CARAVANS are a fantastic option for Britons who want to go on a road trip, holidaymakers who like to be spontaneous with their trips and lovers of adventure. However, there are many options when it comes to choosing a caravan. Express.co.uk spoke to Camptoo’s Ed Bassett and found out his tips for choosing a vehicle.
Aside from its firm position in the psyche of an England fan this year, Wembley Park is home to a wide range of hotels, eateries and shops ready to pique the interest of even the most discerning traveller. Upon arrival at Olympic Way, the tourist will be immediately stunned by the view of the stadium – undoubtedly the star of this show. Imposing as much as it is awe-inspiring, the venue is crowned by a staggering arch which appears to touch the clouds. As one walks closer to the destination, down the steps of the station and through the tunnel, it cannot help but feel like an Alice in Wonderland experience – albeit minus the shrinking potion. Entering Wembley Park is like standing at the entrance to a maze, wondering what the ultimate outcome will be, but relishing the journey nonetheless.
While the rest of Wembley alludes to the fast pace of London life, mere steps away is a utopia of sorts, with wide open spaces and lush greenery – but combined with sky high buildings and black cabs snaking through the city roads nestled in between. It is clear Wembley Park is attempting to capture the interest of both the City dweller, and those who are looking for a reprieve from fast-paced life.
Walking across to Engineers Way, there are also a bustling collection of restaurants for all tastes. Pasta Remoli offers a chance to sample authentic Italian cuisine, while coffee aficionados shouldn’t miss out on Blacksheep Coffee.
BOXPARK is perhaps one of the most major attractions, and with the area complete with stylish apartment blocks enshrouding the walk towards the stadium, it is almost easy to picture oneself living here, and totally immersed in all the area has to offer.
Nestled in between Wembley Stadium and the comparatively smaller Wembley Arena, after a busy day of enjoying what the Park provides, the weary traveller can lay their head at the impressive four star Hilton London Wembley.
But while some may expect a hotel chain to have a disinterested and disconnected feel, this could not be further from the truth.
Ascending to a stunning nine floors, the hotel acknowledges the footballing past, present and future so integral to the area while maintaining an air of exclusivity. Tourists can benefit from a 24-hour fitness centre, indoor pool, sauna, steam room and on-site restaurants within.
Guests are able to kick back in a wide variety of rooms, but a particular recommendation is a King Executive suite, complete with a bedroom and a separate area including a sofa, additional TV and desk – to relax after a long day, or to get stuck into work if needed. And views from the hotel rooms on the far side offer stunning scenes over Wembley Park, and a chance to survey what activity to take part in next.
A benefit of staying in this hotel is the ability to get a drink and a bite to eat almost instantly at the establishment’s Sky9Bar, which is complete with its own rooftop terrace. Inside, it is filled with an atmospheric buzz as patrons tune in unwaveringly to the nail-biting England match as Southgate’s men put goals past their opponents.
While the outdoor terrace offers a beautiful chance to take in the sunset, with a rooftop view not to be denied, the venue would benefit from an outside atmosphere which could perhaps be present on a busier evening.
But for those who are looking to widen their options, there are many close at hand – most notably at the London Designer Outlet right next door. The venue includes over 70 shops and restaurants, with premium brands offering 70 percent off retail price.
The venue is the shopaholic’s playground, and it is difficult to know where to get stuck in first. Providing a chance to shop, play and dine there are various endeavours to choose from.
Whether it’s getting your hands on that perfect fitting pair of Levi Jeans, grabbing shades from the Sunglass Hut for the upcoming promised heatwave, or a new outfit from one of the many fashion options to hit the town in after lockdown, the London Designer Outlet really does seem to have it all.
However, if it is a deal on shoes you’re looking for, getting there quickly is likely to be your best bet, with queues for Nike and Adidas snaking around the side of the building. Regardless of where you choose to shop though, it is almost inevitable you will leave laden with bags and satisfied with your purchases.
One particular treat nestled within the outlet is the pop-up truck from Anspatch and Hobday, one of London’s most prominent craft breweries, offering the chance for shoppers to take the weight off their feet while enjoying ice cold beverages and a DJ set with popular music.
But for foodies, one of the best places to be lies on the top floor of the outlet at Wagamama’s, offering the chance for people to sample a wide range of sumptuous Asian cuisine.
Some may be enamoured by the delicious main courses – and a Katsu Curry always goes down a treat – but the absolute highlight of the meal comes in the form of impressive side dishes – fluffy pork belly buns with panko apple and sriracha can be washed down smoothly by a glass of the bubbliest prosecco. Alongside this, incredibly tender and tangy vegan ribs are sure to leave meat-eaters pondering whether there really is a difference.
Once retail therapy is complete, a chance to relax is unlikely to go amiss, and taking in the great outdoors is a pursuit which can be enjoyed in the city as much as the countryside.
This is an area which is clearly committed to furthering a green agenda, important to protecting the planet. With wide, tree-lined boulevards and pocket parks, Wembley Park embraces public space, while still managing to cling to the urban-sprawl a mere stone’s throw away.
Wembley Park contains vibrant splashes of colour and captivating artwork all around, and its free public art trail offers the ideal opportunity to really take it all in. Dynamic murals are interspersed with intriguing photography, and there is even London’s answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame just outside of Wembley Arena where the handprints of George Michael, Kylie Minogue and Dame Shirley Bassey can be found.
As restrictions ease, and the UK begins to return to a certain sense of normalcy, the potential of Wembley is once again rising. Steeped in the history of Live Aid, the 1966 World Cup and the 1948 Olympics, the history of the area is not to be denied.
However, with this being said, it is the exciting future hinted at in every turn which makes Wembley Park the ideal city break.
With a cornucopia of activities, events, shops and restaurants to cater to every taste, one cannot help but wonder what opportunities the area will reveal to its travellers next.
Vegans and vegetarians know the struggle of finding somewhere affordable to eat with enough plant-based options to satisfy, especially when you’re also trying to please meat-eating friends and family. However, London is bustling with vegetarian-friendly restaurants where roasted cauliflower or soup aren’t the default choices, with even some greasy fast-food options available to dispel the notion that a plant-based diet has to be saintly.
Some motorists have converted their own personal vehicles into hotel rooms equipped with everything you will need for a UK staycation trip. History teacher Laurie Alyce converted her small Fiat 500 into a caravan before sharing her experiences on social media site TokTok.
“Car camping also offers a more flexible itinerary for road trip holidays.
“Ahead of schedule or running late? No worries; find somewhere new to park up.”
However, Laurie has warned drivers are not allowed to just park anywhere when on their trip.
She said it was important road users checked the rules for car parks and avoided residential areas when stopping overnight.
Emma Stack, Digital Marketing Manager at Peter Vardy said car caravaning was a “remarkable solution”.
She said this was a ”versatile, cost-effective solution” for those desperate to get away on the cheap this summer.
She said: “Utilising your car as a camping utensil is a truly remarkable solution for seeing more of Britain this summer.
“In the current climate, we expect to see many more motorists take road trips as international travel remains so turbulent.
“Car camping is a versatile, cost-effective solution for rising staycation prices – and you get to see more of our beautiful country, too.”
There are a set of rules around converting cars to motorhomes set out by the DVLA.
The DVLA said it will only consider changing a car to a motorhome if three requirements are met.
The car’s body must be considered a genuine multi-purpose vehicle.
Car’s must also have external features such as two or more windows, a door and an awning bar.
Evidence such as a motor caravan conversion checklist and an updated V5C document must also be completed.
But even though we were grateful for that extra time, we were quite often stuck inside. And now that we’re allowed more freedom, we’re eager to get out and about, including booking a much-needed staycation.
So with holidays firmly on our minds, and our new hobbies taking up a huge part of our lives, online booking platform, eviivo, has compiled a list of 10 independent accommodation properties in the UK providing opportunities to indulge in your favourite pastimes.
Whether pampering a new pup in Devon, satisfying sourdough kneads in East Yorkshire or stargazing in Scotland, there are a wide variety of experiences to accommodate holidaymakers’ new-found interests.
1. Dog-owning: Bulleigh Barton Manor
Awarded ‘Dog-friendly business of the year’ in the 2018 VisitEngland Awards, this South Devon property welcomes dogs and their owners for a relaxing staycation in a country style B&B. Dogs are treated to the ultimate “a la bark breakfast” in the morning, and there are four acres of grounds for furry friends to ex-paw.
2. Cycling: York Holiday & Cycle Stop
These high-quality glamping pods near York offer great cycle-friendly facilities for pedal people who have enjoyed life on two wheels during lockdown. Only 1½ miles from the Way of the Roses cycle route, guests can enjoy a great night’s sleep in the landscaped grounds, and take advantage of secure cycle storage and a bike wash area.
3. Bread making: Highfield Farm
For those bitten by the bread making bug over the past year, Highfield Farm is a great choice, where guests can ‘prove’ their skills at the Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School. Situated in the charming market town of Driffield in East Yorkshire, this B&B offers a peaceful stay in a luxury property as well as sourdough and cookery courses for all tastes.
4. Birdwatching: Trustans Barn
Situated just five miles from the RSPB’s Minsmere and Dingle Marshes coastal nature reserves, this superb barn conversion in Darsham, Suffolk is surrounded by meadows and is a treat for wildlife watchers and birders. Nature lovers won’t want to let the opportunity to stay in The Swallow or The Nest rooms fly by!
5. Learning an instrument: Teach an Cheoil
Called The Music House in English, those that enjoy the art of music will like the sound of this holiday experience. Guests can enjoy music courses playing traditional Irish music with the banjo, mandolin, flute, whistle and accordion at this bilingual B&B set in the scenic Glens of Antrim, close to Ballycastle, Northern Ireland.
6. Quilting: The Old Bakery
Located in the heart of North Norfolk countryside, embroidery enthusiasts will be impressed by the Old Bakery B&B. This property boasts a quilt studio where visitors can sew to their heart’s content. Winners of eviivo’s ‘Bed, Breakfast and Beyond’ award in 2019, the property also offers a self-catering holiday cottage.
7. Painting: Westcroft Guest House
In a quiet corner of Cornwall, this boutique B&B in Kingsand offers guests the perfect escape and is just 20m from the scenic beach. It boasts its own private art gallery where guests are given exclusive access and are encouraged to choose their favourite Cornish artwork to hang in their room and inspire their own seascape masterpiece during their stay.
8. Stargazing: Black Burn Lodge
Located in the Scottish Borders on the edge of an International Dark Sky Park, this modern design boutique B&B offers guests use of their very own 200mm telescope. Night owls can feast their eyes on up to 2,000 stars at a time and look up at the Milky Way, Andromeda Galaxy, meteor showers and Saturn’s rings.
9. Supporting the community: The Pheasant
Run by the local community, this restored pub, reopened after nine years closed, extends a warm welcome to staycationers exploring Shropshire’s glorious countryside. A community hub where both locals and visitors meet to socialise, The Pheasant is a thriving classic country inn offering three stylish and comfortable rooms.
10 Sustainable living: Monkton Wyld Court
A large country house in an idyllic Dorset location, Monkton Wyld Court is an educational charity offering courses to promote sustainable living, from herbal medicine and yoga to hedge laying and scything. The property offers rooms and vegetarian meals and lets guests swap their carbon footprint for a muddy one.
Boats at sunrise at Tobermory (Image: Andrew Ray/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty)
A recent survey by Lonely Planet of more than 1,000 travellers found that 41 percent had not taken a British road trip before and nearly half (49 percent) confessed to still having staycation spots on their wish lists to explore.
Our sister site 2Chillreports that the current difficulties posed by trips overseas have seen a rise in staycations
The government’s consistent changing of countries on their safety lists also annoyed people – 48 percent were worried about countries going on the Government’s amber or red warning lists.
Nearly 40 percent wanted to avoid PCR testing, and a quarter (25per cent) wanted to holiday without worrying about their place in the vaccination queue.
Lonely Planet has produced a guide called Great Britain’s Best Trips of 36 routes that offer the freedom of the open road combined with the best of British natural, cultural and historic locations.
The suggestions range from four days to three weeks and offer inspiration for the whole family.
Lonely Planet has highlighted six of its favourite routes in less obvious locations that will take you from rugged castles and quaint market towns to Insta-worthy beachscapes and breath-taking viewpoints across the UK.
They range from four days to three weeks and offer inspiration for the whole family
With imposing castles, sensational coastlines and dramatic sweeping roads, north-west Wales is extraordinary and offers some of the best touring routes.
Starting from Llandudno, where the Victorian seaside resort spirit lingers on, this trip takes in mighty fortresses and some of the most dramatic coastlines in the entire country.
Stopping at the medieval towns of Conwy, below, Beaumaris and Caernarfon, you can then head to the Llŷn Peninsula’s enchanting mix of rural landscapes and rugged cliffs and the heritage towns of Aberdaron, Abersoch, Barmouth and Dolgellau.
Central England’s battlefields, castles and stately homes
English history unfolds in all its pomp and ceremony along this drive-through timeline.
In the heart of the country you’ll visit the sites of battles, castles that were besieged and the venues where the nobles built palatial manors.
Starting in Robin Hood’s Nottingham you’ll pass the scenic patchwork of fields and fences with stops in Richard III’s Leicester and Bosworth battlefield, medieval Warwick, Brixworth, Burghley House and end in the beautiful cathedral city of Lincoln.
Suffolk to the Norfolk Shore
Combine a coastal holiday with history and heritage by charting the changing character of the English coastline, from dignified resorts to a wild sweep of sandy beaches, backed by dunes and endless marshes where myriad bird species gather.
This trip starts in Aldeburgh with stops including Southwold, Norwich, Cromer, Cley-next-the-Sea, Holkham Hall and ending in the historic port town of Kings Lynn.
Winchester to Glastonbury and Bath
Get under the skin of olde England and experience some of the best archaeological and architectural sights, encountering England’s most extraordinary constructions, from 5,000-year-old Stonehenge, still-stunning Roman baths and soaring cathedrals.
You can add stops at a safari park, stalactite-filled caverns and the saucy chalk figure at Cerne Abbas for a vivid taste of history.
Starting in Winchester, with stops including Stonehenge, Shaftesbury, Sherbourne, Glastonbury, and Wells, you’ll finish in the city of Bath.
North York moors and coast
Beyond the Roman city of York and the aristocratic splendour of Castle Howard, this varied tour takes in ancient architecture, wild moorland scenery, picture-postcard villages complete with steam trains and a bustling harbour town with macabre literary connections.
Starting in York with stops at Malton, Helmsley, Danby, Goathland and Whitby with its Gothic abbey and links to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this route ends in the tiny fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay where you can stretch your legs with a walk down the steep hill to the shore.
Ferry hopping in Scotland
Jumping around the enchanting islands of the west coast on the ferry network, you’ll be eating seafood and sipping whisky along the way.
Starting in Glasgow, a vibrant city filled with excellent art, design, food and pubs, this tour takes in four of Scotland’s most enticing islands and offers an in-depth exploration of south-western Scotland.
From the stunningly scenic Arran to Islay’s welcoming distilleries, Oban’s seafood scene, Mull’s heart-lifting landscapes and the enchanting holy isle of Iona, you’ll end in the pretty town of Tobermory.
The ferry trips themselves offer sensational coastal perspectives and wildlife-spotting opportunities which are all part of the adventure.
With staycations looking like the best option for a trip away this year, influencer Oghosa Ovienrioba has gone viral with her rundown of the seven best UK beaches that “feel like you are abroad”.
1.Porthcurno beach, Cornwall
Porthcurno beach is located in the far west of Cornwall. The large beach is a stunning natural beauty with fine soft sand, turquoise sea and high cliffs. The beach is so gorgeous that it was used as a filming location for the first series of BBC’s Poldark.
The beach is close to the internationally renowned Minack Theatre, the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, and just a few miles from Land’s End.
Joss Bay is described as a surfer’s paradise and known as the best surfing beach in Thanet. The 200-metre sand has its own surf school with boards and wet suits to hire. If you fancy taking it easy, you can always pull up a deckchair, soak up the views and enjoy refreshments from the café.
You can also enjoy Thanet’s coastline by bike on the nearby 32-mile Viking Coastal Trail.
3.The Isles of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly lie just off the coast of Cornwall. They are outstandingly beautiful and yet remain uncrowded and unspoilt, it is hard to believe they are in England. There is white sand on Pentle Bay, bright turquoise water and the weather is warmer than the rest of the UK. What is not to love!
4.Blackpool Sands, Devon
Blackpool Sands is a Blue Flag Award-winning beach which is widely considered the gold standard for beaches around the world. The beach boasts beautifully clear, blue water and stunning natural scenery. The beach has plenty to keep you entertained with kayaking, paddle boards, picnic boats, sand pits and canoeing.
UK holidays have been in full swing since April 12, and as international travel restrictions remain ongoing many Britons may be considering swapping their overseas jaunt for something closer to home. While the UK isn’t renowned for having the scorching temperatures a European beach holiday may provide, there are some locations that do offer more sun than others.
New research collected by experts at Evans Halshaw used weather and travel data for 1,000 UK destinations in order to find out which holiday hotspot promised the sunniest days.
The seaside towns of Bognor Regis, in West Sussex, and Folkestone, in Kent, came out on top.
Both were found to have an average of 194 hours of sunshine each month and an average maximum temperature of 16 degrees.
They were followed closely by Eastbourne and Newhaven, both in East Sussex, in joint second/third place with 192 sunshine hours and an average maximum temperature of 16 degrees.
However, Margate was found to have a slightly higher average temperature, sitting one degree higher than Herne Bay at 16 degrees.
The top ten list was concluded with Poole, in Dorset, in ninth place and Clacton-on-Sea, on the Essex Sunshine Coast, in tenth.
The Dorset town was found to offer an average 181 hours of sunshine each month and an average maximum temperature of 16 degrees.
Clacton-on-Sea, much like the majority of the top ten, also offers a 16-degree average maximum temperature, alongside 180 average sunshine hours per month.
While most of the towns are located on the coast, the experts also discovered the sunniest inland destination, for those hoping to steer clear of the sea.
The data revealed Windsor, a town widely recognised for being a residence of the royal family, offers favourable temperatures and plenty of sun-filled days.
The research also discovered which locations Britons are most likely to be rained on during their break.
According to the experts Port Glasgow, in Scotland, topped the list of rainiest staycation haunts.
Kim Costello, Chief Marketing Officer for Pendragon, which owns Evans Halshaw, commented: “With continued restrictions on international travel many people will be considering a staycation this year rather than travelling abroad.
“Our data helps to highlight some of the UK’s favourite holiday locations, as well as, unveiling a number of hidden gems which offer a great alternative to the traditional British break.”
The top 10 “sunniest” UK staycation destinations are as follows:
Britons might typically look overseas to tropical beaches and palm tree-lined shorelines for their summer holiday. However, amid the coronavirus pandemic, ongoing travel restrictions have forced people to change their usual travel habits.
Despite hopes holidays could resume from May 17 under the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown, according to Booking.com a large chunk of Britons are opting to play it safe this year.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk Ryan Pearson, regional manager at Booking.com explained that even with the potential of jetting off abroad, UK destinations continue to dominate travel searches.
“After seeing an increase in searches following the government’s announcement, Booking.com can reveal that domestic getaways will be front of mind for UK travellers this summer,” he said.
“In fact, eight out of the top ten most searched for destinations for summer months were based in the UK, which is twice as many as 2020.”
After more than a year of varying levels of lockdown, Britons are itching for a change of scenery, though there are some types of holiday which are more popular than others.
“We are aware that travel confidence levels are currently steady, given our recent research which revealed that 47 percent of people still plan to travel within their own country in the medium term, with 38 percent planning to do so in over a year’s time,” explained Mr Pearson.
“Further to this, Britons are most keen to take a beach, nature sightseeing or city break in the future.
“As Britons are looking to the UK for their beach getaway this
year, destinations such as Newquay, St Ives and Torquay have surged in popularity for this summer compared to last year.”
With certain destinations already booking up quickly, Mr Pearson shared some crucial advice for Britons keen to visit some of the most highly sought after destinations.
“Given the large amount of uncertainty that COVID-19, for those making travel plans, we always recommend opting for flexible policies, given the ever-evolving government guidelines,” he advised.
Many travel and accommodation providers have ramped up their cancellation and rebooking policies to allow for unexpected Covid-related events.
This often includes sudden lockdowns, or in the event holidaymakers are diagnosed with coronavirus.
However, holidaymakers are warned they could inadvertently end up voiding these protective policies in some circumstances.
“It is also vital that people adhere to Government guidelines at the time of booking and
when going away,” concluded Mr Pearson.
This includes if localised lockdowns come into play, but holidaymakers still choose to travel.
Holidaymakers are advised to stay up-to-date on the relevant guidelines both in their local area, and their destination.