Exotic Britain

Now whilst we deeply disapprove of the totally cringe term ‘staycation’, coined a year or two ago in the depths of recession hell, we also believe that there are some damn good reasons to stay put in Blighty for yer ‘olidays this year. Some of Britains best loved scenery is loved for its absolute, well, Britishness, but if you do fancy a taste of something a little more exotic without forking out for the Caribbean, you  might just find it a little closer than you think…

Isles of Scilly

With distinctly Caribbean-esque beaches and mild weather because of the Gulf Stream, the Isles of Scilly are known for their idyllic appearance and relaxed atmosphere. It’s the exotic plants and flowers that grow in abundance on the Isles, however, that make them look just like some kind of exotic paradise. Described as ‘Kew with the roof off’, the Isles boast flora as rare as Mexican Yuccas and Australian bottle brush, and are the only place in Britain able to grow so many of these kind of unusual species outside!

Image by SixteenEighteen

Loch Etive, Argyll

If you’ve always wanted to explore the mysterious, glacial Norwegian Fjords, you could do worse than to make your way to Loch Etive in Argyll. It has all the qualities of a typical fjord with its steep glacier carved sides and the imposing, dramatic mountains surrounding it. It extends for 20 miles and the wonderful Northern landscape will mesmerise you just as effectively as any old Norwegian fjord! You might even see deer, seals or even golden eagles (now don’t they just sound mystical!)

Image by dringer

Portstewart Strand, Northern Ireland

Located between the seaside resort of Portstewart and the mouth of the River Bann, the huge, stunning beach and powdery white dunes of Portstewart Strand stretch for two whole miles, and are a magnet for rare birds, strange insects, butterflies and even exotic orchids!

Image by Kyle Monahan

Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire

The Blossom Trail, a 40-mile route through Worcestershire’s beautiful Vale of Evesham, is from March until May a true sight to behold as the cherry, pear, plum and apple trees burst into a cachophony of colour. Described by some as the “the fruit basket of England”, the orchards can almost be compared to the cherry blossoms of Kyoto!

Image by michael hilton

Barafundle, Pembrokeshire

Voted Britain’s most beautiful beach by The Good Holiday Guide for its superb sands, admirable sea quality and almost tropical scenery, you could almost believe that you were on a fabulous beach in the Dominican Republic! Because of its idyllic landscape it understandably attracts a fair bit of attention, especially in the summer months!

Image by Sarah and Iain

Stretton, Shropshire

The quaint town of Church Stretton was described as “Little Switzerland” by the Victorians because of its dramatic alpine backdrop, wonderful natural springs and tumbledown hillside cottages. Standing at 1,600ft, the famous Long Mynd draws parallels with the (admittedly slightly larger!) Matterhorn and the wild peaks and whimsical valleys of flowers all combined with sweeping panoramic views certainly aren’t all that unlike the Swiss Alps!

Image by Chris Hudson Photographs

So are you convinced? Will we all be home or away this summer? The jury’s still out…

Header image of St Martins, Isle of Scilly by Carton Browne