No jet lag. No dubious aeroplane meals. No need for the pocket dictionary or google translate. A reduced carbon footprint and the security of knowing what your money is worth. Staycations are all the rage with Visit Britain figures showing they are up 9% year on year, with the main driver being short breaks. But the biggest pleasure of holidaying in your own country is discovering attractions on your doorstep that you haven’t had the time to visit before or enjoying the landscape from a new perspective.
Take the beaches of Northumberland. We’d argue that they are some of the best in the world. Soft, white sand, uncrowded, unspoilt by monstrous hotels and with unrivalled views of the surrounding coast. And they’re here, in the UK, just waiting to be explored. Remote enough to feel like you’ve had a break but close enough to bypass the travel recovery time.
I’m sure we would all nod in agreement to being guilty of neglecting what is on our doorsteps. In fact, I have friends who have lived in Newcastle upon Tyne all their lives who have never taken a boat out to The Farne Islands, despite this being a unique sealife encounter and one of Trip Advisor’s top 10 things to do in Northumberland. It’s not that we don’t want to do these things but often daily life and work takes over. We need that staycation to take a step back and allow ourselves to get excited about those places that don’t cost us that much to travel to. Be a tourist in our own land.
Even if you can sit back and say, I’ve done The Farne Islands, I’ve visited Bamburgh Castle, walked the coastal path to Dunstanburgh Castle, braved the tides at Holy Island, got lost in the maze at The Alnwick Garden and gone all Harry Potter crazy at Alnwick Castle, there’s always a new perspective to enjoy.
Take to the water, in a kayak or on a boat, and look back at the landscape – see how Bamburgh Castle is a prominent feature in most North Northumberland views or how vast the shoreline is – stretching miles and miles to the north and south. Try yoga on the beach, something you are unlikely to be able to do at home or just take an early morning run on the sand. These are experiences which, once enjoyed, are unforgettably serene. And you don’t have to head to some Far Eastern land to experience them. Or go high. The Cheviot is the highest point in the Northumberland National Park at 815 metres. On a clear day you can see as far as the Lake District or even Edinburgh. More off the beaten track than the usual Northumberland sights, it is an opportunity to see a different side to Northumberland.
If you’re looking to press the refresh button on your ‘always on the go’ lifestyle, then let the staycation journey commence…