Good Housekeeping - Best UK holidays: An ultimate guide to exploring the beauty of Britain this year

Posted on 30 August, 2021

Tenby Harbour, Tenby, United Kingdom - Photo by Beata Mitręga on Unsplash

Written by Roshina Jowaheer for Good Housekeeping

... Going abroad can be a real treat but, if like us, you plan on exploring the beautiful places we have right here at home this summer, 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 spa break in the Leicestershire countryside, 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 and with financial protection. Here are the top holidays in UK spots, from the Hebrides to Norfolk.

1. Get to know London's royal history with a TV expert

However many times you've visited London, there's always more to explore and if you're fascinated by the UK capital's royal history, you'll want to take a tour and meet historian Suzannah Lipscomb, who has appeared on BBC and Channel 5 shows based on Britain's royal families.

On a three-day exclusive trip to London, Berkshire and Surrey, you'll delve into the world of the royal family. During the August or September break, there'll be a private tour Windsor Castle, a visit to the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace and a look inside Westminster Abbey. Suzannah will join you at Hampton Court Palace.

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2. Discover the Caribbean-esque beaches of the Isles of Scilly

If the coronavirus pandemic taught us anything, it's that spending time in the great outdoors, whatever the distance from home, is one of life's greatest pleasures. The Isles of Scilly is one place that proves you don't have to spend hours on a plane to experience some of the world's best beaches, wildlife or natural sites.

Its paradise sands, ample walking opportunities and exotic gardens will make you feel like you're abroad - the weather's generally warmer too! On an exclusive island escape with top guide Will Wagstaff taking you to the top spots in September, you can experience Tresco Abbey Garden, witness puffins on a boat trip, take in the wild beaches of Bryher and more.

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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.

For the trip of a lifetime, combine the epic train journey with a magnificent Loch Katrine cruise on a steam ship and the incredible Falkirk Wheel. Our four-day Jacobite steam adventure in June and August takes you on the Scottish escape of a lifetime.

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4. Ride the delightful Bluebell Railway through Sussex

The south of England is home to glorious gardens and beaches but it's also where you can take an unforgettable train ride. The Bluebell Railway offers just that as one of the loveliest railway journeys at any time of year. The UK’s oldest preserved standard-gauge railway, it's run by volunteers and takes you through 11 miles of gorgeous scenery.

The old stations where you'll stop are a treat too - don't miss a look around Sheffield Park, which harks back to the 1880s, and Horsted Keynes, which transports you to the 1920s. You can take a nostalgic train ride on the Bluebell during a four-day Sussex staycation in September. The trip includes a look around some grand country estates, seal spotting in Chichester Harbour and visits to pretty gardens.

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5. Experience Sarah Raven's breath-taking East Sussex Garden, Perch Hill

With all the time we've had to love our own outdoor spaces, you're probably on the hunt for ideas to create a garden sanctuary. Well, celebrated garden designer Sarah Raven's Perch Hill should be your first spot and offers all the inspiration you need for your own garden. Packed with roses, petunias, agapanthus and more, Perch Hill is East Sussex's floral haven.

During a four-day trip to meet Sarah Raven at Perch Hill at the end of June, you'll have time to explore the site, gathering tips and tricks from Sarah, as well as enjoying afternoon tea and taking part in a flower arranging masterclass. You'll visit attractions in Kent and Sussex, including the marvellous Sissinghurst Castle Garden, with its garden rooms.

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6. See the beauty of Norfolk with Jennie Bond or Lucy Worsley

With its royal connections, wildlife spotting opportunities and lovely river scenes, Norfolk is an absolute must-see - and there's no better way to experience it than with a celebrity expert and we have two terrific tours: one with former royal correspondent Jennie Bond and another with historian Lucy Worsley. You'll visit the Sandringham Estate, the Norfolk Broads and villages like Wroxham and Horning.

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 all of this and more during a five-day July 2021 break in the company of Jennie Bond.

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7. Explore Scotland's untouched islands

Who needs Greece for island hopping when we've got the breath-taking Hebrides in Scotland which are just waiting to be discovered? With their sandy beaches, spectacular wildlife and an array of castles, the Hebrides will show you why some of the best UK holidays take place in Scotland.

There are hundreds of islands that make up the archipelago, which is divided into the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Islay, Mull, Skye and Harris are some of the most famous isles, where you can sip quality whisky, spot puffins and experience stargazing like nothing else. Island hopping on a cruise is a top way to see the Hebrides in one go and our exclusive trip in May 2022 will show you the best bits.

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8. Take in RHS Garden Bridgewater with Tom Stuart-Smith

Nestled in Greater Manchester, RHS Garden Bridgewater is a new garden to visit in the UK, opening in May last year. The 154-acre space is a year-round delight, home to the Weston Walled Garden, Paradise Garden, Kitchen Garden and more. Landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith was involved in bringing one of Britain's most exciting new attractions to us and is joining Good Housekeeping for an exclusive tour, where he can answer all your horticultural questions.

During the four-day trip in July and August, you'll get to know RHS Garden Bridgewater, along with other highlights of the North West. You'll visit Ness Botanic Gardens, Dunham Massey and Tatton Park. There'll also be afternoon tea at RHS Garden Bridgewater to complete the experience.

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9. Taste the flavours of Devon's River Cottage with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Devon is heaven and one way to experience this gorgeous part of the UK is by visiting River Cottage, the estate featured on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's TV shows. This is your chance to take part in foraging, wood-fired cookery and tuck into a meal prepared by the River Cottage team.

On Good Housekeeping's exclusive tour, you'll also get to meet Hugh and ask him questions about cooking and his career. Outside River Cottage, there's plenty to see and do, so over four days in August, you'll get to know the Jurassic Coast, Hestercombe Gardens and Yeo Valley Gardens.

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10. Be inspired by the Cotswolds' gardens on a tour with Christine Walkden

Think quintessential English country gardens and you probably picture wildflowers, impressive topiary and backdrops of honey-coloured houses found in the Cotswolds. Home to marvellous gardens, such as at Prince Charles' home Highgrove House and the amazing Hidcote Manor.

On an exclusive UK holiday in the Cotswolds in September, you'll join The One Show's expert gardener Christine Walkden as you visit the most delightful gardens and ask her questions about perfecting the look of your own garden. From Batsford Arboretum to Sezincote, you'll get to know the Cotswolds' fascinating corners.

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To read the original article written by Roshina Jowaheer for Good Housekeeping, please visit: www.goodhousekeeping.com/uk/lifestyle/travel/a29483104/best-uk-holidays/

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