If this years’ great summer weather is a taste of things to come, it’s going to be hard for us Brits not to be enticed to stay home and take our future holidays right here!
So far this year, just visiting family and friends, my hubby and I have enjoyed trips to Cornwall, Derbyshire, North Yorkshire, Cumbria, Scotland and Wales—and I have to say, when all the elements are right, the UK takes some beating!
The West Country, with its Jurassic coastline, glorious sandy beaches and stunning scenery is always a treat, while Cumbria, featuring a feast of fabulous hills and majestic lakes offering ever-changing views as the setting sun turns day into night, is just a delight.
And right across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland—you can never feel disappointed with the rich variety of vistas and the lush, history-soaked landscapes which stretch far and wide and flood your senses with joy and satisfaction.
Aesthetically and historically we can rival the globe’s finest vacation destinations. But do we have things right when it comes to offering value for money?
You’ll hear many frustrated parents say how expensive it is to stay in the UK with their children—especially if their luck’s out on the weather front.
We do have holiday camps, but for the most part they fall short on every aspect of what they offer, and in my view are best avoided. There are caravan and camping sites aplenty. But even they can prove expensive when entertainment, food and other costs are taken into consideration.
It can also be argued that some—if not all—providers of UK holiday accommodation seem to adopt the philosophy that if it’s cheap it doesn’t need to be clean and tidy! We’ve stayed in countless hotels and B&B’s over the years where this has been the case and the accommodation has been a total letdown.
I also wonder what first impressions foreign tourists have when they initially touch tarmac and prepare to explore our beloved isle.
Flying in and out of our major airports is, it’s fair to say, a work-in-progress. But for now, we’ll stick with “in”.
If you’re lucky enough to retrieve your luggage smoothly, you’ll still be taken aback by your first port of call, the toilet facilities, which will leave you in no doubt you’re now on UK soil (pun intended).
Having travelled abroad a fair bit, I’ve never found loos as badly abused as they are by Brits, both overseas and here in the UK.
Disney in Florida was a classic example. When we hit the famous Epcot Centre, where a multitude of different countries are represented, the UK facilities were unquestionably the worst!
And it doesn’t matter where you go here in the UK—whether it be motorway services, train and bus stations or airports—it’s always the same.
I’ve been bending ears about this for years, because I simply don’t understand it. Do people treat their own bathrooms the same way? I somehow doubt it. Not least because it’s down to them to clean up the mess.
Do they really lack an ounce of appreciation for the people employed to keep public toilets clean? It’s clearly not going to win many votes for best job in the world. But it’s still, nonetheless, a vital one—and someone has to do it.
Surely we have it in us to behave responsibly when using our nation’s loos? To ensure the people who pass through after us—and the heroic cleaners—are not subject to some of the horrors witnessed in past movements?
Having fought your way out of the airport and onto the next mode of transport, you can at least relax and look forward to a good night’s sleep at the accommodation you’ve booked in good faith.
Or can you?
In most cases, yes. Especially if you’re paying an arm-and-a-leg—as in dropping a fat sack of money on a place to stay.
But beware if trying to grab a great deal. When it sounds too good to be true it usually is!
When hunting down holiday accommodation in Britain—be it for one night or longer —it can be, to quote the Tom Cruise movie, “a risky business.”
Always proceed with caution and pay due diligence when drawn in by some of the glowing descriptions for vacation rooms or rental suites advertised online. And be sure to thoroughly scour reviews and, if possible, get a personal recommendation.
There’s nothing worse, after a long flight or epic journey, to arrive and find the accommodation you have high hopes for is a complete joke.
Unfortunately, there seems to be an abundance of these below-par offerings in the UK. which is scandalous when people are paying in advance—as most do today. And, in many cases, it can ruin a hard-earned holiday.
I can’t get my head around how people can get away with running any kind of sub-standard holiday accommodation—and not have a legal mark to measure up to.
We used to have AA and RAC inspectors going to spend a night and assess suitability. Awarding a star, if merited.
But that seems to have now fallen by the wayside. At least judging by some of the experiences my family and I have endured in recent years!
Considering the amount of income foreign and British tourists pour into the UK’s coffers each year, the government has a responsibility to ensure customers are getting great value for money. Whatever their outlay.
The Ministry for Sport and Tourism, which has tackled tourism issues in the UK since the government reshuffle in 2012, needs to set concrete industry standards which all accommodation providers have to meet.
And if they don’t, a deadline should be issued for any necessary upgrades or improvements to be made. After which—if not met—the guillotine drops and the business is shut down.
Having found a good place to stay in the UK (fingers crossed!), you’ll never be short of things to do. Not least due to Britain’s rich history, heritage and culture—and all related attractions and activities.
If coming with children, you’ll have no problem keeping them entertained. A visit to an historic castle will give their culture muscle a good workout. Or take them for a day out at one of Britain’s many zoos or theme parks.
Alton Towers, Legoland and Chessington World of Adventures are three of the best known. Not quite on a par with a trip to Disney! But still fun for all the family.
You’ll need to budget for the theme parks though. The entry prices are high despite several looking a little tired and shabby in places, and it often being a bit hit-&-miss when it comes to rides being open and equipment functioning optimally. But they’re still as popular as ever—and be prepared to queue a while for some of the main attractions!
Another great option, especially if the weather’s good, is to head to the coast to enjoy one of the UK’s famous array of seaside resorts. One of the benefits of being an island!
Be smart when organising short or longer trips so you minimize any travel issues—such as rush-hour traffic if driving or taking a bus/coach—and check schedules online if you’re going anywhere by plane or train.
While we’re a fun, quirky bunch, there are 65 million of us packed onto these fair isles… which means getting around can take planning, co-ordination and most of all patience!
So, whether you’re coming from abroad or feel tempted to give this green and pleasant land a chance, surely the UK is worth considering in your future holiday plans.
’Til next time,