With the last year feeling like it’s lasted for about four regular years, getting away for a microadventure or a quick UK staycation will feel like a month-long break in the Caribbean. As the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter, the prospect of seeing spectacular scenery in our own country, and sharing that experience with a select few soon-to-be friends is quite an appealing one.
If you’re not quite ready to embrace the rigours of an airport, there are some great places to visit, right here on our own hallowed turf which many of us have never seen. Our friends at Rabbie’s, a luxury small-group escorted tour provider, have put together a round-up of some of their best small group tours that explore stunning rural locations and beautiful cities.
Mull & Iona
What better place to start exploring the wilds of Scotland than on the shores of Loch Lomond? From there, it’s just a ferry ride over to Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, which will be home for your two nights away.
You’ll spend your time strolling the beautiful sandy beaches, exploring the ancient Iona Abbey, and indulging in the history of Scotland, with stone caves, standing stones and castles. There is also an optional boat trip over to the island of Staffa, home to Fingal’s Cave – an incredible natural geological site which is known as ‘nature’s cathedral’.
Enjoy this three-day tour, which departs from Glasgow. Prices from £179, excluding visitor attraction entry fees and accommodation costs.
You’ll head west, passing through picturesque Cotswolds villages before crossing the border into Wales.
With a range of contrasting scenery from sandy beaches to mountain peaks, three national parks, Roman ruins and castles and Britain’s smallest city, you’ll experience them all across five experience-filled days.
This five-day tour departs from London and starts at £319, excluding visitor attraction entry fees and accommodation costs.
Bombay Sapphire Gin & Winchester
This one-day tour sees you visit the famous Bombay Sapphire gin distillery, located within an old paper mill that has won multiple awards for its ethically-minded production methods. Learn about the production processes that go into the craft of making this iconic gin and discover the sustainable measures and ecology of the conservation area they call home. Be sure to take part in a sampling, too.
You will also have the opportunity to spend some time in Winchester, one of the most historic towns in England. Walk the ancient cobbled streets, and visit its cathedral – one of the largest in Europe.
Departing from London, prices for this one-day tour start at £62, excluding visitor attraction entry fees.
Yorkshire Dales & Peak District
Take in the historic city of York, the picturesque town of Bakewell – an excellent chance to try the famous Bakewell pudding – before heading towards the coast, via the UNESCO Heritage site of Fountains Abbey.
You’ll also visit Wensleydale, with ample chances to sample some fresh cheeses. There is plenty to do and see at each location, as well as time to take it all in at your own pace.
This is a three-day tour, departing from Manchester, with prices starting at £169, excluding visitor attraction entry fees and accommodation costs.
The Cotswolds, Bath & Oxford
The Cotswolds is well known for quaint scenes and stone-built villages, and this tour will allow you to experience these rural idylls. Downton Abbey fans will recognise locations from the show while, once you reach Oxford, Harry Potter fans can visit the Great Hall of Christ Church college which was the inspiration for the Great Hall of Hogwarts.
If that isn’t enough, you’ll also be able to soak up the rich, cultural history of Bath, or perhaps take some time out to relax at the Roman baths, before heading back to London.
This two-day tour departs form London. Prices start from £109, excluding visitor attraction entry fees and accommodation costs.