“Feel Free” staycation boost for Staffordshire

A boom in demand for rural retreats and ‘escape the crowd’ breaks has seen a big staycation boost for Staffordshire this summer.

New figures out from outdoor accommodation specialist Pitchup.com reveal that camping and caravan trips to Staffordshire have increased by 300% this year compared with 2019.

And the destination has also been named as one of England’s safest staycation spots of 2021 by educational publisher Twinkl’s Family Staycation Guide 2021, which looked at safety factors including population density, number of outdoor activities and COVID-19 infection rates (https://bit.ly/3s5cKb6).

Uncertainty over foreign travel means that UK breaks have become more popular, but continuing nervousness as we emerge from lockdowns and restrictions seems to have sparked an increase in rural tourism to less crowded and quieter destinations.

While traditional tourism hot spots, like Cornwall and Devon, are still attracting the crowds as usual this summer, some of the lesser-known destinations are increasingly catching visitors’ attention.

Since restrictions eased in April, Destination Staffordshire – the official tourist board for the county – has been marketing the area as a short break staycation under the banner of Feel Free’, highlighting its wide-open spaces, and new attractions.

With countryside and the open-air at the top of the wish list for many holidaymakers post-lockdown, the campaign reveals where to go, and stay, to really ‘Feel Free’ in a county that is 80 per cent rural.

The Peak District National Park makes up to a third of the Staffordshire Moorlands district with views ranging from rocky outcrops to rolling hills and valleys, while The Roaches – dubbed the gateway to Staffordshire’s Peak District – has soaring rock faces and heather-covered hillsides.

Staffordshire is also home Cannock Chase – England’s smallest mainland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – which not only attracts nature lovers and walkers, but is also a favourite spot for cyclists, including top mountain biking routes, which will be used to host the Commonwealth Games mountain-biking events in August 2022,

More walking can be found exploring the leafy woodlands of the National Forest, which also offers family-friendly cycling routes along quiet country lanes and traffic-free bridleways. Within the Forest lies The National Memorial Arboretum, the UK’s year-round centre of Remembrance, and home to the iconic Armed Forces Memorial along with over 330 other memorials, all nestled amongst lush maturing woodland.

But as well as open spaces and nature, Staffordshire – easily accessible from much of England within 2 -3 hours drive, thanks to its central location and good road connections – also has major visitor attractions, including two of UK’s top theme parks, Alton Towers Resort and Drayton Manor Resort.

Among its other top family attractions are the original UK indoor ski slope, Snowdome Tamworth, and Waterworld Stoke, one of the country’s top indoor water parks, plus a chance to wander among free-roaming monkeys in an ancient woodland at Monkey Forest as well as stroll one of England’s most visited paid for gardens, at The Trentham Estate.

New for 2021, Tamworth Castle has unveiled a new interactive gallery celebrating the town’s Anglo-Saxon history, including a forgotten ‘warrior queen’; and for some retail therapy, a brand new McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West Midlands – the UK’s newest major fashion destination – is now open at Cannock.

For more information about visiting, and staying in, Staffordshire, see http://www.enjoystaffordshire.com.