Martin
The Peak District is one of the UK’s best-loved national parks, where rolling moors and hills are blanketed with purple heather and cosy pubs in villages with cobbled lanes are waiting to welcome you for a drink between rambling walks. The national park also contains some of Britain’s loveliest stately homes. Chief among them is the sprawling Chatsworth Estate, with its magnificent house filled with art and antiques and its delightfully manicured gardens.
Visit the Peak District with Good Housekeeping in April and you’ll visit Chatsworth House along with Bolsover Castle, Tissington Hall, Hardwick Hall, and Renishaw Hall. You’ll learn about the histories of these houses and will get a chance to hunt for antiques after learning tips from Paul Martin, presenter of Channel 5’s The Great Auction Showdown, who will join you at Chatsworth House and give an insightful talk.
11. Immerse yourself in royal history at Britain's finest palaces with Robert Hardman
The UK boasts many grand royal buildings with fascinating histories and stories to tell of residents past and present. For anyone with a keen interest in royal history, a trip to some of these places can offer new insights into the lives of the royals who have called them home. Many of these beautiful palaces and castles are in London, or easily reached from the capital, meaning you can see several of them in one short, convenient, royal-themed trip.
In May and September, you can join Good Housekeeping for a two-day exploration with the late Queen Elizabeth II’s biographer, Robert Hardman. You’ll get a glimpse into the lavish homes and dramatic lives of the Royal Family, visiting St George's Chapel, Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle, where you'll peek behind the scenes during a private tour of the State Apartments before enjoying a glass of champagne in elegant surroundings.
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