Staycation doppelgangers! Forget flying abroad – these stunning UK destinations and landmarks look VERY similar to foreign holiday hotspots, from Birmingham to Cornwall
- Forget Portofino, Wales has its own Italianesque town full of colour and charm
- Iconic parts of New York and Paris have UK alternatives in London and Blackpool
- READ MORE: Tourist coaches to be prohibited in ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’
Britons do not have to travel as far as they think to stumble upon holiday heaven.
The UK plays host to an impressive variety of beaches, mountains and historic hubs that rival similar attractions in holiday hotspots such as Spain, Italy and even Australia.
With that in mind, here we reveal 15 ‘staycation doppelgangers’ – UK alternatives to popular foreign holiday destinations.
They might just make you think twice about leaving the country for your next getaway…
FISTRAL BEACH IN CORNWALL… VS BONDI BEACH IN AUSTRALIA
Cornwall’s Fistral Beach (image one) gives Australia’s iconic Bondi Beach (image two) a run for its money
Cornwall is known for its breathtaking beaches, which often tempt Britons away from the airport.
Newquay’s Fistral Beach, in particular, lures in holidaymakers – and masses of surfers – each year. Time Out says: ‘The iconic Fistral Beach is Britain’s answer to an Australian surfing paradise – Bondi – minus the temperatures. You’re going to want to keep that wetsuit on.’
Its waves are ‘among the most consistent in Europe’ with ‘big swells’ and ‘some cracking barrels’, the publication adds.
Surfers keen to visit should plan a trip in the month of August, when surfers from around the world arrive on the beach for the annual Boardmasters surf and music festival.
PORTMEIRION IN WALES… VS PORTOFINO IN ITALY
The Italianate-style village of Portmeirion (image one) in Wales bears similarities to Portofino (image two), along Italy’s Amalfi Coast
The Italianate-style village of Portmeirion on the North coast of Wales boasts colourful buildings with rustic wooden shutters overlooking manicured gardens and stone fountains – just as you would expect to see in Portofino, along Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
In a Tripadvisor post, one review posted by ‘karen1232016’ read: ‘Beautiful scenery in this unusual place. It has some very interesting buildings which resemble the Amalfi coast. Very touristy but that is its charm.’
The village offers ‘architectural heritage’ in a ‘stunning setting’ and ‘sub-tropical gardens’ as well as ‘two stylish hotels, a cluster of self-catering cottages, shops, and a spa’, according to its official website.
SAINT MICHAEL’S MOUNT IN CORNWALL… VS MONT-SAINT-MICHEL IN FRANCE
Mont-Saint-Michel (image two) in France could easily be mistaken for Saint Michael’s Mount in Cornwall (image one)
Mont-Saint-Michel, a tidal island crowned by an abbey in Normandy, is one of ‘France’s most stunning sites’, according to the local tourist board.
Britain has its own answer to this spectacular little isle – St Michael’s Mount in Mount’s Bay, Cornwall. They’ve been confused for one another in the past, with a British magazine recently mistakenly printing a picture of the French isle in place of the Cornish one.
Both islands are dedicated to St Michael and they have a shared history.
Normandy’s Mont Saint Michel was built between the 11th and 16th century, while construction for Cornwall’s Saint Michael’s Mount began in 1135. Following the Norman Conquest in 1066, Earl Of Cornwall Robert de Mortain gave Saint Michael’s Mount to the monks on the Normandy island. However, links between the icons were later severed during the reign of Henry Vlll.
BLACKPOOL… VS PARIS
Blackpool Tower (image one) is modelled on the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris (image two)
Despite a significant difference in scale, there is no denying there are some similarities between the Eiffel Tower of Paris and its British counterpart – the Blackpool Tower in Lancashire.
It’s no coincidence – the attraction’s official website notes that Blackpool Tower is modelled on the iconic Parisian landmark.
The website reveals: ‘The plan was never to replicate the exact structure, just to use it as inspiration.’ Just like the Eiffel Tower, you can climb to the top of Blackpool’s equivalent for panoramic views of the streets below.
There are also a handful of nearby restaurants serving French dishes, wines, and cheeses, such as Fifty Four and The 56 Restaurant.
LOCH TORRIDON IN SCOTLAND… VS NORWAY’S FJORDS
Admire ‘clear cobalt-blue waters’ and stunning mountains that ‘tower over 1,000m high’ at Loch Torridon in Scotland (image one), which rivals the Norwegian fjords (image two)
‘Fancy a visit to the Norwegian fjords? Well, save yourself some cash and head to Wester Ross, which offers the fjord-like delights of little-known Loch Torridon,’ says Rough Guides.
It adds that tourists will find ‘clear cobalt-blue waters’ and stunning mountains that ‘tower over 1,000m high’ on a trip to the sea loch, which lies by the small village of Torridon in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland.
Loch Torridon also plays host to a bounty of marine life including dolphins, seals and even whales as you get closer to the sea, the guide adds.
LONDON’S WEST END… VS NEW YORK’S BROADWAY
London’s West End (image one) is the UK’s rival to the Broadway theatre scene of Manhattan (image two)
If a trip to the Big Apple to see a Broadway show is off the cards, consider picking up tickets to one of the incredible shows in London’s West End.
There are currently 41 theatre operations on Broadway, according to Broadway.org, compared to a close 39 in the West End, which boasts iconic venues including the Prince Edward Theatre in Soho and the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.
Many on-stage hits can be seen in both cities, including Wicked, The Lion King and Frozen the Musical, to name a few.
If you want to live out the New York theme to the fullest, enjoy a Manhattan cocktail at a speakeasy bar in London’s Soho neighbourhood before the show.
BIRMINGHAM… VS VENICE, ITALY
Birmingham (image one) boasts 35 miles’ worth of canals, which it’s said is more than in Venice (image two)
Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’, Birmingham is a staycation option for those whose budget doesn’t quite stretch to a trip to Italy’s ‘Floating City’.
Birmingham boasts 35 miles’ (56km) worth of canals – even more than can be found in Venice, Birmingham City Council notes.
Alternatively, if you’re dreaming of taking a gondola ride, why not try your hand at punting – Britain’s answer to gondolas – along the River Cam in Cambridge?
Or explore the Cotswolds’ answer to Venice – Bourton-on-the-Water, which is so picturesque that the local website has been forced to remind visitors that the village ‘is not a theme park’ and does not have an entry fee.
HENRHYD FALLS IN WALES… VS MADAKARIPURA WATERFALL IN INDONESIA
You could mistake Henrhyd Falls (image one) in Wales for Indonesia’s Madakaripura Waterfall (image two)
Wales has a spectacular rival for one of Indonesia’s stunning natural landmarks.
At a glance, it’s easy to mistake Henrhyd Falls in Wales for Madakaripura Waterfall, which lies on the tropical island of Java.
Both waterfalls lie at the end of a short trek with rocky paths, river crossings and beautiful scenery, as these pictures show.
Visitors can also stand behind each of the falls, which are hailed for their height. Henrhyd Falls is the tallest in South Wales at 90ft (27m), The National Trust reveals. However, Madakaripura Waterfall in Indonesia is more than seven times higher, reaching up to 656ft (200m), Indonesia Tourism notes.
DURDLE DOOR IN DORSET… VS PORTUGAL’S ALGARVE
Lagos in Portugal’s Algarve region (image two) features similar rock formations to Dorset’s Durdle Door (image one)
The Algarve is known for its rugged cliffs and beautiful sandy coves but if Portugal is out of reach, Durdle Door in Dorset is a stunning alternative for Britons.
Pictures show how this ‘iconic’ rock formation bears a striking resemblance to the rocky beaches near Lagos town in the Algarve.
Travellers on Tripadvisor agree, with ‘AmyT’ commenting: ‘Reminded me of the Algarve in Portugal. The rocks protruding out of the sea were so pretty you would forget you’re still in England, apart from the clouds, and [they] reminded me of a trip to Portugal.’
HERTFORDSHIRE, KENT, NORFOLK, AND WORCESTERSHIRE… VS PROVENCE IN FRANCE
Provence (image two) is known for its lavender fields, but the UK has a few too. The top picture shows the flower blooming on a farm near the Hertfordshire town of Hitchin
France’s Provence is famed for its lavender fields, which bloom from June to August, transforming swathes of the southern region into a sea of purple.
But you can find the same colourful landscape at several lavender farms in the UK, including Cotswold Lavender near the village of Snowshill in Worcestershire, Castle Farm in Kent, Norfolk Lavender near Heacham in Norfolk, and Hitchin Lavender in Hertfordshire.
The website for Hitchin Lavender says: ‘Situated on the gentle rolling slopes of Wilbury Hills, our farm has become synonymous with stunning countryside views and relaxing walks, making it a much-loved landmark of North Hertfordshire.’
Commenting on Tripadvisor, ‘cobwebs00’ described it as ‘a little bit of Provence in Hertfordshire’.
Continue your Provence-themed staycation with a trip to Bath in Somerset which is often likened to the French city of Aix-en-Provence for its ancient Roman baths and golden stone buildings. The similarities between the two cities ‘resulted in an official twinning link [being] established in September 1972’, the Mayor of Bath reveals.
THE ISLE OF SKYE, SCOTLAND… VS ICELAND
You’ll find scenery that rivals that of Iceland on the Isle of Skye. The top image shows Skye’s Fairy Pools, while the bottom image is of Iceland’s Godafoss waterfall
Iceland has a dramatic mountainous landscape festooned with waterfalls – over 10,000 in total.
British holidaymakers looking to save money can catch a similar vibe on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, which also boasts a dramatic, mountainous landscape, and breathtaking water features to rival those found in Iceland. For example, Skye’s Fairy Pools are an eye-catching staycation stand-in for Iceland’s Godafoss waterfall, as the pictures above show.
The island’s Talisker Bay has also been compared to the dramatic beaches of Iceland, with local photographer Melvin Nicholson noting that the beach ‘is as Icelandic as the Isle of Skye gets… it’s almost a cloned copy of Vik [a coastal village] in Iceland’.
BRIGHTON’S ROYAL PAVILION… VS INDIA’S TAJ MAHAL
You’ll find striking similarities between Brighton’s Royal Pavilion (image one) and India’s Taj Mahal (image two)
Brighton’s Royal Pavilion bears an uncanny resemblance to one of the seven wonders of the world, India’s Taj Mahal, as these pictures show.
The Royal Pavilion is ‘a remarkable testament to the wide-ranging decorative tastes of George IV’ who acquired the site in 1786, the Royal Collection Trust says.
His taste ‘was in a constant state of transformation’ so he ‘enhanced’ the Pavilion, the website notes, adding: ‘The exterior was transformed by the addition of Indian-inspired domes and minarets.’
As reviewer ‘Nancy T’ wrote on Tripadvisor: ‘Wow! It really is like seeing the Taj Mahal in Brighton.’
THE DARK HEDGES IN ANTRIM… VS NEW ZEALAND’S RATA FOREST
If a trip to New Zealand’s Rata Forest (image two) is off the cards, consider venturing to the Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland (image one)
Both famed for their twisting trees, The Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland could be easily mistaken for New Zealand’s Rata Forest.
The former was planted in County Antrim in the 18th century and ‘has become one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland’, the local tourist board reveals.
Game of Thrones fans might recognise the avenue of trees as it was used as a filming location for ‘Kingsroad’ in the hit fantasy series.
THAILAND’S WAT BENJAMABORPHIT TEMPLE VS LONDON’S BUDDHAPADIPA TEMPLE
Pictures show the striking similarity between London’s Buddhapadipa Temple (image one) and Thailand’s Wat Benjamaborphit Temple
It would be easy to trick your friends into believing you had just stepped off a plane in Bangkok with a selfie outside London’s Buddhapadipa Temple.
The elaborate building is ‘the first Thai Theravada Buddhist Temple ever built outside Asia’, says Tripadvisor.
These pictures show its striking similarity to Thailand’s Wat Benjamaborphit Temple in Bangkok, from its red tiled roof with a golden trim to its bright white columns.
Tripadvisor reviewer Jason Tsang described it as a ‘little bit of Thailand in London’.
ODEON OF HERODES ATTICUS THEATRE IN ATHENS VS MINACK THEATRE IN CORNWALL
A day trip to Cornwall’s Minack Theatre (image one) is a wonderful alternative to travelling to the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens
The Greek capital, Athens, is world-renowned for its ancient ruins, with the historic Acropolis citadel the defining feature of the city. Sitting on the southwest slope of the Acropolis lies the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a magnificent Roman theatre that dates back to AD 161.
But to visit a spectacular outdoor theatre closer to home, look to the Minack Theatre, built into a cliff near the Cornish seaside village of Porthcurno.
The theatre, built in 1930 by the artist Rowena Cade, will host a series of alfresco performances and storytelling sessions this summer, the website reveals.
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