Do you fancy the Alps? Instead, try the Peak District. Interested in Kenya? Head to the Scottish island of Kerrera. Repeated restrictions on foreign travel – lockdowns, closed borders, expensive Covid tests – have made stays more popular than ever. And tour operators have responded.
With foreign climates hard to reach, new domestic adventures have been devised. Here are some of the best …
NEED A MED ODYSSEY? ISLAND HOP IN ORKNEY
Beach Beauty: Visit St Ninian Island in the Shetlands (pictured) instead of island hopping in the Mediterranean
A local otter in the rugged Shetlands, which is also home to ponies and puffins.
Together with national tour operator McKinlay Kidd, long-distance tour operator Kuoni has set its sights on the UK.
Play hopscotch in the archipelagos of northern Scotland.
Mysterious henges and a 5,000-year-old village await you in Orkney, while the rugged Shetlands are home to ponies and puffins.
How to do it: Six nights from £ 1,185 per person on a bed and breakfast basis with flights from Glasgow or Edinburgh, transfers, entry passes, a boat trip and car hire (kuoni.co.uk).
OUT OF SCHOOL WITH AFRICA? MAKE A SCOTTISH SAFARI
Walk around the quiet Scottish island of Kerrera, pictured above, in search of sea eagles
With trips to the plains of Africa difficult for now, try the west coast of Scotland for a safari of a different kind.
Gane & Marshall has created four-night trips to spot seals and sea otters while kayaking on Loch nan Ceall.
Visit a beaver reintroduction project and hike the peaceful island of Kerrera in search of sea eagles.
Accompanied by a naturalist guide, trips conclude with the Kilmartin Glen menhirs, in search of ospreys.
How to do it: Four nights from £ 1,872 pp B&B with transfers from Fort William and four lunches (ganeandmarshall.com).
CAN’T YOU HANDLE THE ANDES? HIKE IN ANTRIM COUNTY
Ditch the Andes towards Antrim, which features famous landmarks like the Giant’s Causeway, pictured above
On this self-guided tour of the County Antrim coast and glens, famous landmarks such as the 40,000 hexagonal columns of the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge impress along with low-profile delights like Rathlin Island, rich in birdlife, and the rugged cliffs of Fair Head. .
How to do it: Seven nights from £ 979 pp B&B including route notes, luggage transfers and taxis (headwater.com).
DO YOU WANT THE TASTE OF THE ALPS? PLUMP FOR PEAKS
The new Intrepid Peak District ride is based on the traditional stone built village of Castleton (pictured)
With sweet and friendly local pubs, the Peak District is ideal for a quick family outing. Intrepid’s new small-group tour is based in Castleton, a traditional stone-built village below 1,696 feet from Mam Tor.
After walking through Hope Valley, follow the Derwent River past farms, old sawmills and dilapidated chapels to Bakewell for a jam-laden pie. The last day involves moorland and murmuring streams from a National Trust property. Stay in a family-run B&B, with a beer tasting for the adults.
How to do it: Two nights bed and breakfast from £ 342 per adult; available from April 5 to October 21 (intrepidtravel.com).
DESPERATE FOR THE DANS? CLIMB IN SUFFOLK
Southwold, pictured, is a wealthy resort town with a lighthouse, pier, and beach huts.
Northeast of Woodbridge, rural Suffolk promises sandy heaths, meandering estuaries, woodlands and oyster-farming villages.
Following often flat lanes with no traffic, this self-guided tour allows for a leisurely exploration of it all, as a day of relaxation follows each stage of pedaling. This gives you plenty of time to cruise to the Orford Ness nature reserve or investigate the shops of Aldeburgh. Your last stop is Southwold, a wealthy resort town whose lighthouse, pier, and beach huts are complemented by the Adnams Brewery.
How to do it: Eight nights from £ 1,495 pp B&B with route notes, bike rental and luggage transfers (the-carter-company.com).
TRANSYLVANIA? TRY WHITBY INSTEAD
Novelist Bram Stoker was inspired by the mysterious ruins of Whitby Abbey (pictured) during the writing of Dracula.
Take the railroad tracks of the North Yorkshire Moors, explore the North York Moors and the Yorkshire coast while based in Whitby, where novelist Bram Stoker was inspired by the mysterious abbey ruins during the writing of Dracula. No need to fly to Romania!
How to do it: Five days from £ 369 per person half board, including hotels and trains (shearings.com).
DRIVING FOR SWISS RAIL? WALK IN WALES
Spectacular 13th century Conwy Castle (pictured) featured on greatrail.com’s Welsh tour
Snowdonia specializes in mountain railways – charming narrow gauge lines that navigate the rugged region, offering tremendous views from the comfort of a warm carriage.
Based off the coast of Llandudno, a new group tour includes trips in the Welsh Highlands, Ffestiniog and Snowdon Mountain Railways. In between, you will be guided through the 13th century castles of Caernarfon and Conwy. The trip ends with dinner at the Dunoon Hotel’s two AA Rosette restaurant.
How to do it: Five nights from £ 545 per person in half board with train tickets, transfers and tickets; available from April 12 to October 18 (greatrail.com).
CALIFORNIA DREAMIN? TRY A ROAD TRIP IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Loch Lomond, pictured, is just one of Scotland’s beautiful lakes to explore on a driving tour of Britain
Some of Britain’s best scenery meets and exalts on luxury specialist Abercrombie & Kent’s new driving tour. Starting at the Surrey Hills Beaverbrook estate, bathed in roaring 1920s glamor, you will drive to the Lake District via Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons restaurant.
Then come the lakes and glens of central Scotland, and finally around the corner, Yorkshire, staying at the acclaimed Grantley Hall spa hotel. Consider renting a classic car for as long as it lasts.
How to do it: Nine nights from £ 2,250pp B&B including route notes (abercrombiekent.co.uk).
WHAT’S NEW IN 2022
Hop into the saddle for new three-and-a-half-hour guided bike tours of Liverpool’s Beatles-connected sites, including Penny Lane. You ride electric bicycles; tickets from £ 37 (liverpoolcycletours.com).
See an exhibition of the late Constable at London’s Royal Academy of Arts from October 30 to February 13, 2022 covering the artist’s paintings from 1825 to 1837 and his growing fondness for watercolors; tickets from £ 19 (royalacademy.org.uk).
Coventry is this year’s UK City of Culture – enjoy a number of shows including stand-up, music, art exhibitions and poetry (coventry2021.co.uk).
The first retrospective of the works of the talented artist John Henry Lorimer (1856-1936) will take place from November 6 to March 20 at the City Art Center in Edinburgh; free entry but you must reserveedinburghmuseums.org.uk).