Winter and Autumn staycations have become increasingly popular in recent years. Finding and exploring the beautiful landscapes and hidden gems that the UK has to offer is a great way to have some time away from home, without all the hassle of going abroad.
We've compiled a list of the top places to visit if you're looking for a staycation in Autumn or Winter.
Winter Staycation in England
Yes, the Lakes are spectacular at any time of the year, but when the temperature drops and the leaves turn golden and crisp, the newly crowned Unesco World Heritage site is particularly exquisite.
Between soaking in the scenery while walking one of the 214 fells, and sampling a locally brewed craft beer in country pub, you’ll find there’s no shortage of ways to pass the time even if it isn’t peak season.
Find spa breaks in the Lake District
Sprawling across more than 200 square miles of rugged heath and moody woodland, the New Forest is enchanting in the autumn. Wild ponies wander the streets of chocolate-box villages, and along the coast you’ll find restaurants serving up the local fishermen’s daily catch.
It’s a bit too chilly for camping at this time of year, but that’s fine. Warm up after a day’s long walk crunching leaves under foot through the golden forests in the spa at one of the park’s beautiful country manor house hotels.
Find spa breaks in the New Forest
With frost tipped branches framing the iconic university buildings, winding cobbled roads and meandering river – or even a sugar-dusting of snow on the gardens and rooftops – Cambridge is romantic in the winter. The city known for its centuries-old academic prowess and scenic river punts also has a thriving bohemian scene, with live music and indy bars and cafe tempting visitors inside once the summer suns have disappeared.
Beyond the city itself, 17 miles down the road you’ll find the wetlands of Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve teeming with wildlife; there’s a range of trails from which to explore it.
Find spa breaks in Cambridgeshire
Winter Staycation in Scotland
The crowds flock in to Edinburgh for the Festival in August, and again in December for New Year celebrations, taking up every bed in town, so go in autumn for the best deals and and fire-side seats in the cosiest pubs to sample a wee dram of Scotland’s finest.
A glut of walking tours will introduce you to various facets of the Scottish capital’s heritage (ghost tours, Harry Potter tours, film location tours…). You’ll also find top notch restaurants, plus the early sunsets at this time of year produce make for spectacular views from the city’s higher points.
Find spa breaks in Edinburgh
The second largest lake in Britain (after Loch Ness) attracts its biggest crowds in high summer, so autumn is the perfect to visit its glassy waters without battling for space in the nearby hotels – plus it’s the best time of year to spot red stags.
Go in deep winter for a chance to catch virgin white views, with acres of fields and bare trees clothed in untouched snow, however you’ll enjoy more of the areas wealth of activities before the snow hits the ground. Explore the Loch’s 100-mile coastline on foot, by bike, by boat… however you please.
Find spa breaks near Loch Lomond
Running along Scotland’s east coast between Aberdeen and Dundee, the 58-mile coastal road makes for a perfectly manageable mini break, leaving you plenty of time to stop and take in the delights of its seaside towns and arresting beauty of its wild vistas.
Be sure to visit the pink beaches of Lunan Bay; the water might be too chilly for a surf lesson at this time of year, but take the time to explore the crumbling walls of 12th Century Red Castle and take in the drama of the North Sea crashing on the shore.
Find spa breaks in Aberdeen
Winter Staycation in Wales
It's often overlooked when it comes to picking a destination to visit in Wales, but Monmouthshire has some of the finest attractions anywhere in the country. Along the southern stretch of border with England, it encompasses to picturesque landscapes of the Wye Valley to the East and the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park to the west.
In the summer it's a haven of outdoor activity – kayaking down the River Wye, cycling between its cobbled-stone towns – but go in harvest season to taste some of the best British produce around at the Abergavenny Food Festival, or go straight to the source by visiting one of the county’s vineyards or farm producers. The area is also packed with historic castles and magnificent abbeys to explore before retreating to the spa at one of South Wales’ beautiful country house hotels.
Find spa breaks in Southeast Wales
Climbing Britain’s second highest peak makes for a great getaway activity before soothing your weary muscles with a massage and sauna at a spa hotel. But there is plenty to draw you to Wales’ north west corner if climbing a mountain isn’t your idea of a relaxing break.
The beautiful seaside town of Conwy is packed with quaint independent shops and cafes, but its biggest draw is it Unesco World Heritage-listed castle, sitting atop a hill with views surveying the historic streets below. Or the Victorian village of Betws-y-Coed, aka the Gateway to Snowdonia, is an idyllic starting point for exploring the stunning woodland – so you don’t *have* to climb the mountain to see its natural splendour.
Find spa breaks in close to that area in north west Wales