Making the most of a staycation

Fancy getting away for a relaxing break without the cost of jetting off abroad? Then a staycation in the UK could be the answer!

There are loads of fascinating things to do and see right on our doorstep. Here’s a useful guide to making the most of your time and money with a staycation in good old Blighty…

Try a biking break

Whether you’re a keen cyclist or new to biking, seeing the country on two wheels is a fantastic way to explore on a budget. You could take your own bike on holiday or rent one at your destination. Check out Lets Ride for bike route maps and info on organised rides for cycling holidays.

Pack picnics

It sounds obvious, but eating out three times a day on a UK break soon adds up - so plan ahead. Hit the supermarket for picnic essentials before your trip and pack a tasty homemade lunch each day. Eating alfresco is affordable and is often more fun!

Learn a new skill

A holiday doesn’t always mean packing a suitcase - how about taking a course on your week off instead? Maybe you’re dying to learn to sew or improve your cooking skills, or fancy dabbling in the art of acting. Look at your local council’s website for adult learning courses.

Walking holiday

The best thing about walking is that it’s free and gets you fit! A walking holiday can be done in any area of the UK, with loads of stunning routes to choose from. Look at Walking Routes for details of specific routes and locations.

Find discount days out

The UK is packed with fun theme parks and a staycation is the perfect time to visit one. Pick a term-time weekday and you’ll find off-peak prices much cheaper. Check online voucher sites like Groupon in advance for cheap tickets or use your Tesco Clubcard points to pay for them.

Book budget accommodation

Keep costs down on a staycation by choosing affordable places to stay. Camping, Airbnb deals and last minute hotel rooms are cheap options. You could mix and match your accommodation with a couple of nights in a hotel and a few nights camping, or look for midweek special hotel offers to save your pennies.

Get sporty

Why not try a new sport to liven up your break? Paddle boarding, caving and rock climbing are just some of the fun sports available at home. Many activity centres offer taster sessions to get you started, so be adventurous and give it a go before you go on holiday.

DIY City tour

Forget shelling out on a pricey sightseeing tour – do it yourself by exploring a city on a standard bus, take a seat at the top and hop off at key landmarks. Many UK museums and art galleries have free entry, so write a top-five to-see list and make a day of it. Use an app like TripAdvisor for info on the go.

Depending on where you go, you can buy a Leisure Pass, which allows you fast pass entrance into top attractions including the Tower of London and food discounts at a pre-paid discount price that covers the length of your trip.

Search out restaurant deals

A holiday isn’t a holiday without the odd meal out, but be savvy on restaurant choice and you can save yourself a packet. Handy apps like Open Table and Table Pouncer show last minute discounts, while the tastecard app offers 50% off meals at many restaurants nationwide.

Explore stately homes

The UK has plenty of picturesque stately homes and grounds to be explored, with lots of extra events going on for families and people of all ages. Memberships to the National Trust or English Heritage gives you free entry to hundreds of interesting locations meaning you could visit a different one each day of your staycation.

Time for a spa!

What better way to unwind on your time off than with a blissful spa break. It needn’t break the bank either – there are many websites offering discount treatments. Check out vouchercodes.co.uk, lastminute.com and SpaSeekers who offer 2 for 1 deals. Many deals include tasty cream tea or a lunch too!

Ride the steam railway

If you’re after something a little different, step back in time and journey on one of the nation’s beautiful steam trains for a day. There are several magical journeys available, from the High Peak Explorer train to The Cotswold Venturer. See Railway Touring for details.

Catch a matinee movie

In our busy lives we rarely have time to enjoy a film at the cinema, never mind a lazy matinee showing. Indulge yourself and book a daytime viewing of a great new movie. Prices tend to be cheaper and the cinema will be emptier. Look for discount tickets on Groupon or Wowcher first! You can even use your Tesco Clubcard points to purchase tickets for the whole family.

Road trip

You can’t beat a good old fashioned road trip for escaping normality. Choose a few towns to visit or go where the wind takes you – just budget for petrol, food and overnight stays. Why not combine the trip with catching up with friends across the country? You might even be able to stay with them for free!

Create a fun home project

A staycation could literally mean staying at home, and that’s fine so long as you ignore the chores and focus on fun. Use your holiday to do a home project, like decorating a room together, upcycling furniture or building a tree house for the kids. Getting arty as a family will be a happy, bonding experience.

Do a spot of star gazing

Holidays are the ideal time to do those things we’ve always wanted to do but never found time. If you love stargazing in the night sky, you could visit one of the country’s many observatories for a closer look. Most offer evening visits by prior arrangement. Visit Go Star Gazing for information on your nearest site. Or pop your tent up on a clear night and leave the door open to look at the sky.

Be a volunteer

If you feel like an active break that also gives back to the local community, a volunteering project could be just the thing for you. The projects enable you to meet new people and spend some time away from your normal routine. For example, the RSPB looks for residential volunteers to help on their bird reserves while Trees For Life seeks volunteers to help on conservation weeks in the Scottish Highlands. Search the web for nearby opportunities.