'Staycation’ is a top buzzword at the moment. With international travel currently fraught with difficulty, many people are opting to take their holidays closer to home. But what exactly is a staycation?
The word is a play on ‘stay’ and ‘vacation’ and originally meant holidaying at home and doing day trips. But it has come to mean spending your vacation in your home country rather than travelling abroad. For the people of the UK of course, that means not just England, but also Scotland and Wales, countries in their own right.
There are many fabulous places to take your holidays in the UK. Some of the most popular destinations include the Highlands of Scotland, Cornwall, Snowdonia and the Lake District. Whether you want five-star fine dining or wild camping with just your camping stove, whether you are after surfing and hiking or something more sedentary and relaxing, there is the perfect destination close to home to suit every taste and every budget. And no airport queues to worry about.
If you look a little further there are also less well-known corners of the UK which also have much to offer, and I’m going to suggest you look at one of them: the Gower Peninsula.
I’m not alone in suggesting this: take a look at money.co.uk’s 2021 Safecation Report. They place Gower top of their list of safe places to take a holiday this year. As they say, ‘Forget crushing into overcrowded traditional beauty spots and instead head to the UK’s hidden gems’.
The Gower Peninsula in Wales is a well-kept secret. As the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty it remains relatively unspoiled. I’ve lived here for over thirty years and never get tired of its stunning scenery and quiet beauty.
There are the obvious attractions of course: the family-friendly beach at Oxwich Bay and the breathtaking surfing beach at Rhossili and Llangenith. Not to forget Caswell Bay, home to Surfability, the charity which featured recently in a DIY SOS programme.
But there is also the more tranquil north Gower coast with its marshland where ponies and sheep quietly graze. Enjoy a spectacular sunset here, chill out in one of the many bird hides and enjoy a pint in one of the cosy pubs: bliss.
The city of Swansea is the gateway to the Gower and also has much to offer. On a rainy day, enjoy the slides at the famous LC Waterpark, sample the local delicacies at the award-winning indoor market, or while away an hour in one of the city’s many museums and galleries.
During your stay, eat out in the pubs and restaurants of Swansea, Mumbles, Langland and … well, too many places to mention actually. A recent Guardian article waxes lyrical about the 'explosion of food and drink startups, blending delicious local produce with modern "green" cuisine.
As for accommodation, needless to say, there are many campsites, hotels, self-catering properties and Airbnb opportunities all over Swansea and Gower.
If you want a day trip out, there are many things to do locally. For the adventurous, go horse riding at Pembrey Country Park or mountain biking in the trails of the Afan Forest, or try the new thrill-inducing zipline at Tower in the Neath valley.
For a more sedate day, visit the National Botanical Gardens of Wales and the nearby Aberglasney Gardens, or explore the Dylan Thomas trails in Cwmdonkin Park Swansea and along the coast in Laugharne (where much of the recent TV series Keeping Faith was shot).
There is so much more!
Please note that all activities in Wales are currently subject to the Welsh Government's Covid regulations.