Staycation Anyone?

Antonia Devereux explores staycations as a sustainable holiday option and recommends some of her favourite UK destinations. 

Restrictions are lifting across the globe, and with them, travel related emissions. With so much to discover in the UK, why not stay at home this summer?

Image credit: Antonia Devereux

Travel Industry and Staycations

Brits are a sucker for a holiday, with 50 million of them being taken each year. After years of lockdown and limited holidaying opportunities, the travel industry is finally starting to pick up again, with a few hiccups along the way. Despite restrictions lifting in countries across the globe, many Brits are still choosing to holiday at home. Before the days of Covid, millennials were driving the demand for staycations in the UK. 

So anyone for a road trip? The UK is jam-packed full of scenic destinations that can make you feel like you’ve jetted off aboard, with lower emissions. As a Northerner, the beautiful beaches of Newquay are enough to give me that holiday feeling. I’ve been fancying a UK road trip for quite some time, so here is a look at a few of the places I wanted to visit, that are perfect for a summer staycay:

The Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast stretches from Exmouth to Dorset and holds some spectacular views. Plus it’s the only natural World Heritage Site! 95 miles long, there’s a lot to see but some of the highlights include Man O’War Beach, Durdle Door and Durlston Country Park.  

Image credit: Kyle Taylor

Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire in Wales is full of beautiful beaches where you can cliff dive and watch dolphins! Tenby, a beautiful seaside town, is home to many of Pembrokeshire’s best beaches and can’t be missed. Skomer Island, just off the coast, is home to tons of wildlife including Puffins, who are on my must-see wildlife list!

Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye is off the north-western coast of Scotland and is home to beautiful scenery. Despite taking a bit more of a risk with the weather, the Isle of Sky is just one destination in Scotland that’s worth it! 

Cornwall

I’ve made the trip down to Cornwall a few times in my lifetime, but my favourite of which was for the Boardmasters festival in Newquay. I would 100% recommend the festival if you are planning a trip, it’s not your average festival with surfing/skateboarding/music. Across the county there are a host of beautiful spots to give you that holiday feeling.

Image credit: Antonia Devereux

Brighton

I always wanted to visit Brighton, it has so much character and is full of independent shops nestled in pretty 16th century buildings. If they can’t make you feel like you’re venturing around a foreign city then I don’t know what will. Plus, there is a beach to fool us into thinking we are abroad!

Three Peaks of the UK

Fancying a bit of hiking this summer? Why not try out one of the three highest peaks in the UK:

  • England: Scafell Pike, Lake District (978 m)
  • Wales:  Snowdon, Snowdonia National Park (1085 m)
  • Scotland: Ben Nevis, near Fort William (1345 m)

So far I have completed Scafell Pike and Snowdon, with the tallest, Ben Nevis in Scotland, to go. If you are feeling really adventurous you can even do the three peaks challenge, where you complete all three mountains in the same day! 

Isles of Scilly

I guess this one is a little bit of a cheat, but you’ll have to let me off because I left it till last! Just off the coast from Cornwall, you can grab a ferry to this group of English Islands. I’m most looking forward to visiting here, each island looks so beautiful and will definitely give you the abroad feel.

Staycations and the Planet

So what do staycations mean for the planet? It’s no surprise that the travel industry is one of the biggest polluters out there. If aviation were a country, it would be one of the top 10 carbon-polluting nations in the world. It’s become so cheap to travel abroad that you can get a plane to Europe cheaper than a train to London (at least a train from the North) which is one of the biggest problems with the industry. The costs for travelling are in no way representative of the costs that it is having to our planet. It’s impossible to attract people to stay at home when the cost to go away is the same or less.

Staying near home and skipping the holiday abroad every year or so can make all the difference. Travelling by car releases less emissions than a plane, but even more so if you are using public transport such as trains and buses. Trains, especially in today’s climate, can be a little pricey, especially if you want to do your venturing in the summer months, but I have used the Megabus quite a few times and it really wasn’t what I thought. I expected a sweaty, smelly, jam packed bus, but the aircon was brilliant and I felt I had so much space, with the cheap prices being the biggest plus. Buses are one of the most eco-friendly ways to travel; Megabus prides itself of being as eco friendly as possible and have released vegan buses, with features such as mushroom leather seats!

Image credit – Antonia Devereux

Ultimately, holidaying at home doesn’t always end up cheaper than abroad, especially if you want to do it in style. Fundamental changes need to be made in order to ensure that prices reflect emissions, and not just in the travel industry. With restrictions finally easing, we are all happy to get back into the sun, but if you can swap a holiday abroad for a staycation every now and again, it can really make a difference.

About the Author: Antonia Devereux is Wild Magazine’s Managing Editor and will be heading into her 4th year at the University of York in September. 

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