British Travel | 11th September 2023
Solo travel: The most alluring UK breaks for solo travellers
Dreamy breaks and top hotels for solo travellers
Planning a solo travel adventure this autumn?
The good news is you don’t need to voyage very far to enjoy a truly great escape. While holidays at home are a popular choice for many Brits, solo staycations are seeing the biggest boom and it’s a trend that looks like it’s here to stay.
And when it comes to relaxation and ease, holidays on home turf offer a myriad of benefits - not least the joy of avoiding airport delays and jet lag. We’ve handpicked seven of the most alluring holidays for solo travellers in the UK this autumn…
When it comes to solo travel for women, stays at UK hotels with spas are top of most women’s wishlists but they also offer a great break away from the daily grind for men too. Most of the UK’s top hotels with spas offer grooming treatments specifically designed for men, as well as a wealth of massage styles and wellness facilities from gyms and pools to fitness classes designed to help everybody unwind and thrive.
Many top spa hotels offer specific wellness packages from detox or weight loss programmes to stays designed for deep rest or hormone health, along with fitness kick starters from boot camp level intensity to more gentle yoga and holistic treatments. Point is there’s so much more to wellness breaks at a spa than a massage and manicure. Check out the top ten spa and wellness trends for 2023. Whatever you choose, a solo staycation is the perfect way to focus on your own wellness needs or simply indulge in some restorative pampering.
Even better, if you can steal yourself away from work for a staycation or mini break during the week or arrive on a Sunday, you’ll invariably get the benefit of lower rates on your guest room and be able to take advantage of any special promotions for off-peak spa experiences.
And if you’re thinking of a spa stay ‘workation’ you’re very much on trend. And a spa hotel is perfect if you’re working on a project with a hard deadline and need to both focus and relax.
PoB recommends: Ockenden Manor Hotel and Spa - a five-star countryside retreat in West Sussex. The hotel's spa offers a serene escape with its therapeutic treatments and rooftop hot tub. Solo travellers are drawn to this idyllic hotel for its peaceful ambiance, attentive service, and the opportunity to indulge in self-care while surrounded by stunning natural surroundings.
An enchanting city nestled in the southwest of England, Bath has long been cherished for its rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes. Here, solo travellers with a penchant for culture, are guaranteed an unforgettable experience whether you want to immerse yourself in history, art, or literature.
Bath's architecture alone is reason enough for culture enthusiasts to make this their solo travel destination. The Roman Baths, a well-preserved ancient bathing complex, takes visitors on a journey through time, offering glimpses into the daily life of the Romans who once occupied this land. The iconic Bath Abbey, with its Gothic spires, is an architectural masterpiece that boasts awe-inspiring stained-glass windows and intricate stone carvings. And take a leisurely stroll through the city to see the stunning Georgian townhouses adorned with elegant facades, an emblem of the city's prosperous past.
For solo travellers with a love for literature, Bath is a treasure trove of inspiration. It was home to the renowned English novelist Jane Austen and visitors can explore the Jane Austen Centre, an immersive museum that celebrates the life and works of the beloved author. Literary enthusiasts can also follow in the footsteps of Austen's characters as they wander through the picturesque landscapes that featured prominently in her novels, such as the Royal Crescent and the Assembly Rooms.
PoB recommends: No journey through Georgian Bath is complete without savouring the flavours and style of the era. The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, situated on the iconic Royal Crescent, is not only the place to stay to experience the ultimate in Regency grandeur but it also offers delightful dining experiences. Located amidst picturesque countryside just outside Bath, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa offers a serene retreat for solo travel. The hotel's elegant decor and Michelin-starred restaurant make it a perfect destination for those seeking tranquility and refined experiences including luxurious spa treatments and horse riding in the beautiful 500-acre estate.
The British Isles are awash with great routes for gentle strolls to serious hikes both through inland beauty spots and around our majestic coast. Find your perfect trail and you’ll open a door to so much more than simply walking: a magical world of history, myths and legends await you.
If you’re dreaming of exploring one of the UK’s loveliest rural destinations on foot, The Yorkshire Dales is a top choice. While there are many great staycations for nature lovers, the Dales not only offers a sight for sore eyes but also a range of routes and terrain suitable for walkers of all levels of fitness and enthusiasm.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park encompasses thousands of square miles of moors, valleys, hills and villages. You could just put your feet up, take a picnic to a nice secluded spot under a tree, relax, enjoy the peace and quiet and gaze in wonder at the special landscape. Or take it up a gear: the park has created an innovative walking app that features 35 of its favourite walks which you can download for your smartphone free of charge.
A great route for starters is Ripon and Studley Royal — a 11.3-km moderately challenging circular trail near Ripon, North Yorkshire that takes an average of 2 hrs 58 mins to complete. And for a bigger stretch of the legs, you can embark on an adventure along the Herriot Way, Ribble Way, or Dales Inn Way (hikes of 52-76 miles).
And for history buffs, there are many castles and abbey ruins in and around the Yorkshire Dales National Park to explore, including Ripley Castle, a Grade I listed 14th-century country house in Ripley, and Skipton Castle — a mediaeval castle built in 1090 by Robert de Romille located in Skipton, North Yorkshire.
PoB recommends: Yorebridge House, a beautiful boutique hotel in Wensleydale. With great walks on its doorstep, hearty food and cosy guest rooms, solo travellers are drawn to the hotel's warm hospitality, intimate ambiance, and a range of tailored experiences. It’s an ideal choice for those seeking both relaxation and adventure.
The epitome of cosmopolitan elegance, London offers an unrivalled experience for luxury shopping short breaks, attracting solo travellers seeking an opulent retail therapy getaway.
For those with a penchant for haute couture and designer labels, Mayfair is the go-to destination. This affluent enclave houses world-renowned flagship stores of iconic fashion houses, including Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton along Bond Street. The elegant Georgian architecture and upscale ambiance further elevate the shopping experience.
Head into Covent Garden and you’ll discover a treasure trove of artisanal crafts and unique goods. The bustling market and surrounding streets offer a delightful mix of handmade jewellery, one-of-a-kind artworks, and quirky vintage pieces. It's an excellent place to support local artisans and uncover exclusive keepsakes to cherish. The vibrant atmosphere of street performers and charming cafes also creates an enjoyable shopping backdrop.
Alternatively, if you’ve got an eye for vintage fashion and eclectic antiques, you’ll fall in love with Notting Hill's charming streets and bohemian vibe. Portobello Road Market, an iconic destination in the area, offers an array of stalls selling vintage clothing, retro accessories, and rare collectibles.
And when in Knightsbridge, the world-famous Harrods department store awaits, showcasing opulent collections across various departments, from high-end fashion to gourmet delicacies.
PoB recommends:If you’re seeking a peaceful base in the heart of the action, check into The Capital Hotel, Apartments and Townhouse, an elegant five-star abode in Knightsbridge. Room rates start from £359. For a Mayfair stay set against the leafy Green Park backdrop, try The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences. Room rates start from £400.
Whether you're eager to learn photography, discover new arts and crafts, or simply recharge your creativity, arty breaks are the perfect holidays for solo travellers, providing a nurturing environment and social connection with likeminded people, as well as the chance to follow your passion.
For budding photographers, there are many specialist breaks around the UK that cater for complete beginners to experienced hobbyists. Professional photographers often lead workshops, sharing their expertise and guiding you on how to capture breath-taking shots of landscapes, wildlife or portraits. From learning the technical aspects of your camera to mastering composition and lighting, you'll gain valuable insights that will elevate your photography skills to new heights.
There are also many opportunities to explore a wide array of arts and crafts. From traditional practices like painting and sketching to more contemporary abstract art and mixed media, you'll have the chance to experiment with different mediums under the guidance of skilled instructors. Additionally, workshops focusing on pottery, ceramics, and textile arts can inspire your creativity and leave you with tangible, handmade mementos to cherish.
Many arty breaks in the UK take place in serene, picturesque locations, enabling you to fully immerse yourself in the process and draw inspiration from the world around you.
PoB recommends: The Fife Arms, a stunning Scottish hotel in the beautiful village of Braemar, nestled within the Cairngorms National Park. In addition to first-class food and warm hospitality, this hotel offers a seriously impressive selection of artwork and arty experiences, including wild sketching, landscape photography, workshops, and even the chance to design your own tartan.
Sometimes what you really need to do on a solo travel trip is absolutely nothing — or at least only the gentlest of pursuits. If you’re feeling a bit frazzled or on the brink of a full burn out, unplugging and being in nature is the sure-fire remedy for rejuvenation.
A luxury hotel with sumptuously comfortable guest rooms set in a quiet, private location within easy reach of beautiful countryside or coastal walks can be the greatest gift you give yourself. And when it comes to the best havens where you can meander, relax, eat, snooze, and repeat, Durham’s Heritage Coast is a winner.
And while there are many great destinations in the northeast of England, there are some very good reasons to pick the pretty seaside town of Seaham. Here, you can admire the incredible cliff top views, watch the fishing boats and world go by from the harbour-front cafes and clear your head with a walk along beautiful rugged beaches.
PoB recommends: Seaham Hall hotel, a luxurious 5-star beachfront hotel located on the stunning Durham Heritage Coast. The hotel’s top attractions for solo travellers include its serene setting, overlooking the North Sea, and its exceptional spa facilities, and spa garden, making it a perfect retreat for relaxation and self-indulgence.
When it comes to beach holidays for solo travellers, small wonder that Cornwall with its charming beaches, pretty coves and laid back vibe is such a hot favourite. Here, you can flop without having to fly - it’s simply a case of choosing your beach and the very best hotel close to the surf and sand.
Newquay, located on Cornwall’s Atlantic Coast, has been voted “One of the Nation's Favourite Seaside Towns” and is home to 12 beaches including the county’s best and most famous stretches of sand - Fistral and Watergate Bay beaches.
Here you can enjoy beachcombing and a gentle paddle or hit the waves like you mean it — Newquay is also the top destination for surfing in the UK. If you’re an absolute beginner but feel the call to ride the waves, go along to one of the surf schools such as Fistral Beach Surf School — where you can get professional tuition and all the kit you need.
And if you want waves without getting your feet wet, there are many boat trip operators including Newquay Sea Safaris which offers boat tours and fishing trips on super fast luxury catamarans, departing from Newquay Harbour.
PoB recommends: Perched on the rugged cliffs of Newquay, The Headland Hotel & Spa offers stunning ocean views and a range of great solo travel experiences. Surfers can catch some waves on the nearby beaches, and discover the region's coastal beauty. The hotel's luxurious spa, outdoor hot tubs, and award-winning dining make it a captivating choice for those seeking adventure and relaxation in a breathtaking coastal setting.