With the promise of a school-free fortnight for the kids and a cheeky four day weekend for us grownups, it’s little wonder Easter has become one of the most popular times of year for UK holidays.
But before you make the queue-strewn journey to the coast like every other holiday-ready family in Britain, consider this: are you ready to spend five hours cramped in the car only to realise thousands of others have the same idea as you?
If the answer’s no, take a look at our shortlist of the destinations you could try this Easter that’ll help you beat the crowds and ensure queuing for a 99 is a thing of the past.
Have the coast to yourself in Cumbria
Most of the time when we use the term ‘hidden gem’, little is meant by it; when it comes to the Cumbrian Coast however, we mean it. Overshadowed quite literally by the Lake District National Pack, the Cumbrian Coast remains one of the least-frequented seaboards in the country. It’s not that it’s ugly (quite the opposite in fact) or that there are no good beaches (there’s loads); it’s just people tend to get distracted by the beauty of the Lakes and forget to look what’s over the next fen.
Travel to the Cumbrian Coast this Easter, then, and look forward to having the beach all to yourself (well, almost). Although you’ll find great beaches up and down the coast, the best are St Bees, Roan Head and Allonby.
Go to Scotland, and then keep going
Even the remotest enclaves of the Scottish Highlands can’t escape the Easter hordes, but if you’re dead set on a holiday north of the border, travel a little further and debunk on the Isle of Skye. This far-flung isle is dominated by a gorgeous mountain-range called the Cuillins, providing the perfect backdrop to a relaxed and queue-free getaway. If you’d prefer a slither of civilisation during your trip, a cottage in Portree is your best bet. This colourful coastal town is the largest on Skye, and is a great base for exploration.
Alternatively, opt for a holiday home in Dunvegan, Glendale or Carbost, or go thoroughly off-piste with an isolated cottage slap bang in the middle of Skye’s famously pretty outback.
Warm up in Sunny South East Ireland
The North Atlantic Drift provides the south east coast of Ireland with unseasonably warm weather, making it a great choice for the sun seekers who can’t wait ‘til summer for their next dose of Vitamin-D. Pack your beach towel if you plan to visit this corner of the Emerald Isle; the region is scattered with incredibly beautiful beaches, some of which have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag award for their cleanliness and amenities. Some of our favourite ribbons of Irish sand include Curracloe, Brittas Bay and Portmarnock, but there are a lot more besides.
If surfing and sunbathing aren’t on your to do list, there’s plenty to partake in inland. Choose a cottage in County Wicklow and explore the Wicklow Mountains National Park, or take a daytrip to Dublin and soak up some Irish culture and hospitality.
The Wye Valley awaits
Whilst most wind their way down the A48 en route to South Wales, you’d be wise to stop short and enjoy a holiday in the supremely pretty Wye Valley. Labelled the “valley of the Romantics” because of its ties to 17th century poet Wiliam Wordsworth, the Wye Valley is charming, peaceful and challenging in equal measure. For a small AONB, this picturesque vale contains plenty to keep outdoorsy types amused: think canoeing, climbing, hiking, mountain biking and everything in between.
Those who prefer a more sedate pace will feel just as at home here; the Wye Valley is awash with fascinating historic sites that hark back to the border region’s bloody past, and the mystical and enchanting Tintern Abbey – which features in a poem by Wordsworth – is well worth a visit.
Book a break this Easter with Sykes Cottages
Wherever you wish to travel this Easter, a self-catering holiday home from Sykes provides a comfortable and affordable place to stay. Unlike hotels and guesthouses, a self-catering cottage gives you the freedom to holiday your way; take a look at our wide range of cottages that are still available to rent this Easter, and get set for an unforgettable holiday.
Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.