The golden hues of summer were fading into autumn. Days growing shorter, the clocks turning back. The verdant lush greens now rich earth tones. A ballet dance of burnt orange leaves. A sip of pumpkin spice latte, frothed milk. Hair trailing down your back, whipped by frantic wind. The air cooler, less kind. Enveloped in a tulmotous storm. Sticky-sweet hazy summer days gone, a rain cloud in its place. An umbrella splattered with rain-drops, in the hush of morning. Abandoning the world’s relentless chase, she’d embark on a short autumn break. Ambrosia for the soul, engulfed in tides of tranquility. But where would she go? She would embrace the beauty of the UK. Discovering unique autumn staycation spots, not far from home.
A caravan holiday park, tangled up in nostalgia. A blast into the past, memories revisited. Peering out the window, gasping at the sea. Tempestous waters wild and free. In turquoise blue, frothed with white. Waves crashing, seagulls squawking, families whooping. For this would be her UK holiday wishlist, staying in locations far beyond her wildest dreams. Days in the quirkest of accomodations. An experience that started in sleep. Boats, windmills, and barns too. Something quaint, out of the ordinairy. A guide that showed area highlights, that revelled in the beauty of the stay. A treehouse retreat, enveloped in fading green. Where branches intertwined, creating nature’s celestial dwelling space. Even the timber walls would smile with secrets. Where stories unfolded in a tapestry of words.
For she was a nomad of dreams. Through landscapes unknown, yet somehow familuar. Delving into travelling’s sweet embrace, stilling the yearning of her restless feet. In Cornwall, she found nature. Closing the door of her temporary caravan. Stepping into azure calm, eyes closed. The air biting, hair swept in angry winds. And yet, the mind was still. Mindful contemplation, furrowed lines smoothed. In West Wales, she would lose herself in love. Their mouths wide in rakish laughter, clip-clopping up wooden steps. A gasp, their very own rustic cabin. Watching the world go by. It was an escape from their everyday, a detox from reality. The only thing that mattered? The there and then. Sweet kisses stolen under the celestial littering of stars. Warm embraces on a unique autumn staycation.
After all, to travel was to discover. A chance to re-set, and be present in the moment. It just so happened that the UK had its very own staycation hotspots that drew her in. Something different, a castle retreat. Where she could go back in time, and revist history. Growing up, she revelled in the past. The intoxicating world of the Tudors drawing her in. The intricacies of the Medieval Court engulfing her hungrily. This time, she didn’t have her head in a book. For this was a reality. A history buff come to West Sussex, on her very own autumnal escape. A 19th century windmill in Norfolk was next. In a flint and brick built village, views of reed-beds and salt-marshes. The air tinged with the coast, a pebble and shingle beach. Chips wrapped in vinegar soaked paper, salt on fingers.
Her tour around the UK had barely scratched the surface. Portmeirion, Gwynedd clinging to North Wales. Technicolour buildings like an Italian village, sunny yellows, and duck-egg blues. The subtropical Scillies, an unspoilt archipelago just off the English Coast. Soft white sand beaches, and bobbing palms. It was hard to believe it was Cornwall, when it looked like the Carribean. And yet, its uncrowded beauty spoke for itself. Still, when it came to a unique autumn staycation, Northern Ireland had charm in spades. The Dark Hedges like Rata Forest in New Zealand. An eerie wood bereft of leaves. But she was getting ahead of herself. From a unique treehouse retreat, to staying on a boat, here were 7 quirky places to stay in the UK, that would redefine autumn travel.
Loee Caravan Park, Cornwall
A wave of nostalgia swept through her. A reminder of a childhood long gone. Teen years spent in a caravan site in West Wittering. Through the good times and bad, something she appreciated more now she was older. A caravan upgraded twice, a place her foster mum would visit often. Her own calm oasis, a place away from home. For A it had mixed memories. But there was two things that she loved. The first, a small farm on the camping site. Clucking chickens with feathers outstretched. A donkey in a spacious pen. Ducks, and pigs, a horse too. The other? Being by the sea. Just a short walk away, a beautiful white sand beach with dunes stretching far and wide. Somewhere she could clear her head, as she took her foster sister for walks. Though caravan holidays reminded her of summer, in autumn they were just as powerful.
Looe caravan park would be no exception. A coastal retreat, just 6 minutes away from Looe Bay. On Cornwall’s stunning South Coast, near Polperro. Being here wouldn’t feel like being in the UK. Despite the quintessential Britishness of a caravan holiday, the surroundings would feel different. The perfect place to explore the magic of Cornwall, a beautiful backdrop. Teal blue waters, the calm before the storm. Envisioning herself stripping back to basics. Letting the soothing lull of the waves wash over her in a meditative trance. But she was getting ahead of herself. She slipped into the modern Sunseeker Caravan, gazing at her surroundings. A great-value caravan with two bedrooms, minimalist in design. It was a far-cry from her usual flash of colour. But it would feel calming. Sinking into a brown fabric sofa, a plate of croissants before her. Washed down with orange juice, a hearty gulp. Hearing the bark of excitable dogs in nearby caravans.
Sure, some might not have classed a caravan as a unique autumn staycation. But to A it was. It was quirky because it brought up childhood memories. Somewhere she hadn’t stayed in a long-time. A new world, yet somehow familuar and easy. But as an adult? There were no rules. Sure, it was a family park. Children racing around a playground, families chatting at Kids Clubs. But solo travellers, and couples alike could come too. Swimming laps around a heated swimming pool. Sinking into the endless folds of water, rippling splashes. Spontaneous, fun, a detox from home. There would be live entertainment too. Somehow it reminded A of Haven, and Butlins. A cross between three worlds. The caravan, and the entertainment resorts all rolled into one. A restaurant too; Mac ‘N’ Cheese with garlic bread a classic. A Margherita slathered in Mozarella and Italian Herbs.
She ran to the window, and pulled up her cozy socks. A scarf around her neck, boots on her feet. A new pumpkin hued coat, a jumper tucked into colourful jeans. Though Looe caravan park was a joy in itself, the world outside beckoned. East Looe beach, a paradise in itself. Socks whipped off, barefoot on golden sands. A sheltered bay, a unique Banjo Pier. Welcoming holidaymakers and locals all year round. Looe Island, a small nature reserve. A place where only two humans lived. The rest? Birds nesting in thickets of trees. Sheep grazing grass-led slops. Seals frolicking on imperfect rocks. A patchwork of woodland, maritime grassland, sand, shingle and rocky reef. The last was something that would feature later. A castle. Specifically St. Catherine’s Castle. A turret ruin with tumbling steps. A pair of small artillery forts built by Henry VIII in the 1530s to defend Fowey Harbour. Yes, Loee was somewhere to write home about.
Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel was no different. A luxury 19th century in Scotland, on the northern tip of the Rhinns Peninsula. Unlike the windmill of the unique autumn staycation past, Corsewall was fully functioning. Its light glaring, beaming a warning for ships approaching the mouth of Loch Ryan. Standing adjacent to the Iron Age fort of Dunskirkloch, it had charm, romance and history. An enthralling hotel and restaurant in Dumfries & Galloway. On a clear night, the beams of several Scottish and Irish lighthouses radiated across the landscape. The effect? A mirror of beauty. Rippling reflections on the navy-black waters, streaked with blurry yellow.
She imagined stars weaving luminiscent tapestries across the skies. Though Corsewall was for everyone, To A it was an idilyic paradise. Where couples twirled and laughed, stealing honeyed kisses. Secretive hugs, eyes half-closed. Murmering sweet nothings, as the racocous wind whipped through their hair. She smiled, watching the couples around her fall in love again. Her friend made her come to, as she snapped out of her reverie.Wrinkling their noses as sea salt spray touched their lips, they went into their bedroom. The Lighthouse Suite, with panoramic views over the sea. Located in a former outbuilding, its two bedrooms stretched out luxuriously. A double room, and a twin room. Heads or tails. A kitchen with blue and white framed tiles, minimalist design.
But it was the restaurant that reeled them in. Admittedly, they were mostly going out to eat. Exploring the beauty of Kirkcolm and all it had to offer. But a light lunch, and drinks would be just peachy. Cheddar cheese sandwiches slathered in salty butter. Served with a crisp salad garnish. Another side of hummus, with juicy olives and toasted pitta bread. To drink? A decaf latte, sprinkled with cocoa powder. Smooth and velvety. With views down the coastline and across to Ailsa Craig and the Isle of Arran, it sent shivers down their spine. Was it any wonder that day trippers (and their playful pups) frequented Corsewall often? Granted, it was remote. But being so far-flung out, made it a treasure trove.
They hopped into a rental car, the friend driving, heading to Glenapp Castle, for dinner. They were blown away. A Goats Cheese Gnocchi, ladled with Cauliflower Puree, a Spiced Red Onion Bahji an unexpected touch. But even more surprising? The Rosemary Pickled Apple, and BBQ Baby Gem Lettuce. A dessert that followed even more exceptional. A Peanut Butter & Dulce De Leche Brownie layered with love. Inside a secret, a Glennap Valrhona Dark Chocolate & Creme Fraiche Ganache. Laced with Griottine Cherries and Vanilla Ice Cream. Southern Scotland was a treasure, where unique autumn staycations danced on fallen leaves. It wasn’t just a culinary hotspot. But a history lover’s fantasy too. Culzean Castle, with its seven infamous ghosts, haunting the grounds. Beaches, woods, gardens and even an adventure playground, a castle beyond compare.
What Unique Autumn Staycations Have You Been On?
Please note this is a collaborative post but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by monetary compensation.