6 of The Best Places I’ve stayed in The Uk

I’ve always loved exploring our little island and have had a vintage VW camper van for 20 years, but since our children starting getting older, we replaced those camping trips with all inclusive hotels abroad, to satisfy their needs over ours. As the saying goes, if your kids are happy, then you’re happy and it’s very true.

However over the last few years, during the pandemic, when we were allowed to travel around the UK, we did. Getting those holidays in when ever we could before our wings were clipped again. The amount of paper work and latterly flight delays and cancellations, meant to have a staycation was much less stressful and it gave us the opportunity to explore and revisit places we haven’t been to for years.

Obviously travel overseas, has now returned, more or less, to what it was pre pandemic, but if like us you are eager to explore the UK more, then these are the 6 best places that we’ve visited recently. Some of them have appeared in previous blog posts here, but I thought this would be a handy post to keep all my recommendations and experiences together to share with you.

1.Southwold

The first trip we took back in June 2020, when lock down measures were being slightly reduced, was to stay at my friend Sally Dennings cottage in Southwold. Sally is a very well known stylist and author of 2 interior books “Relaxed Coastal Style” and “Calm” and so we knew before arriving just how beautiful and thoughtfully designed this cottage would be and we weren’t wrong. Sally has since sold the cottage but it can still be rented through Durrants under the name Millies Cottage. It’s perfectly situated in Southwold, just behind the High Street and within a 5 minute walk of all the restaurants, opubs and the beach.

2.Deal

Later that year in September, we had a week in Deal Kent, which we absolutely loved. It’s a genteel seaside town but with a great selection of shops, bars & restaurants and a lovely coastal walk to Walmer where you can stop for a beachside coffee at Hut55. From Deal you can easily explore the Kent coast. We visited Margate, Folkestone and Dungeness during our weeks stay. If you want to read more about what we did, you can here. We stayed in an Air BNB owned by Emma who runs a lovely shop in the town called Barkened. The cottage was siutuated in the conservation area and a stones throw from the beach. Another fantastic place to stay, if you prefer a hotel, is the recently renovated The Rose which also has a fantastic restaurant and bar which we ate at. Delicious and stylish.

3.Norfolk

We were lucky enough to visit Norfolk twice in 2022. The first visit was in January when we stayed at Spinks Nest Cottage near Holt. I wrote a blog post for 91 Magazine about our stay which you can read here. The second trip was for my birthday weekend in May and we stayed at Settle Norfolk in a converted railway carriage. It was absolutely stunning and so beautifully restored and styled by the owners Jo and John. The site houses 3 carriages and a luxury cabin and a recent addition this year includes a group space for workshops and retreats. The idyllic space includes 3 lakes for outdoor swimming and an honesty shop for all your weekend essentials, plus a beautiful shop stocking all the interior objects that Jo has used to style the cabins, which you can buy and take home for your own space.

4.North Wales

Last year we decided to take our camper van out of her early retirement and spend some money on getting her back to her former glory. We’ve owned her for 20 years and are only the second owners from new, so the interior is immaculate but the body work needed some attention, as we all do in our later years! So back from the garage we decided we needed to book a few trips away in her, nothing too adventurous, just to North Wales which is literally an hour away from Manchester. I still don’t know how I found The Hawarden estate but I’m so glad we did. It’s probably the most magical campsite we’ve ever stayed on and we’ve stayed on many throughout the UK and France. It’s owned by the Gladstone family, Charlie being the great great grandson to the prime minister William Gladstone and general all round amazing entrepenuer. Founder of Pedlars Vintage, anyone remember that? The Good Life Society and The Hawarden estate Farm shop. As of last year, the estate now has it’s own campsite. There are a few pitches for camper vans, but no electric hook up, this site is aimed at getting back to basics but in a really stylish way. You can pitch your own tent in the meadow area or hire a canvas bell tent with a bbq and fire pit on a decking area. There is an outdoor lake which is available several times a week for guided swims with a life guard and once a week you can take a tour of the castle ruins which stand on the estate, walking past the grand pile where the Gladstones reside. This year there is also a bee keepers hut for rent and a cottage. All your amenities are catered for in the farm shop, which has it’s own bakery and butcher and is open until 10.00pm as a licensed restaurant. The estate also own The Glynne Arms gastro pub which is a short walk away in the village of Hawarden. I would tell you more but I’m afraid I’ve already given too much away and it will become too popular. Oh they also have live bands playing for free on a Friday night, whilst you sit around camp fires and let the little ones toast marshmallow, also available at the farm shop. See I told you they’ve thought of everything!

5.St Leonards

St Leonards near Hastings Sussex, was a place that I visited years ago and remembered nothing much about. However, after following Nicola @Oldtownhaus for years on instagram and seeing a beautiful flat she was renovating which would be available short stays, my curiosity and the beautiful design of her flat, got the better of me and we booked to stay for 4 nights in September last year. To say it’s now become one our our favourite places for a short break and that we are hoping to go again this autumn, says it all and if you want to know why then you can read more about our stay here. The flat is at the top of a grand mansion on Warrior Square, directly opposite the sea front, with commanding views from the huge curved window in the lounge. The interior design has been beautifully executed and styled, with every amenity and luxury you could want for a staycation. I’ll let the photos below do the talking for me. Available to book through Old Town Haus.

6.Bath

It’s around 30 years since I last visited Bath and when my friend, who was celebrating her 50th birthday in October last year, asked me to book a place for 4 of us to stay, somewhere within a few hours drive away, as she’s cabin crew and didn’t want to do any more unnecessary travel, it seemed like the perfect time to revisit. I haven’t written a blog post about our stay as it was four women who just spent 2 days and nights, shopping, eating drinking and laughing our way through the weekend. We did go to the costume museum and we did hop on the open top bus tour but that was the total sum of the culture partaken during the weekend. Nothing more to say about our trip really, but I was absolutely blown away by the architecture, which feels just like walking through a film set and there were so many wonderful places to eat and drink and shop and visit, that I know it won’t be another 30 years until I return. We stayed at a lovely Air BNB which I can highly recommend. Lots of amenities if you want to stay in and cook but close to everything if you want to eat out every night you’re there. Again beautifully styled and furnished and really comfortable for 4 adults or a family of 4. Since staying there I’ve also discovered a lovely small boutique hotel in bath, on Pulteney Bridge, Guest House No.15 which is a wonderful area of the city, should that be your preference, and if I go back with Mr B, i’ll most defintely stay here.

I hope these places have given you some ideas about where you might like stay for your next short break in the UK and I’d love to hear back from you with your recommendations.

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