9 summer staycations to match your European holiday
When you think of a summer holiday, most people think of sandy beaches and historic cities – you can get all that in both the UK and Europe!
By: Rochelle Hibbitt | 31 May 2019
Photograph of Anglesey, taken by Club members Shirley and Ken Davies - nearest site Penhros Club Site
Across the UK, we have lots of great locations and stunning scenery to match the incredible European destinations on the continent! We’ve picked out our equivalents to top European holiday destinations so whether you plan to head abroad or staycation this summer, you can make the most of your break.
Saint Tropez and St Ives
Saint Tropez: Riviera d’Azur
St Ives: Godrevy Park
Famed for its white sandy beaches and luxury beach clubs, when you think of French seaside indulgence, you think of Saint Tropez.
Brigitte Bardot relaxed on the beaches of St Tropez in the 50s; now it’s the playground of celebrities and socialites. If you’re not an A-list celebrity, don’t panic, there are eight beautiful beaches to choose from, accessible to everyone.
What you may not know is that we have our own pocket of sunshine down in Cornwall – St Ives.
With five beaches all within walking distance of the historic town centre, St Ives makes for a relaxing break in the sun.
After you’ve walked through the streets and soaked up the culture of times gone by, head out to the South West Coast Path, which snakes for 630 miles around the South West. Whether you want to walk that far, or simply look out over the ocean, is up to you.
The Austrian Alps and the Scottish Highlands
Austrian Alps: Natterer See
Scottish Highlands: Culloden Moor
Skiing, sweeping vistas, walking, hiking and glittering lakes – the Austrian Alps has it all. Better known as a winter skiing destination, Austria offers plenty of activities and sunny scenery in the summer too.
All that beauty isn’t saved just for the Alps, however - we have all that good stuff here in the Scottish Highlands.
The Scottish Highlands is steeped in history and lore, with everything from the Highland Games to the iconic Loch Ness monster.
It’s not just us that thinks the Highlands are spectacular, Hollywood does too! Plenty of blockbuster movies have used the Highlands as their backdrop, including box-office hits such as Skyfall, the Harry Potter series, and Prometheus.
If you really want to take in the sights, try the North Coast 500 route – 500 miles of rolling hills, dramatic cliffs and everything in between.
Rome and Bath
Rome: I Pini
Bath: Bath Chew Valley
Whilst we admit that visiting Rome to see the ancient ruins of the Roman Empire would be a bucket-list-level holiday, you can get a little taste of it here in the UK.
In Rome, there’s everything from the Colosseum and the Pantheon to the Arch of Constantine to explore. Discover over 500 years of ancient Roman history and architecture as you wander through the cobbled streets.
The Romans left plenty of incredible features behind, including the Roman Baths in Bath, Somerset. Built around 70AD, the Roman Baths are one of the best-preserved Roman structures in the world. Take a tour around the baths and learn about ancient Roman life in the museum.
You can even do as the Romans did, and book yourself in at the nearby spa as part of your visitor’s package.
Lake Geneva and Lake District
Lake Geneva: Morges
Lake District: Meathop Fell
If it’s a relaxing lakeside break you’re after, you could head for the Swiss option of Lake Geneva, or try out something a little closer to home. Lake Geneva is a huge lake shared by France and Switzerland, so you can take your pick of pretty lakeside towns to take in the sights.
Whilst Lake Geneva is undeniably stunning and the backdrop for chic spa towns, our very own Lake District offers both relaxation and activity on any of the 16 lakes in the region.
Try your hand at hiking or sailing, or simply relax in the setting that has inspired writers and poets over the years.
Le Mont Saint-Michel and St Michael’s Mount
Le Mont-Saint-Michel: Haliotis
St Michael’s Mount: Marazion
Le Mont Saint-Michel and St Michael’s Mount are two small islands, connected to the mainland by a small strip of land that’s only accessible by foot at low tide.
Le Mont Saint-Michel has since added a bridge to replace the 135-year-old causeway that joins this 1300-year-old World Heritage Site to the French mainland. Visit the Norman abbey and monastery at the island’s centre, or explore the winding streets of the tiny medieval town.
These islands are not only similar in name - both Le Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy and St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall both have tales of sailors being saved from perilous seas by apparitions of the archangel St. Michael.
St Michael’s Mount is now a bustling village with gardens and a castle to explore – this ancient stronghold has plenty to discover. Visit the island either by boat or walk along the causeway at low tide. As an added bonus: dogs are also welcome in the village on the island.
Carnac and Stonehenge
Carnac: Le Moustoir
Stonehenge: Salisbury Hillside
Megalithic structures (big stones to you and me) are fairly common in Europe as far as ancient structures go, but Wiltshire’s Stonehenge is undoubtedly the most iconic.
The Carnac Stones in Brittany contain more than 3000 prehistoric standing stones, the largest collection of prehistoric standing stones in the world. Discover ancient caves and gravesites which you can walk amongst and ponder the histories free of charge.
Wiltshire’s Stonehenge is undoubtedly one of the most iconic megaliths, known the world over. Described by English Heritage as ‘the most architecturally sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the world’, there are multiple theories about why Stonehenge was built in the first place. You can visit the structure with its surrounding Neolithic houses and interactive exhibitions to decide for yourself.
The Algarve and Durdle Door
Portimão, The Algarve: Turiscampo
Durdle Door: Crossways
Often regarded as the ‘best beach of the Algarve’, Praia dos Três Irmãos in Portimão is famous for its stunning rock formations and hidden caves that you can explore. At low tide, you can walk from cove to cove, discovering hidden caves and endless photo opportunities along the way.
In the South West, Durdle Door is a stunning stone archway that hugs the Dorset coastline. The natural limestone arch rivals the towering rock formations of the Algarve, but our Durdle Door’s rocks show 185 million years of history along 95 miles of Jurassic Coast.
Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001, Durdle Door is part of a family of natural wonders that include the Grand Canyon and Great Barrier Reef.
Once you’ve splashed along the beach, watch the sunset over the arch from the South West Coast Path.
Berlin and Manchester
Berlin: Sanssouci zu Potsdam
Manchester: Burrs Country Park
We’ve talked a lot about landscapes and nature, but what about a classic city break?
Berlin in Germany has been a popular city break for holiday-goers, with cultural sites such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall memorial and the Holocaust memorial to discover and learn about.
After a different kind of city break? Visit one of the UK’s great cities – Manchester.
Manchester is home to two great football teams, plenty of galleries and museums and its very own cathedral, not to mention it’s the birthplace of bands such as Oasis, the Stone Roses and the Smiths.
Behind London and Edinburgh, Manchester is the third most visited city in the UK, so there’s plenty of new experiences to explore.
La Sagrada Familia and York Minster
La Sagrada Familia: Vilanova Park
York: York Beechwood Grange
La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is a one-of-a-kind cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudí. Visit the incredible Temple of Light inside the cathedral and watch the colours dance through the stained glass windows or simply marvel at the incredibly detailed exterior.
With its interesting knobbly spires and breath-taking exteriors, construction on La Sagrada Familia started in 1882 (yes, really!) and is due to finish in 2026.
The UK has so many stunning cathedrals it would be a shame not to mention them. We’ve picked York Minster, which has been standing since the seventh century. Explore the cobbled streets of York or look at them from above from the top of York Minster’s Central Tower.
If York isn’t the one for you, you could visit London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, Winchester Abbey, Canterbury Abbey… the list goes on!
Prices based on 2 adults and a standard electric pitch on selected dates during the summer period (May – October). See individual site pages for more details.
About the author
Rochelle’s love of the great outdoors started with ‘dads and daughters’ camping trips to Weymouth and Cornwall, and has continued to this day.
In between working at the Caravan and Motorhome Club head office, she hopes to one day visit every county in the UK and sample the local heritage, food, and culture.
Rochelle’s bucket list UK destination is the Scottish Highlands and she hopes to one day complete the North Coast 500 tour in a campervan.