14 Perfect Getaways in the UK Countryside

Welcome to the scenic allure of the UK countryside, a patchwork of rolling hills, quaint villages, and serene landscapes. As diverse as they are captivating, these idyllic spots offer both luxury and value for money.

Each of them has many options for local food and drink delights, charming accommodations, and a wealth of activities. Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast or a tranquillity seeker, a food lover, or a history buff, the UK countryside has something for everyone. 

Things to Do in Bourton on the Water Cotswold

1. Cotswolds, England

In the heart of England, you’ll find the Cotswolds. This area is known for its picturesque, honey-coloured villages and idyllic countryside. This is a destination where luxury and quaintness live side by side, with countryside hotels exuding opulence and B&Bs providing a homely warmth.

Even if you’re an international traveller, the Cotswolds is not hard to get to.  You can use the services of a travel company like Opodo Vacations to find the best deals on flights to London and to help ease some of the stress of holiday planning. Once you’re in London, there are direct train services from Paddington Station to Moreton-in-Marsh, Kingham, and Cheltenham Spa. This means the Cotswolds are easily accessible, making it the perfect getaway.

The region is also renowned for its farm-to-table cuisine, so you can expect your tastebuds to be in for a treat. Restaurants and pubs like The Wild Rabbit in Kingham and The Feathered Nest in Nether Westcote take pride in offering dishes prepared from locally-sourced ingredients.

The beauty of the Cotswolds isn’t just in its landscapes but also in its historical sites. Places like the mediaeval market town of Stow-on-the-Wold and the 15th-century Sudeley Castle add a touch of historic charm. When it comes to accommodation, options like The Slaughters Country Inn and Tudor House Hotel offer picturesque locations and comfortable rooms, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploration.

2. Lake District, England

As England’s largest National Park, the Lake District is a playground for both adventurers and those looking for something more lowkey. From the luxury lodges that blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings to the welcoming guest houses, the Lake District caters to every type of traveller. Travelling to the Lake District is quite straightforward, with direct train services from London’s Euston Station to Oxenholme and Windermere.

The region is known for its traditional British cuisine. Pubs and restaurants serve hearty meals like fish and chips and shepherd’s pie, often using locally-sourced ingredients. For a cosy atmosphere and delightful meals, The Drunken Duck Inn in Ambleside comes highly recommended.

The Lake District’s scenic beauty is undoubtedly its biggest attraction. With hiking trails winding through rolling green hills and scenic viewpoints overlooking beautiful lakes, it’s a paradise for nature lovers. Don’t miss out on visiting Lake Windermere, the Beatrix Potter Gallery, and the prehistoric Castlerigg Stone Circle. Top-rated accommodations like The Samling Hotel and Gilpin Hotel & Lake House offer luxurious amenities and stunning views, making them an excellent choice for a relaxing stay.

3. Pembrokeshire Coast, Wales

Next on the list is the Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales. This region offers stunning coastal scenery, sandy beaches, and dramatic cliff-top walks. Whether you’re seeking the luxury of a resort or the affordability of a B&B, Pembrokeshire Coast has you covered. Travel is also nice and convenient, with direct train services from Paddington Station in London to Haverfordwest and Fishguard.

Seafood lovers will be in their element here. Restaurants and pubs like The Griffin Inn in Dale and The Shed in Porthgain are known for their locally-caught fish and shellfish. But the allure of Pembrokeshire Coast isn’t limited just to its great seafood. The region boasts beautiful beaches and coastal walks like the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and the Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy.

Historical attractions like Pembroke Castle and St. David’s Cathedral adds to the area’s charm, too. The accommodation options in Pembrokeshire are unique and varied, ranging from luxurious country hotels to bed and breakfasts. They are often nestled in scenic ports or historic castles, completing the perfect seaside getaway.

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Source: Unsplash

4. Norfolk Broads, England

Ideal for boating holidays, bird watching, and leisurely strolls, the Norfolk Broads offers a variety of lodging options, from luxury cottages to riverside campsites. Boasting its traditional pubs and — just like the Pembrokeshire Coast — a reputation for excellent seafood, the area has something to savour for everyone.

Accessing the Norfolk Broads is a breeze with direct train services from Liverpool Street Station in London to Norwich, followed by local buses and trains.

If you do want to sample the seafood while in Norfolk, local favourites like The White Horse Inn in Neatishead and The Maltsters in Ranworth are where you should start. Each serves various dishes featuring locally-caught fish and shellfish.

As a network of rivers and lakes, the Broads provides ample opportunities for boating and water sports. Visitors can explore the historic city of Norwich, the Castle Rising, or reconnect with nature at the Hickling Broad Reserve. With regard to accommodation, there’s no shortage of options. You can choose from traditional B&Bs all the way to luxurious hotels like The Norfolk Mead Hotel and The Swan Inn in Horning.

5. Isle of Skye, Scotland

The first Scottish entrant to today’s list is the Isle of Skye. This region is known for its spectacular landscapes and plentiful hiking opportunities. Like most of the regions mentioned so far, visitors have the choice of everything from upscale hotels to budget-friendly B&Bs.

Just like the last two regions, the Isle of Skye is also a great place for seafood lovers. Ale enthusiasts will feel at home here, too. The island is accessible via car or bus from Inverness or by train to Kyle of Lochalsh, followed by a bus or taxi ride to the island.

Some of the best local restaurants include The Three Chimneys in Colbost and The Old School Restaurant in Dunvegan. Perhaps the biggest attraction here is the island’s natural beauty. This is something that is clearly evident throughout its rugged landscapes and numerous hiking trails.

Must-visit spots include the Fairy Pools, the Old Man of Storr, and for whisky enthusiasts, the Talisker Distillery. As for lodgings, the Kinloch Lodge Hotel and The Cuillin Hills Hotel stand out for their high ratings and service quality.

6. Suffolk, England

Now we head back to England, with Suffolk next on the list. This region is steeped in history and graced with a beautiful coastline. Suffolk also promises a diverse range of accommodations, from luxury hotels to self-catering cottages and budget-friendly options as well. Local Suffolk ales and traditional British food add to the area’s charm.

The county is conveniently accessible by train from London, with direct services from Liverpool Street Station to Ipswich and other towns, with bus services available for further exploration.

Suffolk takes pride in its local produce, from Adnams beer and Aspall cider to Colchester oysters. Dining establishments like The Unruly Pig in Bromeswell and The Crown in Stoke-by-Nayland showcase these local treats. Suffolk’s appeal is enhanced by historical sites and cultural attractions, including the mediaeval town of Lavenham — said to be the 14th wealthiest town in England during the Tudor times, despite its small size.

The Sutton Hoo burial site is another must-see, as well as the seaside town of Southwold. Accommodations like The Swan Hotel in Lavenham and The Crown and Castle in Orford ensure a comfortable stay in this remarkable county.

7. Cornwall, England

Sticking with England, next on the list is Cornwall. This destination offers coastal walks and unique attractions like the Eden Project and — like many on the list so far — is a culinary haven of excellent seafood. The area caters to various travel styles, providing boutique hotels and holiday cottages for a comfortable stay. With direct train services from Paddington Station in London to Penzance, Cornwall ensures an effortless journey.

As you explore the area via local buses, be sure to taste the local cuisine, including Cornish pasties, fish and chips, and crab sandwiches. Local gems where you’ll find all this and more include The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow and The Hidden Hut in Porthcurnick.

While visiting, immerse yourself in the diverse array of beautiful beaches and historic sites. St. Michael’s Mount, the previously mentioned Eden Project, and the Lost Gardens of Heligan are all good spots to check out. The Scarlet Hotel in Mawgan Porth and The Nare Hotel in Veryan offer an ideal mix of luxury accommodation and Cornish charm.

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Source: Pexels.

8. Exmoor, England

Continuing on with England and heading north from Cornwall, next on the list, we have Exmoor. This area is known for its dramatic moorland scenery and wildlife, and it offers a remarkable getaway. With both luxury hotels and charming cottages, you’ll find a comfortable spot to unwind after exploring the surroundings. Easily accessible by car or bus from Bristol or Taunton, Exmoor promises a refreshing break from city life.

Local eateries with Exmoor ales and fresh venison are plentiful. Some of the popular ones include The Luttrell Arms Hotel in Dunster and The Swan in Bampton.

Given its wealth of natural beauty, Exmoor is also a haven for hikers. The village of Dunster, the Tarr Steps ancient monument, and the Valley of Rocks are among its unique attractions. For a restful stay, options like The Luttrell Arms Hotel in Dunster and The Exmoor White Horse Inn in Exford are highly rated.

9. Scottish Highlands, Scotland

No list talking about country escapes in the UK would be complete without the Scottish Highlands, and that’s where we go next. Whether you want to explore castles, cruise Loch Ness, or tour the whisky distilleries, you will find something fun to do. 

Like all locations so far, the Highlands features a range of accommodations. These include luxury lodges, historic inns, and budget-friendly hostels. With regular trains from major UK cities, the Highlands are easy to reach, with car hire and guided tours available for exploration. Local cuisine is another delight. Make sure to try haggis, neeps, and tatties at the Kylesku Hotel in Sutherland or The Old Forge in Knoydart.

The Highlands’ stunning natural beauty is its greatest attraction. Consider venturing out on the hiking trails and scenic viewpoints. Don’t miss Loch Ness, the Isle of Skye, and Cairngorms National Park. If you’re after specific accommodation options, consider the Torridon Hotel and The Fife Arms in Braemar — both of which ensure a comfortable, Highland-style stay.

10. Snowdonia, Wales

As we venture to Wales for the second time on this list, let’s talk about Snowdonia. This mountainous region is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and offers a national park teeming with natural beauty. There are train links from London, Manchester, and Liverpool, making Snowdonia easy to reach.

There are also easy car hire and bus services available to help explore the area once you’re there. Accommodation choices are yet again quite varied. Visitors can choose from high-end luxury spa resorts or, if they prefer, budget-friendly campsites that complement the diverse landscape.

Local pubs and restaurants serve traditional Welsh cuisine, like cawl, Welsh rarebit, and bara brith — perfect for refuelling after a day of adventure. Places like The Ty Coch Inn in Porthdinllaen and The Black Boy Inn in Caernarfon are well worth a visit. Popular attractions in Snowdonia include Mount Snowdon, the Ffestiniog Railway, and the National Slate Museum.

These are a reflection of the area’s rich history and unique geology. Highly rated options for accommodation include the Penmaenuchaf Hall Hotel and The Royal Victoria Hotel in Llanberis, providing comfortable and luxurious rest.

11. Devon, England

As we now return to England, the next location has a bit of everything. Devon, with its beautiful beaches, national parks, and historic sites, beckons travellers to explore and relax. Easily accessible by train from London, Bristol, and Plymouth, Devon also offers car hire and bus services for easy navigation. There are accommodation options for all budgets, with everything from luxury spa resorts to value-for-money campsites.

The local produce is not to be missed, with Devonshire cream tea, cider, and seafood taking centre stage. Restaurants like The Riverford Field Kitchen in Buckfastleigh and The Seahorse in Dartmouth are popular among visitors. From the Jurassic Coast to Dartmoor National Park and the city of Exeter, Devon offers diverse attractions. For a restful stay, consider highly rated accommodations like The Salcombe Harbour Hotel and The Pig at Combe.

12. Northumberland, England

Northumberland invites visitors to journey back in time with historic sites like Hadrian’s Wall and to enjoy the serene beauty of its coast. Train services from London, Newcastle, and Edinburgh ensure easy access, with car services and local bus services also available. 

Local cuisine, featuring Craster kippers, Lindisfarne oysters, and Alnwick Rum, is best sampled at places like The Potted Lobster in Bamburgh and The Treehouse Restaurant in Alnwick. The attractions of Northumberland offer a glimpse into the past. The already mentioned Hadrian’s Wall, along with Bamburgh Castle and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, are among its treasures. 

13. Dorset, England

Sticking with England, next on the list is Dorset. This part of England is easily accessible by car on the A35 or by train to stations like Bournemouth, Poole, and Weymouth. In Dorset, you can step back in time to the Lyme Regis or Corfe Castle. You can even travel much further back in time to discover the ancient geological marvels of the Jurassic Coast — a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As has become a trend in this article, this is another area where seafood lovers will feel at home. Try the fresh crab and lobster, and then — if you fancy yourself a beer or wine connoisseur — sample local brews and vineyard produce.

When the day winds down, find your perfect retreat among Dorset’s diverse accommodations. Choose from highly rated The Pig in Swanage, upscale 5-star hotel Chewton Glen in New Milton, or the many budget options available.

14. Llandudno, Wales

Rounding out the list, we return to Wales, this time in Llandudno. Accessing Llandudno is a breeze, with the A55 route, regular trains, and bus services all offering convenient connections. Once you’re in this charming seaside town, be sure to take a stroll down the historic pier and promenade. You may also know the region’s distinctive Victorian architecture.

Llandudno’s culinary scene combines traditional Welsh fare and international cuisine. Dine at the town’s popular restaurants like Dylan’s Llandudno or Carlo’s Restaurant, or simply enjoy a casual meal at a cafe and end your day with a drink at one of the local pubs and bars.

As has been a recurring theme throughout this article, there are accommodation options of all types available. Hotels with nice seaside views, B&Bs, or self-catered apartments are all on offer.

Visiting the countryside is a great way to appreciate the UK. The country is filled with historical sites, stunning nature, and delicious local cuisine. From the calm waters of Norfolk Broads to the majestic mountains of Snowdonia, the rugged landscapes of Isle of Skye, and the serene beaches of Devon, there’s a treasure trove of experiences waiting for you.

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