From pampering in Roman spa towns and stops for afternoon tea, to coastal walks and cute country cottages, these are the best relaxing breaks in England.
What do you look for when you start planning a relaxing break in England? Do you look for somewhere with beautiful countryside to really switch off and get away from it all? Or is your idea of bliss a cute seaside town with art galleries, shops and independent restaurants?
Personally, I love a bit of both. Some of our favourite staycations in England have involved booking a charming cottage in the middle of nowhere, and then going on long country walks (with pub stops, of course!) to explore our new neighbourhood.
We’ve enjoyed some lovely English getaways with Classic Cottages, who have lots of properties around the country. Some of their holiday cottages even have hot tubs (who doesn’t love a hot tub?!) which you can find out more about here!
There are a few tried and tested regions that have drawn us back several times including The Cotswolds, Cornwall, Dorset and the Lake District. Each offers something different, with a mix of stunning scenery, cultural attractions and delicious food.
So, it’s time to share our top picks for relaxing breaks in England. From Northumberland and the Peak District, to Bath and Devon, I’ve selected some destinations across the country, so you’re guaranteed to find somewhere near you!
Best Destinations For Relaxing Breaks in England
CENTRAL / SOUTH WEST
The Cotswolds has a quintessentially English landscape of rolling hills, old market towns, grand castles and country houses. It’s a large area to explore, so it’s a good idea to rent a holiday cottage as a base.
Stonewell Cottage is a lovely option. This cottage provides privacy, practicality and plenty of luxurious touches to make your stay extra relaxing. The house provides a well-equipped dining kitchen so you can prepare local produce. Chill out with a book in the four-poster bed or on the terrace, all while enjoying views over the paddock and fields.
Are you looking for the prettiest village in England? Bourton-on-the-Water, Castle Combe and Bibury are all contenders! Enjoy river walks, feed the ducks, or stop off at one of the many tea rooms.
With dramatic coastlines and open moorlands, wild ponies and red deer, hikers will adore Exmoor National Park. The dark night skies make it possible to see 3,000 stars with the naked eye!
For an extra special trip, how about booking a romantic couple’s retreat at Pitt Farm Cottage? Here you can enjoy the sky and valley views, take a yoga class, or simply spend a cozy evening by the wood burner. The owner here will even lend you a dog to walk!
For one of the ultimate relaxing breaks in England, head to Bath in Somerset. The city is named after its Roman baths and has been a centre for relaxation for almost 2,000 years. Visit the UNESCO listed Roman Baths and Royal Crescent before heading for a soak or massage at Thermae Bath Spa.
If you’re a fan of Cornwall, how about enjoying a relaxing break in St Ives. This vibrant town has long been the creative home of many famous British artists. It has great art galleries, and you’ll find creative holidays and art classes to improve your painting skills.
If you lack artistic inspiration, don’t worry! You’ll also find walks along the South West Coast Path, as well as surfing beaches and fantastic seafood restaurants.
Finally, how can we cover the South West without mentioning afternoon tea? Whether you add your cream to your scone before the jam (Devon) or vice versa (Cornwall) this is the region to indulge in some extra calories.
The Jurassic Coast includes the famous rock arch of Durdle Door and lots of wonderful sandy beaches. This is one of our favourite coastlines in England. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site too as it’s so full of important landforms and geology.
Try fossil hunting on the beach whilst you’re here – it’s surprisingly addictive! Also in the region you’ll find water sports including sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding and windsurfing. For independent shops, galleries, or sea view yoga classes, head for the town of Lyme Regis.
The South Downs has chalk hills, ancient woodlands, rolling hills, river valleys and market towns. All this just an hour by train from London!
If you’re planning on visiting as a family or group of friends, book a stay at Acorn Barn holiday cottage. This well-presented barn conversion has charming character, all mod cons and wonderful country views. The short-let house is 1 mile from town amenities, 4 miles from the beach, and most importantly for any relaxing break in England, it’s just 100m from a pub!
Alternatively, spend time in the New Forest National Park which is home to 5,000 ponies. You’ll even spot them from the comfort of your car! There are 140 miles of paths here, running though ancient woodlands and along 26 miles of coastline. This makes it ideal for horse riding, cycling and relaxing nature walks.
120 miles of peaceful waterways make The Norfolk Broads one of the most popular holiday destinations in England. For the most memorable experience, rent a houseboat and travel slowly, taking in the views and wildlife. Boats come in all sizes, so the whole family can relax and even dogs are welcomed.
If you prefer your weekend getaways on land, pay a visit to Cambridge. Wander the streets, explore the colleges, or taking a punting tour on the river. There are a vast range of accommodation options here, including some with yoga classes and wood fired hot-tubs.
The rolling hills of the Peak District offer outdoor activities, traditional stone market towns and magnificent stately homes. Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall have featured in many TV period dramas and are a great inclusion in a weekend getaway. If you love exploring quaint English towns, we’d recommend you stop in the spa town of Buxton. With natural hot springs, there have been thermal baths here since the time of the Romans!
Or, if you’re looking to experience the incredible scenery of this national park, you simply can’t miss the Mam Tor walk. This is one of our favourite walks in England, and when you see the views you’ll know why!
If you’re more cultural than outdoorsy, how about visiting Stratford-Upon-Avon for one of the most sophisticated and relaxing breaks in England! The pretty town is packed with Shakespeare themed sites, Tudor architecture, art galleries, a butterfly farm and even a gin distillery. If that schedule sounds too busy, just soak up the views and atmosphere from a river cruise.
If you’re wondering where to stay, take a look at Rectory Cottage. Located just outside of Stratford-upon-Avon, this cottage is ideal for a cosy getaway! It’s got a wood-burning stove and all the home comforts you could need.
The Lake District National Park in Cumbria is famous for the beauty of its mountains, lakes, and scenery. Enjoy the fresh air with hiking or wild swimming, or simply choose a view to relax in front of. If you’re looking for staycation ideas that involve gastronomy? You’ll be pleased to hear that Cumbria is home to seven Michelin starred restaurants!
North Yorkshire has two national parks offering everything from gentle strolls to mountain climbing challenges. Too strenuous? The coastline is peppered with sandy beaches, sea-side towns and tiny fishing villages. You’ll also find the winner of the UK’s best historical attraction here, at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden.
If you prefer a city break, head for Harrogate. This attractive town is packed with boutique shops, antique dealers, gardens, art galleries, cafes, and restaurants. It’s also a great place to pamper yourself! The Royal Baths are home to an original Victoria Turkish Bath with stunning Moorish mosaics.
Northumberland is the most northerly of England’s areas of outstanding natural beauty. It’s perfect for weekend breaks, offering spa hotels and wellness retreats, dramatic landscapes, lakes, castles and pretty market towns.
With 30 miles of coastline, you’re also never far from a sandy beach or a quiet cove. The area is even pretty at night! The lack of light pollution makes Northumberland one of the best places in the country for stargazing.
We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about our favourite destinations for relaxing breaks in England. Whether you fancy time by the coast or a cosy cottage stay in the middle of the countryside, there are so many gorgeous options across the country!