The mighty ‘staycation’ is on the rise. And no, that doesn’t mean you need to spend your days freezing on some remote beach somewhere on the east coast of Scotland.
Travel marketing company Sojern recently announced that Brits searching for, and booking, holidays in the UK has risen 25% on last year.
It’s a no brainer. You will likely avoid over-spending at the airport, and there’s no worrying about getting currency at the best possible price – a painful process for us Brits at the moment.
When the good weather rolls in, and you see a window to take a few days off work, you need to be ready. You don’t need to go far afield. Enjoy a couple of days off work and make the most of where you live, or a take drive to explore the surrounding countryside or nearest beaches.
Here’s some tips on how to make the most of our great British summer, if like me, you’re planning on sticking around.
Take picnics seriously
There’s no need to kneel on an old, scratchy travel rug sipping on warm wine from a plastic cup anymore. Proper glassware, crockery and cutlery are the absolute basics now for park life. Invest in some seriously chic picnic hardware and your sunny weekends will be transformed. Plus, your picnic hamper acts as an accessory in its own right. Throw in a cooler for ultimate park envy. And if you’re thinking you can’t really carry a rustic wooden hamper up a hill, Joules even have rucksack hampers. No excuses.
Cook your catch
Nowadays we want to know where every morsel on our plate comes from, and we want it to be fresh. Take a trip to the Isle of Skye, just off the west coast of Scotland, where you’ll find Kinloch Lodge, a luxury hotel with a Michelin-starred restaurant run by Head Chef Marcello Tully. You can dine at the Chef’s table, and if you’ve been fishing that day, Chef will prepare your catch right in front of you. Fishing at home? Your local fishmongers will gut and prep your catch for a tiny fee.
Pimp your G&T
Last summer was all about Prosecco popsicles, but this summer, it’s all about frozé (yup, that’s frozen rosé wine, pass me a glass) and pimped-up gin and tonics. For the latter, add ice cubes made from fruit to your G&T. This works best with watermelon chunks, mango and berries – I promise it will transform your G&T experience. And don’t just stick to tonic – pre-mixed cocktails in a can take on a new, sophisticated look this summer with Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade & Bloom Gin. Experiment with high quality soft drinks (such as Summerhouse Drinks or Bon Accord) to add a dash of extra flavour to you G&T, or switch out the tonic all together.
Embrace pop-up restaurants
Whether it’s a floating barge in the River Thames, rustic dining in the wooded park area where no one usually goes, or a taco-over at your favourite rooftop bar, embrace quirky eating destinations this summer. It’s a great opportunity to support up-and-coming Chefs and restaurateurs, and you’re bound to try something new. I love the sound of the London Riviera – check out The Nudge and keep up to date on all things about to pop. North of the border, The Biscuit Factory in Edinburgh hosts a mix of festivals, exhibitions and restaurants, whilst over in Glasgow The Finnieston Food Tour lets you enjoy three of the areas best restaurants in one night.
Allow salads to take centre stage
With enough care and attention, a salad can go from an easy side dish to star of the show. Don’t be afraid to try different fruits – I love charred peach or nectarine with mozzarella or burrata, serrano ham, salad leaves and plenty of lime and balsamic dressing. Buy fresh produce, not the bagged stuff you get in the supermarket, or evne better, grown your own! If that’s a step to far, find your local greengrocer or farm shop and buy fresh leaves – they’ll last a hell of a lot longer and be packed with flavour. Finally, make the most of nuts, seeds and pulses, they all add texture and flavour to the once simple salad.
Get Festival Fever
Who needs exotic trips to Coachella or Sonar when we’ve got access to some of the greatest festivals right here in the UK. In Scotland, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival welcomes visitors from around the world for a month-long festival of rich culture – for many a trip to the Fringe is a bucket list activity. Comedy, drama, music, art – it’s all happening, and so many of the shows are free. Further north, in Inverness, Belladrum is brilliant, family-friendly music festival, and down south Glastonbury rages on. Check out Time Out’s list of the best UK festivals and get planning.
Got your own plans for a British summer staycation? Let me know.