When we finally get to start self-catering travel in the UK on April 12th (April 26th in Scotland), where will we go? The answer could be: Wherever possible, vacation rental companies report that over 90 percent of the properties have already been taken.
Competition is also likely to be fierce for hotels and B & Bs when they reopen on May 17th. Still, there are still options to consider as you shop around. After a year of pandemic, how did you choose which ones?
One consideration could be the area’s “health certificate”. Here is our guide to the Least Concerned Places in the UK using the latest statistics from Public Health England.
The above map shows Covid cases for the past seven days which, according to Public Health England, was correct on March 31st
You’re fine in Orkney
It’s not surprising that Orkney, off the north-east coast of Scotland, avoided the worst of the pandemic. With only 71 cases since the coronavirus began, it is the least affected area of the municipalities.
Officials hope that travel to the islands will be allowed until April 26, the reopening date for self-catering tourist accommodation in Scotland. Trips to the towering sandstone cliffs, vibrant bird life, seal colonies, and Neolithic sites – including the Ring of Brodgar – might be possible.
DETAILS: B & B double rooms at the Stromness Hotel from £ 95 (stromnesshotel.com).
West Devon has reported few cases in the past few months. And it’s encouraging that other parts of the county, including Torridge, North Devon, and Teignbridge, have done well. Visitors can enjoy the South West Coast Path and see the Jurassic Coast Cliffs on boat trips. The area is also home to Dartmoor National Park and the Tamar Valley.
DETAILS: Two nights with breakfast at the Bedford Hotel in Tavistock from £ 180 (bedford-hotel.co.uk).
Fun by the Sea: Hastings makes for a great beach vacation and has charming towns in the area that are well worth exploring
Historic Hastings in East Sussex, with its traditional seaside attractions, has had low coronavirus rates in recent months, as has the Rother area. Visitors shouldn’t miss out on visiting the charming surrounding towns, including Rye with its many interesting independent shops and close proximity to Camber Sands.
DETAILS: Two nights with breakfast at the Hope Anchor Hotel in Rye from £ 175 (thehopeanchor.co.uk).
WHERE EAGLES DARE
The Outer Hebrides are among the least affected communities. For those tempted by the windswept Scottish islands, a trip to the Isle of Lewis may be in order. This is the largest island in the archipelago and a nature lover’s dream with golden eagles, deer and seals.
More traditional than most, Lewis uses Gaelic, the peat industry, Sabbath observance, and myths and legends.
DETAILS: Two nights with breakfast in Baile-na-Cille from £ 150 (bailenacille.co.uk).
The Scottish Borders has an above-average health certificate. This area of the Scottish Unity Council has a dramatic stretch of coastline and is not far from Edinburgh. Golfers will enjoy a trip to Peebles, where the castle is also well worth a visit.
As in many parts of Scotland, there are many abbeys and castles in the middle of a great natural landscape.
DETAILS: Three night self-catering at Eyemouth Holiday Park from £ 219 (parkdeanresorts.co.uk).
Another less affected area was the central Welsh county of Ceredigion, with its rolling hills, secluded beaches and beautiful coastal towns. The rural market towns of the region are also interesting, such as Cenarth with its waterfall and the nearby Cilgerran Castle.
DETAILS: Two nights at Cenarth Falls Holiday Park from £ 50 (Pitchup.com).
Breathtaking: The Cotswolds is known for its wonderful views and idyllic chocolate box houses. Castle Combe is pictured
Cases of Covid have been few in the Cotswolds, where 80 percent of the area is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Charming Cotswolds villages include Asthall, Bourton-on-the-Water, Burford, Lower Slaughter and Upper Slaughter.
Children will love Cotswold Farm Park and Water Park, while adults will enjoy a trip to the Royal Gardens at Highgrove or Kiftsgate Court Gardens.
DETAILS: Three night self catering from £ 209 (hoburne.com).
HOLES AND LOCKS
Spread over a large area, Argyll & Bute is another Scottish region that has been less affected by Covid than other parts of the country. Enjoy the open landscape, the quiet lakes and castles.
Inveraray is the place to stay, while those interested in an island adventure (and some great seafood) should check out Oban.
DETAILS: Two nights with breakfast at the Brambles of Inverary from £ 240 (inverarayhotel.com).
Throughout modern history, Cumbria has inspired writers – not least Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Beatrix Potter and John Ruskin.
Eden has had only a few falls in the last few months and this valley with its river of the same name is as idyllic as it sounds.
There are some historic Viking Age villages, a scenic railway line from Settle to Carlisle, and great walks in the peaceful Howgill Fells.
DETAILS: Two nights with breakfast at Bank House Bed and Breakfast from £ 144 (bankhousepenrith.co.uk).
VERY GOOD INSULATION
The Shetland Islands, 110 miles off the coast of Scotland, are barely affected by the coronavirus. It is difficult to get there, but those who try will be rewarded. The mainland is full of quaint villages and small farms, while the barrier islands are places to explore historical sites and observe wildlife.
DETAILS: Two nights with breakfast at the Busta House Hotel from £ 254 (bustahouse.com).