Despite everything it's looking like 2021 could be a bumper year for UK travel and we're coming over all nostalgic about our own childhood holidays – back in the days before the term 'Staycation' was invented!
Above all we can recall the glorious feeling of exploring the great outdoors – not just visiting the beach but jumping on bikes or surfboards, hiking to the top of the nearest hill, taking a dip in a fast-running stream or discovering the landscape on horseback. It's those kind of adventures that make holiday memories stick, and with our friends at Original Cottages, we have come up with some of the best places to try a variety of outdoor activities. Read on to find your dream UK active holiday...
Tucked away on the north side of Snowdonia's Llyn Peninsula, you couldn't find a better place to indulge in all of your favourite outdoor activities than this impressive barn conversion – and some perhaps you have never tried! A gorgeous, contemporary retreat for two, Tir Bach lago also happens to be footsteps away from an equally desirable secret sandy cove and some tremendous walking on the Wales Coast Path. In case that's not enough you could jump in the car and drive the short distance to Aberdaron.
Keen surfers can enjoy No 34 The Dunes, a swanky three-bed apartment overlooking the sands at North Cornwall's Perranporth beach. Part of a small beachside development, the apartment is well equipped and stylish, with views right over the sands that make the most of the spectacular sunsets. As most surfers know, west-facing Perranporth has great waves year-round and is large enough to absorb armies of committed surfers, but what do you care? You have your own private footpath to the beach and don't even need to read the surf reports: just look out of your window and grab your board!
Located right by the water on the east side of Lake Windermere, it's hard to imagine a better Lake District house than North Highfield. Not only is it handy for both Bowness and Windermere town, it has its own private beach and jetty which make it the ideal place for a spot of wild swimming. There's nothing like taking a dip in the crisp clear waters of the lake, and when you come back in, the 4-bed house is as cosy an abode as you could wish for. There's nothing like getting warm with a hot drink while gazing over the mountains beyond.
Why not try your hand at luxury glamping in The Mallard, a gorgeous shepherds-hut-cum-railway-carriage parked on a farm in a particularly glorious part of the Brecon Beacons. Its cosy interior, outside deck and wood-fired hot tub make it the ultimate place to unwind and enjoy country walks and riverside loafing, not to mention a spot of star-gazing, and once you've done that the farm rents out bikes to eager and active mountain-bikers keen to scale some of those lofty heights.
Situated in a peaceful spot just outside Bodmin, the two-bedroom Stable is tailor-made for keen walkers and bikers, with not only the wilds of Bodmin Moor on your doorstep but the Camel Trail right next door, which follows the route of an old railway line all the way to Padstow. At about 18 miles long and pretty flat it's perfect for weekend cyclists, and you can hire bikes locally or bring your own. The Stables can be rented separately or in conjunction with two other properties, The Hayloft and The Byre.
Just outside the popular mid-Wales town of Builth Wells, golfers will love Rhosferig Lodge, a four-bedroom stone lodge for its close proximity to Builth Wells Golf Club, whose course is one of the best in the region. Not only that: there is fantastic walking and cycling to be done right from the lodge, which sits at the end of a mile-long country lane on the Rhosferig Estate. On rainy days, there's a games room and snooker table indoors to keep that competitive edge!
Of course, not all bears are keen on active sports, which is why we have to include the Pump House, a frankly amazing and idyllic spot right in the middle of Ashdown Forest, where in times gone by Pooh, Piglet and Christopher Robin used to roam. Just the place for a spot of Poohsticks, and if that's not active enough for you, there are 6500 acres of forest to explore from this one-bedroom woodland cottage. Wake up to birdsong and plan your day...