Planning a staycation in a UK seaside resort, city or country retreat? Stephanie Smith picks out brands that help you enjoy in style.
So, there you are, at the beach, in August, and it’s pelting with rain, you’re freezing and the skyline is shrouded in grey clouds with even darker ones looming on the horizon.
Welcome to the beach holiday, UK-style. Makes you wonder – as you shelter in your car eating sandwiches, pondering when there might be a temporary cessation of precipitation to allow a run for cover – why the heck we bother?
But we do. We persevere because we love the British seaside, from Shetland to Newquay, from Morecambe to Whitby.
Not just the seaside; we’re rather keen on our UK city breaks too, to take in a bit of culture, fine dining and shopping, while our country breaks allow us to explore the beauty of Britain through its hills and dales, its lakes, market towns and villages.
With so much on offer, both on and within our own home shores, why bother going abroad?
We do both, of course. We head for warmer shores overseas, and also explore the UK, often for short breaks, although some of us do take our big two-weeker within the UK too.
The number of Brits taking a holiday in the UK continues to rise, with around 34 million – 70 per cent of the UK adult population – setting off for at least one UK break a year, and the average Brit enjoying two staycations annually.
When it comes to England, Cornwall is the preferred destination, with Devon in second place and Yorkshire in third, according to research last year by the Q Hotels group.
Admittedly, however, a holiday at the British seaside or inland is a very different affair from ones in Tenerife, Marbella or Portugal. We seldom enjoy or expect the sunshine and reliably high temperatures of most of the world’s top holiday resorts. Instead we have to make do with occasional warm and sunny spells, rare and short-lived heatwaves and, most commonly, patchy bursts of sun amid prolonged periods of cloud, rain, wind and chills.
Fortunately, British fashion companies have long excelled in creating stylish clobber that copes well with home weather, terrain and activities.
Leeds-based Joe Browns was founded in 1998 by Simon Brown, who hit upon the idea while on holiday in Wales, admiring the carefree look and attitude of a group of surfer types at a beach resort. It offers easy, beachy, breezy styles for both men and women, and likes to show them off with suitably quirky, offbeat photoshoots (the image here was taken in the Northern Quarter of Manchester).
As well as on its own website, Joe Browns can be bought online at Very, Next, Littlewoods, Simply Be and JD Williams.
Cheltenham-based leisure clothing brand Weird Fish created its first T-shirt in 1993, and now offers a wide range of easy-going clothes, designed for a “forever weekend” feeling. Many Weird Fish stores are located in UK holiday destinations including Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and York. The 14th branch has just opened in Scarborough and a launch party is planned for next Wednesday, with a visit from artist Julia Gash, who will give art demonstrations throughout the day. Stockists include Debenhams, Cotswold Outdoor and Blacks Leisure.
Check out White Stuff and Fat Face too for easy, layerable cottons and knits of all weights, perfect for pretty much anywhere in the UK, while heritage brand Barbour has been kitting out British outdoor enthusiasts for ever and a day.
It currently has some wonderful bargains in sale (as do all the brands featured here), so make a list, snap up what you need (or didn’t know you needed) and get packing.