Like many people, you may be skipping the foreign holiday this year. Sure, it’s fun to go on holiday but most of us don’t have unlimited holiday time from work. So surely the next best thing is to bring the holiday to you?
What you need are some holiday at home tips which will help transform the summer into one long holiday! And luckily for you, you’re in the right place! This year, I decided to put this theory to the test. Instead of living for the next holiday abroad, I was determined to seize the day, every day, and make the most of my local area. Here’s what happened when I decided to take a holiday at home.
Plan the perfect staycation
Before I get started with the holiday at home tips I’ll just clear up what I actually mean by ‘holiday at home’. There’s two different approaches to the term. Some apply it to a holiday that you take in your own country. Others, like me, choose to see it as a state of mind- seeing your literal home as a holiday destination, with the stress of travel removed. A staycation, in other words.
I love the idea of exploring the sights in your hometown. Living in a place can sometimes dull your appreciation for it. That’s why I’m a big fan of #lovewhereyoulive on Instagram; choosing to see your hometown the way you would see a foreign place is a powerful thing. Ask yourself, ‘What is there about where I live that I’d be excited to see if I visited somewhere new?‘ Maybe you have a beautiful coastline, or a thriving arts scene. Perhaps you have beautiful architecture…look at your hometown like a tourist and you might just discover something new!
That’s fine, you’re saying, but I live somewhere where nothing good ever happens. Are you sure? I live in the North East of England, and if you’ve even heard of my hometown it’s probably for all the wrong reasons. It’s a post-industrial city that has suffered an economic decline. It has just a little too much brutalist architecture to be classed as pretty. You get it. But, it also has a stunning beaches, it’s a stones throw from some fantastic countryside and has a small, but determined creative community. When I actually started looking, I was surprised at what I found.
The way I see it, with just a small switch in attitude, we can start to see our own local area with new eyes.
My top 10 Holiday at Home tips
With that in mind, let’s get straight to the good stuff! I’ve compiled my top 10 holiday at home tips below
1. Visit a Museum/ Gallery
Probably one of the biggest tourist traps out there. There’s just something about museums and art galleries that draw tourists in like a moth to a flame! And with good reason, Museums are a great place to find out about the past, present and future of any place that you are visiting. The provide us with in-depth knowledge of a topic or show us the delights somewhere has to offer.
For my holiday at home I visited an art gallery. It was free, and I was surprised to find out the calibre of art housed there. One of my favourite art movements are the ‘pre-Raphaelites’. Imagine how pleased I was to discover my local art gallery had some pre-Raphaelite paintings!
2. Get dressed up for dinner
I don’t know about you, but in our family getting dressed up for dinner is a holiday tradition. In fact, in contributes to our usual over-packing problems. There’s nothing that seems more ‘holiday’ to me than coming in from the day’s adventures, only to get changed and go out for dinner. So, this seemed like a requirement for a perfect holiday at home! You don’t even need to go out. Why not get the fancy crockery out, light those candles, and eat that microwave meal like a Duchess!
I didn’t quite stretch to a ducal coronet when I got dressed up for dinner, but I did make extra effort with my makeup…so kind of the same thing! We went for fish and chips, in a gloriously ‘English seas-side’ kind of establishment. It was great fun.
3. Visit a cultural site
Similar to visiting a museum or gallery, visiting sites of cultural importance is a tourist must. Guide books are full of places you can’t miss and TripAdvisor has made a business out of recommending things to do in new cities. You will probably be surprised to find out all the different places to visit near where you live. Why not start by googling ‘places to see near X’ and go from there?
For my holiday at home, I already knew that there was plenty of cultural sites I could visit. The North East of England is like a hidden gem in terms of history and architecture. We have an UNESCO world heritage site (Durham Cathedral), more castles than any other region, and much more. So, I hot-footed it to Durham and had a fantastic day walking around the cobbled streets and soaking up the grandeur and beauty of the Norman Cathedral.
4. Have an Ice Cream (bonus points if it’s raining)
Even when I go on a city break I like to treat myself to an ice-cream. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but there’s nothing that beats a ice-cream on holiday. It’s an extra treat to go out and get an ice-cream from an ice cream parlour. However, even if you just add a tub to the weekly shop, why not think about getting some extra toppings or fancy waffle cones and create your own masterpiece?
I combined two holiday treats when I went for ice-cream. One sunny evening, it seemed a crime to stay in doors and so we headed for our local beach. My hometown actually boasts three beaches, so there was a slight argument about which one we’d visit. I bought my ice cream and ate it will strolling along the prom watching the waves roll in. A perfect holiday at home treat.
5. Take a country walk
I don’t know about you, but when I’m on holiday I walk my socks off. Then, when I get home I revert back to my usual habits, which involve little walking and a lot of sitting! So for the ideal holiday at home, why not plan a country walk? Even a few laps of the local park count! Stop and take notice of the beautiful animal and plant life and enjoy the fresh air.
My bus home from work stops by a park. I never go in. So, one night after work I decided I was going to take a detour through the park (for holiday at home research purposes). I was amazed at the benefit this had on my mood. As I strolled through the park I realised I had come at the perfect time to spot bunnies hopping about the grass, as well as duckling feeding time. I felt like a regular snow white, it was wonderful.
6. Have a decadent breakfast
Just like getting dressed for dinner, nothing says holiday time like a decadent breakfast. What is it about being away from home that makes us go crazy at the breakfast buffet? Bacon and eggs, followed by cereal, topped off with a croissant and oooh is that fruit salad? I swear breakfast is one of the highlights of any holiday. But why does it have to stop when you get on the plane? Once a month, or every other month, why not go out for decadent breakfast? It’s the perfect start to a weekend.
For my breakfast I decided to treat myself to pancakes. These aren’t something we make much at home, so it feels extra special to eat them. My pancakes of choice were some wonderful buttermilk ones, topped with strawberries, banana and maple syrup. Bliss.
7. Laze the Day Away
This one is pretty self explanatory, but possibly the most important. Most of us go on holiday to relax; something we don’t do much of in our day to day lives. Life doesn’t have to be that way! One of the things I am always advocating is the power of unplugged time off. I am also a huge believer in the power of taking a day, or half day, off (especially in the middle of the week). Nothing beats taking time to do nothing! So, one of my most important holiday at home tips is this: take time off to do nothing!
I didn’t quite take time to do nothing. But, I did take a spur of the moment half day off recently. I went to the park, armed with a book, a blanket and some snacks and I lazed the afternoon away, reading in the sun. It was perfect. I felt the usual work week stress melting away and I returned to work the next day revitalized and ready to tackle the rest of the week.
8. Go on a sightseeing tour
Nothing will help you see your hometown in a new light than going on a sightseeing tour. This is my number one way to cover as much ground as possible on my first day in a new place. Sightseeing tours help you get your bearings and also reveal sights and places you might want to visit later in the trip. If you’re town has a sightseeing tour, sign yourself up, get your tourist hat on and enjoy the new experience.
My city doesn’t have a sightseeing bus tour. But I did find a heritage walk by the river online, so all was not lost. My city has a rich ship-building heritage and it was lovely to meander along beside the, now beautiful, river and imagine it as a thriving industrial hub. It was definitely a good way to spend an afternoon.
9. Take Photos
Are you guilty of taking a million and one photos when you go on holiday? I know I am! On a recent trip to France I basically overheated the camera, who knew that was possible?! Do you do the same thing at home? What is it about being abroad that makes us obsessed with capturing every moment? Taking photos is a really simple way to start enjoying your hometown. Keeping an eye out for interesting sights and photo-ops is also the perfect way to document your holiday at home!
The proof is in the pudding with this one. I have been taking pictures of everything I’ve been up to, with a few exceptions, to use in this post. It has been fun looking over them and deciding which ones are ‘post worthy’.
10. Buy a souvenir!
The final holiday at home tip is to buy a souvenir. What better way to remember your perfect non-trip than to top it off by buying a little memento? A postcard works too, but the point is to actively choose something that will remind you of your summer holiday from home! That way, whenever you see it sitting on your shelf, you can think about all the fun things your own hometown has to offer.
I am still looking for a souvenir of my holiday at home. I have been tempted by a few things, but in true holiday fashion I’ve decided to leave it until the last minute! Instead I’ll leave you with a picture of the Red Arrows, who I saw at an Air Show in my hometown.
Do you have any holiday at home tips?
How will you spend your perfect staycation this summer?
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