The past couple of years have seen us all swapping the beloved holiday abroad for a staycation, which means we’ve once again uncovered some of the UK’s hidden gems. With stunning stretches of coastline, lush countryside, and rugged hilly landscapes, the UK really does have something for everyone. Better yet, we have some beautiful places that can even make you feel like you’re abroad, without travelling very far at all.
If you’re thinking of staycationing again this year, or you just want to make the most of your outdoor space this season, interior designer experts InHouse Inspired Room Design have picked out some of the UK’s most stunning areas and offer their tips for enhancing your home for summer, so you can get that holiday feeling every day.
You may be forgiven for mistaking this little Welsh village for the Italian Riviera. Portmeirion was designed to look this way, with striking pastel-coloured Italian architecture that’s perfectly offset by the lush surroundings. This hotel resort was originally built to prove that architecture could enhance the local scenery rather than spoil it, and it’s fair to say that Portmeirion looks like it’s been lifted straight from the pages of a storybook. And, while Portmeirion is a purpose-built holiday resort, meaning people can’t live in the village itself, it is situated in the community of Penrhyndeudraeth, where you can have this beautiful town right on your doorstep.
Lynton and Lynmouth, North Devon
It’s easy to see why the villages of Lynton and Lynmouth on the North Devon coast are often referred to as Little Switzerland. Located in the tranquil Exmoor National Park, the two villages are connected by a water-powered funicular railway and consist of quaint streets, independent shops, and cosy cottages. These villages were once known as the UK’s most remote communities, but they’re now popular for tourists and homeowners looking for the beauty of the Swiss countryside right here in the UK
Durdle Door, Dorset
Part of the Jurassic coastline, Durdle Door was marked as a World Heritage Site in 2001, and it’s an extremely popular staycation destination. Thanks to the turquoise waters, white sand, and rugged cliffs, this section of coastline is akin to the sandy beaches of Portugal. The distinctive rock arch is also much like versions you’ll find elsewhere in the world, including Lagos and California, but we think the UK version beats them all.
Scotland is famous for its rugged, unforgiving landscape, but perhaps the Shetland Islands take the top spot as one of the prettiest areas of the country. Known as the most remote location in the UK, the Shetland Islands are perfect for those looking for the quiet life. Add to that the quaint houses and picturesque coastline, and it’s easy to see why this area is often compared to its Scandinavian neighbour, Norway.
St. Ives, Cornwall
Cornwall is a desirable spot for many British holidaymakers and it’s hard to believe that the popular town of St. Ives is in fact right here in the UK. This stunning stretch of coast is famous for its gold sand beaches and surf scene, and residents here can enjoy the relaxed holiday lifestyle right at home. It’s no wonder St. Ives is often compared to the coastal towns of Croatia.
There’s a reason why Hexham was named the UK’s happiest place to live in a 2021 poll from Rightmove. Here, you’ll not only find beautiful rolling hills and national parks, but you can also discover the fascinating history of ancient Roman ruins. Better yet, the town is also near iconic landmarks like Hadrian’s Wall and the stunning Kielder Falls — who needs to go abroad when you have all this on your doorstep?
How to make the most of your location
Whether you live in one of the UK’s most stunning areas or not, you can easily make your house feel like a holiday home. By sprucing up your space a little, you can make the most of the summer weather. For example, by freshening up your garden, you can transform your home into a tranquil space. Even simple changes like repainting wooden furniture or investing in a few outdoor throw cushions and blankets can help make your outside space feel more luxurious.
If you’re really committed, why not add an outdoor kitchen to your home? Building outdoor entertainment spaces and kitchens were among some of the most popular home improvement jobs last year, according to the Rated People Home Improvements Trends Report 2022. These spaces have long been prevalent in popular holiday destinations like the US and Australia, and you can get a slice of the al fresco lifestyle without leaving the country (or even your house)!