Let's make the most of our wonderful country

PUBLISHED: 08:49 01 June 2018

The beauty of Britain: with sights such as lovely Ennerdale Valley in the Lake District, who would want to travel abroad? Picture: Thinkstock

The beauty of Britain: with sights such as lovely Ennerdale Valley in the Lake District, who would want to travel abroad? Picture: Thinkstock


Now that he has joined the ranks of school break holidaymakers, Nick Conrad is appreciating the delights of these islands.

From September I join the legions of Norfolk parents whose holidays now are restricted to the school breaks. For years I’ve listened sympathetically as parents voiced their frustrations over the hiked fees for their family vacation – now I’m also being hit in the pocket and the amount extra we have to pay is eye-watering.

I’m feeling the parental pain of this policy more acutely. Initially I was wholly in support of the system of fining those who pluck their kids from the classroom. I felt for the poor teachers who help errant pupils to catch up. How hypocritical that now the pounds are being sucked from my pocket I’m softening my stance.

With the cost of trips abroad rocketing during the school holidays, it is hardly surprising many parents are tempted to take their children away during term time. But this obviously means pupils missing lessons, and the schools say (though many contest this) there is clear evidence that doing so impairs children’s attainment. Well, unsurprisingly, my children being penalised in anyway academically is the last thing I want to see.

So I’ll support the educational professionals. I vowed to contain our breaks to within the allotted time-frame. That said…I’m tempted to sneak off just a few days earlier as this would save a fortune!

Going overseas is always my preference as you can really get away from it all. But those on the ‘great escape’ face a double whammy. Accommodation and airfare costs ascend quicker than a soaring jet.

So how about staying in the UK? Where in our own country can you go where you might be forgiven for thinking you’re overseas? The emerald waters around The Scilly Isles look almost Mediterranean, Portmeirion’s architecture is strikingly un-British and you don’t need to travel out of this country to see a rainforest. Brighton’s Royal Pavilion has a striking resemblance to the Taj Mahal, and Little Venice in London looks more like Amsterdam.

The guarantee of good weather plays a big role. I recently enjoyed a trip to Crete where I joyfully basked in 30-degree heat in mid-May. Not typical springtime weather in our country. However, if you can accept sun worshipping may not be your predominate pastime then boundless beauty awaits.

There are so many fantastic destinations in Britain I’ve never been to. With amazing holiday options close at hand, why do so many of us feel we need to head overseas to have a ‘proper break?’ Much of the stunning beauty we seek when travelling can be found within our own borders.

As a youngster I was obsessed with seeing as much of the world as possible. I feel extremely lucky that I have travelled extensively and met the most incredible people. Down under I felt rather critical of my contemporaries who appeared to be on a rite of passage around Australia. I felt this was insular and meant travellers didn’t experience foreign cultures, languages and challenges. I do however respect the deep pride this instilled in Australian youngsters. So now with three little children in tow, this is the perfect time for me to undertake a few UK adventures. Seeing it through the eyes of a traveller I guess is very different to being a ‘native’.

Staycations can still hit the wallet, I found the cost taking a trip at home or abroad comparable. I still managed to find quite a few bargains where you could holiday in the most stunning British locations. The added bonus is not having to contend with long flights and losing days travelling.

Maybe we should be better at appreciating the beauty within this wonderful little island of ours?

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