A ‘staycation’, sometimes also known as a ‘holistay’, is when an individual or family takes a holiday within their own country, rather than travelling abroad.
A rise in the appeal of so-called staycations is linked to everything from Brexit to travel sickness. They may also be cheaper, longer (less time spent travelling), and simpler to organise.
Whatever the reason, many Brits are adopting the practice – and choosing to spend time holistaying in the UK, rather than holidaying abroad. This May – I was one of them!
I travelled to Alnwick in Northumberland for the weekend, to visit a lovely pal of mine. I was promised a ‘wholesome staycation’.
(A promise that was delivered, thank you Gem <3).
The journey from Grantham to Alnwick took roughly four hours, door-to-door. I had forgotten quite how far north Northumberland is. Daft I know. Clue is in the name… Alnmouth is just shy of Scotland.
I had a very entertaining train journey… I offered the seat next to me to someone who had just boarded the train, not realising the man sat there for the first portion of the journey had in fact, only gone to the toilet, and not got off (as I had assumed – he took all of his stuff?!?!). I’d like to change the dictionary definition of ‘awkward’ to that event please. That aside, a successful journey was had!
Whilst we were not blessed with good weather on my first day (cinema anyone?) – it steadily improved, and we visited both Bamburgh and Alnwick Castle over the weekend. Did I mention we both did History at Durham? WHO would have guessed it…
Put simply: it was a lot of fun. Bamburgh Castle is absolutely stunning. The castle itself sits, resplendently, on the northeast coast of England. Inside, the state rooms are beautifully preserved, and outside boasts an breathtaking view of the coastline. If you’re not a history lover like Gem and I, just walking around and enjoying the scenery is a treat enough. There’s also tons of things for kids (a.k.a me) to do, ranging from learning archery, to Victorian games and puzzles.
Alnwick Castle (where Gem is lucky enough to WORK – I know, I know, it’s too cool) – was equally impressive, but in a different way. The interior of Alnwick is inspired by 16th century Rome, so has a very different feel. The castle has also played host to several different films and television series: Harry Potter (the first and second films), Downton Abbey, and even the latest Transformers! We didn’t have time to visit the gardens but I’ve been told they make for a wonderful wander – next time for sure!
By the end of the weekend, as you can probably imagine – we were a bit ‘castled-out’, so we squeezed in a stroll around each town and went for a walk along the beach (it was far too cold to actually go in, but lovely to just be by the sea).
It truly felt like an escape, and demonstrated the superb potential of the UK as a holiday destination.
So… should we all be holistaying in 2019? With a recent surge of environmental protest, holistaying is attractive in this sense, due to the reduction in travel. The Green Party, for example, are keen to encourage a tax on frequent fliers, which would be implemented when they fly for the second time in a year (the feasibility of this idea is up for debate). Holistaying, if done via public transport, does have the potential to reduce carbon emissions, and thus, become a sustainable form of travel.
Staycations can also be much less stressful. No passports, language barriers, currency conversion or complex contingency plans – sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?
Plus we have the places to visit! Holistaying assumes there are places nearby that are worth holidaying to. From the coastline to our cosmopolitan cities, the UK boasts a variety of gorgeous natural habitats, a wealth of heritage, and wonderful hospitality.
BUT – holistaying is not ALWAYS the dreamy alternative I’ve perhaps presented.
For example, rail prices, on occasion, can be laughable. We’ve all read the articles about that man/woman that realised it would be cheaper to fly abroad, then fly back, into the airport at their desired location, rather than get a direct train.
Plus: weather. Simply put: it’s not guaranteed. It’s the UK. It could do anything. Long range weather forecasts for summer 2019 look fairly favourable, but I’m always hesitant. Saying that, I have fond memories of childhood holidays in Wales, sat in the tent with Mum & Gareth, watching Dad BBQ in the rain. Soggy sausage bun anyone?
Also – international travel is something I believe everyone should have the chance to experience. I was lucky enough to visit Japan, for example, in 2014, and it was the most phenomenal trip. Experiencing a totally different culture, and engaging with people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to meet – is so important. International travel is essential to literally, and metaphorically – broaden your horizons.
So should Brits start swapping Mallorca for Mablethorpe, the Algarve for Anglesea, Paris for… sorry no, nothing beats Paris – they have a DISNEYLAND. The UK does need to up its game in that sense.
I think a healthy mix of both is in order. What are your thoughts?