We have had a difficult couple of months living our lives in lockdown. Fortunately, it seems like we are almost on the verge of things returning back to normal, with some restrictions being tentatively eased by the government. Having spent so long in our homes over the last few months, many people are desperate to get out and take a trip away, provided things are safe. With the UK set to see a boom in staycation type holidays, why not look at some places that are slightly off the beaten track to ensure that you’re not caught in the crowds when restrictions eventually lift.
The borders region of Scotland is one of the most criminally underrated parts of the whole, beautiful country. When you mention Scotland to a casual tourist, some of the more popular locations include the likes of the Highlands, cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow, and the isle of Skye will be the first to come to mind. In the very South of Scotland is a picturesque and inspiring part of the country, of which Dumfries is the best place to start. The town has plenty on offer for visitors, along with the beautiful countryside that takes you down to the Solway Firth.
In Dumfries you’ll find the home of Scotland’s most famous poet - Robert Burns, along with a number of museums and other interesting places to absorb the local culture. These include the likes of Dumfries Museum and the Gracefield Arts Centre. For those who like country walks, there are plenty in the area surrounding the town itself.
At the opposite end of the UK lies that wonderfully temperate South coast. This part of England has a strong identity unto itself, and it still very much has a countryside feel to it despite being relatively close to London. There are a number of popular seaside towns along this stretch of coastline, but the town that offers the most diversity to visitors is Portsmouth. A look at the online guides show that there is lots to do here, once you’ve done your research.
Across the water is the ever-popular tourist destination of the Isle of Wight. A lot of people only travel through Portsmouth to head to the island, which is a little unfair. For visitors to the town itself, there is plenty to learn about the seafaring past of Portsmouth in the likes of the Mary Rose and HMS Victory. The town also has a buzzing nightlife scene, with lots of bars and restaurants to enjoy.
There are few towns in England that feel steeped in history in the same way that York does. It could be down to the imposing castle that brings many people to the town, and the historical connections that go all the way back to the time of Roman Britain. If you’re planning on visiting here, you should read up on the history of the town before visiting, as it’s great to have context on the importance of a place when you’re walking the streets.
For those who like to dine out in style, York is one of the best places you can go for fine eating. A look at some of the top-rated restaurants in the town will show there is something on the menu for every taste and budget. The bars and pubs across the old town also make it the perfect place to spend a summer’s evening, as long as the rules have been relaxed around lockdown to allow for this.
Like the aforementioned Portsmouth, another rural part of England that is often unfairly overlooked is East Anglia. The Norfolk countryside is stunning in this part of England and many people come here to enjoy boating on the famous Norfolk broads. All throughout this part of the country are little towns and villages that are worth seeing for the day. The biggest town in the area is Norwich, which perfectly captures the rural charm of this part of the country without leaving you feeling too disconnected from the real world.
In Norwich, you’ll find lots of different things to see and do. For those wanting to go back in history, the stunning Norwich Cathedral is well worth going to see. If you want to see something a little more modern, look no further than the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. Seeing what is happening in the here and now from a cultural perspective can help you connect with a place just as much as understanding its history.
The UK is a wonderfully diverse country. So much is on offer to the people who travel here as tourists. With the lockdown set to be eased somewhat in the near future, we will see things gradually returning to normal. If you would prefer to beat the inevitable crowds, have a think about some of the places we have called out in today’s article.