The Cotswolds

Amidst the announcement of a two week quarantine period for travellers returning from Spain, France and Belgium after a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases, venturing outside of the UK for a holiday seems to have become wrought with more stress than usual.  The fear of spreading Coronavirus is still very much palpable (and justifiably so), meaning that the pressure of having a nice holiday extends past just getting to the airport on time.

As lockdown is gradually lifted and we can leave the house for more than an hour at a time, escaping cabin fever has become ever more important.  One of the best ways to make the most of our newfound freedom is by embracing the rise of the staycation. Coupled with the ever-changing rules regarding foreign travel and the threat of localised lockdowns (such as those recently announced in parts of Greater Manchester), the popularity of the staycation is something to be embraced, encapsulating a make-do attitude that, I think, could really make us appreciate what we have around us in the UK to see and do.

The term staycation is loosely defined, involving either a holiday in your own country or a holiday in which you stay at home and venture out for day trips. However, beyond its definition, the emphasis placed on valuing what we have around is perhaps more important than we may realise.  

Leaving the house and taking trips to local areas is something I’ve been trying to do more of, in an attempt to stick to my student budget whilst also being able to (finally!) leave the house and see friends, whilst feeling relatively safe while doing so.  Being trapped in the house for so long has garnered in me a new love for what I have nearby; the staples of my lockdown life were walks in the countryside, where I could escape from the constant toll of global death figures on the news for an hour or so, and as life gradually gets more normal, it’s become easier than ever to get around the country and make the most of what there is.

Venturing to nearby towns or cities (which can be as cheap as a couple of pounds on the train) is a brilliant way to come by a change of scenery, something I think is key to getting into the holiday mindset; I’ve tried to make the most of outdoor spaces, discovering new wild swimming spots with friends even though indoor pools are still closed. After months inside it feels luxurious to have some form of freedom, and having a change in scenery and a day away from being sat at home has also been so beneficial for my mental health, even if I am only half an hour away from my house.

In my mind, the staycation is as much about having an open and relaxed mindset as it is about a nice way to get out of the house; a day in the sun is a day well spent, wherever you are in the world. It is this open-mindedness and willingness to embrace what is around you and make memories, that I believe will be a lasting positive impact of the past few months of lockdown.