Growing up, going ‘abroad’ was for those who lived in the posher houses (like my lovely friend Nikki with her annual trip to Spain). For us, holidays meant camping – Somerset, Cornwall, Lake District, Peak District… and I never ever felt embarrassed or like I was missing out. It was a holiday! New places, new people, new beaches, new castles.
And Mr LittleStuff enjoyed the same (though he was more upmarket than us; he had the luxury of a caravan and running water…).
When we married, we didn’t ever really think about it much; our first holiday together was the first time we ever visited our now-beloved Brecon Beacons, our much-loved 4-man tent getting its very first of many many outings. Over the following ten years we took our (increasingly big) tents all over the UK, only finally giving in to defeat and renting a holiday cottage when boy No.3 came along. Camping with three under-5’s just felt like an ENORMOUS amount of work, so we found a basic and cheap cottage in Northumberland, and enjoyed the astonishing novelty of a holiday with our own washing machine, electric lights, cooker, a private shower, and a sofa for the evenings.
As the children grew we holidayed every year – but always in the UK. We spent our days exploring the wildest areas of England and Wales that we could find. Our kids grew up loving holidays in the damp drizzle of an English Spring, exploring chilly ruined castles and wide empty beaches in October, and summers spent wild swimming and dam-building in beautiful Welsh streams.
Eventually we felt the call of the guaranteed sunshine, and got lured away across the sea. And we love our sunshine breaks, of course we do.
But why do we often feel obliged to reply “Oh, only to the Lakes” in a deprecating, apologetic fashion when someone asks where we’re off to this year? Why are we apologising?
And why are they then looking at me so sympathetically, head tipped to one side and nose wrinkled like someone died when I tell them so?
We bloody LOVE holidays in the UK. Our national parks are incredible places to visit. The Brecon Beacons consistently top our family favourites list of holiday destinations. The walking we did in the Lakes last year was the best we’ve ever done. We have astonishing beaches, jaw-dropping mountains, historic cities and it’s all within easy reach. It’s not that we’re anti holidaying abroad – of course not, we love a dose of sunshine and new experience as much as the next family – it’s simply that we’re just as happy to holiday in the UK too.
And frankly, we refuse to apologise for that.
So stop trying to make me feel bad for choosing it!
When Cottages.com asked if we might like to be part of their #Iloveyouk project, we honestly jumped at the chance to shout about our love of holidaying without the need of a passport. I know we’re not alone – according to VisitEngland, 2016 saw a boom in families choosing to stay right here in the UK for their family break (sorry, I refuse to use the word ‘staycation’ – it’s a flippin’ holiday!)
Anyhoo, I just had a quick mosey around the Cottages.com site, and found some fab bargains if you’re still thinking about whisking away over the summer holidays…
This holiday cottage is tucked away in a quiet courtyard setting in a picturesque village in the centre of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Surrounded by a stunning backdrop of hills, enjoy gentle strolls along the River Wharfe or a visit to Hawes with its celebrated Wensleydale cheese.
All on ground floor, there’s a Living/dining room/kitchen. 2 bedrooms (1 double, 1 bunk), Satellite TV & Wi-fi.
With lovely sea views from most rooms, this attractive whitewashed cottage stands on its own across the main coastal road from Wells-next-the-Sea’s picturesque quayside and just a mile from its sandy beach. Very comfortably and carefully furnished throughout, and with its own small courtyard patio, the cottage is within easy walking distance of shops, restaurants, pubs and seaside attractions.
Beamed, open-plan fitted kitchen/dining room. Attractive beamed living room, two bedrooms with sea views; one double with French doors and one twin.
Mill Batch Cottage is an 18th century holiday cottage, situated on the edge of the village of Mark. The cottage was originally built as a cattle barn, in the 1780s, but in 1819 it was converted into a cottage, and still retains many of its original features: the low wooden beam over the front entrance, oak beamed ceilings, and the original fireplace, now with a wood burner to give the cottage a homely feel.
Large beamed, double aspect living room with wood-burning stove in inglenook fireplace. Kitchen with tiled floor and sloping ceiling. Double bedroom with window shutter. Beamed twin bedroom with sloping ceiling. Single bedroom with floor level feature window.