From beaches to waterfalls and picturesque villages to windmills, there are thousands of hidden gems to explore across the UK. Here, we highlight ten very special places you could stay this summer, all on the doorstep.
1. Lizard Point, Cornwall
White sand and topaz seas aren’t only found in Barbados. Lizard Point is the most southerly point of the British mainland, a short walk from Lizard village in Cornwall. From campervans to shepherds huts, there are a number of unique places to stay, including the cliff-top homestay The Signal Station. Built in 1872, it was designed to help signal passing ships to safety.
2. Lavenham, Suffolk
The streets of Lavenham are lined with crooked houses, beams askew, kept up as if by magic. Several date back to the 15th century, including hotel and spa, The Swan. Visitors can also book a room at De Vere House, featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One, as the house of Harry’s parents in Godric’s Hollow.
3. Glen Lyon, Perthshire
North of Loch Tay and Ben Lawers lies Glen Lyon, described by novelist Walter Scott as "the longest, loneliest and loveliest glen in Scotland." It stretches from Fortinghall, where you can see one of Europe’s oldest Yew Trees, to Loch Lyon. Some pitch a tent amongst the heather of Ben Lawers, while others choose to stay in Killin, Kenmore, Fortinghall or Bridge of Balgie. Glen Lyon is home to stunning waterfalls and standing stones, such as The Praying Hands of Mary, said to have been split in two by the arrow of Celtic hero Fingal.
4. Isles of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly are made up of five inhabited islands - St. Mary’s, Tresco, St. Martin’s, Bryher and St. Agnes - and around 140 uninhabited ones. Spend sunny days swimming, shrimping, beach-combing and island hopping before returning to your hotel on St Martin’s or farm lodge on St Mary’s. Throughout September, the islands will host The Tastes of Scilly food festival, showcasing everything from fishmongers to vineyards to ice-cream parlours.
5. Goathland, North Yorkshire
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway will be up and running again from the beginning of August, giving families the chance to climb aboard one of their many ancient steam trains. A favourite heritage station can be found in Goathland, a moorland village not far from the coastal town of Whitby. Walkers and birdwatchers alike will love The Rail Trail, a downhill 3.5 mile walk that starts in Goathland and ends in Grosmont. For the way back, either book a place on the steam train or retrace your steps after stopping off for a cup of tea and a scone at the Old School Coffee House in Grosmont.
6. Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk
Burnham Overy Staithe’s Tower Windmill is one of dozens that still pepper the countryside of Norfolk. The windmill overlooks the Norfolk Coast Path, a beautiful 84 mile trail that runs from Hunstanton to Hopton-on-Sea. The tiny village of Burnham Overy Staithe, where there are a few holiday cottages and a pub, is about halfway along the path. Its beach can only be reached by foot through the marshes, meaning that it is often deserted: except by the sea birds.
7. County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Country Antrim in Northern Ireland is full of spectacular walks, castles and waterfalls. Less than ten miles from Balleygally Castle, where you can book to stay, is Gleno Waterfall. The walk to the falls is short and easy, beginning at a nearby car park on the edge of the hamlet of Gleno. After a picnic or a pub lunch at the nearby Billy Andy’s, return to the coastal town of Balleygally or continue to Carrickfergus or Larne, both of which also have a number of B&Bs, hotels and holiday lets.
8. The New Forest, Hampshire
The New Forest is a haven for walkers, cyclists and animal lovers. Chestnut and bay ponies are free to roam across the heath and through ancient oak forests, where you can pitch a tent at one of the campsites or book a cabin. Available activities include golf, fishing, kayaking, and of course, horse riding.
9. Gower Peninsula, South Wales
Three Cliffs Bay, one of the Gower Peninsula’s many unspoilt beaches, is just a half hour drive from Swansea. The peninsula is famed for its surfing and dolphins, which are often seen from Worm’s Head. There are plenty of places to stay within the peninsula, from traditional inns to cosy farmhouses, or you could always stay in the city and take a day trip (or a sunset trip) out to Gower.
10. The village of Near Sawrey, Cumbria
The Cumbrian village of Near Sawrey, between Esthwaite Water and Lake Windermere, is best known as the home of children’s writer and illustrator Beatrix Potter. Visitors can trace the footsteps of Beatrix Potter and her characters, through woods and fields, over to Hill Top Farm, a dedicated Beatrix Potter museum. The farm itself is currently closed but the café, shop and garden are open.