Although Easter holidays are off the cards this year, there’s a good chance that staycations will be back by late spring. Government ministers are hoping to reopen self-catering accommodation around mid-April, as long as key stats – like new cases and hospital admissions – remain low. If all goes according to plan, families who live in the same house will be able to book a break within the UK in time for the May bank holidays.
And what a break it could be! With rugged coastlines, lush forests and soaring mountains, the Great British countryside is a treasure trove of amazing experiences. Our 10 recommendations are all ideal destinations for a spring holiday, so you can book quickly when travel opens up again.
Obviously nothing is certain at the moment. When you book your Spring holiday, remember that it could be cancelled if cases start to rise again. Take out a good insurance policy and look for flexible booking options.
Top 10 UK Spring holiday ideas for 2021
- Swap channel-surfing for actual surfing in St Ives, Cornwall
- Go for a ramble in Bowness-on-Windermere, Lake District
- Experience village life in Castle Combe, the Cotswolds
- Go glamping in The New Forest
- Feel the sand between your toes in Tenby, Pembrokeshire
- Enjoy a city break in buzzing Bristol
- Embark on an epic road trip around the Scottish Highlands
- Soak up some history in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire
- Have an adventure in Porlock, Exmoor
- Embrace all the fun of the fair in Blackpool, Lancashire
1. St Ives, Cornwall
The South West of England has some of the warmest, sunniest weather in the UK, making it ideal for spring holidays. While there are lots of charming villages to discover, St Ives is one of the best places to base yourself. There are excellent surfing beaches like Porthmeor, and a buzzing local art scene. The Tate St Ives has an outdoor sculpture garden, and there are a few pubs and cafés along the harbourfront where you can enjoy an al fresco lunch. Accommodation ranges from charming B&Bs to luxurious spa hotels.
2. Bowness-on-Windermere, Lake District
Blow away the lockdown cobwebs in the Lake District National Park, with something for every activity level. If you’re feeling energetic you can tackle the 20-mile-long Ullswater Way, or if you’d rather relax you can hire a boat for a cruise around the lake. In terms of accessibility, The Lake District has 48 ‘Miles Without Stiles’ paths which are suitable for people with limited mobility, including wheelchair users and families with pushchairs. The sprawling tourist town of Bowness-on-Windermere makes a buzzy base for exploring the region, with plenty of places to stay and eat.
3. Castle Combe, Cotswolds
The Cotswolds Area of Natural Beauty comes alive during the spring holidays, with gardens bursting into colourful bloom. Base yourself near Castle Combe – one of the prettiest villages in England – and enjoy a bit of small-town life. Wander past the fairytale cottages or head into the nearby hills and get your hiking boots muddy. The town has two local pubs, both with outdoor courtyard seating. Pop into the Castle Inn, a pub dating back to the 12th century, for a classic Full English or Sunday roast.
4. The New Forest, Hampshire
With its woodland trails and wild ponies, spring holidays in the New Forest are perfect for getting back to nature. It’s a great place to go glamping – think wood lodges with outdoor hot tubs, bell tents set in wildflower meadows and yurts in the grounds of country pubs. As well as exploring the forest on horseback, bicycle and foot, there’s also the option to hire luxury cars. Perfect for putting the top down on a sunny day.
5. Tenby, Pembrokeshire
The Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales is home to some of Britain’s best beaches, many of which could rival the Caribbean (weather aside). Tenby is one of the region’s prettiest seaside towns. The small and friendly harbour has a golden, sandy beach where fishing boats are moored during the day. If boat trips to Caldey Island aren’t back on by spring, you can spend your days lounging on Blue Flag-rated Castle Beach, wide and sandy North Beach and super-spacious South Beach. It’s what spring holidays are made of.
6. Bristol, South-West England
If you’re missing the vibe of a European city break, head to Bristol. This cool city in the sunny South West has plenty to offer this spring. Stroll through the cobbled streets and spot outdoor art created by the likes of Banksy, Conor Harrington and Pixel Pancho. Assuming all goes to plan, restaurants and pubs will be able to open outdoors from 12 April. Bristol has lots of fab beer gardens, but if you want to make like a local head to King Street. Also known as the ‘Beermuda Triangle’, it has lots of craft beer bars where you can grab takeout and perch on the sea wall.
7. North Coast 500, Scottish Highlands
If you want to keep your social interactions to a bare minimum during your spring holidays, hire a car and take on the North Coast 500. The circular driving route does what it says on the tin. It starts and ends in Inverness, following Scotland’s northernmost coast. During the drive you’ll experience some of the most remote parts of the country. Expect deserted beaches, soaring mountain ranges and quaint fishing towns. Best of all, wild camping is perfectly legal in Scotland. Pop a tent in the boot and pitch up when you’re ready.
8. Knaresborough, North Yorkshire
Cobblestone streets, winding staircases and secret alleyways: the spa town of Knaresborough is filled with old world atmosphere. There’s a ruined castle, where Richard II was rumoured to have been kept captive, and Mother Shipton’s Cave is just a short stroll away. Known as England’s oldest tourist attraction, it’s where the 15th-century prophetess who predicted the death of Mary Queen of Scots was born. Once you’ve had your fill of medieval history, hire a rowing boat and go for a paddle along the River Nidd. Or simply enjoy a stroll along the sun-soaked promenade with an ice cream.
9. Porlock, Exmoor
Base yourself in charming Porlock village and spend an active spring holiday in Exmoor. You can enjoy peaceful walks through the heather or hop on a mountain bike and take on the hilly trails. Adrenaline seekers can try their hand at coasteering, abseiling and paddle boarding. In the village itself you’ll find plenty of independent shops including a traditional butcher, cheesemonger and deli – ideal if you’re self-catering. Non-essential shops selling clothing, art and local crafts should be open from 12 April.
10. Blackpool, Lancashire
Blackpool Pleasure Beach has announced that it plans to be ‘Good to Go’ and ready to re-open from 12 April – in line with government guidance, of course. With its bright lights, loud music and fun rides it could be the perfect place for a family spring holiday. Indoor attractions like Madame Tussauds may not be allowed to open until 17 May, but theme parks should be allowed from 12 April. Enjoy the white knuckle rides, grab an outdoor drink at the South Pier beer garden or simply relax on the golden sands.
Discover where you can go
Making plans to get back out there? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.
Spring Holidays 2021 FAQs
2 April: Good Friday
4 April: Easter Sunday
5 April: Easter Monday
3 May: Early May bank holiday
31 May: Spring bank holiday
Unfortunately not. According to Boris Johnson’s plan, self-catering accommodation isn’t set to open in England until 12 April at the earliest. In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon hasn’t specifically mentioned tourism. It’s unlikely that anything will be able to reopen before 26 April when the country is set to return to the tier system.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has said that some self-catering holidays might be able to take place over the Easter break. However he’s also advised people to be cautious and understand that any trips they book could be cancelled. And in Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster has advised people to wait before booking a trip. Although lockdown is set to last until 1 April at the earliest, she’s advised waiting until 18 March before organising anything for Easter weekend.
Sadly not. Under current plans, foreign holidays are on hold until 17 May at the earliest. If all goes to plan, this will be just in time for the Spring Bank Holiday on 31 May.
School term and holiday dates vary based on local authority. As a rule of thumb, most schools will break for Easter on these dates:
Wales: 29 March-9 April
Northern Ireland: 1-9 April
England: 1-16 April
Scotland: 2-19 April
We recommend checking your school’s website to confirm.
Want to read more?
- Coronavirus travel advice: find the latest information about travelling during the pandemic in our coronavirus briefing
- Coronavirus travel questions: your COVID-19 queries answered. including “can I go abroad?”, “can I travel within the UK”, and “do I need a COVID test to travel?”
- The 14 best beach hotels in the UK: feel the sand between your toes and enjoy the sea air with a trip to the British coast
- 11 unusual hotels for a quirky UK stay: go off-the-beaten path with these weird and wonderful accommodation options.