Kent: rural beauty on the edge of the city

March 5, 2014 at 8:16 AM
Blue sky over the white cliffs of Dover

Blue sky over the White Cliffs of Dover

Yes, South East England’s home to our crazy, smoky capital – but let’s forget about that for a few minutes. Transport yourself just an hour or so outside (or just a few minutes away from your work desk or kitchen table…) and come with me to what is arguably the loveliest home county: Kent.

The White Cliffs of Dover, pummelled by waves; Canterbury Cathedral, and its turbulent history; hop farms, orchards and vineyards in spades: the ‘Garden of England’ (rightfully named, thank you very much) packs a pretty hefty punch when it comes to attractions, but it offers lots of activities too – and they’re diverse, to say the least.

Fancy taking a breath of fresh air with me? I thought so.

Dartmoor: prime Devonshire paradise

February 13, 2014 at 8:48 AM
The ancient clapper bridge at Postbridges in Dartmoor National Park, Devon England UK

The ancient clapper bridge at Postbridges in Dartmoor National Park, Devon England UK

Fancy a little slice of Devonshire’s prime paradise? I know I do – and once you’ve stepped foot in Dartmoor National Park, having sampled even a fraction of its myriad attractions, you’ll be surprised you hadn’t come sooner. The beauty of its landscapes, the diversity of its wildlife, and the rich heritage it harbours are all somewhat of a given; less known, perhaps, are the wealth of outdoor and water-based activities the area’s suited to, many of which can be enjoyed in groups or as a family. Whether you’ve little ones in tow or are travelling with good friends, Dartmoor’s character will leave you with more than just fond memories.

Enchantment in the New Forest

February 3, 2014 at 12:56 AM
A starburst of sunlight Through a Scots Pine tree at Bratley View in the New Forest National Park in Hampshire
A starburst of sunlight at Bratley View

The New Forest National Park is home to England’s most expansive and unenclosed area of woodland, heathland and pasture – little wonder then that it’s an enchanting destination; even in the chill of winter. For those of us that delight in the prospect of fresh air, brisk walks and the opportunity to try new outdoor activities, it’s a veritable haven. That said, the New Forest – like the rest of our green and so-called ‘pleasant’ land – isn’t without its unpredictable weather! But when ominous skies and grey clouds rule the day, there’s still lots to do, see and explore indoors.

The lure of the Lakes

January 2, 2014 at 3:00 AM
lake_district_2012_56 Photo: Charlie Marshall

Landscape from the Lake District. Photo: Charlie Marshall

The Lake District: it’s synonymous with the beauty of Britain’s hills (well, fells!), pastures, woodlands and–of course–lakes. The undoubted jewel in North West England’s natural crown, it’s not only home to England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, but also its longest and deepest lakes, Windermere and Wastwater respectively. Of course, most people envisage coming here when the skies are clear and blue; when pastures are green, meadows filled with wild flowers, and lambs frolic with one another in the sunshine.

St Ives: Christmas at the coast

December 17, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Pedn Olva hotel  Photo: Cool Places

Pedn Olva hotel Photo: Cool Places

St Ives, Cornwall; there’s nowhere in the UK quite like it. Year on year, visitors are compelled to return to their favourite beaches and natural landmarks, or discover for the first time a whole host of outdoor activities. Is it the scenery; the wildlife? Or is it the opportunities for family-friendly fun?

Whatever it is that attracts tourists to St Ives and its surrounding area, there’s little wonder with so much to see and do. First-off, the beaches; and they’re as suited to sunbathing and swimming (well, if you’re here in the summer) as they are to extreme sports. Few activities allow you to appreciate Cornwall’s wide, open sands as power kiting—a rather windy and wild affair on the shore—and if you’ve ever fancied coasteering, Cornwall’s cliffs and clear waters make for perfect conditions. With Vertical Descents, even beginners can get to grips with wetsuits, waves and wild days out: just check their site for details.