FIGURES announced last month have shown that Scotland is in the midst of a ‘staycation’ boom.
According to a survey by UK tourist boards, British visits to Scotland have increased by ten per cent, with spending by overnight visitors to Scotland up by 14 per cent compared with last year. Staycations – where people choose to holiday locally – have increased in popularity since the onset of the financial crisis. With money tight, people are choosing to stay closer to home and explore the beauty of their own country rather than travel abroad.
When planning a holiday in Scotland, obvious choices of Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Highlands come to mind, yet many of the most picturesque and interesting places in Scotland can be missed or passed through en route to these more traditional tourist destinations. Given that 2011 saw an increase in visits to Scotland, those planning to holiday in the country again this year will be looking for alternative staycation spots – this is the perfect time to go off the beaten track, and discover that there is more to Scotland than the tartan tourist trail.
Situated at the heart of Scotland, Lanarkshire is one of these often undiscovered gems. Surrounded by beautiful Scottish countryside, Lanarkshire offers a world of choice for walkers, cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts, while a wealth of high quality visitor attractions provide fun for all the family. With excellent transport links to Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as being a short drive north of the border, Lanarkshire provides the perfect location either for a short weekend break or a longer family holiday.
From five-star hotels, self-catering cottages and welcoming B&Bs, to traditional museums and unforgettable experiences, Lanarkshire has it all, as well as being home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Antonine Wall and New Lanark.
There are endless things to see and do in Lanarkshire, with something for every need. For those looking for history for all the family, New Lanark is not to be missed. Boasting an award-winning Visitor Centre, roof garden and situated by the spectacular Falls of Clyde, a visit to this historic site is a truly breath-taking experience.
One of the most popular family attractions in central Scotland is the stunning Strathclyde Country Park. Visitors can enjoy a walk or cycle around the beautiful parkland by Strathclyde Loch, or have a go at sailing, wind-surfing or water ski-ing at the park’s Watersports Centre. Plus, nestled within Strathclyde Country Park is M&Ds, Scotland’s only theme park, which boasts five rollercoasters, two water rides, family rides, and Amazonia – an indoor tropical rainforest.
For the more adventurous traveller, Cumbernauld Outdoor Activity Centre offers a range of exhilarating activities, including paintballing, archery and 4×4 off road driving. It also houses Scotland’s largest Birds of Prey Centre, which contains many rare species of birds, with regular displays hosted daily.
In terms of accommodation, Lanarkshire offers a wide selection of hotels, B&Bs and self-catering options to suit every budget and need, including 4* Macdonald Crutherland House Hotel and Spa, East Kilbride, Holiday Inn Express, Hamilton, 4* Easter Glentore Farm B&B just outside Airdrie and New Lanarks’s self-catering Waterhouses.
Mark Calpin, chair of Lanarkshire Tourism Association, commented: “With such beauty and history right on our doorstep, its little wonder that the British public are choosing to holiday in Scotland. With no need to worry about expensive air passenger duty or flight delays, and the freedom to hop in a car or on a train when you choose, Scotland is your oyster! People often drive through the beautiful countryside of Lanarkshire without realising how many attractions are here, so why not choose Lanarkshire for your next staycation destination, and discover something new!”
There’s always more to discover in Lanarkshire…. for more information on things to do and places to stay in Lanarkshire, visit: www.visitlanarkshire.com
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