Enjoy the UK as its very best this summer with a 'staycation'.
According to a recent survey, over a third of Britons (35%) will holiday in the UK only this summer, suggesting that the 'staycation' phenomenon is far from a one-off. The figure is up 10% from last year; the economic climate, combined with the especially good British weather, being the main factors. Check out Travelbite.co.uk's 'staycation' holiday ideas:
1. Cycle Cornwall
Cornwall, voted the top 'staycation' destination for this summer in a survey, is unlike anywhere else in Britain. With its great surfing, turquoise sea and warm climate (well, compared to the rest of the UK!), it's sometimes hard to believe you're not in a foreign country. One of the best ways to explore the beautiful Cornish countryside and coastline is by bicycle. There's a great variety of cycle routes - from quiet country lanes which meander through picturesque villages and ancient harbours to more challenging off-road routes which explore the depths of the Cornish countryside.
When you think of canals, Venice, Bruges or Amsterdam come to mind, but canals were the heart of many of Britain's cities during the Industrial Revolution and are a fantastic way to see a city. Explore Manchester, where many of the spectacular industrial warehouses have survived, now standing against the city's newer contemporary urban designs. Full of cutting-edge concert halls, theatres and clubs, Manchester embraces culture and the thriving music scene that has produced diverse artists from Hallé Orchestra to Oasis. You can cruise through the locks and bridges that have remained largely unchanged since their construction over 100 years ago. Also, you can visit the elegant Anderton boat lift, the world's first and England's only working boat lift; considered by many to be one of the great engineering feats of the 19th century.
3. Home exchange
For those who have seen the film 'The Holiday', starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, the central theme is a home exchange in which two women, both going through personal traumas, decide to escape it all and swap houses for a few weeks - which inevitably leads to tears, laughs and new romances. Far from an idea dreamt up in Hollywood, home exchanges are a reality and provide a cost effective, fun and different holiday. Fundamentally based on mutual trust, the initiative provides the holidaymaker the space and convenience of a real home, along with the reassurance that their own home is safe and occupied whilst away (and the pot plants get watered!).
The festival season kicks off this month and thousands will descend on the iconic British festivals, such as Glastonbury festival in June, and with today's uncertain economic times and doubts over international travel, a new trend is unveiling: 'festi-railing'. With great savings using a young person's railcard, hopping from festival to festival will be the perfect summer break for any music lover.
5. Hike in the Lake District
Also topping the table for the best 'staycation' destination this summer, the Lake District is an area of stunning natural beauty. Loved by poets and writers - Wordsworth summed up the area when he wrote: 'the loveliest spot man hath ever found'. The area's iconic mountains, fells, placid lakes, picturesque towns and villages combine to make this a perfect getaway for those seeking natural beauty, fresh air and plenty of walks.
6. Beach breaks
Cornwall is a haven of over 300 different beaches and wherever you are, you're never more than 16 miles from the sea! Due to its position on the south west peninsula, 80 per cent of Cornwall is surrounded by water, giving it the longest stretch of coastline in the UK at 697km. To soak up the sunshine on a large stretch of sundrenched beach, whilst watching the surfers carving up the Atlantic waves - head to the north coast. For tranquil and secluded coves and sheltered bays - make your way to the south coast. Dorset boasts some of the most scenic - and cleanest - beaches in the UK. The Isle of Purbeck, located in the heart of the Jurassic coast and beloved of Enid Blyton, is the cream of the crop, when it comes to beaches; it has received both blue flags and The Quality Coast award as well as being a UNESCO world heritage site. When you tire of splashing around, there's plenty more to do in the area, from sailing and climbing to bush craft.
An eco-holiday is a great way to get close to nature and enjoy all Mother Nature has to offer. Head to the New Forest and ramble along one of the myriad of trails which criss-cross the National Park, through idyllic forest glades, or follow a ranger on one of the calendar of walking events throughout the summer. Spend lazy afternoons enjoying picnics, using local ingredients (look for the New Forest Marque stamp) or jump aboard the open-top, hourly New Forest Tour to explore the region. You can also go 'green' when you choose your accommodation. There is a wide range of 'Green Leaf' hotels, self-catering, B&B's, holiday parks and camping sites to choose from. Or if camping isn't your thing, how about an eco-friendly holiday home? The latest property in the Blue Chip Holidays portfolio - Robins Lodge - may well be for you. Located at the foot of the stunning Quantock Hills in Somerset, this eco-lodge is perfect for the green-conscious, country sport enthusiasts and pet owning travellers.