How to staycation in style
Posted on April 06 2021
With the brakes on foreign holidays for the time being and UK holiday homes booking up faster than you can say ‘kiss me quick’, summer 2021 is shaping up to be the summer of staycations instead.
‘What is a staycation?’ you might be wondering, because there is much debate over the meaning of the word. Some use it to describe any holiday in the UK, but the purists believe it means holidaying at home.
With that latter definition in mind, we’ve put together staycation ideas and inspiration for making the most of your hols at home, perfect for if you’re dreaming of balmy beaches and can’t get excited about staying local…
Switch off from work
First things first, a staycation in the UK that you spend at home should be a proper break from work. Even though we’ve all got used to working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, don’t let the fact that you’re on annual leave at home mean you fire up the computer and get drawn into answering emails or jumping on a ‘quick call’. Put on your ‘out of office’, lock up your laptop and switch off for your days off.
Camping in the garden
Campsites will be overflowing this summer as Operation Staycation UK kicks into gear. But you can avoid the rush by setting up camp in the back garden. Borrow or buy a tent and, if you have children, put up a teepee to give them a play area for before bedtime (choose either our Wild Wonders or In the Jungle teepee). Fire up the barbecue to brown some sausages and toast marshmallows (here are some important tips on fire safety). You could also do a spot of stargazing once night sets in; download the Star Walk app to help you identify the constellations. Then all you’ll need is plenty of warm bedding for a cosy night’s sleep. And if it rains? Well, the great indoors is just a few steps away!
Festival in the garden
Dedicate one of your staycation days to doing a mini-festival at home. Invite as many friends round as covid rules allow, and then go for maximum festival vibes by setting up a bar in a corner of the garden, complete with this pink cooler tank and these colourful melamine cups. To really take your bar up a notch, fill this Kilner dispenser with the drink of your choice for guests to help themselves to, and fire up the barbecue so you can do your own festival street food. Transform your garden into a boho paradise: foliage lights, butterfly bunting and garlands will bring a touch of Glasto to your outside space. Leave out some party streamer cannons for an extra flourish. If you’ve got family members or friends who can play the guitar or keyboard that would be perfect, otherwise make some playlists and let the festival party begin. Go here for our full guide to doing a summer music festival at home.
Kids in charge!
This could be a risky one, but if you’re feeling brave and fancy really turning things on their head, allow the kids to make the rules for 24 hours. Ice cream for breakfast? Three hours of football in the park? A late night in front of Disney films? Whatever they say goes. So set some ground rules, grin and bear it, and get the inevitable takeaway pizza on order...
Sightsee in your own town
Wherever you live, be it in a city or town, become tourists for the day, going to see the sights and visit the places that are overfamiliar and you’d normally overlook. So, whatever is nearby, from safari parks and stately homes, to child-friendly museums and galleries, make a packed lunch and get out there. Due to social distancing and a lack of tourists from abroad, attractions should be quieter than usual this summer, but remember you’ll probably need to book in advance for most places.
Get out into your local park, head down to the nearest riverbank or pick a lovely looking old building near you to sketch or paint. You could also go out with a camera and try to really observe your local area and give it a new creative angle. If you have children, give them a list of things to take photos of: red letter boxes, old oak trees, wildlife – anything and everything could make for a compelling subject for their lens, and the treasure hunt element makes it extra fun. Alternatively, give them control of the video camera on your phone and challenge them to make a short film on whatever subject they’d like. You could do some acting for them and help them with editing on a user-friendly programme such as iMovie once all the shots are in the can. You could then do a film premiere for the whole family once the film is finished – don’t forget the popcorn.
The beach is calling
OK, so we might not be holidaying in the Mediterranean this summer, but your UK staycation could still involve some beach action. If you live within an hour or two’s drive from the coast, then why not do a day trip? Doing a proper staycation means you can be spontaneous and set off early on a day that is set fair. Pack all the usual essentials (food and drink, towels, sun cream etc.) and pick a beach that is off the beaten track, so you can enjoy a peaceful day of chilling out. If you pick a beach with huts for hire then all the better – it’s a nice little treat to make your day at the seaside that bit more comfortable. This Tropical bat and ball set will be fun to play in the shallow water, and you’ll also need this cooler bag, Choose Happy tableware and gorgeous swirly pink tumblers for your picnic.
Escape the family, head to a spa
Why not choose a day during your staycation to escape home and the family by booking into a spa? Go with friends and have a good catch up while being pampered with massages, beauty treatments and a sauna session. Throw in a nice lunch and a glass of fizz for the first class feeling minus the jetlag.
Games in the garden
Dedicate an afternoon or evening to a staycation games session. We don’t mean the usual Monopoly or Articulate, but games you play in the garden when the summer sun is shining. If you’ve got the space, croquet is a super fun one for the entire family to have a go at – the quintessential British summer pastime! If you’d prefer to evoke a more continental spirit, play boules and imagine you’re on holiday in the south of France as you play. We also love this ladder toss game and flamingo ring toss game. If it’s a particularly hot summer, water-based games will be a brilliant way to cool off: our water fight games set (including balloons and water guns) will go down a storm with the kids, and they’ll also enjoy cooling off with this pineapple blast sprinkler game and one of our paddling pools.
With home-schooling, WFH and lockdowns to contend with, spending quality time with your partner may have been off the menu in the last year. During your staycation, why not make one night a ‘date night’? If rules allow, organise a babysitter for your children, book a special restaurant or head to your local cinema (remember those!) If you’d prefer to stay at home, then treat yourself to a meal kit from your favourite restaurant or one you’ve been meaning to try, dress up for the occasion and enjoy your evening.
Hot tub party!
Everyone loves a hot tub, and hiring them for a day or two has become the big trend of 2021. Perfect for an afternoon or evening unwind either with your household or for a rule-of-six get-together. Check Google (and reviews) for suppliers in your area, and bring in elements of the home festival (above) to completely transform your home into a holiday destination.