With the threat of COVID-19 and accompanying travel restrictions still hanging over many popular European destinations, British holidaymakers are considering staycations like never before.
And with losses to the tourism industry hitting hotels, restaurants and other attractions hard, many feel it’s their duty to support this vital sector during these tough times.
As a motorhome owner you’ll be used to supporting local businesses in this country. But with the national picture changing rapidly you might be wondering where it’s safe to visit.
We’ve rounded up some places to put on your must-see list that’ll give this essential industry a welcome boost.
So, check on your motorhome insurance, gather your supplies and get your camping gear out of storage. It’s time to get back in the driver’s seat and celebrate our stunning country like never before.
Windsor - less visitors from abroad means more space
Britain has some stunning castles, and none more so than that at the world-famous royal enclave of Windsor. Rising above the town, Windsor Castle is a truly breathtaking sight.
Once you’re inside, you’ll see the awesome state apartments and the Royal Art Collection gracing the walls. With foreign visitor numbers down due to COVID-19, now might be the perfect time to visit to avoid the usual crowds.
Whatever the weather the huge Windsor Great Park is the perfect place to visit while adhering to social distancing. It has a whopping 2,020 hectares of space where visitors can relax and explore.
Essex - not a traditional staycation hotspot
Located just to the north east of London, Essex might not be the first place you’d consider for a staycation – and that’s why it’s the perfect place to visit now!
Unfairly blighted by stereotypes, those motorhome owners in the know have long understood that this county offers scenic rural escapes, marshland reserves, 35 islands and over 350 miles of coastline to enjoy.
The Dedham Vale Area of Natural Beauty on the Essex/Suffolk border is particularly bewitching. With riverside walks, cosy pubs and glorious scenery the area has changed little since John Constable captured it so perfectly in his famous paintings.
Indeed, a stroll along the rustic River Stour will bring you to Flatford Mill, the building featured in The Hay Wain painting.
The New Forest – a woodland hideout
Easily accessible via the M3 and M27, the main roads through William the Conqueror’s old hunting ground are all suitable for large motorhomes. While wild camping is strictly banned there are lots of designated car parks and places to stop for lunch or a walk.
There are miles of bridleways and ancient woodland paths to explore, so you should easily be able to keep your distance from other visitors. Indeed, you’ll be more likely to bump into a friendly wild pony or other woodland animal hiding among the trees.
Once you’ve explored the smaller villages of Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst, you could visit the charming market town of Lymington to the south of the forest.
With an extensive harbour scene and easy access to the Solent, this is a haven for sailors and anyone keen on the nautical life. On hot summer days, why not cool off in the seawater swimming baths on the outskirts of town?
Situated on the western edge of the forest, the New Forest Water Park is well worth a visit at any time of day.
The park can offer a wealth of water-based activities for when you’ve had your fill of cycling or pony trekking in the woods.
From wakeboarding and a giant inflatable aqua park to canoeing and kayaking, it’s the best fun you can have in a wetsuit and great for your wellbeing!
Remember that motorhome insurance can also include cover for your bikes, camping and water sports equipment.
The Lizard National Nature Reserve – find a coastal hideout away from the crowds
The glorious Cornish coast has long been popular with UK holidaymakers searching for idyllic beaches, quaint seaside villages and cute campsites.
With 400 miles of stunning coastline – 158 of which are designated Heritage Coast – and no inland area more than 20 miles from the sea there should be plenty of opportunities to shun the crowds.
While tourist hotspots like Porthcurno and St Ives beaches should be avoided during the pandemic, head for the more secluded charms to be found on the dramatic Lizard peninsula for your sea and sand fix.
The Lizard is a world-renowned geological and ecological dream where you can sit back and chill in wild surroundings! This protected landscape offers jaw-dropping ocean views and a wealth of colours and environments that make it impossible to leave.
For the adventurous, clamber along a rugged stretch of the South West Coast Path or head off to one of the many secluded coves for some surfing fun. If you’re careful you could find the perfect coastal hideaway to call your own. Just don’t tell anyone about it!
Remember however, wherever you travel in Cornwall you’ll come across lots of narrow country lanes.
Furthermore many of the prettiest towns and villages are unsuited to large motorhomes, so be mindful when travelling and route planning. Be sure that you’ve got adequate motorhome insurance to deal with any bumps and scrapes.
Rutland – a small place with big water
While it’s the smallest county in England, Rutland lays claim to one of the largest reservoirs in Europe.
So, whether you are looking for some adrenaline-fuelled fun or a relaxing break from the daily hustle and bustle, Rutland Water could be just the place for your next motorhome expedition.
A popular location for sailing and fishing enthusiasts, the park itself boasts vast amounts of open space providing ample room to manoeuvre at a safe distance.
Norwich – a surprisingly well-hidden Norfolk gem
Despite being one of the most stunning areas of England, Norfolk has remained a somewhat peaceful holiday destination.
Visitors to this area will enjoy an incredible and unspoilt heritage coastline and the famous Norfolk Broads national park. A paradise for nature lovers who’ll be sure to find huge skies and tranquility, even in the heights of the tourist season.
A good base from which to explore is Norwich, the historic capital of the county which is itself a hidden gem and a must-visit.
As well as being the UK’s best-preserved medieval city, you’ll also find a beautiful Norman cathedral and castle, a vibrant bar and restaurant scene and the quirky Norwich Lanes.
This tangle of pedestrian streets is full of interesting shops and independent stores for those in need of a bit of retail therapy.
Hadrian’s Wall – a Roman adventure well worth a visit to the north east
Putting on your walking boots and heading out into the wild open air is the perfect way to get away from any anxieties.
If you haven’t visited Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland until now, you’re in for a treat. It’s an extraordinary monument to human ingenuity and spirit set in an untouched and often lonely landscape.
Stretching 76 miles across some of England’s wildest countryside, this Roman fortification was built by an estimated 15,000 men over a six-year period beginning in AD 122. Now a World Heritage site, it’s an evocative place to visit and ponder.
If you’re thinking of leaving your motorhome for any length of time while walking Hadrian’s Wall, be sure you check your motorhome insurance is fully up to date to deal with all eventualities.
Pembrokeshire – get a dose of coasteering
Rightly famous for its glorious beaches, cliff-top rambles, secluded islands and unique wildlife, the stunning coast of the beautiful and eclectic Welsh county of Pembrokeshire offers infinite opportunities for outdoor distraction.
An activity at the top of the to-do list for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers alike is that of coasteering. Pembrokeshire boasts that it invented this adrenalin fuelled sport, so it really is the perfect place to try it out.
This sport requires cliff scrambling, jumping from land to sea and swimming between rocks and will stretch you both physically and mentally. It’ll give you hours of fun but also leave you feeling glad to be alive!
Brecon Beacons – get off the beaten track
If you fancy exploring away from the busy UK highways, then pay a visit to the lush Brecon Beacons National Park.
This is a well-known but still beautiful region to explore on foot or by bike at any time of year – so you can choose the best time to avoid any crowds.
The Taff Trail is highly recommended as a walking and cycle path running for 55 miles between Brecon and Cardiff Bay.
Adventurous thrill-seekers will be pleased to hear that the route is largely off-road and follows the National Cycle Network Route 8. If climbing and clambering is more your thing, the Park is also home to Pen-y-Fan, South Wales’ highest mountain.
Loch Lomond – some much-needed post-lockdown adventure
Loch Lomond and the Trossacks National Park always rank highly on the top places to visit in Scotland and this year more than ever will rival any destination for a staycation.
Whether a spot of wild camping or a night of luxury, you’ll be sure to find the perfect remedy to any post-lock down blues on the banks of this beautiful location.
The Loch and surrounding national park are a veritable heaven for fans of the great outdoors.
You can climb a Munro (a Scottish mountain), cycle, play golf, or simply enjoy a cruise over the waters of the Loch to admire the breath-taking scenery and spot some of Scotland’s unique wildlife.
The Scottish Highlands – drive an iconic motorhome route
Road trips in the UK don’t come much better than the North Coast 500. Launched in 2015, this iconic motorhome route is a 516-mile trip around the spectacular north coast of Scotland.
Starting and ending at Inverness Castle, the route passes through some of the most beautiful places this country has to offer. Driving the whole route will take several weeks, or you can choose to just do a part of it.
Whatever happens you’ll enjoy untouched landscapes, legendary Scottish hospitality and the freedom of the open road.
Whether you begin or end your trip in Inverness be sure to give this cultured and ancient cathedral city the attention it deserves.
Search for monsters on the shores of Loch Ness or take a trip to the haunting battlefield at Culloden.
How will motorhome and camping sites look different after lockdown?
To adhere to government safety guidelines motorhome and camping sites have had to make some substantial changes such as:
- Booking in advance – most sites will require pre-booking to maintain safe numbers.
- Contactless check-in – many sites are offering this facility to keep contact with staff to a minimum.
- Social distancing – sensibly distanced pitches are already the norm but some sites might be forced to reduce numbers on site if their facilities can’t cope.
- Signage – social distancing and hand washing reminders will be common.
- Toilet and shower blocks – if they’re open then expect extra cleaning and having to sign up for allotted times.
- Individual bookings – large groups are being discouraged.
- Restricted areas – don’t rely on areas such as receptions, shops, laundries and play areas being open. Shared facilities like hot tubs and swimming pools might also have been closed as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
Protecting your vehicle with motorhome insurance
Whatever road you choose to take, the vehicle you drive is a big investment so never leave home without ensuring you’ve got the proper protection.
Working with our panel of leading insurers, the specialist team at Motorhome Protect will find you the very best motorhome insurance, perfectly suited to your vehicle, needs and budget.
Our bespoke cover can include benefits such as:
- Cover for up to 365 days a year including foreign use
- Cover for vehicles valued up to £150,000
- Enhanced cover for personal effects up to £3,000
- Uncapped mileage cover
- Unlimited EU cover
Call Motorhome Protect and get a quote for motorhome insurance today.
Always check the latest government guidance before travelling.
Policy benefits and features offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.