The best UK destinations to head to this summer (picked by us)
With more people planning to holiday at home in the Britain this year compared to 2016, it seems the trend of the staycation is here to stay. With that in mind, we’ve picked some of our favourite UK destinations to head to this summer, from classic countryside locations to historic cities you might not have considered, and the distinctive De Vere hotels that call them home.
For a rural retreat: The Cotswolds
For the ultimate rural retreat there is nowhere quite as beautiful as the Cotswolds. Here is a place defined by softly rolling hills, boundless, but for the quaint little honey stone villages, lakes, rivers and open woodland that ebb and flow between them. Whether you want to wander the nature trails, drive or cycle the country roads, or take to the water parks, you’ll find plenty of ways to fall back in love with nature in this pretty slice of rural England.
Yet, there’s much more to the Cotswolds than its peaceful landscapes. With a rich history of royalty and literature, the region is full of vintage gardens, ruined castles and stately homes that showcase its heritage – all open to the public. And for foodies, the Cotswolds are a must. Renowned for their local fare, farmers markets and food festivals are big here, where you can sample and celebrate the finest of Cotswolds produce.
Where to stay: De Vere Cotswold Water Park
Combining golden stone, wood and glass, this luxury retreat resembles a contemporary Cotswold cottage, quietly nestled within Cotswold Water Park. With a revitalising spa, places to eat and drink and a collection of lakeside bedrooms and apartments, the hotel offers just the place to unwind. Tell me more.
For a short city break: Oxford
Oxford is defined by its history of wisdom and intellect. But beyond its famous university walls beats the heart of a vibrant international city. Walking through Oxford's compact centre you'll find a shopping district, elegant cocktail bars and lively pubs to easily rival those of a large city. But despite Oxford’s modern bustle there's still a nostalgic air about the place. Its twirling spires and historic buildings breathe old-world charm back into the city and tell the story of its long heritage.
If you turn away from the busy shopping streets, you'll still find weaves of old cobbled lanes, hidden just steps away from the crowds; now home to a scene of little independent businesses. Or if you wander to the River Thames, you can see the echoes of its former life as a busy port. The water bustling with unhurried punters and rowers, and the river’s banks rich with little places to relax and watch the world go by.
Where to stay: De Vere Oxford Thames
Just 3 miles from the centre of Oxford, you'll find this characterful country house. Set in acres of riverside parkland, the hotel blends medieval charm with 21st century style to create a welcome retreat to retire to after a busy day in the city. Tell me more.
For a countryside getaway close to the capital: Surrey
There's more to Surrey than its affluent towns that border the capital. Beyond the suburbia, you'll find miles of unspoilt countryside that offer just the place to recharge your batteries without straying too far from the city. Home to the pretty Surrey Hills and some of England's most ancient woodlands, here, city goers (but explorers at heart), can rediscover their inner adventurer in the trails and parks scattered across Surrey's great outdoors.
Whereas culture lovers can lose themselves in the renowned art galleries and sculpture parks that pay homage to the county’s international art scene. Or uncover Surrey’s profound heritage and history in its wealth of stately homes and royal palaces. When you've explored it all, London's countless attractions wait on your doorstep. Hop the train on and head into the city for the day, with the capital easily accessible from Surrey.
Where to stay: De Vere Wotton House
This 18th century country mansion near Dorking has been recently refurbished, combining original heritage with modern design across its bedrooms, public spaces and new restaurant: The 1877 Restaurant & Bar. Whilst outside Italian gardens, Roman temples, and manicured lawns open out to rolling countryside beyond. Tell me more.
For a trip with the kids: Windsor
This pretty riverside town has plenty for the whole family to enjoy. It’s home to the UK’s only Legoland resort - a reason alone to visit with the kids. Yet Windsor offers much more than just that. Dominated by its magnificent royal castle, the town itself has a wonderful vintage charm about it. Historic traditions like changing of the guard can still be seen here, offering a cultural experience for the whole family, that’s far removed from dull and dusty museums.
In the centre, cobbled lanes are flanked with lovely cafes and tearooms, busy restaurants and boutique shops. The town just large enough to give plenty of choice, yet small enough, even for little feet, to easily walk around. Or else hop on one of the many open top bus tours or Thames boat cruises, to see Windsor’s sights from a unique point of view.
Where to stay: De Vere Beaumont Estate
This majestic estate stands in acres of peaceful grounds right in the heart of Old Windsor. Currently undergoing a multi-million-pound renovation, inside you’ll find a collection of modern bedrooms, some already refurbished, as well as a new restaurant & bar set to open this summer. There’s also a gym, pool and children’s outdoor play area. Tell me more.