Are you making the most of your annual leave?

Do you look forward to your holidays all year round? Do you meticulously plan your holidays well in advance and count down the days until your summer break?

Or are you so wrapped up in your working week that planning a holiday is just not a luxury you factor into your thoughts? Are you someone who has so much work on, that you simply cannot justify taking some time off to enjoy yourself?

If you are hesitant to book a holiday it appears you are not the only one. New research by TravelSupermarket has found that a quarter of Brits opted not to take all of their annual leave over the last 12 months, with six per cent still having seven days or more left in the bank when their holiday period expired.

And if you think you’re doing your boss a favour by not claiming all of your allowance that may not necessarily be the case. Almost half of all Brits (45 per cent) cite their annual leave as ‘vital’ to their mental and physical health as well as keeping them motivated throughout the year. It appears, for many, making the most of their allocated holiday allowance is crucial to keeping them productive.

Once you are away, chances are your daily stresses can be left at home. 40% of British workers said they felt relaxed as soon as they reached their holiday destination and a further 39% said it only took a day or two to feel de-stressed.

46 per cent of Brits said their biggest consideration when booking their annual leave is matching their time off with that of their partner’s or the family’s. But a good way of tackling this is by booking your breaks around bank holidays. We have a bumper year of nine bank holidays in 2012 so use them to your advantage.

It also doesn’t have to include vaccinations, passports or long flights. Some of the most relaxing and easy going trips can be right here in the UK. If you’re struggling to decide where to go, here are some great places to visit.

The Lake District

A trip to The Lakes could be just the relaxing break you need, with 885 square miles of the finest countryside in the UK. Mountains, lakes, fells and streams help make up the famously picturesque landscape. Take one of the many walking trails such as the Friars Crag Castlerigg Stone Circle, or the Tom Gill to Tarn Hows in Coniston.

Expect to feel right at home as hotels in the Lake District offer a friendly welcome in one of the most beautiful corners of the UK. There is plenty to do in the area for the whole family, sea pike, otters and British sharks at Britain’s biggest freshwater aquarium, visit the well preserved home of one of Britain’s finest poets at The William Wordsworth Museum. Or take a day trip to Keswick, Penrith or Windermere.

Edinburgh

A long weekend in Edinburgh could be just the ticket, a charming mix of ancient and contemporary architecture, rich in history and packed with things to do for all ages. Take a stroll along the Royal Mile and visit the National Museum of Scotland or The Museum of Childhood. The whole family will enjoy a visit to Edinburgh Castle with its 1pm daily field gun burst of shellfire, or an after dark ghost tour. If you’re feeling active, enjoy the views from the peaks of Arthur’s seat or Calton Hill.

Blackpool

Hey, don’t knock it. You’d be surprised at the amount of fun a weekend in Blackpool still is. The Pepsi Max Big One at the Pleasure Beach theme park is still a major adrenalin kick, as is the longest indoor rollercoaster waterslide at Sandcastle Waterpark. Crane your neck at the Blackpool Tower and take a waltz around the magnificent ballrooms. Famous chains such as SeaLife Centre, Maame Tussaud’s and Ripley’s Believe It or Not contribute to making this a world class holiday destination; while the seaside promenade and puppet shows give this a classic British holiday feel. Did we mention the illuminations?

York

Booking a hotel in York will give you a memorable change of pace in one of Britain’s most fascinating cities. Its narrow streets and chic cafes give the city a relaxed vibe not found in other cities. Admire the Gothic structures of York Minster; take a stroll down The Shambles, a street with a long and interesting past, often voted Britain’s most picturesque street. Be transported to a Viking settlement 1,000 years ago at the Jorvik Viking Centre, or visit the York Museum and gruesome York Dungeon.