Anyone else out there fantasising about long stretches of glittering white sand and sipping iced cocktails looking out over the sea as the sun goes down? I know it’s because the holiday season is almost upon us and that we’re seeing early glorious sunshine here, but I seem to be endlessly day dreaming – a small sun soaked island in some far flung tropical destination and the idea of just trying to let the last two months wash over me – albeit briefly. A few airlines are considering plans to reintroduce flights from July and some countries are beginning to open up to tourism, but how many of us will actually have the confidence to board a flight again in the very near future? Not to mention the fact that a two-week holiday anywhere other than in the UK now means a 14-day quarantine on our return, making that a month-long holiday few can afford to take with the financial consequences of lockdown hanging over us.
I need to be realistic. Packing a giant suitcase, getting on a flight and stepping out onto tropical golden sands isn’t going to happen and can stay on my fantasy back burner for now. Travel for me this year – when it’s possible – is going to be right here on my own doorstep. The UK has some of the most beautiful beaches and rural landscapes in the world, and as we head further into the summer it’s possible that national parks, public attractions, restaurants and bars may have re-opened with a set of social distancing measures in place. So it’s time to be more inventive and look at the ways we can give ourselves a safe break, short or long, and in whatever form it takes.
If we choose our destinations carefully and avoid overcrowding the more popular hotspots for the people who actually live there – we can look forward to finally leaving the confines of our homes and going further afield for more than just a few hours. Here are a few of the ideas I’m thinking about for my summer break – when we can!
Long Weekends with Friends
Pre-lockdown it seemed too easy to get caught up in the hectic schedule of our own lives. A busy week left little energy to get in the car and visit friends for the weekend, particularly those who live further away. With restrictions beginning to ease, it’s possible that from July we may be able to leave our homes for an extended period of time. If you’re looking for a mini-break I can’t think of a better way to catch up with them now (and certainly beats the Zoom calls!) Exploring their part of the country, BBQs in their gardens, warm evenings spent catching up over a few bottles of wine – feels like a holiday break to me!
Cue The Holiday– only in this scenario it’s the summer and in the home of people we already know! How many of us – when we do actually manage to visit our friends for a weekend – come away wishing we’d seen a bit more of the area they’ve chosen to live in? Hotels may not open up again much before August – and even when they do distancing measures in place may feel too restrictive to give us the sense of a holiday break. So now is the ideal time to suggest to friends who live further afield and in areas you’d like to explore that you swap homes and get to know their part of the country.
Camping and Glamping
A few nights under canvas, an abundance of fresh air, cooking outside and gazing out at a blanket of stars – this was a thrilling adventure to me as a small child! Campsites may start to partially reopen alongside the rest of the hospitality industry as we go through July and into August. Camping is a perfect way to get away from it all, it’s simple and peaceful and an opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful countryside across the UK. Alternatively, there’s something so liberating about hiring a camper van and taking to the open road, pitching up in remote and unknown places as they come along, reconnecting with nature and with no one else around for miles!
How about playing the tourist in your own town? There’s so much we miss or just never seem to have the time to explore in our local towns and villages. If you’re staying at home on holiday, with minimal travel and no need for mountains of luggage (always a bonus), this is the ideal opportunity to start rediscovering everything that led you to live there in the first place! Parks and gardens, community heritage, picnics in the country and – when we are finally allowed to have gatherings in our homes again – simply enjoying being back with our friends for dinner parties, BBQs or setting up an open air cinema in our own back gardens