Ultimate guide to best UK holiday destinations


Going abroad can be a real treat but, if like us, you enjoy exploring the beautiful places we have right here at home, you’ll want to know the best UK holidays to experience at least once in your life.

Providing you with quaint villages, sublime countryside and dramatic mountains, not forgetting beautiful cities beyond London and Edinburgh, the best UK holiday destinations leave you with memories you won’t make anywhere else in the world.

If you’ve always dreamed of taking to the Scottish Highlands and riding the legendary Jacobite train, or going on a luxurious dog-friendly break in the Cotswolds, you’ll want to read on for inspiration to tick these getaways (and more) off your travel bucket list.

And because we don’t do things by halves at Good Housekeeping, we’ve brought you a selection of bespoke UK breaks and hotel offers in these wonderful locations, which you can book safe in the knowledge that you’ll travel with like-minded readers. Here are the best places to go on holiday in the UK, from Snowdonia to Norfolk.

1. Have a dog-friendly break in the Cotswolds

          Travellers from across the world make their way over to the UK just to see this picturesque corner of Britain and, lucky for us, we don’t need the long-haul flight to see the chocolate box villages and mesmerising hills of the Cotswolds. From the ‘prettiest village in England’ Castle Combe to scenic waling trail the Cotswolds Way, there’s plenty to see and do here.

          Best UK holidays - Cotswolds

          CarausiusGetty Images

          Make it a trip to remember by bringing your pooch along for one of the best dog-friendly holidays in the UK, with a stay at the luxurious Lucknam Park. You and your four-legged friend will have acres of grounds to stroll, while close to villages like Castle Combe. There’s also Michelin-starred dining that gourmands won’t want to miss. Grab a room with our dog-friendly hotel offer. FIND OUT MORE

          2. Explore the lush grounds of County Down and Country Antrim

          Possibly the UK’s most underrated country, Northern Ireland is home to vast estates, delightful gardens and cosy, period hotels. In County Down, 18th-century mansion Castle Ward is a must-see for its eccentric architecture (and not just for Game of Thrones fans, where it was filmed). A trip to County Antrim should also be on your list to see the gem that is Antrim Castle Gardens.

          Best UK holidays

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          Next year, we’re taking a tour of the most beautiful rural spots with garden designer Diarmuid Gavin and we’re inviting you to join us. There’ll be a look inside County Down and Country Durham’s private gardens, the chance to browse the National Trust’s Mount Stewart and a stay at a former paper mill. FIND OUT MORE

          3. Head for the Scottish Highlands for a ride on the Hogwarts Express

          Harry Potter fan or not, you’ll be seriously impressed by the beauty of the Scottish Highlands and one of its most breathtaking attractions, the Jacobite steam train. Making its way across the 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct, which was a star in the Harry Potter movies, this magnificent railway journey takes you close to Ben Nevis, Loch Morar and Loch Nevis.

          Best UK holidays

          Shutterstock

          For the trip of a lifetime, combine the epic train journey with the lochs and castles of Scotland, where you’ll visit the majestic Inveraray Castle, sail Loch Katrine on a steam ship and marvel at the incredible Falkirk Wheel. Try our five-day Jacobite steam adventure next summer. FIND OUT MORE

          4. Get your craft on with a sewing break in Bath

          Creative types looking to pick up a new skill while discovering one of Britain’s most picturesque cities should head to Bath, where honey-coloured Georgian architecture and natural thermal hot springs (the only ones in the UK) provide all the relaxation and inspiration you need. From browsing the independent boutiques along the cobbled streets to immersing yourself in the world of Jane Austen, Bath is simply a delightful spot for a mini-break.

          Best UK holidays - Bath

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          Next spring, you can make it a short break to remember by combining the sights with a sewing course, where you’ll be joined by Great British Sewing Bee judge Esme Young. Grab a spot on our exclusive trip with the BBC star and learn new techniques with textile designer Jo Hill. FIND OUT MORE

          5. Retreat to a blissful spa in Leicestershire

          Spa breaks are one of our favourite ways to spend a staycation and with an array of spas up and down the country, it can be hard deciding on the right place for that well-earned R&R – but there’s one place spa lovers should know about. Nestled in the glorious Leicestershire countryside, Ragdale Hall Spa makes for a heavenly rural escape, with facilities that go far beyond those found at your average spa.

          Best UK holidays - Ragdale Hall

          Ragdale Hall

          Housed in an attractive Victorian manor house, Ragdale Hall boasts a total of six pools (yes, really), including a rooftop infinity pool, treatments that range from massages to manicures, fitness classes and cosy rooms to make you feel right at home. Whether you’re looking for a treat to gift someone or fancy going away with your partner, you’ll want to check out our amazing deal for a two-night spa break. FIND OUT MORE

          6. See the beauty of Norfolk from its charming trains

          With its royal connections, wildlife spotting opportunities and lovely river scenes, Norfolk is an absolute must-see. Sandringham Estate, the Norfolk Broads and villages like Wroxham and Horning are some of the sites you won’t want to overlook.

          Best UK holidays - Norfolk

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          You can drink in the amazing landscapes – from unspoilt countryside dotted with windmills to pretty market towns – with relaxing train rides on the Bittern Line, Poppy Line, Bure Valley Railway and the Mid-Norfolk Railway. Experience them all during a five-day summer break. FIND OUT MORE

          7. Discover the prehistoric wonder of Wiltshire

          One of Britain’s most mysterious sites is found in Wiltshire, where 100 enormous upright stones sit in a circular layout. UNESCO-protected Stonehenge transports visitors back thousands of years and is a site like no other. While here, you’ll want to check out Wiltshire’s other attractions, such as the nearby village of Salisbury.

          Best UK holidays - Stonehenge

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          Here, you can enjoy lazy afternoons at historic pubs, visit Salisbury Cathedral and enjoy walks along the River Avon. Spend a mini-break in Salisbury and visit Stonehenge with a great hotel offer. FIND OUT MORE

          8. Take in the beauty of England’s gardens in Kent and Sussex

          When the temperatures rise and Britain is in bloom, nothing says summer more than a visit to a quintessential English country garden and some of the loveliest ones are found in Southeast England, with the likes of Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Great Dixter, Scotney Castle and Lullingstone Castle providing stunning displays of English roses and lavender.

          Best UK holidays

          White Garden. National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

          Much-loved garden designer Sarah Raven will host a special four days of exploring England’s gardens next summer, inviting you into her own garden, toasting the season with some sparkling English bubbly at an after-hours evening at Sissinghurst and joining you for afternoon tea. Be part of the once-in-a-lifetime summer experience by booking a spot on the trip. FIND OUT MORE

          9. Reset and recharge in Surrey on a wellness break

          Just an hour from London lies one of Britain’s top wellness retreats, Grayshott Spa, where you can bliss out in the Surrey countryside on a relaxing spa break. The spa sits among 47 acres of manicured gardens, with views from the bedrooms facing the lake, pool or garden – how’s that for serenity? A spa break here is about wellness with an indulgent twist – think healthy yet delicious meals created by a dietitian and a whole host of treatments, from reflexology to detoxifying body scrubs.

          Best UK holidays - Surrey

          Grayshott Spa

          On a short break to the retreat, you’ll stay in a comfy room, enjoy tasty meals, treatments, guided walks and access to the on-side professionals, such as nutritionists and holistic practitioners. Indulge in a two-night break at Grayshott Spa with our exclusive offer. FIND OUT MORE

          10. Reach new heights in Wales with a trip to Mount Snowdon

          Take in the awe-inspiring scenery of North Wales as you climb up mighty Mount Snowdon to witness one of Britain’s most magnificent views. A ride on the Snowdon Mountain Railway will lift you 1,085 metres above sea level for a journey up England and Wales’ highest peak.

          Best UK holidays

          witpixGetty Images

          The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways stretch for 40 miles through the Snowdonia National Park and allows you to explore pretty villages, rolling countryside and natural attractions, such as waterfalls and lakes. Take a trip to Wales’ beauty spots with a five-day rail adventure. FIND OUT MORE



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