Are you in need of a break, but can’t afford to get out of the country? Craving some R&R, but find that holidays are – if you’re being honest – pretty stressful? It’s time to consider a staycation.
A staycation is when you either take a break whilst staying at home, or travel somewhere without leaving the country. It might not sound so glamorous, but the affordability of staycation holidays, plus the lack of travel logistics, can make them far more relaxing than jetting off.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a holiday for the whole family, why not look a little closer to home? The UK has some remarkable areas of outstanding natural beauty in its own right (think national parks such as the Lake District and the Peak District) and world-renowned culture to see (from the National Gallery to the Eden Project). You can even holiday in your own back garden.
But although a staycation may be conveniently located, how do you make it feel really special? We’ve gathered some tips from our expert clients. Take a look.
Tom Kerridge, Michelin-starred chef
Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge is a strong proponent of UK staycation holidays, having regularly visited the North Kent coast for over 20 years. “My wife Beth, who was my girlfriend at the time, took me on a day out because it was easy to get to. So we fell in love with it then and we’ve been going every single year more and more.”
For Tom, staycations are all about appreciating the British countryside year-round, regardless of the weather. “The wintertime is fantastic, because you can light the log fire, put the kettle on and have a cup of tea while watching the wind blow in,” says Tom. “During the summer, you’re outside with the barbecue going and friends over, chilling out.”
Tom also holds British cosy pubs close to his heart – and to celebrate them, he founded a festival tour called Pub in the Park. Touring different parks around the UK, the festival brings the best parts of pub culture to the outdoors: delicious food, great beers and live music. The perfect staycation destination!
Andrew Clarke, barbecue expert
For chef Andrew Clarke, a staycation means firing up the grill – and that doesn’t have to be limited to summer. “I personally feel that being outside is very healthy for us and I don’t see why we shouldn’t do it right through the year,” says Andrew. “It can obviously be tricky out in rain and strong winds but I’ve cooked out in the snow on many occasions and it’s a lot of fun.”
When it comes to staycations, the money you save on travel means you can splash out on things like high-quality food for your barbecue. “I’d really encourage people to try cooking a wider range of ingredients on the grill,” Andrew says. “The important thing is that you start with really great ingredients, whether it’s meat, fish or vegetables.”
Andrew’s number one tip for a good barbie? “Make sure you understand the difference between direct and indirect cooking and it will massively improve your game,” he advises. “Try pushing the coals to one side and have a safe space to cook things slowly – that’s the key.”
Tom Surgey, wine expert
Tom Surgey likes to go a little extra with his staycations, which peaked during lockdown. “We had friends in city centres with mini paddling pools in the living room. Windows wide. Inflatable palm trees. Piña Coladas. Reggae Spotify playlists. You get the picture.”
For an English staycation, Tom loves an English wine to accompany, made from grapes grown in the rolling hills of Kent or Essex. Although staycationing needn’t just be about the wine – Tom is also a huge fan of English pale ales. “Like grape varieties in wine, there are lots of hop varieties,” he says. “Each has its own distinct characteristics.”
Tom finds huge joy in pairing food and wine as a dinner party host. “There is a serious gastronomic discovery to be had if they are both enjoyed together with friends,” he says. “Banged on the table in the middle. Both wines open at once. Get stuck in. Talk about it. Share it. Have a laugh.”
Laura Adlington, body confidence media personality
If you would buy a new outfit for a holiday abroad, why not treat yourself with the money saved by staycationing? For Bake Off finalist and plus-size advocate Laura Adlington, clothing’s ability to make you feel good can’t be overstated.
“When I was growing up I couldn’t buy clothes easily, if at all,” she says. “It reinforced the fact I was different, that I was somehow ‘less than’.” For Laura, finding beautiful clothes that fit properly and flatter her has been key to embracing her curves.
Laura is delighted to be releasing her own clothing range soon, which will be full of fun and flattering styles perfect for holidaying – whether at home or abroad! She wants her garments to celebrate bigger bodies, instead of swamping them. “I love wearing bright, bold prints instead of covering up in black, baggy clothes,” she says.
Jose Pizarro, chef
Spanish chef and restaurateur Jose Pizarro loves entertaining at home – and alfresco dining is what can turn a summer staycation into a truly wonderful holiday. “If I’m cooking for many friends, I want it to be simple,” says Jose. “Because I want to eat with my friends, I don’t want to spend the whole day in the kitchen, or I want them to be in the kitchen with me and for them to enjoy it.”
Despite being credited with bringing tapas to the UK, Jose loves using seasonal British ingredients. “I get my lamb from a farm in Tenterden, and my beef comes from Scotland. British asparagus is unlike any other I’ve ever tasted. I’m a great believer that if there are good ingredients in the country where you are, you should use them.”
For Jose, who lives in London, a staycation is also about appreciating home – particularly the popular sights you may be taking for granted. “I love walking by the river,” says Jose. “The Millennium Bridge is amazing at night. There’s no one there, you can see St Paul’s and Tate Modern, and you think, it’s worth living in London.”
Book a celebrity expert and plan the best staycation yet
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