There’s nothing quite like travel to broaden the mind – the trouble is, the UK is pretty limited in what it has to offer as a tourist destination and so the only way to really see the world is to hop on a flight out of here, right?
Not quite. Here’s how to see the world without getting on a plane – just jump in the car, set up the sat nav, and go…
Fancy a little piece of Italy? Try Portmeirion
If you want to sample the romance of Renaissance Italy, but don’t fancy taking a flight to Tuscany, a day out in Wales might not be the first thing that springs to mind – but Portmeirion offers exactly that.
Set just outside the picturesque Coed y Brenin Forest Park, the village was described by Noted architecture critic Lewis Mumford as “an artful and playful little modern village. A fantastic collection of architectural relics and impish modern fantasies.” – which sums it up perfectly
No matter which season you visit in, there’s something unique to see and a performance or event to enjoy. Visit in the autumn to see the spectacular changing of the leaves, sample the equally spectacular Festival Number 6 at the end of summer, or check out the food and drink festival at the beginning of December to get you in the mood for Christmas.
When not in Rome, visit Bath
Another way to ‘do’ Italy without ever leaving the UK is to visit Bath and take in the city’s extensive Roman ruins, most notably the Roman Baths.
The Great Bath is one of the best preserved Roman remains in the world and have been in situ since around 70AD when they formed part of a grand bathing and socialising complex. Lying below street level, the complex is still accessed via original Roman cobbled pathways, surrounded by statues and includes remains of the ancient heated rooms, changing rooms and plunge pools.
Hit the south coast for Surfers Paradise
Australia’s Gold Coast is home to Surfers Paradise, but you don’t have to go to the other side of the world to get a taste o the beach bum lifestyle.
Cornwall is the UK’s number one surf destination as its coastline has a variety of beaches with different tides, wave breaks and weather conditions to suit all ages and abilities. Beginners should try the high tide and sandy beach break at Watergate Bay, while Magwan Porth beach gets some of the best waves the Cornish coast has to offer.
Visit Middle Earth north of the border
New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most stunning natural beauty – the North Island is notable for its volcanic mountains, while the South Island has some wondrous rolling countryside.
If you want to sample a bit of Middle Earth without the hassle of the long-haul flight, jump in the car, set the sat nav to ‘north’ and keep driving. You can literally pick anywhere north of Inverness, but the isle of Skye is one of the most popular tourist destinations, famous for its mountainous scenery, trails, sports and the famous Talisker distillery.
Safari in Kent (not Kenya)
There can be few trips more exhilarating than an African Safari – and you no longer need to fly halfway across the globe to experience one.
Port Lympne Reserve in Kent is not only home to some of the world’s most endangered animals, the 100-acre site is the only one of its kind to offer overnight glamping and camping pod packages. And even though it’s only on the South Coast, it might still be worth packing the mosquito repellent.
The stunning beaches of…Scotland
If you’re looking to take in some of the world’s best beaches, you’ve probably considered far off climes such as the Maldives or the Caribbean and may never have considered a trip to Scotland.
Take a trip up to the far north of Scotland and beyond – the islands lying in both the Inner and Outer Hebrides – and the beaches are all golden sands and turquoise seas, with some flanked by some imposing cliff faces and mountain ranges.
Just be sure to pack some thermals and midgie repellent!