A first taste of freedom: 20 amazing UK holidays with availability from April 12

·12-min read
best uk holidays 2021 - Getty
best uk holidays 2021 - Getty

It’s official: self-catering UK holidays will be allowed from April 12. Some restrictions will remain – restaurants and pubs will not be able to offer indoor service, for example, so you’ll need to rely on home cooking and beer gardens (weather permitting) – but for a first dose of freedom, that is the date for your diary.

Needless to say, things are booking up fast. But our experts have managed to unearth some of the best holiday options that still have availability for the week commencing April 12.

South Coast

1. Let’s do Battle

A revamp of the 31-mile 1066 Country Walk from Pevensey (where William of Normandy landed in 1066) to the medieval town of Rye (via historic Battle, where the Battle of Hastings took place), will be revealed this summer. Scattered along the route are 10 pieces of art being created by East Sussex sculptor, Keith Pettit and it’s possible to see one of these up close, at Hare Farm Hideaways. A working sheep farm, Hare Farm has accommodation for 12 in a stylishly converted Oust House and for two in a nearby shepherd’s hut. On the brow of the farm’s field is Pettit’s ‘Far Bank Henge’ – six oak monoliths inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry. Tucked into the Brede Valley Hare Farm also offers access to a quiet shingle beach at Winchelsea.

Availability from April 12. Three nights in the Oast House from £1,600. Two nights in the Shepherd’s Hut from £165; subsequent nights £65 (harefarmhideaways.co.uk).

2. Isle of Wight glamping

However did we manage before glamping? First there were tents, then came yurts and eco pods, and now there are modulogs. With five safari tents, two wood cabins pods – and modulogs – Tom’s Eco Lodge Glamping on the Isle of Wight does glamping every which way. Masquerading as Anderson shelters, the cosy two-bedroom modulogs can be configured as doubles or twins and each has a log-burning hot tub. The farm has views to Freshwater Bay and can be reached by public transport from East Cowes or Yarmouth.

Availability from April 16. Five nights in a modulog (sleeps four plus two on a sofa bed) from around £1,400. Four nights in a Pod from £250 (tapnellfarm.com).

See our South Coast summer holiday guide for more ideas.

Peak District

3. Farm cottages near Bakewell

In the heart of the Peak District, Bolehill Farm Cottages has eight child- and dog-friendly properties set around a central courtyard. Each stone-built cottage sleeps two, four or five people, and all share communal facilities including a laundry, barbecue area and games room. This former farm feels splendidly isolated, with green fields and drystone walls stretching for miles in all directions, but the tourist hotspot of Bakewell is less than 10 minutes’ drive away.

There are three cottages with availability from April 12; from £302 for two nights; www.bolehillfarm.co.uk.

A bridge near Bakewell - Getty
A bridge near Bakewell - Getty

4. Glamping in the Dark Peak

Up in the northern reaches of the Peak District, a land of wild moors and dramatic ridges, appealing accommodation options are harder to find. Harder, but not impossible. At Peak View Shepherds Huts, a mile north of Glossop, four generously sized and attractively decorated huts (each with its own private hot tub) share a three-acre paddock, with alpacas in the next field and far-reaching hills-and-reservoir views. Four nights in the Meadow Hut from April 12 costs £420; peakviewshepherdhuts.co.uk.

5. Working farm near Matlock

The owners of Hoe Grange Holidays, a working farm in between Matlock and Ashbourne, are big on all things eco and accessible. Their log cabins are fully adapted for wheelchair users and their glamping pods have heating and light powered by their own renewable energy source and water from an on-site borehole. There’s no knocking the facilities, either, which extend to electric off-road wheelchairs for hire and on-site stabling if you’re planning on holidaying with your horse.

Three of its seven pods and cabins are available from April 12; hostunusual.com.

See our Peak District summer holiday guide for more ideas, and our pick of the best hotels in the Peak District.

Lake District

6. Cool Camping, Windermere and Ullswater

Low Wray Campsite, on the western shores of Windermere, is a deservedly popular site, set amongst trees, close to the lakeshore path – and National Trust-owned Wray Castle – and with plentiful showers, kayak and bike rental, playground, shop and seasonal pizza tent.

For somewhere more under-the-radar, family-owned Gill Head Farm is a working hill farm near Troutbeck, north of Ullswater, with grand views of Blencathra. With fields, streams, children’s play area and barbecue, it also offers a tucked-away ‘hidden’ field, shielded from the main site, with waterfall and woodland.

Both Low Wray Campsite (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays/low-wray-campsite-lake-district) and Gill Head Farm (coolcamping.com) have plenty of availability from April 12.

Ullswater - Getty
Ullswater - Getty

7. Whitbarrow Luxury Lodges

On the north-eastern border of the National Park, 10 minutes from the M6, what the family-focused Whitbarrow lacks in stunning views or lakeside situation (Ullswater, the nearest lake, is a 20-minute drive) it makes up for with high-spec properties – a mix of lodges and cottages all with hot tubs, outside seating, granite kitchens and en-suite bedrooms – a pool, restaurant, bar and children’s play areas. And it currently has good availability for summer – around 60 per cent. Typically, bookings come in late when the weather forecasts look clearer.

From £1,995 for 7 nights in a two-bedroom cottage (2 adults, 2 children); availability from April 16; luxurylodges.com/whitbarrow

8. Pick of the Holidaycottages.co.uk

As its properties in the perennial hotspots of Keswick, Ambleside and Windermere are already booking up, you’ll stand a better chance of getting the size and style of accommodation you want by spreading your net. Picture-postcard Hawkshead – just five miles from Ambleside – has some great pubs, and is a hop and a skip from Beatrix Potter’s home.

Seven nights at Flag Cottage, Hawkshead, from April 12, costs £786; holidaycottages.co.uk.

See our Lake District summer holiday guide for more ideas, and our pick of the best hotels in the Lake District.

Cotswolds

9. Glamping near Bourton-on-the-Water

Camp in peace and comfort at The Wildings, a neat complex of six wooden pods on a family farm within walking distance of famously pretty Bourton-on-the-Water. Each pod has a double bed and space for camp beds (three are a slight squeeze), which are supplied. There’s a cooking-cum-chill-out house, and shower and loo blocks. Bedding, BBQs, logs and fire pits can be provided at added cost.

The Wildings, Bourton Hill (01451 518869, thewildingscampsite.co.uk), has good availability for the week commencing April 12; pods cost from £65 per night (bring the dog too, £10 per night).

Bourton-on-the-Water - Getty
Bourton-on-the-Water - Getty

10. Village cottage near Stow-on-the-Wold

Dreaming of a halcyon country bolthole? Complete with flagstone floors and sunny terrace, idyllic Corner Cottage sleeps four and sits in the heart Lower Oddington in the northern Cotswolds. There are two pubs (much frequented by locals before Covid) just a stroll away, handsome Stow-on-the-Wold is down the road and there are sublime walks from the doorstep.

Corner Cottage, Lower Oddington, costs from £943 per week through Cotswolds Hideaways (01386 702654, cotswoldshideaways.co.uk); available from April 16.

11. Camping near Cirencester

Family-run, 1,600-acre Abbey Home Farm is a terrific organic enterprise with an acclaimed shop and café as well as a variety of accommodation options carefully devised for maximum sustainability. These include a wonderful family campsite with spellbinding views. Bring your own tent, stock up on organic veg from the shop and enjoy guided tours around the farm. You can even hire an e-bike.

Abbey Home Farm, near Cirencester (theorganicfarmshop.co.uk); camping costs £8 per night for an adult and £4 per child under 12. Good availability for April 12 onwards.

See our Cotswolds summer holiday guide for more ideas, and our pick of the best hotels in the Cotswolds.

Devon

12. Family camping near Dartmoor

For those craving space and nature after months of being cooped up, Hideaway Camping has a 24-acre expanse to run wild in. Set in Higher Melbury, on the edge of Dartmoor, this glamping site has gypsy wagons, Airstream trailers, ‘igloos’ and camping pitches, all with summer availability. There’s a magical fairy glade for children, tree swings, a dedicated picnic area and hammock garden.

A two-night stay in an igloo sleeping five starts from £80 per night (https://hostunusual.com/categories/host-unusual/hideaway-camping/#3236). Plenty of availability from April 12 onwards.

Dartmoor - Getty
Dartmoor - Getty

13. Go glamping, Sidmouth

If you’d rather steer clear of busy hotels, Harvest Pod is the latest addition to a collection of handcrafted glamping structures on a hillside above the Otter Valley, near Sidmouth and the Jurassic Coast. Sleeping two, it’s furnished in a simple, country style and has a shower room, Wi-Fi and uninterrupted countryside views. Harvest Pod is well spaced from the other pods on site, and at the time of writing had availability throughout summer.

A four-night stay from April 12 costs £635 (01348 830922; www.qualityunearthed.co.uk).

See our Devon summer holiday guide for more ideas, and our pick of the best hotels in Devon.

Cornwall

14. Channel your inner Swallows and Amazons

A 10-minute drive from Port Isaac, in the heart of Doc Martin country, Cornish Tipi Holidays (01208 880781; cornishtipiholidays.co.uk) is deliciously off-grid. Hidden in 20 acres of native woodland beside a spring-fed lake, there are 20 traditional North American tipis and a wild camping meadow. This is the ultimate back-to-nature holiday with the chance to go swimming, boating and fishing in a lake. It’s a great choice for single parents and you can be as private or social as you like. There is plenty of availability from April 12 onwards.

Port Isaac - Getty
Port Isaac - Getty

15. Go retro with VW

Falmouth-based Clive Goodwin has spent his life restoring classic VW campervans and now rents them out to holidaymakers (07914 015540; cool4campers.co.uk). He can also advise on the best campsites to pull in for the night. The VW’s slim profile makes it ideal for pootling along Cornwall’s narrow roads. Ingeniously fitted out with sink, gas stove, fridge, electric hook-up and heater, the vans sleep four: two children in the pop-up and two adults on a rock-and-roll bed. A week’s rental costs £627 in April or May.

Go retro in the West Country - Getty
Go retro in the West Country - Getty

16. Hidden Cornish cottages

Some of Cornwall’s loveliest granite cottages, hidden deep down mossy lanes, can be found through Classic Cottages (01326 555555; classic.co.uk). It looks after the rental of 600 properties and around 100 still have availability for the week commencing April 12. New houses are added regularly too – 20 in January alone – so it’s worth keeping an eye on the website. The agency also has a flexible booking policy offering a transfer, credit or a full refund if you can’t travel due to the imposition of restrictions.

See our Cornwall summer holiday guide for more ideas, and our pick of the best hotels in Cornwall.

Wales

17. Glamping for bookworms

If you’re making a literary pilgrimage to the Welsh-border book town, this glamping site at Felindre, four miles from Hay, with five fully fitted yurts, is a fine option, featuring compost loos, outdoor seating and private kitchens. The owners also plan a pop-site bell tent village with shared facilities in Hay itself for summer holidays, including a marquee bar and cinema tent.

A one-week stay from April 12 costs £900; wyeglamping.co.uk.

See our Wales summer holiday guide for more ideas, and our pick of the best hotels in Wales.

Book lovers flock to Hay - Getty
Book lovers flock to Hay - Getty
East Anglia

18. Cruise and snooze

With around 120 miles of navigable rivers and lakes, the Broads National Park (visitthebroads.co.uk) on the Norfolk and Suffolk border is a haven for wildlife. Most cruisers start from Wroxham, but Potter Heigham is the best departure point for the quieter cruising areas of Upper Thurne, Hickling Broad and Horsey Mere. Herbert Woods (herbertwoods.co.uk) is one of the longest established boatyards in the area. Seven-night hire costs from £677 for a cruiser sleeping up to six.

Explore the Broads - Getty
Explore the Broads - Getty

19. All at sea

Book a tailor-made trip on a traditional wooden fishing boats through the little-known creeks and backwaters along Norfolk’s coast through the Coastal Exploration Company (coastalexplorationcompany.co.uk). Guests can help skipper and former Royal Marine, Henry Chamberlain, navigate to the open sea, forage and fish for meals, and swim in the wild. Overnight expeditions, sleeping in hammocks under canvas, are also on offer. Exclusive half-day charters from £385 for up to four people.

20. In the trees

It’s not just about tree-hugging, although there’s a bit of that at West Lexham (westlexham.org). This eco-friendly 21-acre pocket of rural Norfolk is situated in an idyllic inland spot next to a chalk stream and offers a wild swimming lake, heated swimming pool and Japanese garden with local walks, yoga or meditation workshops and communal suppers round the fire pit. Tree-house hideaways (limited options for w/c April 12) sleep from two to six, and some are dog-friendly. There is better availability for its bell tents.

See our East Anglia summer holiday guide for more ideas, and our pick of the best hotels in East Anglia.

How to travel in 2021

Join Telegraph Travel’s panel of experts on Wednesday February 24 for the third in our series of live How to Travel events. We’ll be focusing on city breaks, and answering your questions on how to beat the restrictions and make the most of UK and overseas cities in the weeks and months to come.