Greetings from our UK holiday – and don’t you dare use the S word to describe it!
PUBLISHED: 05:30 27 June 2019
I don’t want to make readers too jealous, but by the time you read this I could well be standing on the top of Snowdon with fantastic views over the whole of North Wales and stretching to the Isle of Man and even the Irish coast, writes Paul Geater.
Of course, I could only have a view to the end of my arm if the weather doesn't play ball. Whatever, I will be on the summit of the mountain because I've already booked my ticket to the top which should be a highlight (literally) of our family holiday this year.
It's been 10 years since we last stayed in a Welsh cottage - although we have been on many UK holidays over the intervening period. But this is a part of the world that we love and is very different to Suffolk and East Anglia.
I'm a great fan of UK holidays - I've enjoyed great breaks in Paris and Berlin over the last few years but for me it's much easier to really relax and recharge my batteries without the hassle of having to face a flight or even a sea crossing.
But I still think the UK undersells itself as a holiday destination to its own residents. I still get the feeling that too many people in the tourism business seem to get the feeling that staying in Britain is a second-best offering to a "real" holiday that has to involve foreign travel.
The truth is, of course, that a trip to Wales does involve travelling to another country. And I'm sure I will hear many local people using a different language that I don't pretend to understand!
But there are those in the tourist business who insist on calling this a "Staycation" - a horrible, pejorative word which has had its meaning changed over the last decade in a bid undermine the UK tourist industry.
I'm told I'm fighting a losing battle when I insist that a "Staycation" is not a UK holiday - it is a word that generations have used when they don't stay away from their home during their annual leave from work.
Because the UK has fantastic, and varied, holiday options for people of all ages and interests.
Last year we had a last-minute holiday in Cromer - in my mind the finest seaside resort anywhere. With a fantastic beach, glorious scenery, the Broads, historic houses and three steam railways within 20 miles what more could you want?
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Okay the mountains and scenery of North Wales are very different - but it also has superb facilities on its doorstep. We might not spend as long at the beach in Portmeirion as we did when the children were younger but it is a wonderful place.
And the castles and (it has to be said) the narrow gauge railways in the area are superb holiday destinations.
Of course the big issue about the British holidays is the unpredictability of the weather - and I'll admit that anyone on a UK holiday a couple of weeks ago might well feel inclined to head to the Med next year!
But generally it isn't that bad in the summer - and you can't guarantee absolutely what it will be like anywhere.
Last summer people who headed for Spain in the summer found themselves caught up in one of the hottest heatwaves anyone could remember and found it impossible to leave their air-conditioned hotel rooms for much of the day.
Last year it was very hot in the area of North Wales we're staying in - but this year the forecast has always been for something much more comfortable (if you want to actually do things on holiday).
Yes it's quite a long drive to get here. Our aim is to stop off at Llangollen on the way - about four hours from Ipswich. But if you're flying from Stansted you'd need to leave Suffolk at least four hours before take-off to ensure you get parked and through security.
And then you'll have to sit cooped up in a metal tube for God knows how long before you reach your destination and have to go through all the security palaver again. Give me the M6 every time!
I know all this probably marks us out as miserable old gits. But please believe me, we're spending our UK holiday with smiles on our faces, having a great time and building up fantastic memories on our Flickr and Facebook pages.
There's nothing wrong in staying in Britain for a great holiday.
And God help anyone who describes what we're doing as "going on Staycation" in my earshot!
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