Escape the crowds: The top off-grid UK destinations to switch off and chill out

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Looking for a staycation but want a chance to unwind, switch off and avoid the hustle and bustle? Well, look no further… 

I’m Insured have analysed the UK locations appearing in Tripadvisor search results for the term ‘relaxing’, and ranked them on a number of factors to reveal the best places in the UK for a quiet, relaxing, wellness break.

Instead of visiting a busy tourist hotspot, head to these beautiful locations, and take the time to focus on relaxing activities that improve your mental and physical well being.

With most of the usual summer staycation spots already booked up and teeming with tourists, we all could do with these quieter, relaxing break options after this past year…

UK’s best relaxing breaks: Watermillock, Cumbria named best spot to get away

The research took into account the destination’s population to see how remote it is, whether the air is fresh and how much green space there is to enjoy. The analysis also looked at the lack of signal to make it easier to digitally detox, the number of wellness activities nearby, and the number of rentable two-person Airbnbs with a hot tub.

I’m Insured reveal the top locations in the UK for an alternative, relaxing staycation:

1. Watermillock, Cumbria

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Like a lot of the Lake District, Watermillock boasts some of the most incredible scenery the UK has to offer. Sitting on the shores of Ullswater, the lake views you’ll experience on countryside walks are truly something else. 

Remote and tranquil, our data rates it the number one location for a wellness break. 

Watermillock has a small population of just 448 – a world away from busy towns and cities. The quiet and picturesque Cumbrian countryside also ranked highly for fresh air and taking a much-needed digital detox.

Watermillock allows you to explore the great outdoors in the vast amounts of green space – it truly is the perfect place to escape and switch off.

Overall relaxation score: 67.8

2. Killin, Stirling

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The remote village of Killin sits at the Falls of Dochart – a spectacular series of rapids, offering stunning views. 

Famous for its salmon fishing, wildlife spotting and water sports, this is the ideal relaxing, outdoor getaway.

Overall relaxation score: 59.6

3. Thurlestone, Devon

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The beautiful coastal village of Thurlestone boasts one of the most dramatic coastlines in the UK. 

The stunning beaches provide clean areas for swimming, surfing and rock-pooling. 

Thurlestone is the quintessential break to relax and enjoy unspoilt surroundings.

Overall relaxation score: 59.3

4. Tortworth, Gloucestershire

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The charming village of Tortworth in Gloucestershire is home to the incredible Tortworth Estate. Within the boundaries of the 30 acre estate, amble through the inviting paths, nooks and walkways. 

Nearby Tortworth, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the sleepy, time-trapped Cotswold villages and historic castles.

Overall relaxation score: 58.4

5. St. Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire

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The quaint riverside village of St Dogmaels is famous for its coasteering, surfing, kayaking, wildlife watching, climbing, and mountain biking.

Unplug and escape by ambling along the Pembrokeshire coast path, overlooking remarkable bay and sea views. St Dogmaels is perfect for anyone wanting to explore and unwind by the sea. 

Overall relaxation score: 58.3

The top 20 relaxing, off-grid staycations in the UK

RankLocationRelaxation score
1Watermillock, Cumbria67.8
2Killin, Stirling59.6
3Thurlestone, Devon59.3
4Tortworth, Gloucestershire58.4
5St. Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire58.3
6Taplow, Buckinghamshire57.3
7Wyboston, Bedfordshire56.4
8Otley, West Yorkshire56.3
9Pulford, Cheshire55.8
10Shurdington, Gloucestershire55.4
11Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria54.6
12Thurnham, Lancashire54.2
13Pott Shrigley, Cheshire54.1
14Lea Marston, Warwickshire53.7
15Thorpe le Soken, Essex53.5
16Windermere, Cumbria53.2
17Whittlebury, Northamptonshire53.1
18Austwick, North Yorkshire52.9
19Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire52.7
20Minster Lovell, Oxfordshire51.1

The importance of taking a break

Figures from the Association of British Insurers showed a rise in mental health claims under individual income protection, up from 10% to 12% during 2020 – highlighting the impact of the pandemic on the UK’s mental health. 

According to mental health charity Mind, spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. It can improve mood, reduce feelings of stress and help someone to feel more relaxed. 

The pandemic has been tough for everyone, so taking a relaxing, wellness break is the perfect way to switch off and escape. 
When you visit these pristine, remote destinations, please protect the local residents by respecting social distancing, wearing masks where needed, and leaving no trace after activities such as wild swimming and camping.

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