How to holiday at home this summer

man and women having breakfast photo by Jack Sparrow from Pexels

The traditional summer holiday has been one of the more high-profile casualties of the coronavirus lockdown. By mid-July, with the school holidays well underway across the UK, millions of us would normally be soaking up the sunshine in resorts and destinations around the world. Millions more would be enjoying staycations across Scotland and throughout the UK. Yet hotels have only just been allowed to re-open in Scotland, with key amenities like spas and swimming pools still off-limits.

This has led to the concept of holidaying at home – or, more accurately, attempting to replicate some of the niceties of a hotel. And while you’ll still be responsible for washing the pots and taking out the rubbish, there are ways to add a greater sense of enjoyment to work-free days and evenings…


Getting food delivered from a local restaurant is the closest many of us will get to the waiter service of a foreign hotel or resort this year. Choose a national cuisine and theme an evening around it; a tapas meal could be served on the dining table with a homemade jug of sangria and some flamenco music playing in the background. Even modest touches like lighting candles and serving cocktails (which can be bought pre-mixed in tins) will add sparkle to what may otherwise be a forgettable meal eaten in front of the telly.

Enjoying the garden

May and June often provide the best weather in Scotland, but July and August have their moments. It’s easy to entertain kids with water slides and paddling pools (providing the latter are regularly topped up with warm water), or treat yourself to an inflatable hot tub for as little as £300. Canvas deckchairs allow you to make the most of any late summer sunshine and you won’t even need to put towels on them! Replicate resort niceties with jugs of iced water, ambient music and platters of nibbles. Again, these could be themed – Greek or Cypriot style meze platters, an Aussie-style barbie cooked on a cheap disposable barbecue, and so forth.

Bedroom indulgence

One of the best parts of a holiday is snuggling down in a comfy bed under cool linen. Your own bedroom will suffer through familiarity, but it’ll feel more indulgent if you invest in new bedding and cushions. Turn off mobile phones and watch movies under the covers, to replicate the curious thrill of watching strange foreign films or subtitled American dramas from a hotel bed. Treat yourself to a lie-in if children and pets will permit, and collect a hot takeaway breakfast to be savoured in bed while reading a newspaper and drinking fruit juice.

Disconnect from the real world

Mindfulness is the art of appreciating small things more by concentrating on them. That’s easier in a new environment where your senses are heightened, which is why we remember the blue skies and cold beers of holidays so vividly. Yet you can often achieve comparable mental rejuvenation at home. Minimise smartphone usage, turning devices off overnight for an undisturbed sleep. Pick up a book, which is more absorbing than scrolling and swiping, and ignore work-related emails or domestic chores for a day to focus on relaxing. Finally, savour everything you eat and drink – you’ll enjoy it more, and remember it for longer.

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