The green and pleasant land of England is sometimes so very green and pleasant that you simply don’t want to leave. If you can’t face arriving at an airport at 5am, potentially losing your luggage and sitting squashed next to strangers for hours at a time, consider taking a vacation in the place you call home instead. It might not be the largest country in the world, but it has everything you could want from a holiday – sandy beaches, dramatic views, world-class culture and history and excellent food. Why not get to know England better? You never know, you might just fall in love with it a little more than you already are. Plum Guide has all the luxuriously delightful properties that will make your England staycation one to remember.
London is the beating heart of England. A huge metropolis, it’s buzzing, cosmopolitan and full of fascinating things to see, do and experience. Even if you already live or work in this city, it can be so varied that it’s still eminently possible to take a holiday in your hometown.
You can shop until you drop on Oxford Street and Regent Street, and have a long lunch at a Soho institution such as Dean Street Townhouse, an all-day brasserie just begging for a drizzly afternoon to keep you happily stuck there, people-watching and sipping an excellent Bloody Mary (or two, or three).
Regent Street in London, UK
The next day, head to Kensington to spend the day wandering around the V&A or the Natural History Museum. How long has it been since you’ve played tourist in your own capital city? If you’re hungry after seeing so much culture, stroll down to the V&A cafe and indulge in some delicious cake and afternoon tea.
Find your ideal neighbourhood to call home for a while and settle in for the England staycation of a lifetime. This converted coach house in Kensington is very well placed for the museums – you’ll practically feel like royalty staying there, and you can walk to the green oasis of Hyde park in minutes. Or this sleekly modern townhouse in Highgate is ideal for a crowd of family and friends. With an indoor pool, a dance studio and an aquarium, you’ll be in the lap of luxury.
For a city with a funkier edge, Bristol is an excellent choice. With great transport links, it’s close enough to both London, Wales, central England and the west country to make it very convenient to get to.
Settle into your swish pad in the upscale area of Clifton and you could be taking your morning espresso with a view of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s famous suspension bridge. Drag your kids away from their iPads to wriggle your way down the secret slide in the rock next to the bridge, and you’ll get a picture that will make next year’s Christmas card.
The Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is definitely worth a visit, with an electric but well-curated selection of historical memorabilia and cultural items. Grab lunch at a classically British pub – we recommend The Albion in Clifton; if your waistline can take it their chips are to die for – and spend the afternoon at the newly restored Bristol Lido, luxuriating in the sleekly restored pool and excellent spa facilities.
Colourful terraced houses overlooking boats and water at Bristol Harbourside, England, UK
For vintage shops, pop up boutiques and cutting edge tapas bars and craft beer, head to Stokes Croft, where you’ll spot some of the most inventive graffiti of anywhere in the country (there’s more than a few of Banksy’s works around here, too). The harbourside is also a lovely place to while away a few hours, with an independent cinema, the Bristol aquarium and myriad cafes and bars to keep you occupied until the sun goes down.
It would be almost criminal to miss Cornwall off a list of England staycations. It’s a classic for a reason, and draws many visitors each year with its 400 miles of truly breathtaking coastline and gorgeous natural resources.
This Cornish cottage is a fabulous base to explore the area, although with period furnishings, a standalone bathtub and a verdantly green garden just begging for you to have dinner in, you might struggle to even leave the house and choose instead to spend your time relaxing indoors (no judgement - your holiday, your choice).
Here, you can learn to surf (or hang out eating ice cream while your children joyfully fall off their boards too many times to count), spend days frolicking on the beach making sandcastles, eat incredible local seafood and experience the culture of an area all its own. Attractions include the Eden Project, an eco-park comprised of huge glass globes that act as greenhouses, and the Tate St Ives, an offshoot of the famous museum featuring art that will remind you that you should really call your art advisor when you get home to refresh what’s on your walls.