Yep, you did just read the words ‘sun’ and ‘UK’ in the same sentence. In fact, as superfans of staycations, we think our country gets a bad wrap for its weather. Of course, it rains, it blows and it snows. But we do also get fantastic heatwaves (at least in some parts of the country) – even if you can’t remember it because you sat in a beer garden sinking back fruit ciders.
The sunshine makes everything better too and a sunny UK staycation really does have everything to rival its older Mediterranean cousin. Plus, you don’t have to get up early to beat passport control. So, without further ado, we reveal the best places for sun in the UK.
Best for: Picnics in the park
Figures from the Met Office show that London gets around 1,500 hours of sun every year – and, while being in a city amidst a heatwave might not sound like fun to begin with, just picture the green spaces, outdoor bar terraces and sprawling street food stalls. In the summer, temperatures in the South East can reach up to the high 30s – and the atmosphere around is buzzing, day and night.
Best for: Watersports
Dubbed the Welsh Riviera, southern Wales actually does very well when it comes to sunshine every year with an average of 1,667 hours. There’s also plenty of things to do when the weather is on your side – beachside BBQs, water sports, coastal walks, countryside adventures and meanders around quaint villages and harbours. Wales itself is also great for foodies with lots of casual dining spots and michelin-starred restaurants, ideal for quick breaks and leisurely catch ups.
Best for: That proper holiday vibe
Let’s face it, the ferry or flight to Guernsey is definitely going to make you feel like you’re heading off somewhere international. Situated near the French coast, Guernsey is known for its luxury beach resorts like Cobo Bay, its beautiful coastal cliffs and its amazing weather. With nods to France, here and there, you can expect incredible food and drink and a sophisticated flair that can’t be replicated anywhere else.
Best for: A lively trip
On a nice day, it seems that everyone from London chooses Brighton – and it’s not hard to see why. Starting with the beach, it’s surrounded by bars, activities and attractions including the 360 Viewing Tower. From shopping to culture, arts and entertainment, you certainly won’t go bored here. And, at night time, this place really comes alive with outdoor terraces, suntrap beer gardens and lots of groups having boozy get-togethers on the beach.
Best for: Cultural trips
Hate the idea of sand? The UK has plenty of other towns and cities, which are well-known sun-traps – Cambridge being one of them. Again if, on the hottest day, you don’t want to sight-see, there are lots of green parks and the banks of the River Cam to relax by. You could even hire out a punt and view the historic university city while keeping cool. Some of our favourite places to chill with a picnic and Pimms have got to be The Botanic Gardens and The Backs.
Best for: Amazing food and drink
Like Guernsey, Jersey also sits close to France so you can expect the same European nods and inspiration here. As well as fine weather, the foodie scene attracts visitors from all over. The fish doesn’t get any fresher and a selection of luxury bars and restaurants mean the atmosphere is great, day and night. The island is also only five miles long meaning you can explore it in full, in a day.
Best for: Unspoilt sandy beaches
Situated in West Sussex, West Wittering is a seaside resort that offers everything you’d expect – golden sands, blue waters, family activities, hours of sunshine – as well as the added bonus of views of the South Downs and Chichester Harbour. Here, days can be mixed up with coastal relaxation as well as exploration into the nearby national parks. And, if you fancy trying your hand at some watersports, you won’t be disappointed either.
Best for: Historical charm
Hastings is a traditional seaside town, popular for its sunny summers, Victorian character and historical centre. The town itself is home to vintage shops, gorgeous parks and cute cafes. Streets are also lined with artists looking to sell their pieces. When you’re at the beach, look out for the fishing huts and the famous pier which is packed with amusements. And, if you want to see Hastings in all its glory, take the Cliff Railway up high.
Isles of Scilly
Best for: Luxury staycations
Just off the coast of Cornwall is the Isles of Scilly – an unspoilt island with an easy pace and luxury lifestyle. In fact, it’s known to have some of the hottest temperatures during a UK summer and it really does have everything that an international getaway offers. Think incredible beaches, family-friendly activities, luxury restaurants and amazing accommodation. That’s before we even mention the picture-perfect towns and magical harbours that will make you fall in love time and time again. As coastal towns go, it has some of the best too!
So there you have it – our pick of the best places to go for sun in the UK. Plus, if you fancy any of the above, why not check out the range of accommodation? From lodges, log cabins and glamping tents to houses, castles and even converted churches, we’re sure to have a hot tub break for you.