The Edit | What To Pack For A UK Staycation

Thursday 26 August 2021

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It’s been another year of ups and downs in the long saga of Covid-19. One thing I had really been holding on to amid almost two years of restrictions, cancelled celebrations and rolling lockdowns was being able to escape abroad for a week or two this summer. 

But thanks to the vagaries of the ever-changing ‘traffic light’ travel system in the UK and the threat of quarantine, we finally decided to stop holding out and book a staycation instead. But that gives us the issue of what to wear on a UK holiday!

Now I’ll be the first to say that the UK has a lot to offer in terms of a good holiday- my only reservation is the generally subpar weather. It’s just as likely to be hailing in August as it is in January and we never quite know what to expect. That means the idea of a holiday on this particular island has never appealed. To me, it's not really a break if the sunshine isn’t there.

However, here we are making the best of it like most Brits with a week ‘glamping’ in a shepherd’s hut with hot tub in the middle of the Norfolk countryside. The kids are thrilled and excited for rock pooling and eating fish and chips on the beach and I’m looking forward to some family time. 

So what do you wear for a UK staycation in your 30s? I’m sharing some ideas and real outfits here. If you’re lucky enough to be going away abroad, you might want to see my ‘Italian Style Diaries’ series from our pre-lockdown trip to Tuscany.


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1. Pick a palette

Not just for staycations, this is my key to being able to pack light and still look a little pulled together, whether it's for a business trip or a family holiday. You want to go for versatile basics that mix and match together. That goes double on a UK break where you may have to make some last minute adaptations to what you’re planning to wear due to the crazy weather!  

Your palette needs to suit your personal style - so for some people, it might be brighter shades. For me, I’ve stuck with black, white, blue and grey. It’s easy and it just works, plus if I need to switch shorts for jeans, I can do.

2. Go easy on the shoes

Shoes are definitely the worst culprit when it comes to overpacking. They’re bulky, they take up valuable space in your suitcase or weekend bag and you generally need far fewer than you think, so I definitely try to limit the number of shoes I take with me anywhere. 

Generally, a pair of trainers and a couple of pairs of flat sandals will work for most holiday situations.

3. Layer up

The number one rule for UK style is to include layers. The temperature can quickly change, so being able to throw something on or off can make all the difference to your comfort. 

I’m a big fan of a shirt, which can be loosely tied and knotted on top of all kinds of outfits or used as a cover-up on the beach if needed. And you can’t go wrong with a soft, slouchy cardigan to throw on top of a slip dress or shorts and a t-shirt.

4. Keep it casual

If you’re into dressing up to the nines on holiday then by all means, you do you. For me, holidays are a chance to relax, and that includes not going all out with clothes and makeup. 

I favour soft, breathable fabrics, relaxed silhouettes that won’t make me feel restricted and flat shoes at all times. After all, a holiday is about enjoying the moment and you can’t do that if you aren’t comfortable.


Look One - The Relaxed Linen Trouser

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The first day involved a long drive to the Norfolk coast, about three hours from where we live. So I needed an outfit that would be comfortable for travel with two small kids and would work for exploring Norwich castle and settling into the deluxe shepherd’s hut we were ‘glamping’ in. Some loose linen trousers, a shirt and a hat paired with trainers and a backpack was a winning formula.

Pale blue linen drawstring cropped trousers | Joules

White cotton bardot shirt | Whistles

Straw fedora hat | Joules

Leather ‘All Star’ trainers | Converse

‘Le Club Pliage’ backpack | Longchamp

Look Two - The T-Shirt Dress

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We lucked out with glorious sunshine for our trip to the pretty, traditional seaside resort of Wells-Next-The-Sea. It has a golden sandy beach lined with very photogenic multi-coloured beach huts. We really enjoyed building sand castles, swimming in the bay and of course some fish and chips at Platten’s. 

The kids haven’t really been to the beach much as we live in one of the most landlocked parts of the UK, so they thoroughly enjoyed their first taste of the British coast. A simple jersey tshirt dress is easy to slip on and off over a swimsuit, and flip-flops are a must for the beach.

Navy tshirt dress | The White Company

Red white and blue twist front flip flops | Havianas

Woven straw tote bag | Longchamp

Tan leather belt | Paul Smith

‘Havana’ flat top tortoiseshell mirrored sunglasses | YSL

Look Three - The Cloudy Day Maxi

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The next day we asked the kids what they wanted to do, and the answer was a resounding vote to visit the Sea Life Centre. This giant aquarium features a walk-through shark tunnel, which was a big draw to my son. 

We also made sure to stop for ice creams on the seafront and headed out for dinner and drinks in the evening - fitting in a few games of frisbee and a dip in the hot tub at our AirBnb before. So a maxi dress was the do-it-all choice for the day, paired with a spacious tote and chic flat sandals.

Pale blue maxi with black crochet detail | Zara

Black leather flat tie sandals | The White Company

Woven straw tote bag | Longchamp

Look Four - The Breezy Shorts

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On our final full day, we made a trip to Winterton to spot some seals. I thought the chances of actually seeing any would be quite small, but we managed it. This beach is very much off the beaten track and a lot quieter and more remote than somewhere like Wells, and the kids enjoyed being able to run wild and free collecting shells and doing cartwheels on the sand. 

Shorts and a blouse - paired with a simple grey cashmere wrap when it turned a little chillier - suited the changing weather conditions well.

Frill sleeve tshirt with pearls | Zara

White linen shorts | The White Company

Black acetate sunglasses | Chanel

Grey croc cross body bag | Whistles

Black and stripe espadrilles | Toms

Grey cashmere waterfall wrap | Joseph

So that's my style story for a UK staycation - what are you packing this year?

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