Sometimes, a violent crisis prompts us to think hard about what’s really important in life: death, family, K-pop… Sometimes, though, a situation of extremity sends us the other way, obsessing about trivialities. As June rolls into July, the main question on Brits’ minds is what the summer holidays will look like in the dystopian universe we now inhabit. It looks as though Matt Hancock has suggested to reporters that a flight to Mallorca might not be off the cards after all. But for those of us who prefer a more cautious approach, this year might be the chance to explore the best of what the UK has to offer tourists. Relatively uncrowded by visitors from abroad, the most stunning beauty spots of England, Scotland and Wales will (probably) be open to anyone with a safe means of travel. Here’s a list of some of the most enticing locations to holiday in Great Britain.
The coast of Northumberland
The Northumbrian coast is an enchanting and peaceful place to take a break. With vast sand beaches (and plenty more to explore further up and down the coast), it’s a ruggedly beautiful stretch of coastline with a rich medieval history. Lindisfarne (the Holy Island), Dunstanburgh and Craster will further satisfy history nerds. And in the inland town of Alnwick, you can find a castle where the Harry Potter series were filmed.
The Trossachs National Park, Scotland
While the Highlands might be everyone’s first thought when it comes to Scottish natural beauty, the Trossachs National Park is worth at least equal consideration. Stunning vistas, endless walking opportunities and blissful solitude await in these mountainous landscapes. Loch Lomond, the largest freshwater lake in Great Britain, is a breathtaking experience in itself, as well as being the site of a variety of water sports, if that’s your thing. Twitchers will also be entranced by the range of birds and wildlife that inhabit this diverse tract of land.
St Ives, Cornwall
For something slightly smaller in scope, but no less beautiful, try the Cornish coast towards Land’s End. Flanked by two beautiful seaside towns, St Ives and Penzance, as well as a plethora of postcard-worthy villages, the surprisingly tough landscape of the southernmost end of the country is broken up by golden sand beaches of a quality that will make you say: “This can’t be England.” Sailing lovers will have a field day, and the nearby island castle of St Michael’s Mount is an evocative monument well worth a visit.
OK, hear me out. Skegness might be associated with dreary 80s Butlins holidays, rain, and Adrian Mole’s depressing caravan adventures, but it’s also home to a beautiful stretch of coastline and a thriving arts scene. If crowds of fellow travellers and a booming pier aren’t your thing, summer 2020 might be the perfect time to sample the quieter joys of the Lincolnshire coast. Especially good for families with children, Skegness is a perfect dose of old-fashioned beach joy. And nearby Anderby Creek is home to the world’s first (and last, perhaps?) “Cloud Bar”, an attraction where you can spend hours viewing the fluffy specimens as they float by.
Isle of Tiree, Inner Hebrides, Scotland
Tiree, a small island to the west of the Isle of Mull, is not the easiest place to visit. The ferry from Oban goes twice a day, but once you’re on the island you have to have a car or a bike to get around. That said, it’s only 10 miles long, and its charms more than make up for any difficulty of access. Known as one of the sunniest places in Scotland, and in fact in the UK, Tiree also boasts gorgeous sandy beaches and expanses of heathered land, where people are blissfully few and far between. Best of all, thanks to the island’s tiny population and far-flung location, it is an ideal place to view the night sky in minute detail.