The government has set out the roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions and now that travel is on the horizon, we thought we'd look at where to go on holiday each month of the year in 2021.
Britain's step-by-step plan means staycations at UK holiday rentals could be allowed as early as April 12th, while hotels and attractions are set to open their doors from May 17th, along with the much-anticipated return to international travel from the same date.
The final stage of lifting lockdown has been set for June 21st, meaning summer holidays in the UK and abroad are likely to be on the table - hurrah!
With this in mind, we thought we'd take a look at where to go on holiday to celebrate our freedom after lockdown and the exclusive Good Housekeeping trips you can book - from visits to gorgeous gardens around the UK in the company of Gardeners’ World presenters, to Strictly-themed river cruises and luxurious train journeys through romantic European scenery.
The best thing is that Good Housekeeping Holidays are all 100% financially protected, so if government guidance changes and it means that you can’t travel, you’ll be able to re-book for a later date or get a full refund - so your money is completely safe with us.
Ready to start planning your 2021 escape? Here's where to go on holiday every month, from June to October. Browse the amazing trips to take this summer and autumn, from UK tours with famous faces to sun-soaked cruises around the Med.
Where to go on holiday in June
Get in the mood for summer with a tour of England’s most charming countryside region, the Cotswolds, in the company of The One Show’s green-fingered expert Christine Walkden. You’ll have the opportunity to visit Prince Charles’ rural retreat Highgrove House, with its fragrant, heavenly wildflower meadow, as well as hear an exclusive talk from Christine about her career on the Beeb.
Garden-lovers will also adore exploring the horticultural highlights of Kent – known as the ‘garden of England’ – on a delightful tour with Sarah Raven.
You’ll sip pre-dinner drinks and have a classy afternoon tea with the popular garden designer, plus get to hear talks about Sissinghurst, Perch Hill and other stunning gardens in Kent and Sussex.
Or for some serious post-lockdown pampering, head to Leicestershire, where you can meet the Good Housekeeping team at our readers’ favourite wellness retreat and spa, Ragdale Hall.
This magnificent countryside hotel offers state-of-the-art facilities and treatments, and with our offer you’ll get full access plus two 40-minute sessions – choose from a body massage, prescription facial, classic manicure or moisturising lavender body treatment.
Plus, the special welcome event will give you the chance to meet fellow Good Housekeeping readers and hear from our magazine team. Still need persuading? Just look at that rooftop infinity pool!
Where to go on holiday in July
We’re hoping for a hot July, and one of the best places to soak up the rays is sunny East Sussex, home to the beautiful South Downs and stately homes that conjure up scenes from TV favourites Downton Abbey and Bridgerton.
In fact, the county is actually where ‘Downton’ station was filmed, at the 1930s-themed Horsted Keynes station. You’ll stop off there on the irresistibly charming Bluebell Railway, which you can ride with Good Housekeeping this summer.
You’ll also explore the Capability Brown-designed gardens at Sheffield Park and Petworth House.
Heading north to Staffordshire and Manchester, there’s another chance to see Capability Brown designs at Trentham Lake, but it’s the brand new garden at RHS Garden Bridgewater that’s the star of the show on our horticultural tour of the North West.
It’s one of the biggest gardening projects in Europe, and you can be among the first to see it when it finally opens to the public this summer.
What’s more, you’ll be shown around by the man who designed it, landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith, who will take a tour of the garden with you, followed by afternoon tea, a talk and a Q&A session. This is a real one-off for garden-lovers, and not to be missed!
If a luxury day trip is more your style, then it doesn’t get much more extravagant than a journey on the Belmond British Pullman train. This classy ride is kitted out with glamorous Art Deco furnishings, so you can sink back into your supremely comfy chair and soak up the scenery while the on-board staff serve you champagne and elegant three-course meals.
On our exclusive day out, you’ll travel to Althorp House to meet Earl Spencer, who will show you around his family’s magnificent estate.
Where to go on holiday in August
The royal theme continues into August, when you can visit the Queen’s favourite rural retreat Sandringham and learn all about the monarchy from the brilliant historian and broadcaster Lucy Worsley.
As well as hearing about palace intrigue and royal romances, you’ll explore the picturesque countryside in this part of Norfolk, taking a paddle boat cruise along the broads and chugging past golden fields on local steam trains.
Steam boats and trains are also how we’ll be experiencing the spectacular Scottish Highlands in August. Good Housekeeping readers will have the chance to travel on the iconic Jacobite train - used as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films - as it winds its way past Ben Nevis, across the 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct (which also featured in the Potter films) and out to the scenic seaside town of Mallaig.
And since August is hopefully when foreign holidays will be in full swing, we’ve got two inspiring European holidays that are just the ticket to exploring the world again.
Adventure-seekers won’t want to miss out on exploring Greenland's wild coastline with TV presenter Ben Fogle. You’ll watch huge icebergs float silently down a fjord into the open sea, visit Ilulissat, known as the 'city of icebergs', and meet Qeqertarsuaq locals over coffee and cake to learn about Inuit culture.
If you prefer a more leisurely pace though, join our trip to northern Italy, where Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud will show you around Venice, and you’ll stay in the romantic surroundings of Lake Garda.
Back in the UK, there’s a real treat for foodies, with the opportunity to go foraging on the River Cottage Estate with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, enjoy afternoon tea in a 1,000-year-old hotel, and explore Dorset’s famous Jurassic Coast.
Where to go on holiday in September
London is just beautiful in summer, and you can make the most of its elegance on exclusive tours of some of the capital’s most stunning royal palaces.
These are the lavish homes that have witnessed some of the most dramatic events in British history behind their high walls – from the births, deaths, marriages and coronations of kings and queens, to hidden scandal, intrigue, romance and betrayal.
TV historian Suzannah Lipscomb will help you discover these secrets on a private tour of Hampton Court Palace, and you’ll also visit the State Apartments at Windsor Castle for a behind-the-ropes tour, as well as the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Banqueting Hall and Westminster Abbey.
September brings another chance to ride on the magical Belmond British Pullman too, this time to Chatsworth House in the Peak District. Along the way, a delicious three-course brunch will be served by liveried stewards, and after you’ve explored the house and pretty gardens you’ll be welcomed back on board with a champagne reception and dinner.
You can also experience an eco-cruise on Golden Horizon, a brand ship that’s powered mostly by nature. Sailing with prevailing winds and currents, this square-rigged sailing ship doesn’t scrimp on luxury either.
This is your chance to relax at sea in one of five bars, tuck into sustainable dishes in the fabulous two-tier dining room, or take a dip in the pool, as you make your way around some of the sunniest spots in Europe. Choose from a voyage around southern Spain, or sail the Med stopping off in Italy and Croatia.
MasterChef fans and cooking aficionados can get some late summer sunshine too, honing their skills at a glorious foodie retreat in Tuscany, with Good Housekeeping Institute head tutor Cher Loh.
You’ll stay in a group of no more than 10 people at a gorgeous private villa, with a pool and classic Tuscan garden, while learning how to make mouth-watering Italian dishes, and dining with Cher.
Great food and company is also the order of the day on a wildlife tour of the Scilly Isles in September. Relax right by the beach at St Mary's Hall Hotel, an elegant townhouse with a Mediterranean feel that serves some of the best food on the island, plus you’ll get to dine at the celebrated Juliet’s Garden restaurant and the iconic Star Castle Hotel.
What’s more, BBC presenter Will Wagstaff, the island’s leading wildlife guide, will show you around.
Where to go on holiday in October
The South West’s spectacular landscapes will be taking centre stage again in October during a walking tour of Cornwall. No single supplement means it’s ideal for solo adventurers – each guest gets their own Superior room at the charming Rose in Vale hotel.
As well as walks along the spectacular South West Coastal Path, you’ll be taken round the Lost Gardens of Heligan by an expert gardener, enjoy a guided tour of Caerhays Castle and have a taste of Cornish tradition with a cream tea and evening of Cornish sea shanties by renowned Falmouth group, the Oggymen.
Or if ballet is more your style, head to the home of classical music, Vienna, with the wonderful Darcey Bussell. The former Strictly judge and acclaimed ballerina will compere a private concert at the Palais Liechtenstein.
She'll also give a talk, where you can find out a few behind-the-scenes Strictly secrets. Sailing along the Danube, you’ll also visit the elegant cities of Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Linz, Melk, Dürnstein and Budapest.
See our full range of exclusive Good Housekeeping Holidays, from short breaks, to hotel stays, river cruises and once-in-a-lifetime adventures.
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