08 May 2015

Could you have the holiday of a lifetime, here in the UK?

An unforgettable holiday doesn't have to involve travelling to far-flung shores – or spending a fortune. These unique places to stay offer experiences you'll find nowhere else on earth, right here in the UK.

You don't have to leave the UK for a holiday experience you'll never forget. From Indian-style tipis and repurposed railway carriages to the lavish bedrooms of an old sea fort or Anne Boleyn's castle home, Britain is bursting with intriguing and unique places to stay. Whether you're after a return-to-nature or a luxury escape, here are just some of the many places you can enjoy a staycation with a difference.

Take to a tipi

Visit the Cornish Tipi Holidays campsite near St Kew and you could easily imagine yourself on the American plains 150 years ago. Sixteen Native American tipis of various sizes stretch out in vast acres of woodland and meadow. There's even a spring-fed, turquoise lake in an old quarry nearby, where you can borrow a canoe, catch your own fish, and then cook it on the campfire.

You'll find other special camping spots at Pinkhill Lock in Oxfordshire (a tiny island in the Thames where you can recreate Swallows and Amazons), The Bivouac in North Yorkshire (which feels like it could have inspired ‘The Shire’ from Lord of the Rings), the treehouses and tents of Harvest Moon near Edinburgh, or Alde Garden in Suffolk with its Tipis and Mongolian Yurts.

Your own island fortress

Half an hour's speedboat ride from Portsmouth, you'll find Spitbank Fort, a round and redoubtable 19th-Century sea fort, which was built to protect the harbour from the French. Today, it's a stylish hotel ‘island’ with 8 luxurious rooms, a pool, sauna, steam room, gym – and the odd gun emplacement.

For a more surreal ocean stronghold, pay a visit to West Usk Lighthouse in Wales, with its weird and wonderful wedge-shaped bedrooms and views over the Bristol Channel. Stir in a resident Dalek, Tardis, rooftop hot tub and a flotation tank and you have a holiday experience like no other.

The romance of rail and open road

Take the reins and trek the lanes of the Lake District at a horse's pace in a ‘vardo’, a hand-built gypsy caravan with beds and its own wood-burning stove: a unique way to enjoy the spectacular Cumbrian landscape at a pace that suits you. If you'd prefer the romance of rail, then try visiting St Germans in Cornwall, where you'll find 3 repurposed rail carriages sumptuously restored from the days of steam – and converted into every train fanatic's dream. There's a Great Western Railway ‘Slip Coach’ with ornate first-class sleeping compartment, plus old luggage vans with ornate wooden decoration. And it's all within walking distance of the current Cornish railway, meaning this is a holiday you can take entirely by track.

Recreate Wolf Hall

Ancient, creeper-clad, haunted, and crammed with 16th-Century portraits, armour and tapestries, Hever Castle is the childhood home of Anne Boleyn and a great place to immerse yourself in the world of the Tudors. There are 21 seriously plush modern bedrooms in a private wing, where guests can stay on a bed and breakfast basis. Combined with the huge, sprawling gardens and lake, a tennis court and kids' playground, you'll live like a king for a while.

Some of these spectacular UK experiences might require you to put a bit of extra money aside, in order to enjoy them. But it's amazing how quickly saving can add up when you get into the habit. Nationwide has a range of instant access savings accounts that can help with short-term savings, and with the Impulse Saver feature on our Mobile Banking app, simply register for Internet Banking to get started. It's easy to transfer money between your Nationwide accounts whenever you have cash to spare.

Wherever you're headed, FlexPlus can help

Whether you're holidaying in the UK or further afield, it's important to ensure that you're covered in case things go wrong. If you're a Nationwide FlexPlus account holder, you'll get breakdown and recovery assistance in the UK and Europe, plus worldwide family travel insurance – and cover for your mobile phone too, all for £10 a month, exclusions and limitations apply. It's no wonder Moneynet rated FlexPlus the best packaged current account last year. Find out more about our FlexPlus account.

Worldwide Family Travel Insurance is provided for FlexPlus by UK Insurance Limited. Worldwide Family Mobile Phone Insurance is arranged and administered for FlexPlus by Lifestyle Services Group Limited and underwritten by London General Insurance Company Limited. UK & Europe and Breakdown and Recovery Assistance is provided by Britannia Rescue and is underwritten by Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Ltd.

Nationwide is not responsible for the content of external websites or apps. Reference to any organisations websites or apps is not an endorsement of that website or app or the organisations products or services.

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