[Collaboration] Yes, I am aware that I might be jumping the gun here, but it is fun to think about travel. My travel plans for 2021 are very much loose and in my head at the moment. As I mentioned in my UK Travel Planning post, it feels almost safe enough to start dreaming about getting around more. Of course, things might change at the drop of a hat. But having a list at the ready will mean I can get out just as quickly when it is safe to do so.
Primarily, my plans are going to be local. Day trips to Liverpool, Sheffield, Leeds and Birmingham for starters. If you are thinking of visiting Liverpool, but aren’t local, it is worth checking out Hotels.com for your accommodation.
My Travel Plans for 2021
I think we can all agree that travel was not really the theme for 2020, and understandably so! Although it scuppered many of my plans for trips around the UK and a bike touring holiday in the Netherlands, I made very local adventures the aim of my game. As I say, my travel plans for 2021 are really flexible and totally dependable on the pandemic situation. While I would love to plan, nothing is “normal” at the moment so we all need to stay that bit more flexible. Going with the flow is the aim for my travel plans for next year. Though, that being said, there is no harm in browsing my books, watching some travel vlogs and building plans for things to do and places to go.
Tourist in my local cities
You might remember that in the middle of last year, I got into being a tourist in my own city, with some Urban Rambles in Liverpool. The pandemic might have put a stop to us getting to far away places, but it cannot stop you from seeing somewhere a new. Whether that is a city, town or village you know well. Or a nearby place, you didn’t really know existed. For my lockdown birthday this year, Jit treated me to lots of Pevsner Architectural Guides. They are city guides created around historic architecture in towns. Written a long time ago and updated to include more recent buildings and observations, they offer a good starting point for an adventure.
At Christmas last year, we took to the North Dock in Liverpool to explore the architecture highlighted by the Liverpool Pevsner book. It was an amazing adventure. And, despite having grown up spending a lot of time in the city, I was in awe about the places I didn’t have a clue about!
The nice thing about self guided walks, like these, is that if there are social distancing rules, you can keep to the quieter side streets while still enjoying a fun day out.
The day before the first national lockdown hit was the last time I went to Sheffield. We finally walked from town to Meadowhall down the canal – a weird and wonderful goal that I have had for a long time. It was a strange experience seeing the area through the lens of a looming pandemic, so I have have Sheffield on my list so I can renew that memory.
Sheffield is another local day trip that I enjoy taking as there is so much to see and do there. I especially like that you can enjoy plenty of greenspace as well as architectural interest. I, of course, have the Pevsner book for here too, which I am looking forward to delving into very soon.
I’ll admit that I really miss train trips. Every time I see a train run by along the line over my reverse commute, I remember how much I enjoy the anticipation, the fast passing scenery and train picnic. I think there is extra value in having a day out by train because you get to sit back and relax rather than having to watch the road and find a parking space. As soon as it is safe to do so again, I am excited to get a trip planned.
Of course, lovely as local travels are, I would like to have a trip a bit further afield. Something more adventurous and different. A meaty kind of trip to plan and work on. This year I had planned for us to take our Bromptons on a touring trip. Somewhere in the Netherlands so that I can practice my Dutch in the native land. Sadly, that didn’t come to play for obvious reasons, but that didn’t stop me from working on the kit for our bikes for them the time comes.
Cycle touring in the Netherlands
While we were in Utrecht the other year, I discovered the Wandelroutenetwerk (the walking route network) which is alongside some great cycle routes. Walking some of them, we discoveres a lot of interesting and different places. Think rural areas, farmland and working windmills.
I’ve never cycle toured before, but I have plenty of friends who love it. I think their enthusiasm for it gave me the bug to even think about giving it a go. I have since found myself watching videos on Bromton touring and led to me starting to kit out our bikes in anticipation (more on that in another post!)
In my mind, we start the trip by heading to London for a day or two before nipping on the Eurostar over to Rotterdam. From there, I am not sure where we would go, but I am in the process of checking maps and speaking with friends for inspiration. I think that the planning is part of the fun. Getting to colelct ideas and build a picture of what might happen. Something we can all do while things are uncertain, which will lead us to some travel dreams in the near future.
Really local travel
Staying realistic is also something I am good at doing. I know that it might not be any time soon that I get to do any of my travel plans for 2021, so having some really local contingency is a great idea in my book.
We are currently in Tier 3 meaning that we’re advised not to leave Greater Manchester. That doesn’t mean that we have to stay bored at home or glued to the telly. There are so many places to see and things to do very local to Manchester.
Getting to know your home town is brilliant. I discovered Treasure Trails earlier this year and am hook, line and sinker, in love with them. For a tenner, you can print a Treasure Trail at home then head out to solve the clues. We did the Castlefield, Manchester, one and loved it. We even met other people doing them on the same day, which was fun. They have them for almost everywhere, so you can find one for where you live and places nearby.
If places of interest are open in your tier, you can also get going as a tourist in your area. Visiting museums and art galleries to find out more about the history of where you live. I am a real fan of city museums as they are a fantastic way to learn more about the past of a place.
Staying safe and travelling when you can
It is a weird old time we are in at the moment. While I am planning and plotting my travel plans for 2021, I am keeping in mind that they may not happen. Or they will happen in a very different way to how they would have done pre-Covid. That being said, there is absolutely no harm in thinking up ideas, reading blogs and books, watching videos and filling yoruself with inspiration. I think all we can do at the moment is get ready to enjoy travel when we can and make the most of safely exploring where we are in the meantime.
Here’s to things getting better and to future travel plans.
Have you started thinking about your travel plans for 2021?
Let me know what you are thinking about in the comments, I’d love to know where your mind is wandering.
This post is written in collaboration with Hotels.com, but all views are my own.
For more local ideas of days out from Manchester, check out my other posts: