Summer staycations are becoming increasingly popular. The UK has so many gorgeous places to explore, from the rolling hills of national parks and the quaint beauty of historic towns to sunny seaside destinations. So, will it be a beach break surf trip to Cornwall this summer, or a trek through the countryside along Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland? Let’s see how they compare.
Scenery / Activities
Both Cornwall and Hadrian’s Wall showcase the magnificence of Britain’s natural landscapes, and whilst one is a charming coastal destination, the other boasts the ancient and bucolic beauty of the countryside.
St Ives is scenic!
Stroll through history with a six-to-ten-day hike along Hadrian’s Wall.
Once a northwest frontier for Roman empire, is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and popular tourist attraction.
Hikers can visit several striking ruin sites along the trail.
Step back in time at Housesteads and visit the Wall’s most dramatic site and the best-preserved Roman fort in the country. Here the remains of the wall include the foundations of a hospital, barracks, and even flushable toilets. Cross from Northumberland into Cumbria across the Millennium Bridge, originally built to carry Hadrian’s Wall across the water.
Trek past the beautiful Brocolitia Fort, also known as Carrawburgh Fort, where excavations have unearthed the Temple of Mithras, a third-century construction built to worship the Roman god. Visit the museum at Vindolanda where Roman artefacts are on display and finish the walk at Heddon-on-the-Wall.
Book a guide to make the most of the walk and enjoy rolling hills and bright open fields on this journey through history.
Hadrian’s Wall is a chance to discover the UK’s past, whilst Cornwall is a sign of the times. With the boom of UK staycations last year, came the mass flock to the seaside towns, where open spaces and ocean breeze gave respite to a winter of lockdown.
Tintagel Castle is breath-taking medieval ruin site perched on the sheer clifftops of North Cornwall.
Visit Fistral Beach in Newquay and enjoy miles of golden sand and sparkling turquoise waters, or head to St Ive’s for great surfing and amazing art galleries.
Pop into the picturesque village of Port Isaac and stroll through pretty streets, where renowned restaurants and boutique shops will fill your day. For a bit more adventure, take on one of the many coastal walks that connect to the village itself.
Get a taste of Cornish history at Mont Saint-Michel or go surfing at the iconic Watergate Bay. Make the most of the seven sandy beaches in Padstow or for a break from the beach, browse the streets of Truro.
Though it is crowded in the summer, Cornwall is fabulous for all ages and activities, with ocean days, country walks and pretty pubs on offer. Hadrian’s Wall is a fabulous walk for the keen hikers, offering beautiful scenery and the chance to explore ancient history. Cornwall wins this round with 8.5/10 and Hadrian’s Wall 7/10.
Food and Restaurants Cornwall or Hadrian’s Wall
Sun-soaked days and testy trekking should be rewarded with delicious dinners, and both Cornwall and Hadrian’s Wall have plenty of options on offer.
In Cornwall, there are so many restaurants to try, from secret beachside venues to sumptuous seafood joints, and classic Cornish snacks from pasties to fudge. The Hidden Hut is a charming beach café near Portscatho on the remote Roseland Peninsula.
Over the castle on the hill!
Prawn on the Lawn is another iconic Cornwall restaurant, serving superb seafood alongside an excellent wine list in Padstow.
The Star & Garter is a stunning seafront pub in Falmouth or head to Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant.
Hadrian’s Wall boasts a number of cafes, restaurants, pubs, and farm shops to taste your way through along the route. Enjoy fabulously fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients at Battlesteads Restaurant in Hexam. Vallum Farm in Newcastle upon Tyne, serves fresh, seasonal farm-to-table dishes in a beautiful setting. Try the best of British cuisine at Blackfriars Restaurant and Banquet Hall, or hearty pub dishes with a focus on premium produce at the Samson Inn in Gilsland.
Whilst Hadrian’s Wall has lovely traditional pubs and eateries, your options are limited to where you finish your walk each day. Meanwhile, Cornwall has a fabulous selection of restaurants and is widely known as a foodie destination. Cornwall wins this round with 9/10 and Hadrian’s Wall 7.5/10.
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Nightlife Cornwall or Hadrian’s Wall
Long summer days stretch into night, and your daytime activities can take you ‘til dusk, but if you are looking for something post-sunset, both destinations have after hours options. Cornwall or Hadrian’s Wall
In Cornwall, day blends into night with post-surf beach bar sundowners right through to nightclub dance parties that go on until the small hours. Head to Belushi’s in New Quay for sunset ocean views and fabulous happy hour deals. The Watering Hole is known as one of the best beer gardens in Cornwall with tables set right on the beach. For quality, cocktails head to Ruby’s Bar in Padstow or dance the night away at Bertie’s in New Quay.
Cosy up by the fire with a pint and get to know friendly locals at The Black Bull or quality ales and fabulous wines at the Rat Inn.
The Twice Brewed Inn in Hexham, off the hardest section of Hadrian’s Wall, is a great place to reward yourself with a cold beer or a gin!
The gateway to ancient history!
Whilst the pubs along Hadrian’s Wall are great for washing down the day, Cornwall has a few more options for party goers. Cornwall wins this round with 7.5/10 and Hadrian’s Wall comes behind with 6/10.
Accommodation Cornwall or Hadrian’s Wall
Both Cornwall and the villages along Hadrian’s Wall have plenty of accommodation options to choose, from cosy cottages to high end hotels.
Cornwall has everything from beautiful beach huts, and seaside apartments to luxury hotels and boutique boltholes. The Old Quay House in Fowey is a tiny luxury boutique accommodation, boasting a waterfront location and contemporary rooms. Book a stay at Driftwood in Portscatho and enjoy beautiful bedrooms, clifftop views, private beach, and an on-site Michelin-starred restaurant.
Head for the surf!
Along Hadrian’s Wall, book a night at the Jesmond Hotel in Newcastle, located near the beginning of the walk. The hotel boasts comfortable ensuite rooms and a fabulous hotel restaurant.
In Corbridge just off the Wall’s path, spend a night at the Devyl’s Inn and enjoy cosy comfort.
In Gilsand, enjoy delicious home-cooked meals and warm hospitality at Willowford Farm.
Whilst the pubs and B&Bs along Hadrian’s Wall offer cosy home comforts, your choices are limited to your route and where you walk to each day. Cornwall wins this round with 8.5/10 with more accommodation options and Hadrian’s Wall scores 7.5/10.
So how do these two UK staycations compare? Cornwall wins the title with a final score of 8.4/10 and Hadrian’s Wall comes behind with a final score of 7/10. Hadrian’s Wall is a fabulous feat and a beautiful way to discover some of the UK’s history, but Cornwall is perfect for every type of trip, from family adventures to a romantic coastal break, or a fun trip with friends. Wherever you decide to go, enjoy the beauty of Britain!