9 June 2020: After weeks of lockdown at home, and with the sun shining down, the urge to get out and about is strong. Key hotspots around the UK such as Cornwall, the Lake District and the golden sands of Bournemouth beach are already filling up with daytrippers. And once restrictions on overnight stays are also lifted, it’s likely that these are the areas that will be packed out, booked up and crowded with people in no time.
Instead of hot spots, travel planning app Omio has rounded up a series of ‘secret-spots’ across the UK for those seeking more space and seclusion on their first trip away from home.
With Omio’s app covering trains, bus and ferries, it takes the strain out of booking a trip while giving you full control over choice of price and duration of your journey.
While the ‘culinary experimentation’ for which Glasgow is lauded by Rough Guides, and its vibrant music scene might take a while to come fully back to life, there’s still plenty to see and do. Discover stunning historic and contemporary architecture along with plentiful parks. Or use it as the base for a whole host of day trips where you can immerse yourself in the majestic landscape of the Scottish Highlands, explore the history of nearby Stirling or enjoy the sandy beach at Ayr.
Escape the Lake District and head to Glasgow from Carlisle in 1 hour 12 minutes – plan and book a route via the Omio app
With plenty of invigorating canal walks, independent shops and lush green scenery, a stay in Llangollen is the perfect countryside escape. Take a trip through the stunning Welsh countryside on an old steam train in the picture-perfect Dee Valley from Llangollen, or chug along in a canal boat over the dizzying heights of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, an incredible architectural feat by Thomas Telford known as ‘the stream in the sky’. For those keen to peer over the edge, walking over the top of the aqueduct allows far-reaching views along the twists and turns of the valley carved by the River Dee, its sloping sides textured by tall furs and craggy outcrops.
Book a train via the Omio app to Ruabon or Wrexham – just 1 hour 35 minutes from Manchester. Local buses operate daily to Llangollen.
Head to the charming medieval market town of Alnwick for quaint cobbled streets, narrow alleys, and fine stone buildings. A visit to the imposing Alnwick Castle is a must-do, where guests can wander the elegant Capability Brown designed grounds, explore the State Rooms and 14th century dungeon and even imagine a little magic is in the air, as the Castle was the filming location for Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. The beautiful Alnwick Gardens next to the Castle is also not to be missed, with its many weirs and fountains, The Ornamental Garden with more than 15,000 plants, The Rose Garden of walkways heavily scented with climbing and shrub roses, and many ‘secret’ gardens where you can sit amongst the pergolas, fruit trees and individual pools. The surrounding countryside is perfect for country pursuits such as hiking, cycling, and fishing.
Take the train from Leeds to Alnwick in under 2 hours. Book online using the Omio app.
Summer means the seaside, and Margate gives off quintessential seaside vibes, alongside a vibrant vintage shopping and art scene. Explore the town that inspired Turner from the old Kent Market to the pier; or have a go at creating something yourself while enjoying fresh fish and chips. One of Margate’s great mysteries is the beautiful Shell Grotto – discovered in 1835 the underground grotto is covered with 4.6 million shells, creating a unique space. No-one knows exactly when or why the grotto was built, with theories ranging from an ancient calendar to connections with the Knights Templar.
Trains to London to Margate in 90 minutes can be booked via the Omio app.
Just on the edge of the Peak District, the beautiful spa town of Matlock Bath (praised as ‘little Switzerland’ by the poet Byron) is full of character with its Peak District Mining Museum, Riverside Gardens and lofty views from the nearby High Tor. For those looking for an active holiday, the proximity to the stunning Peak District scenery is perfect for walks, hiking, cycling and other adventurous activities like kayaking and climbing. Nearby attractions such as the bustling market and draw of delicious puddings found in Bakewell, Peak Rail steam railway and the Heights of Abraham hilltop park reached by cable car with cavern tours, walking trails and fossil exhibitions mean there is always something to do.
Find trains from Sheffield to Matlock Bath in 1hr 18mins on the Omio app.
Wherever you go, you’ll want to travel safely and in today’s climate that involves some additional measures. Omio has some simple suggestions to help everyone keep themselves and fellow passengers safe while on the move. Boris Radke from Omio comments: “Using the app ensures contactless payment and mobile ticket delivery, and offers all of the same options as desktop booking would, such as seat reservations. Individual providers will have their own advice too but we’d recommend wearing facemasks and taking hand sanitiser with you on your travels.”