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The brilliant British trips to book now

scenic view of the great bay in st martin's isles of scilly, cornwall
Our ultimate guide to the best UK holidaysWirestock - Getty Images

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.

UK HOLIDAYS WITH GH

Providing you with quaint villages, sublime countryside and dramatic mountains, not to mention culture-rich 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 spectacular rural Scotland is by going beyond the cities and discovering the stunning coastline on a yacht-style cruise ship.

best uk holiday destinations
Lord of the Glens

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. 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.

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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.

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2. Witness the incredible starry skies of Northumberland

The countryside in Northumberland is some of the finest in the UK, with its rugged moorland and dramatic coast. England's northernmost county is also an officially designated Dark Sky Park, making it one of the best places in the country to marvel at the starry skies. On a clear night you'll be able to spot thousands of stars, the Milky Way and even the Andromeda Galaxy with the naked eye.

best uk holiday destinations
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Good Housekeeping has a wonderful tour of Northumberland where you'll go star-spotting with expert astronomer Richard Darn. You'll visit two observatories in the Dark Sky Park, where you can take a look through their telescopes, and will also have plenty of opportunity to witness dazzling displays with the naked eye.

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3. Capture the dramatic beauty of the Peak District

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 historic villages are waiting to welcome you for a drink between rambling walks. It's also a popular spot for landscape artists. With vistas as inspiring as these, it's not hard to see why.

a colourful landscape in early september 2015, with a stone wall and a hawthorn tree lit up with the first sunlight of the day, overlooking hope valley covered in a layer of morning mist and the heather in full purple bloom peak district national park, derbyshire, northwest england, uk, europe
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Have a go at capturing the beauty of the Peaks on paper yourself with a four-night drawing holiday. This creative holiday is specially designed for those looking to take up drawing as a hobby and you'll enjoy three full days of drawing workshops under the guidance of artist Alison Carr.

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4. Experience the railways and walking trails of the Yorkshire Dales

If a walking holiday takes your fancy, you'll definitely want to consider 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.

best uk holiday destinations
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You can experience the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales on an exclusive five-day staycation with Good Housekeeping. Wildlife fans will 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.

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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. We have a terrific holiday, where you will be joined by historian Lucy Worsley, an expert in all things royal. You'll get to visit the Sandringham Estate, lovely Cromer and the brilliantly scenic Norfolk Broads.

best uk holidays
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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 trip, you'll meet Lucy at Sandringham, where she'll give a talk and tell you about the royal residence.

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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.

best uk holidays
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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 will show you the best bits.

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If you're keen to explore the Hebrides but are looking for a slightly shorter trip, we are also offering a fantastic five-night cruise with visits to the basalt columns of Fingal's Cave, the bonnet-shaped Bac Mòr island, the Small Isles archipelago and the Holy Isle of Iona.

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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.

best uk holidays
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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 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.

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8. 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.

best uk holidays
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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.'

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9. Enjoy true relaxation in the tranquil New Forest

The New Forest, with its wild open heathlands, ancient woodlands, and stretches of diverse coastline, is a gorgeous slice of English countryside. Its sprawling moors are home to the region's most famous residents, the adorable, free-roaming ponies who've wandered the New Forest countryside for around 2,000 years.

a horse standing next to a pond
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This is one of the best locations in the south of England for a staycation, where you can enjoy long, rambling walks, before retreating to one of the area's many swish spa hotels. Take Careys Manor for example. Here you'll find an award-winning Thai spa with state-of-the-art facilities including a large Hydrotherapy Pool, Herbal Sauna, Crystal Steam Room, and Experience Showers. Check-in for two nights with Good Housekeeping's exclusive offer and truly disconnect from the stress of daily life.

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10. Escape to Cornwall's glorious coast and stay in a Shepherd's Hut

The Cornish coast hardly needs an introduction as one of the UK's best-loved holiday destinations. With miles and miles of unspoilt coastline, characterised by golden beaches, quaint fishing villages, and towering cliffs, it's easy to see why people come back to this beautiful county time and time again.

padstow traditional fishing harbour at cornwall
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As well as its vast sandy beaches, parts of Cornwall have gained a reputation as foodie hotspots, not least the fishing port of Padstow, where top chef Rick Stein has several restaurants and eateries. One of the best-loved is the Cornish Arms, and you can stay on the grounds of this award-winning gastro pub in one of six cosy Shepherd's Huts. With Good Housekeeping's offer, you'll enjoy two nights here with a three-course meal in the pub and a portion of cod and chips from Rick Stein's Fish and Chip shop.

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