*This staycation post is a collaboration with The Personalised Gift Shop
I don't know about you guys, but I'm definitely guilty of choosing to go abroad over travelling my own country. So often my travels involve long-haul travel and tropical climes. But that means there is still so much of the UK I've yet to explore. Spending this summer in the UK has given me a perfect opportunity to finally visit some of these places. This weekend I'm actually heading to a UK city I've always wanted to visit and I'll share that with you in a later post. But for now, let's talk about last weekend when I teamed up with The Personalised Gift Shop to try out one of their gift experiences. I chose a little staycation – a lovely overnight stay at a hotel in Cromer, on the North Norfolk coast.
My staycation gift experience
This little staycation was well-timed after a busy few weeks, I was looking forward to a night of R&R and a day along the coast. I was staying at the Links Country Park Hotel in West Runton, just a short distance down the road from Cromer. It was just an hour's drive from my home which made it a perfect location for me to get to after work and still enjoy the sunny Friday night on the beach. I headed straight to Cromer for a walk on the beach, a Mr Whippy ice cream and a stroll along the pier. It was perfectly-timed and the second I sat back in my car, the storm clouds gathered and the heavens opened.
When I arrived at the hotel, I checked in and was sent to my lovely spacious room, before heading down to dinner. I was so impressed by the friendly, welcoming staff as they sat me in the perfect spot, overlooking the sunset. It was a great way to end the day, with a glass of wine and a huge plate of Cromer crab tagliatelle. After dinner, my evening was all about enjoying a glass of Prosecco and a movie in the comfiest bed I have slept in for a long time. It was so lovely to have a night away that was purely dedicated to relaxing in luxury. I had the best night's sleep I've had in months and woke to blue skies and a delicious breakfast at the hotel.
If you're in the area, I really recommend the Links Country Park Hotel – book here.
Why you should choose a staycation
There are so many amazing reasons to choose a staycation and enjoy a weekend on your home turf. Why not save yourself the bother of travelling far? After a long week at work, the last thing you want to do is hop in the car and drive for hours to start your break. Instead, why not drive half an hour up the road and instantly relax.
Who can honestly say they've seen all their home has to offer? So often we're guilty of not really appreciating what is really special about our area. But often there's so much right on our doorstep, we just have to take the time to make the most of it. Norfolk for example, is an absolutely amazing county for weekend breaks and unique experiences. And yet, despite living here all my life, there's still so many parts I haven't yet seen. Working with The Personalised Gift Shop was a perfect excuse to spend some time at a part of the Norfolk Coast I haven't visited in years!
Why you should consider a solo staycation
I took this little overnight holiday solo and you know what, I loved every second. This solo trip didn't happen because I had no-one to take, in fact I had several volunteers! I chose to go solo because I love my own company, and because I deserved a treat. Some of my followers couldn't believe it when I announced it on social media. I had to stress the fact that being alone doesn't = being lonely.
I know it can seem a little crazy to some to take a night away in a hotel by yourself. But it's one of the best trips I've had this year. Before I went solo travelling, I had never done it but now it's something that is vital to my mental health. It's restorative. I really do feel that until you are entirely comfortable in your own company, you will never be truly happy and relaxed with others.
It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I really recommend trying it even on a smaller scale. You don't have to start with a hotel by yourself. Why not try going out for a coffee and sitting alone in a coffee shop? Or why not try going for brunch by yourself? It doesn't mean you have to do it all the time. But it's the biggest confidence boost to feel comfortable enough in your own skin to sit quietly by yourself and enjoy life.
Why a gift experience can make the perfect present for a traveller
I've always felt gift experiences trump gifts every time and I love to find the perfect way to treat family and friends. This might mean a spa day or dinner at a restaurant I know they'll love. It could be an activity like climbing the O2 or even a hot air balloon ride. It's something you can get so creative with, and a great way to be really thoughtful. For travellers, so often we spend a lot of time away from home, so when you're back to celebrate special occasions it's lovely to include some quality time with the ones you love.
It's also a fantastic way to treat people without helping them to accumulate more stuff. After spending years living out of a backpack, I see little point in having stuff I can't take with me. Even for those who have a base – "what do you buy for the person who has everything?" For me, I'll choose making memories with a person every time over yet another bottle of bubblebath.
6 ideas for the perfect gift experience
- Short breaks – whether this is a hotel, a spa or even a glamping experience
- Foodie fun – choose afternoon tea, a three course meal or even a wine tasting
- Spa time – pick from a spa treatment, spa day, or overnight stay
- Adventure days – these could range from zorbing and skydiving, to a zombie experience
- Days out – race day packages, sightseeing and cruises are just some of the many options
- Driving and flying experiences – the car of your dreams on the racetrack, or take a helicopter ride or flying lesson
Have you had a staycation near your home? What kind of gift experience would you love for your birthday?