What a crazy couple of months! Like everyone else, I’ve been in lockdown back in my hometown with my parents. Thanks to the Corona Virus my major travel plans got cut short but I’m thankful to be safe and back in England till I can travel again.
My anxiety hasn’t been a fan of quarantine. Not at all. Like a lot of people during this pandemic, I’ve really struggled with my anxiety and the new routine of everyday life.
The main thing I miss is obviously travelling. Having my trip cut short so abruptly and then not being able to travel anywhere was really hard to process. However, I’ve had a lot of time to think about where do I want to travel next?
READ MORE: An Anxious traveller’s guide to…
Like a lot of people in the UK, we probably won’t be able to travel internationally again till maybe 2021?! There are also talks of “travel bubbles” with neighbouring less effected countries so short-haul would be the next logical step. So what do we do for our holidays?
What are the current travel quarantine rules?
Currently, the UK COVID 19 guidelines restrict border crossings within the UK, but travelling within the UK should be the first restriction to be lifted before short or long haul travel for domestic purposes.
Ensure to keep checking the government, tourism or location websites for up to date information before planning your trip, even within the UK.
It’s looking more likely that any holiday making this year will be within the UK but that’s not a bad thing. The UK has some amazing spots to visit and remember there are 4 countries within the UK you can travel to.
You could visit the scenic mountains and hills of Scotland, the Welsh Valleys of Wales, the seaside resorts of England and iconic views of Ireland. We’re pretty well off with a variety of locations in the UK. There’s something for everyone.
Where to visit in Northern Ireland after lockdown
Let’s be honest. We all need a few pints after this (or wines if you’re like me) so where better to quench your thirst than Ireland. Belfast is a great place to eat and drink till you’ve had your fill but also the perfect place to walk it off.
Belfast has some beautiful locations which inspired literature such as Chronicles of Narnia and Gulliver’s Travels. It’s also famous for being the birthplace of Titanic and has the HMS Caroline which survived the battle of Jutland in World War One.
Too much culture? Then just take a look around. Belfast has many scenic walks and tours you can go on around the city. Enjoy the castles, gardens and architecture. I’ll see you at the bar. Vodka coke, please. Cheers.
Atlas Anxiety Tip: Pubs and restaurants might be reopening soon but even with all the restrictions in place, if you’re feeling anxious then eat or drink outside. There will be more space and a more relaxing environment for you to enjoy yourself.
Northern Ireland Road trip
If you’ve gained an EasyJet or Ryanair credit note, maybe it’s time to use it by booking a future flight to Northern Ireland. Alternatively, you can catch the ferry. Board with a car from Liverpool or walk on and rent a car in Belfast. Either way, make sure you check the new operating times.
You can rent a car or bring your own to enjoy an epic road trip around Northern Ireland. Stay as long as you want and make as many stops as you want. The independence of your own trip, time and comfort.
Visit many incredible stops along the way such as the famous Giants Causeway, the wonders of Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark or the magnificent length of Benone Beach. Just to name a few natural wonders of Northern Ireland.
At the end of the day, cosy up in one of Northern Ireland’s cute Airbnbs to help support local landlords. With incredible views outside your window and enjoy a home away from home.
Atlas Anxiety Tip: Airbnbs will give you more of a homey vibe but also more personal space. Within a hotel, you’ll have more encounters with other people, where as in an Airbnb you’ll only meet the landlord/owner. Fewer chances and risk of catching the virus.
The Game of Thrones tour
As a Northerner myself and a Game of Thrones fanatic, this is something I’ve been dying to see and do for myself. This Game of Thrones tour is right up my street…or dark muddy path?
The tour starts and ends in Belfast, perfect if you’re flying in or getting the ferry. You’ll see many famous filming sites and locations used in the making of Game of thrones, including Winterfell. Best of all, you’ll get a cloak and a sword so you’ll really feel the atmosphere and getting the character.
This tour is better in warmer weather, like late Spring, Summer or early Autumn. Remember, winter is coming and a clock won’t keep you that warm.
Atlas Anxiety Tip: You probably won’t be as close together as everyone in the photo below but man it looks like fun! Ensure to keep an eye out on the companies website for Coronavirus updates and upcoming booking information.
Incredible post lockdown locations in Scotland
One of Scotland’s treasured cities needs your help and tourism. Edinburgh is not only filled with history and beautiful architecture but quint little businesses owned by some of the friendliest people on earth.
There’s much to enjoy when you get there. As of now, in phase 1, you can enjoy cycling, fishing, horse riding, golf and water sports. Edinburgh has many various hikes and trails you can enjoy the glorious Scotland views too.
Ensure to add Edinburgh’s castle to your itinerary as well as enjoying all the fine Scottish pubs and restaurants. Remember to try the haggis as one of Scotland’s traditional delicacies.
Natasha’s Travel Tip: Try to book any tickets ahead of time or during a sale to get the best prices. For train tickets, you can set an alert to ensure you get notified when the best prices come out. Save your money for the trip!
Scotland Road trip
Fancy hitting the road and making up your own itinerary, then Scotland is the perfect place to be adventurous and spontaneous.
Cruising around Scotland is easy and has incredible views en route to every destination. See incredible castles including Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire, stunning rock formations and coastlines like Bow Fiddle Rock in Moray, or the iconic Glenfinnan Monument in Fort William which also has the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct. Harry Potter fans will know this bridge and you can even book tickets for the train.
When you’ve had your fill and worn out for the day, set up to camp out, relax in your RV, or book out a cosy Airbnb to take in all the views out your window before bedtime.
Atlas Anxiety Tip: Planning your journey ahead of time can reduce anxiety but ensure to make time for some time where you can just “wing it”. Some of the best adventures aren’t planned.
Best places to check out in Wales after lockdown
In 2017, I took on 12 countries in 12 months challenge. I failed halfway. It’s really exhausting, I highly don’t recommend it. However, during one of my challenge months, I visited Cardiff on a day trip adventure.
I took a train and spent a few hours wondering alone in the city and found it very pleasant and educational. It’s a beautiful city and looks like a good night out even though I didn’t have the time to try a few evening bevys.
I visited Cardiff Castle, pierhead and down to the bay. It was a great place for me to practice my photography skills. I highly recommend for a day trip or a cheeky night out.
Snowdonia National Park
Adventure seekers who have been stuck at home for months will be excited to stretch their legs out, and there’s no better place than Snowdonia. This is the biggest national park in Wales and has countless adventures waiting for you.
They have underground audio-visual tours to farm tours, narrow-gauge railway trips through the breath-taking countryside, white water rafting and not forgetting the ultimate hikes on Mt. Snowdon.
Mount Snowdon has 6 Paths that go up to 3,560 feet, with breath-taking views around every corner. If hiking isn’t your thing, they also have cycle routes, fishing trips, gold links, amazing places to eat and world-class surfing areas. I’ll happily surf the whole day given the chance.
Natasha’s Travel Tip: Keep an eye on Snowdonia’s website for up to date details on the Corona Virus restrictions for national parks. Some national parks trails are shut due to lack of maintenance staff for park upkeep, the number of people they can have on the trails or due to government guidelines.
Best places to visit in England after lockdown
The Isle of Wight
I love love LOVED my time in the Isle of Wight and I can’t wait to go again. It’s got everything I love. Great views, cute cottages, amazing fish n chips and proper traditional pubs.
It’s not as hard as I thought to get there. The ferry is reasonable, efficient and didn’t take too long. You can drive from one side of the Island to the other in less than an hour and there are some fantastic Airbnb’s to choose from to enjoy your stay.
Natasha’s Travel Tip: Due to the Isle of Wight being an island, they’ve had a lower risk of Corona Virus and were the test site for the UK Corona Virus track and trace app. They’ve struggled with being cut off from the mainland during the pandemic so are happy to welcome tourists soon.
My mother has been dying to do a family vacation in Cornwall for quite some-time so I’ve got a feeling this could be next on my list of places I will be visiting. Who can blame her!
Cornwall is famous for its lush coastline, blue seas and incredible wildlife. There are tons of outdoor activities which is great during this pandemic. You can enjoy the beaches or gardens, go horse riding, cycling, fishing, golfing or try sailing. Personally, I’m all in for surfing.
There are various areas in Cornwall to enjoy, so each time you go there’s something new to see, do and explore.
Atlas Anxiety Tip: Cornwall is looking to have some great weather coming up this summer but this also means excessive amounts of tourists which isn’t good for the pandemic or social anxiety. Maybe look at outside peak times to enjoy this incredible part of the UK.
The Lake District
As I was born and raised in the north, I’ve visited the Lakes various times. I’ve even played many hockey matches on those hills in Windermere. The drive up is an adventure of its own.
Based within the centre of the UK, the Lakes is the epicentre for all the stunning scenery you’ve been craving during the lockdown. From the stunning mountain scenery of Windermere and Ambleside, the peaceful Northern Lakes to the breath-taking valley of Langdale.
It’s easily accessible to travel by car (trust me – if I can drive around those country lanes, anyone can!) or by train. Don’t forget, if you want a longer stay then there’s some beautiful and stunning Airbnbs to choose from with incredible views to admire from your window.
Atlas Anxiety Tip: The Lakes is also another place which gets overwhelmed with tourists but the Lakes is also gorgeous in the Winter too. Maybe a Winter or Autumn vacation could be on the cards?
Southport? Yes, you heard right. I couldn’t write this post without bigging up my home town. Just a small reminder not to forget how much local businesses need your help right now. Including, the ones closest to home.
My hometown Southport has also suffered from the pandemic just like other towns. There are small businesses in the villages which really need help and want to see customers back in their shops.
My little seaside resort is usually busing with life. A pier touching the Irish sea, the historic Victorian Lord Street, beautiful botanical gardens, a long seafront, the best fish’n’chip shops (in my opinion) and some amazing pubs, including Peaky Blinders (the show is filmed partially in Southport).
So show some support for your local town. Let’s get people visiting again and I might see you around.
Barnard castle, Durham?
Apparently, It’s nice to visit before, during or after lockdown? Speak to Dominic Cummings for a full review.
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WHERE DO YOU WANT TO VISIT IN THE UK? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS.