It used to be that the humble staycation was the sensible holiday option for families on a budget, and although there’s still some truth in that, the tourism landscape is changing. Last year, a whopping 54% of Brits enjoyed a break in the UK, and more than a third of British adults opted for a British holiday simply because it was their first choice of destination, not because they were trying to save the pennies.
TV series such as Game of Thrones and The Crown have served as a timely reminder of the unique landscapes, culture and history of Britain, and survey respondents also cite excellent customer service and quality leisure activities as reasons for staying closer to home.
So if you’re planning a staycation this year, you’re in good company! And here at AwtK, we’ve compiled our top tips and ideas to ensure you get the most out of your family holiday no matter where you head - we’re nice like that...
Agree on some rules: Firstly, set some parameters. The whole point of a staycation isn’t that you can sneak your work laptop into your case or the kids can feast on 8 hours of telly a day, but rather that it feels like a proper holiday. If your children are old enough, perhaps you could involve them in drawing up the T&Cs - we reckon you’ll be amazed by their enthusiasm when they see that you’re going to abide by them too!
Be realistic: For example, instead of zero TV or work admin, think about vetoing it during certain hours or having two email check-ins during the week - and make sure you’re talking about and planning all the fun you’re going to have alongside your Staycation Commandments to increase anticipation and willingness! If you’re staying in your own house, you might want to consider setting aside some budget for a cleaner, outsourcing your ironing or a takeaway/Deliveroo for an evening or two so that you get the real holiday experience - after all, nothing says ‘holiday’ like someone else doing the clearing up!
Visit a farm: Spring has finally sprung, so what better time to visit a farm? Search on the foodforlife.org.uk site to find local farmers who open their gates to the public. You’ll discover everything from cafes, petting zoos and high-end farm shops to authentic seasonal experiences such as Lambing Live, shearing demonstrations or feeding the animals.
Have a Library Day: Show your local library some love and head down to choose some books, lounge on the floor cushions and have a coffee (and maybe some cake). Be savvy and do your research beforehand: you’ll find Rhyme Times, craft clubs, author visits, art exhibitions and writing workshops and more, especially during school holidays when events programmes go wild!
Be a tourist in your own town: Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt? Well, challenge yourselves to find something new to do in your town. How about watching the local sports team play at home? Or visiting the gallery you pass every day on the way to work but haven’t actually been inside? With a bit of forward-planning you could create your very own City Treasure Hunt with the ultimate aim of learning something about the place you live or the UK destination you’re visiting. Our top tip for seeing previously unknown nooks and crannies in your locality? Geocaching. Download the app and you’ll see your neighbourhood anew.
Embark on a Family Project: Are the kids desperate to turn the shed into a playden? Got furniture in the garage that could be upcycled? If you’re staying at home, plan a family project. It’s not so much about the end result as spending time together and having fun in the process, but you might just have something worthwhile to show for it at the end - bonus!
Host Your Own Film Festival: Easy - pick a theme, pick some films, download or order and you’ve got your very own Cannes! Whether you’re at home or in holiday accommodation you can buy some pick ‘n’ mix, make your own popcorn, bring the duvets downstairs and stay up after bedtime for the ultimate cinema experience.
Go Swimming: Head for a big leisure centre or water park rather than the local council pool to make it a proper experience, or even for a lido if the weather’s favourable and there’s one nearby. See if there are any children-centred sessions running - like libraries, leisure centres tend to go all-out on their events programme in the school holidays, so keep your eyes peeled.
The Little Things: Little touches will make your staycation feel special. Staying in your pyjamas until midday, ordering pastries for breakfast or heading for the biggest ice cream counter in a 20 mile radius and making a morning of it. Set aside an afternoon for that messy craft activity you’ve been putting off. Buy a box of fancy chocolates and dispatch someone to pop one on everyone’s pillow each night - plus a squirt of linen spray on the bedding to guarantee everyone gets a good night’s sleep and is in the mood for even more fun in the morning.
Planning a staycation? Do let us know over on Instagram and tag us in your posts and Stories - we’d love to hear all about it!