Friendcation: Best domestic retreats for you and your bestie
With travel restrictions starting to ease and places beginning to reopen across the nation, many of us are now undoubtedly gearing up for a getaway, whether this be near or far.
After spending weeks in confinement, the thought of dipping our feet in the sea again, grabbing a drink at a local bar, or exploring a new, undiscovered, place is definitely fuelling excitement, with being able to reunite and do this with your bestie making it all the more better.
But, where should you look to go? Well, it seems that trips closer to home remain at the forefront of our minds for now. In fact, Booking.com can reveal from its recent research that 80% of us Brits are thinking about taking a domestic trip at some point over the next 12 months while 20% have indicated ‘exploring my home country’ as motivation to travel once travel restrictions were lifted*.
The UK is home to some of the world’s most picturesque cities, awe inspiring coastlines and stunning national parks, meaning that when it comes to domestic retreats, you truly are spoilt for choice. So, for those of you who are eager for a night or two away with your BFF, and with International Friendship Day (30th July) on the horizon, Booking.com is here to provide the downlow on the best domestic destinations for your upcoming friendcation.
With over 90 miles of jaw dropping coastline, exquisite countryside settings, authentic market towns and beautiful beaches, Norfolk is a great destination all year-round and will tick all of your staycation boxes. Not only can you both participate in the expansive birdwatching offering (yes it truly is coined the birdwatching capital of Britain) but you are also able to discover hidden, unspoilt sandy shores or even sign up to take part in an array of outdoor activities. Home to one of the UK’s 15 national parks, The Broads will also allow you both to connect with nature and truly immerse yourself in the beauty that the outdoors has to offer.
Where to stay? Holly Lodge Boutique B&B
Tucked behind a fruit orchard, Holly Lodge B&B dates back to the early 18th Century, with parts of the buildings dating back to the 13th Century. After a long day of exploring, you and your bestie can rest your heads at this comfortable manor house, and enjoy the rustic interiors.
Being a little inland, Holly Lodge has the advantage of being away from the hustle and bustle of the fashionable hotspots on the coast while being no real distance from them. You can still easily pop up to the coast or opt to stay inland to enjoy some of the uncrowded tranquillity that really characterises the overall area.
Beautiful Bath, a destination which features highly amongst the top domestic places recently wish listed** by Brits, is the ideal spot for a picture perfect city break with its honey-coloured Georgian architecture. The city is home to the stunning Bath Abbey, some of the finest independent shops in Britain and is rich in culture with its collection of museums and galleries, festivals, theatre and music, meaning that you will be spoilt for choice when deciding on how to spend your time.
Bath has also been a wellbeing destination since the Roman times and the Roman Baths remain a big draw but there’s plenty to see beyond the city, too, with the lush Somerset countryside, as well as nearby attractions like Stonehenge and Longleat Safari Park.
Where to stay? McDonald Bath Spa Hotel
Set in beautiful gardens and surrounded by the Somerset countryside, McDonald Bath Spa Hotel is just a 10 minute walk away from Bath Abbey and features a spa and award-winning restaurant.
With luxury marble and mahogany décor, you will be wowed by the authentic interiors, and if you are both foodies, the Vellore Restaurant is set in the former ballroom of the grand property, and serves an innovative British menu and world wine list. What could be better?
The Lake District
With the likes of Windermere, Ambleside, Keswick and Grasmere also appearing within the top rural destinations that UK travellers have recently wish listed, a trip to The Lake District is definitely worth it. Now a world heritage site, England's largest National Park boasts soaring mountains, luscious valleys, breathtaking lakes and even sandy coastline. The perfect place for you both to immerse yourself in natural beauty and escape the intensity of city life, the Lake District is also home to England’s highest mountain Scafell Pike and is a dream-destination for both mountaineers and hikers. And, for those of you who want to experience more of the local areas, the towns of Keswick and Bowness-on-Windermere provide everything from painting lessons for a rainy day to tranquil boat cruises.
Where to stay? LakeSide House
Located in the market town of Keswick, LakeSide House is set in the Lake District National Park and is just a few minutes’ walk from the shore of Derwentwater and The Theatre By The Lake. Each room at LakeSide is individually designed and breakfast is cooked fresh each day with local produce and served in the light and airy dining room, which has large windows overlooking the golf course and surrounding fells.
Isle of Skye
Renowned for its scenery and views that will take your breath away, the Isle of Skye is 50 miles long and home to some of Scotland’s most iconic landscapes. Alongside its mountain ranges, miles of dramatic coastline and captivating history, Skye is also a great destination for wildlife watching, with otters, seals, whales, dolphins and red deer being just some of the other impressive creatures that can be seen on and around the Isle of Skye.
Where to stay? Hotel Eilean Iarmain
Set in a picturesque bay in the south of Skye, this hotel has beautiful views over the Sound of Sleat and the distant hills of Knoydart. It is famed for its amazing dining experience and is next to the headquarters of the award-winning Gaelic Whisky company.
With log fires in its reception rooms and a wood-panelled dining room where you can wind down and enjoy dinners, Hotel Eilean Iarmain retains many traditional features for a rustic and homely Scottish stay.
From riverside ambles to world famed museums, it’s no surprise that the beautiful city of York is one of the top UK places that Brits have been wish-listing recently, particularly given that it offers something to excite all types of travellers. Founded by the ancient Romans, the city is known for its huge 13th-century Gothic York Minster cathedral, visible for all angles of the city, as well as its quaint cobbled medieval streets and vibrant boutiques. For those on a flying visit, York can be crossed in under half an hour – if you don’t get distracted by the local bars and restaurants!
Where to stay? Minster Walk Guesthouse
Situated just 350 yards from York Minster Cathedral, Minster Walk Guest House is a charming 300-year old coaching inn located in a tranquil part of the city. The rooms are individually designed, some with views of the Cathedral, and complimentary homemade cakes and drinks are available to guests in the lounge.
For further information, contact the Booking.com UK Press Office: email@example.com
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months. In total 4,708 respondents were polled including 826 from Germany, 969 from France, 942 from Great Britain, 971 from Italy and 1,000 from the US. Respondents completed an online survey between 24 April and 1 May 2020.
** Methodology: based on comparing wish list data on Booking.com between May and June 2020 to the same months in 2019. Customers on Booking.com can wish list properties by clicking the ‘heart’ button present on every property’s listing on the platform.
Founded in 1996 in Amsterdam, Booking.com has grown from a small Dutch startup to one of the world’s leading digital travel companies. Part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), Booking.com’s mission is to make it easier for everyone to experience the world. By investing in the technology that helps take the friction out of travel, Booking.com seamlessly connects millions of travellers with memorable experiences, a range of transportation options and incredible places to stay - from homes to hotels and much more. As one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces for both established brands and entrepreneurs of all sizes, Booking.com enables properties all over the world to reach a global audience and grow their businesses. Booking.com is available in 43 languages and offers more than 28 million total reported accommodation listings, including more than 6.2 million listings alone of homes, apartments and other unique places to stay. No matter where you want to go or what you want to do, Booking.com makes it easy and backs it all up with 24/7 customer support.