British Travel Journal | Summer 2021

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explore the british isles SUMMER 2021 | ISSUE 09









For more information call sales: +44 (0) 1367 250 066 @lakes_byyoo The Lakes by Yoo NR Lechlade Cotswolds Gloucestershire GL7 3DT





EDITORS E D I T O R - I N - C H I E F Jessica Way F E A T U R E S E D I T O R Samantha Rutherford CHIEF SUB-EDITOR

Angela Harding


Chantal Borciani, Sophie Farrah, Helen Holmes, Emma Johnson, Adrian Mourby, Emma O’Reilly, Lydia Paleschi, Adrienne Wyper


Sailing yachts in Hunters Yard, Ludham, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk © VisitEngland/Broads Authority/Julian Claxton Published by

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AN YOU REMEMBER the last time you stepped foot on a sandy shore, wandered along a countryside path with the scents of summer bloom, or enjoyed fresh local produce cooked for you to perfection in a beautiful setting? It has felt like a long time to be deprived of the richness and fulfilment travel brings - exploring new places, spending a night at your favourite hotel, unwinding in a spa, or enjoying an afternoon tea in a beautiful garden. While we might have forgotten how good this all feels, our desire to travel has not been lost. This issue is all about health, wellness and meaningful travel – ‘slow travel’ (as it has recently been dubbed). So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable trip, to be enjoyed at your own pace, then we hope you will find plenty of inspiration within our summer features. Our top ten life-affirming Health Breaks, p86 are guaranteed to reboot the body and mind, while our Best Tall Ship and Sailing Adventures, p50 offer the ultimate active escapism. The brand-new collection of curated National Parks experiences, p32 are not to be missed, and our Top Eco-Attractions, p44 showcase the very best of our natural world. If spending 48 Hours in Babbacombe, South Devon appeals, I hope you will enjoy my recent memoir, p78, and if a historic town is on your summer agenda, lace your boots up ready for a walk around the picturesque Chester City Walls, p92. If all this wanderlust is leaving you feeling thirsty, yet hungry for more, Mead Bubbly from Bees, p18 and our Chef’s Table, round up of the best gourmet dining experiences, p72 should hopefully hit-thespot - leaving no excuses for an evening of epicurean-delights. Hotels and destinations across the British Isles have never been more ready to welcome us back - I am delighted to be setting off on my British journeys again soon, and I hope you will be too - wishing you a safe and magical, extraordinary summer!








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TRAVEL NEWS Our selection of the finest new staycation packages, from safari park luxury lodges to the latest five-star hotel in the centre of London, there’s something new in the city, coast and countryside. MEET THE MAKERS OF MEAD BUBBLY FROM BEES


We’re going mad over mead this summer, made from just two ingredients: water and honey… and perhaps the world’s oldest alcoholic drink.



Drift away with us while discovering more about this exciting hotel brand's new Sleep Retreat in Richmond and Beach Club in Salcombe - both launching this summer.


FOR YOUR JOURNEY Latest travel essentials and crossword.




A brand-new collection of curated experiences has launched this summer across England’s nine iconic National Parks, from bushcraft to goat herding, kayaking to night-time reserve walks.





Be inspired and educated, as well as entertained, by visiting our top ten UK projects which showcase our natural world at the same time as working to protect it.

From metropolitan marinas and busy ports to the open seas and peaceful archipelagos, sailing is the definition of both freedom and excitement.






Add a splash of retro chic to your summer wardrobe with these Rhodium framed sunglasses - part of the new Silhouette collection, Sun Lite, priced £260. #tryitwearitloveit The White Company's perfect on-the-go essential for holidays and weekends away, Spa Restore Essentials Set, along with a useful Spa Headband and Waffle Bag to keep all the pieces together. Refreshingly cool and rejuvenating, it feels like walking into a luxurious spa, priced £55.




Our top outdoor pools for taking the plunge this summer, from laps in fivestar luxury, soaking up the skyline from a city rooftop to reconnecting with nature in a stylish swimming ‘pond’.




Discover staycation dining with our round up of the best gourmet at-home dining options from Michelin chef catering to curated menus delivered direct to your door.



With rugged sandstone cliffs and azure-blue waters, the coastal scenery surrounding Cary Arms Hotel & Spa in Babbacombe, South Devon, is beautiful enough to rival the Mediterranean.





Relax, get fit, reboot body and mind and be pampered…all is possible, and at a social distance, on these revitalising, lifeaffirming breaks around the British Isles.

Now that we are able to wander around Britain's towns again, visiting historic sites and stopping somewhere picturesque for a relaxing lunch, the walled city of Chester is at the top of our list.

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The best birthday gift for 2021? Are you looking for a brilliant birthday present idea?


ith the end of lockdown rapidly approaching, staycations are finally back on the agenda with Britain’s beautiful hotels ready to reopen their

doors. So, whether you’ve got a birthday coming up or you know someone who does, there’s no better way to celebrate than with the gift of Roomcard™. Roomcard™ is the digital gift card for the world’s 10,000 most inspirational hotels, covering the very best of Britain and beyond. Roomcard™ allows you to add your own customised wrapping and personal greeting – whether you prefer a video, photo gallery, spoken or written message. Schedule the delivery of Roomcard™ at precisely your chosen time, and then, right on cue, it will be delivered straight to the recipient’s phone.


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TRAVEL NEWS Reignite your passion for travel this summer with our selection of what's new from hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions across the British Isles


The Tawny

If you are looking for a unique, rural and eco-friendly retreat for your next staycation then consider The Tawny. This is, as they describe, 'a hotel like no other'. Accommodation is private and rural, comprising of wildwood huts, treehouses, romantic boathouses, luxury retreats - and our personal favourite, the Lookout - with freestanding bathtub and private deck with an outdoor spa bath and shower. Could this be the ultimate country escape we all need? Bathe outside under starlit skies, enjoy the perfect picnic, share a meal with gorgeous views of the transformed Consall Gardens with stunning natural beauty all around - and, should you need it, there's a fabulous restaurant, room service, and heated outdoor pool on the estate too. ◆ 

Editor loves


Audio & Award Scottish actor, Mark Bonnar, best known for his roles as Duncan Hunter in Shetland, Bruno Jenkins in Casualty, and DCC Mike Dryden in Line of Duty, is the new voice behind The Royal Yacht Britannia's brilliant audio tour commentary - available to all museum visitors. Not only this - the 'outstanding attraction' has just been awarded Best UK Attraction 2020 by Which? Magazine - and we say, it's well deserved. ◆ 


New hotels and restaurants CHELSEA

The Apartments by 11 Cadogan Gardens

Following the recent launch of The Mayfair Townhouse, Iconic Luxury Hotels (owners of Chewton Glen, Cliveden House and The Lygon Arms) have opened their doors to yet more luxurious accommodation in the capital. The Apartments by 11 Cadogan Gardens are in the heart of Chelsea life. Knightsbridge, Harrods and the Saatchi Gallery are all around the corner, and just a stone’s throw away is Chelsea’s bustling Sloane Square. Stay and enjoy 11 Cadogan Gardens own Hans’ Bar & Grill, nestled amongst the artisanal shops and food suppliers of picturesque Pavilion Road. Prices from £270 per night. ◆ 


North Lodge, Coworth Park

Coworth Park - one of the three extraordinary British hotels owned by the iconic Dorchester collection (the other two being 45 Park Lane and The Dorchester) is an idyllic 70-bedroom Mansion House, yet nestled within its 240 acre grounds there are more hidden treasures to discover. The latest gem to be unveilled is North Lodge, a delightfully cosy gatehouse cottage, and the second in their collection of private signature suites, alongside The Dower House - a Grade II listed cottage built in 1775. North Lodge is set amongst idyllic private gardens, and has been beautifully restored with its own idyllic country garden, three en-suite bedrooms, a roll-top bath, gated entrance, state-of-the-art kitchen and private chef. To elevate the experience, spa therapists can even perform treatments in the comfort of your suite. Pure bliss! ◆ 



Vineyards of the Surrey Hills One of the home counties is giving the French a run for their money with a newly-formed collective of five vineyards set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, inviting you to try their English Wines. 


Fine dining at Waddesdon

The grounds to Waddesdon's Windmill Hill have been opened to visitors for the first time, offering a new award-winning dining experience. Pictured right, these new dining domes, set between the cutting-edge art and architecture, offer fine dining experiences within a covid-safe bubble. You are also located high on the hill, overlooking the Vale of Aylesbury - the same spectacular view which first drew Ferdinand de Rothschild to Waddesdon in 1874. You can now dine in a location which has never been open to guests before, enjoying fresh seasonal menus paired with delicious cocktails and wines. Lunch, afternoon tea and dinner sittings are available from 20 May-13 June. ◆ 

New whisky experience


Highland home of Johnnie Walker Located on Scotland’s North Coast 500 route through the world famous Highlands, the previously named Clynelish Distillery experience has been completely reimagined as 'world-beating, multi-sensory and interactive'. There's also a brand new terrace bar (pictured left) overlooking Brora’s rolling hills from which to enjoy a Scotch highball or dram. Plus there is excitement building around the brand-new, much-anticipated, Johnnie Walker Princes Street whisky visitor experience opening in Edinburgh this summer too. We'll cheer Slàinte Mhath to that. ◆ 


Family adventures


Bring Into Being

Chiswick House & Gardens is a popular family attraction - a Roman style Palladian villa designed by the Third Earl of Burlington and 65-acre Grade-1 listed, award-winning Gardens, but now there's another reason to visit. In a new direction, the 18th century heritage site has launched a creative artistic programme, Bring Into Being (27 May - 31 October 2021), featuring three site-specific artwork installations by Turner-prize winning artist Mark Wallinger, esteemed sound artist Peter Adjaye and installation artist Jaimini Patel. Prices Adults £11, Family £23.50. ◆ 


The Grove

Set in 300 acres of verdant Hertfordshire countryside, this ultimate five-star retreat has been completely remastered. Following a twoyear long refurbishment, all three of their restaurants, lobby and west wing bedrooms have been completely transformed, re-emerging after lockdown as a new hotel. Lovingly restored, The Grove is the former home of the Earls of Clarendon, with a rich history dating back to the 1500s. In addition to 215 luxurious guestrooms, The Grove has an award-winning spa, championship golf course, an original Walled Garden, heated outdoor pool and even boasts its own ‘beach'. Nightly rates start from £370 for a West Wing Classic Room. ◆ 

The Art of Banksy The world’s largest collection of privately owned Banksy art is now on view in Earlham Street in a new exhibition until 20 November, having previously travelled across the globe from Toronto to Melbourne.  12




The Ultimate Staycation Breakfast Heading off on holiday? Delivered straight to your holiday home, the Staycation Bundle contains everything you need for a delicious, hearty breakfast, to include Dry Cured Back Bacon, Cacklebean Mixed Chicken Eggs and British Piccolo Tomatoes.  The Staycation Bundle is priced £22.50,


Zip World Tower

Zip World have launched a new site, Zip World Tower, set in the iconic Rhigos mountain range with stunning views that overlook the beautiful Welsh landscape, including the Brecon Beacons. The adventure hub is home to Phoenix, the world’s fastest seated zip line, Big Red, a mobile zip version for kids, and Tower Coaster, a toboggan-style rollercoaster (if you dare!). The site is situated at the old Tower Colliery coal mining site - the oldest continuously working deep coal mine in the UK, prior to its closure in 2008 - and Zip World Tower has been designed to create a lasting legacy to its deep-rooted mining heritage. ◆ 

You might also enjoy WORCESTERSHIRE

Safari Park Animal Lodges West Midland Safari Park have launched their long-awaited Safari Lodges, welcoming guests to stay for the very first time at the luxury overnight accommodation. Six of the lodges offer the only overnight experience with elephants in the UK, whilst two more lodges offer incredible views of the Park’s cheetahs , designed to give guests an immersive and unforgettable overnight wildlife experience. Prices start from £171 per adult per night and £147 per night for a child. ◆ 


We love

The Snuggy If you're heading on a glamping trip, pod, log cabin or shepherd hut style, where sitting around a fire pit in the evening and toasting marshmallows is a must then we recommend adding a super soft fleece Snuggy to your packing list.  Available in five different colours, priced £59.99, or for children £34.99, NORTH NORFOLK

Godwick Hall

'Schlamping' is the new term for glamping at Godwick Hall, with the launch of their three stunning new luxurious shepherds huts. Set in 100 acres of quintessential English countryside with sheep dotted about the pastures and the lost medieval village of Godwick, which is open to explore. Think oak wooden floors, butler sinks and narrowboat wood burners, outdoor firepits and plenty of extra wood. Just add a glass of fizz and marvel at the stars for the perfect ‘getting away from it all’ experience. In the morning enjoy a continental or bacon buttie breakfast delivered to the hut before setting out to explore the Norfolk countryside and beautiful beaches. Shepherd's Huts prices from £90/night minimum two night stay. ◆ 


Water's Edge

Who doesn’t want to be by the water’s edge right now? With more of us searching for properties to accommodate large family groups, this wonderful five bedroom retreat close to the sea in Mawgan Porth must fill you with multi-generation travelust. Not only is it a short stroll from the beach, it’s also just steps from the South West Coastal Path – perfect for combining fitness with fabulous views. It is also just around the corner from The Scarlett, which offers amazing spa treatments and a wonderful swimming pool as well as incredible meals. Prices from £1,719 for a long weekend or mid week break. ◆ 




The Dilly Have you missed dancing? The Dilly is not only the latest five-star hotel to open in the centre of London, but the first to offer its own dedicated dance studio – Inspiration 2 Dance. For private groups and family lessons, guests are invited to learn Smooth, Latin and/or Ballroom from world-class teachers. Bookable via the website or the hotel’s concierge.  Room rates start from £219, SHROPSHIRE

Sham Castle

Searching for a stay with the wow factor? Built in 1780, this beautiful Grade II* listed folly boasts far reaching, panoramic and spectacular views across rolling countryside to the Wrekin and has it in droves. Its enviable, elevated position on top of a rock knoll overlooks a lake and 1.75 acres of enclosed gardens. Enjoy sun loungers and fruit trees when the fruit is ripe you are welcome to pick what you want. Sham Castle is the perfect romantic escape - needless to say, you could lose yourselves here for days. Sleeps four guests, prices from £867 for a 3-night stay with welcome hamper included. ◆ 

You might also enjoy


Horwood House For those looking for a touch of rural luxury, stunning Grade II listed country house hotel Horwood House is just the ticket. Steeped in history and set deep within the idyllic Buckinghamshire countryside, the hotel has reopened following an extensive £5.5 million refurbishment of its 165 bedrooms, lounge areas, 38 acres of landscaped gardens and new restaurants. It has launched a series of new staycation packages, such as Picnic in the Park, which includes an overnight stay, breakfast, dinner, picnic afternoon tea for you to enjoy al fresco – sandwiches with a side of nature. Priced at £189 for two people. ◆ 




MEAD BUBBLY FROM BEES Perhaps the world’s oldest alcoholic drink, mead is made from just two ingredients: water and honey… Words | Adrienne Wyper


ECORDS SHOW THAT mead was made as long ago as 8,000BC, and some sources believe it may have originally occurred naturally, when honey and rainwater mixed in the hollow of a tree and fermented, later to be spotted and sampled by curious humans. Since then, production techniques have become more sophisticated, and yeast is added, to supplement the natural yeasts in the atmosphere. Simple yet versatile, mead can vary widely, from deep caramel to pale lemon in colour, from dry to sweet, still or sparkling. And its alcohol content can range from around four per cent, on a par with beer, up to 20%, similar to a fortified wine. Mead made from more than honey and water has several different names: with added herbs or spices it’s metheglin; with fruit such as cherries or blackberries, which helped to preserve the harvest in past times, it’s melomel, or cyser if apple is added; and pyment, with grape juice. Special honeys, such as orange blossom or heather, can influence the taste of the finished product. With all this natural variation, there’s a mead to suit all tastes and



New meadmakers position the world’s “oldest drink as a contemporary choice, a traditional drink brought up to date, in the same way as craft beer

all drinking occasions. Many factors inspire a thirst for mead: whether it’s a desire for local produce with a sense of terroir (mead is made all over the UK), an appreciation of the work of bees and beekeepers, a taste for a natural product, a taste for heritage, or simply the urge to try something new to you. And it’s as varied and versatile as wine. Rod Marsh, who runs the Cider Barn at Middle Farm (, a fun-packed working family farm near the South Downs in East Sussex, which sells 92 bottled and 18 draught meads, says: “one could readily fashion a meal with a mead for each course, followed by mead liqueur, and even a distilled mead nightcap!” He has seen the drink’s popularity rise in recent years: “When we started selling mead the only customers were local white witch covens and re-enactment societies. It has definitely gone mainstream over the last 10 years. Growing public awareness of the plight of bees worldwide and a desperate need to find some national identity not associated with empire have both played a part. The historical association of it being widely renowned as an aphrodisiac has also, no doubt, had some effect.” For most people, mead may still be associated with mythical, mistsof-time images of Vikings and mediaeval monks – or even Game of Thrones – but new meadmakers position the world’s oldest drink as a contemporary choice, a traditional drink brought up to date, in the same way as craft beer. One of the crop of contemporary meadmakers is Gosnells of London Meadery (, whose base in Peckham, south London, couldn’t be further from the flowery meadows that may come to mind when imagining mead-making. The company has a range of alestrength canned meads (4%), with innovative limited editions, such as coffee or blueberry and plantain, along with more traditional bottled meads. Founder Tom Gosnell says: “Our intention is to create elegant meads, more akin to sparkling wines or artisan ciders. They are lighter in colour than most high-alcohol meads, sparkling, fresh and vibrant. They show the subtlety of honey.”




The company, founded in 2013, puts a lot of effort into nurturing their natural raw material. “Gosnells’ postcode meads do demonstrate the trees, bushes and flowers in different areas of London and its surrounds. They are massively different from each other,” says Tom. “There is no added sugar (as in Champagne), and no need for balancing acids (as in wine), but mead is reliant on our populations of bees – so we are working on providing them with nectar all through the year.” To this end, the company has recently opened a ‘mead garden’, with pollinating plants recommended by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and London apiarists, and educational materials for visitors to help them be kind to pollinators. Embracing modern ways of reaching its market, the company holds monthly online tastings.


If you can buy a bottle of mead “for under a tenner it is almost And if mead strikes you as relatively expensive, consider the incredible industry required to produce its main ingredient. Mead is around three parts water to one part honey, and a bee needs to gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey. To reach all those flowers, she flies 90,000 miles, three times round the world. On cost, Rod cautions: “If you can buy a bottle of mead for under a tenner it is almost definitely a pyment, ie mixed with grape juice – a far cheaper commodity than honey.” As a man who knows his mead, Rod rates the following producers, as well as Gosnells. Baldur Mead by the Lancashire Mead Company (, fermented out to dryness in the traditional manner. In the Scottish Highlands Christopher Mullins, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, at The Rookery Craft Mead (, fashions clean, natural and complex flavours from foraged ingredients including spruce, silver birch, crab apple, plum, sloe, lavender, pear, mint and ginger, creating seasonal ‘midwinter’ and ‘midsummer’ brews, and even sells Viking-style drinking horns. In Cornwall there’s Ninemaidens

definitely a pyment, ie mixed with grape juice – a far cheaper commodity than honey

Mead ( with fruit, spiced and 40% distilled options. In Wales there’s Mountain Mead (, who suggest mixing mead with tonic or making a meady Kir royale by topping up their Telor y Coed medium-sweet mead with Champagne, and Wye Valley Meadery (, who apply modern brewing techniques to the most ancient beverage. In Rod’s opinion, the best examples of traditional mead are Dr Hugh Howard Tripp’s Pennard Vineyard Mead (12%; from Somerset, and Christopher Mullins’s Rookery Mead (17%), with the best liqueur mead “by far” Beeble (30%; from North Wiltshire made by Ellie Berry (beekeeper) and Matthew Brauer (bookkeeper) and fortified with fine Scotch whisky. Whether it’s a traditional true mead, or one with a 21st-century twist, mead is creating a bit of a buzz….



HARBOUR HOTELS DRIFT AWAY Perfectly positioned in some of the UK's most desirable destinations, exciting evolving hotel brand, Harbour Hotels, launches a Sleep Retreat in Richmond and Harbour Beach Club in Salcombe this summer, adding to its already impressive collection of luxury hotels. British Travel Journal settles in for the night… Words | Emma Johnson


F YOU HAVE NOT YET heard of Harbour Hotels it could be that you have not been booking into the right hotels – or like most of us, due to the pandemic, any hotels at all. Yet, in all the turmoil of the past year, one silver lining for this impressive British business, has been their ability to re-emerge, with yet more exciting stylish properties and experiences to welcome back their enthusiastic and eager guests. Specialists in luxury, boutique retreats, with hotels in the heart of our finest towns, coastlines and cities, Harbour Hotels offer stylish stays in some of the most stunning and iconic locations, from seafronts to harbours, to royal parks and historic manor houses on country estates. There are over 15 Harbour Hotels across the UK, and a further two launching this year; Richmond Harbour’s new Sleep Retreat and the Harbour Beach Club, a stylish waterfront hotel and resort on South Sands Beach in Salcombe.



A brand staple in the Harbour Hotels collection are their costal properties, which make for the perfect summer retreat - we love The Brighton Harbour Hotel, situated in a restored Regency period building, right on Brighton’s iconic and lively seafront. In Cornwall, their hotel in Fowey is just steps from the beach with picture-perfect views over Fowey’s estuary; while The Padstow Harbour Hotel is perched above the charismatic fishing port, in a stunning Victorian mansion. Newly-opened this year, we’re also really excited about the Harbour Beach Club, with a laid-back feel, luxury rooms and spa, wide outdoor terraces and a fantastic beach bar, it looks set to become a key destination for staycationing this summer. Perhaps the most exciting of them all however, and a completely new concept for the hotel brand, is the forwardthinking magnificently restored 18th century Richmond Harbour Hotel & Spa, situated on top of Richmond Hill, home to the only luxury spa in Richmond and their newly launched break, the Sleep Retreat. As a hotel brand which has always put well-being first, the launch of Richmond Harbour Sleep Retreat is no surprise. Getting a good night’s rest can be

Pictured previous spread: Fowey Harbour Hotel Pictured left-right: Richmond Harbour Hotel; Fowey Harbour Hotel restaurant; and Padstow Harbour Hotel

Richmond Harbour & Spa is a haven of “peace and tranquillity, offering a wellness journey like no other, providing guests from all over the world with an urban sanctuary to switch off and recharge

hard enough at the best of times, topped off with the pandemic to cope with too, The White Company Sleep Retreat Spa Break could not sound more tempting. Perfectly situated next to Richmond Park and just moments from the river, the hotel is within easy strolling distance of Richmond Village and the town centre with its many shops and restaurants. The hotel has also introduced a range of outdoor activities designed to improve guests’ physical and mental wellbeing – from daily guided meditation walks to running sessions, outdoor bootcamps and nature trails. 26

Michael Warren, Managing Director of Harbour Hotels, says: “Richmond Harbour Hotel & Spa is a haven of peace and tranquillity, offering a wellness journey like no other, providing guests from all over the world with an urban sanctuary to switch off and recharge.” It’s a truism that things always look better in the morning, and that’s because sleep is so incredibly important for both our health and our happiness. We know now, more than ever, how vital a good night’s sleep is - not only for our bodies, but also our minds. When we sleep, while our bodies rest and rejuvenate, our minds also relax and our stresses melt away.

And, as you slip between the crisp Egyptian cotton sheets at the Richmond Harbour Hotel & Spa, soothed by the scents of sleep-inducing candle and a soothing White Company pillow



Having had the delight of “staying in many of the Harbour Hotels it has been wonderful to see how stylish and different each hotel is.

mist, you’ll know that a good night’s sleep is finally ahead of you. After a year of considerable challenges, making a commitment to improving your sleep is time well spent. Start with an enlivening early morning yoga class followed by a wonderful hour-long ‘Drift Away’ massage, using a relaxing blend of essential oils such as patchouli, geranium, frankincense, myrrh, dill seed and orange. Later on, you can soak away any worries in the world-class HarSPA - a wellness oasis offering much-needed tranquillity and respite from the whirl of city life, with a sauna, steam room, a heated 20-metre swimming pool, and – our favourite – a secluded outdoor Zen garden furnished with Nordic-inspired sofas and armchairs – and bubbling Scandinavian hot tubs to dip in. After a healthy dinner of kale tagliatelle with goat’s cheese or a vegan burger with beetroot and chickpeas in The Gate restaurant, you can retire to your room, greeted by The White Company’s Sleep


Collection gift box, which includes a Sleep Candle, Calming Bath Soak, a Nourishing Body Cream, a Soothing Pillow Mist and a Fluffy Eye Mask. Drifting off to the scents of lavender, restorative clary sage and soothing chamomile, and sipping a warm cup of herbal tea, your mind gets quiet, gently resting, ready for sleep. Quintessentially British brand, The White Company, has been in partnership with Harbour Hotels since 2013 offering their fabulous ‘Flowers’ toiletries range in all the hotels. “It’s truly the perfect partnership of two very British brands, and our collaboration on the Sleep Retreat brings together all these values of luxury and wellbeing in the perfect self-care package", explains The White Company’s Janie Martin. "Having had the delight of staying in many of the Harbour Hotels it has been wonderful to see how stylish and different each hotel is. Plus, their exceptional staff makes your stay even more enjoyable.”

Pictured above: Bathroom at Salcombe Harbour Hotel & Spa; Bedroom at Brighton Harbour Hotel & Spa. Pictured left: Bathroom at Fowey Harbour Hotel featuring The White Company toiletries



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NATIONAL PARK EXPERIENCES From bushcraft to goat herding, kayaking to night-time reserve walks, make this a summer to remember with these fabulous new experiences from our National Parks Words | Jessica Way


BRAND-NEW COLLECTION of curated experiences has launched this summer across England’s nine iconic National Parks - with more planned for Scotland and Wales soon. There are currently over 80 incredible adventures, being offered by passionate people who want to share their love of nature and the outdoors. If you’re a foodie, history buff, landscape lover or wildlife fan, we hope you enjoy our pick of the best here. To find out more and to book any of the experiences visit the new booking website:



Loch Lomond & The Trossachs


Lake District

North York Moors

Yorkshire Dales


Peak District Snowdonia Pembrokeshire Coast Brecon Beacons Exmoor Dartmoor

South Downs New Forest

HIDDEN GEM — Wistman's Wood: This enchanting wood seems to belong in a fairy tale. Home to a carpet of deep green moss underfoot and finger-like branches of dwarf oak trees and corkscrew branches above, the fascinating Wistman’s Wood is one of only three remote, high-altitude oak woods in Dartmoor

Dartmoor National Park — From vast wild moorlands to imposing rock formations and river valleys that cut deep through the landscape, Dartmoor National Park offers a mix of relaxing surroundings and active adventures. Tackle the hills on two wheels, amble along miles of walking routes or come face-to-face with some of the region’s rare wildlife


GEMS OF DARTMOOR PHOTOGRAPHY This photography workshop will give you the fundamentals of great photography. Vivid colours and atmospheric sunlight go hand-in-hand so that the moor is ablaze with an astonishing vibrancy, perfect for creating dramatic photographs. Visit destinations that are off the beaten track and learn how to frame and capture stunning images under the expert guidance of a local photographer. Learn how to use your camera or phone to make the most of a location and the light to create stunning photography. Explore the history and mysteries of the subjects of your photography and learn about the conservation of the area too. 8 hours.  Priced from £295.



HIDDEN GEM — Long Man of Wilmington: Standing as the tallest chalk figure in the UK, the Long Man of Wilmington is an interesting highlight along the South Downs. With a past that is riddled with mystery, this historic site is surrounded by lush green countryside, gentle hills and postcard-perfect villages – ideal for a stress-busting stroll in southern England’s countryside

South Downs National Park — Discover the world-famous white cliffs, rolling green hills, ancient woodland, rich wetlands and lowland heaths. Stretching across the south of England, the South Downs National Park – with its long distance paths, cycle routes and rare wildlife – is a real haven for outdoor enthusiasts and culture seekers. Get inspired by the dramatic cliffs and picturesque villages found throughout the National Park




Start with a two-hour fly-fishing taster experience at Chalk Springs Trout Fishery nestled on the edge of the historic market town of Arundel in the South Downs. Then, with fish in hand - if you don't catch one yourself one trout per person is provided - it’s over to Fins & Forks HQ for a hands-on session at the smokehouse kitchen. Prepare and cure your catch for the smoker choosing one of the signature cure flavourings. Your cold smoked trout will be posted to you after the session– perfect for brunch and sharing your story about the one that did not get away!  Priced from £99

Exmoor National Park — With a unique mosaic of expansive moorlands, woodland valleys, rolling hills and dramatic coastline, Exmoor National Park is a firm favourite among walkers. Visitors can keep an eye out for Exmoor ponies and red deer by day and marvel at the stars by night, as they explore this ancient and wild landscape



Learn about how your ancestors survived. This introduction to wild foraging with botanist Liz Cwilewicz will help you learn how to confidently identify and harvest up to 15 wild edibles. Deliver into the history and culture of Exmoor National Park and discover the folklore and medicinal uses behind these edibles.  2 hours, priced from £10

HIDDEN GEM — Cow Castle: Found high on Exmoor, Cow Castle is an impressive Iron Age fort nestled alongside the soothing River Barle valley. But history is not all this hidden gem has to offer, for beneath the ancient fort is a wild landscape, babbling river and even a deep pool, a secluded spot for wild swimming. Those planning an adventure here should note that this site can only be found on foot, lying two miles from the small village of Simonsbath



Peak District — From breathtaking views of stunning limestone valleys and rugged gritstone landscapes to magnificent stately homes, the Peak District has a contrasting range of natural beauty. Highlights include Edale’s Kinder Scout and the Castleton caves, the only place in the world where the semi-precious mineral Blue John is mined. The Peak District was also the UK’s first National Park, founded in 1951


The highest points in the Peak District are the only places in England where you can still find Mountain Hares. Most people will never see them when out walking but this guide has a 100% success rate. The walk starts from the Snake Pass road, between Glossop and Sheffield. After a gradual climb of around 200m, you’ll leave the Pennine Way path navigating across the complex moorland terrain to some of the best locations to see Mountain Hares in their natural habitat. There’s the chance to see shorteared owls, golden plover, red grouse, kestrels and learn about the ecology and restoration of these amazing bog and moorland habitats. After observing the hares, you’ll head to the incredible and moving location of the site of the B29 Superfortress "Over Exposed" plane crash. A camera with a long lens or zoom and binoculars are worth taking but if you don’t have the gear don’t worry – the guide will send you a set of digital photos taken on the day.  Priced from £38 per person

HIDDEN GEM — Thor’s Cave, Wetton: Hidden away behind the Staffordshire village of Wetton in the Peak District, Thor’s Cave is a fascinating geological finale to a relaxing countryside walk. After strolling along a quaint country path, visitors will see the wonderful arched mouth emerge in the distance. Reached by a stepped path, the natural limestone cavern has an inviting entrance that leads to a space that’s occupation dates back to the Stone Age. As well as exploring this ancient habitation space, visitors will be treated to stunning views of the valley below to boot!


5 CLIMBING THROUGH HISTORY, PEAK DISTRICT Try climbing, abseiling and scrambling for the first time or develop existing skills with local experts. The history of the Peak District National Park is etched in the unique gritstone crags that line the valley edges. This world-famous rock, besides being an integral part of the area’s industrial heritage, has formed the favoured vertical playground for generations of climbers and scramblers. Follow in their footsteps by climbing, scrambling and abseiling under the expert guidance of a local instructor. Learn about the history and geology, flora and fauna of this unique area.  Priced from £85




The Yorkshire Dales National Park — Home to the Three Peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, The Yorkshire Dales National Park is an area known for its rich farming heritage, lush heather moors, labyrinth of caves, rolling valleys embellished with traditional field barns and drystone walls – giving visitors a look into Britain’s countryside, both past and present.



Crackpot Hall: For epic scenery with a side of local history, walk to the fascinating ruins of Crackpot Hall. Tucked away at the foot of rolling hills, Crackpot Hall is the ruins of an 18th century smallholding, abandoned in 1953. There are staggering views in several directions, this site overlooks Swinner Gill, where sweeping valleys were once home to a thriving lead mining industry, the remains of which can still be seen today.



Immerse yourself in the tranquil Yorkshire Dales landscape and enjoy a full exploration of fascinating and beautiful Gunnerside Gill in Swaledale. You’ll get a feel for how different this area must have been 200 years ago when it was bustling with people and machinery. Experience and understand more about how nature has slowly been reclaiming the landscape and plans for future nature recovery in the area. As well as enjoying a picnic with local delicacies and dipping your toes in the beck, the day includes a visit to a 200-year-old working smithy and a drink in the local pub.  7 hours, priced from £35 per person

Northumberland National Park — Ancient monuments, rolling moorland and the uplands of the Cheviot Hills make Northumberland National Park – Europe’s largest International Dark Sky Park – as tranquil as the stars are bright! The remote heathercovered hills, iconic Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site and unspoilt historic islands mean it’s a must for scenery-centric bucket lists.



Venture into ‘bandit country’ where Romans dared to march as you patrol the northern frontier with a National Park Ranger. Start out from The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre where you’ll pick up an E-mountain bike. You’ll cycle together along the most iconic section of Hadrian’s Wall including an off-road section along an ancient byway with outstanding views. As you explore quiet country lanes and byways you’ll be immersed in tales of how Hadrian’s Wall was made and enjoy a flavour of what life was like.  Priced from £30.


HIDDEN GEM — Hareshaw Linn, Bellingham: Dream of walking through the charming woodland, crossing quaint bridges and marvelling at the deep green waterfall at Northumberland’s Hareshaw Linn. A secluded spot brimming with flora and fauna, fans of the great outdoors can spot rare ferns and lichen, as well as red squirrels and wood warblers.



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Ennerdale Water: Those longing to experience utter tranquillity have hit the jackpot, as Ennerdale Water is the National Park’s most remote lake. Offering a peaceful slice of Britain’s vast countryside, those planning on visiting Ennerdale can expect crystal-clear waters, wonderful forest walks and outstanding views of the surrounding hilly landscape. This Lake District secret is so remote that it cannot be reached by road, although active adventurers can hop on a bike and enjoy the 10-mile cycle path that connects it to Whitehaven.

The Lake District National Park — The Lake District is home to awe-inspiring landscapes, high fells, deep glacial lakes and quaint rural villages. Now a World Heritage Site, the rugged yet beautiful National Park has the highest mountains in England, the largest being Scafell Pike, and is one of Britain’s most scenic spots in any season.



The natural world changes at night as different animals emerge and new noises are heard. You’ll get kitted out with binoculars, night-vison equipment and bat detectors so that you can get a really good look at how nocturnal creatures make the world their own once the sun goes down. Finish up around an open fire with a bowl of something warm and delicious.  4 hours, priced from £35





Join our experienced leaders to explore a hidden cove such as Boggle Hole or Runswick Bay on the North York Moors Heritage Coast. We’ll help you to find the secret creatures hiding in rock pools, to discover Jurassic fossils, forage for seashore snacks, and then to cook and eat some of the food you’ve found, which is extra tasty when cooked on an open beach fire! Depending on the wishes of the group the experience can include hunting for Jurassic fossils from 200 million years ago, including dinosaur footprints and the worldfamous ammonites and Whitby Jet and exploring the rock pools and rocky shoreline to meet the animals and plants that live there. Some of these (seaweed, shell fish, crabs and lobsters) we will forage to provide a beach cooked meal and depending on the time of year/day, it may also be possible to add in an evening of stargazing.  Priced from £45

North York Moors National Park — A place of extraordinary heritage with countryside to match, the North York Moors have rolling hills, deep wooded dales, captivating coasts, ancient abbeys, tumbling streams and timeless villages – this is a National Park mixing both unexpected and quintessential beauty. There is also a heritage railway system, part of the National Parks Experience Collection.

HIDDEN GEM — Hayburn Wyke: Found along the Cleveland Way National Trail, hidden beyond deer-dwelling woodland, the secret cove of Hayburn Wyke offers a pebbled paradise, home to a host of shallow rock pools at the foot of dramatic cliffs. A place to explore from both above and below, those longing for a relaxing coastal walk can dream of strolling along the clifftops, discovering an old railway line and wandering through ancient woodlands.


HIDDEN GEM — Winterton-On-Sea: Nestled between sweeping sandy beaches and the natural beauty of the Norfolk Broads, Winterton-On-Sea is a picturesque British seaside village ideal for those longing for a taste of the quiet life. Lighthouses, traditional thatched cottages and inviting sand dunes pepper the area, as well as a 14th century historic church whose tower is sometimes open to the public, for sweeping panoramic views of the lowland landscape.

Norfolk Broads National Park — A spot known for its idyllic and vast waterways and some of our rarest wildlife. Along the 200km of waterways and between the vast reed beds, visitors will find majestic windmills and ancient monasteries. They may also spy the otters, swallowtail butterflies, kingfishers and seals that call this area home.


NATURE KAYAK ADVENTURE, BROADS This fun and serene activity will take you on a journey through the usually hard to reach areas of some of the Broads National Park. You can admire some of the best nature has to offer and discover Hickling Broad – one of the jewels – with highly experienced guides. You’ll be met at the launch point with your kayak and all other safety equipment needed, ready to be transported out onto the water for this amazing miniadventure. Using stable and easy to paddle sit-in style double or single kayaks (depending on group size) there will be every opportunity for you to see/hear Marsh Harrier, Bearded Tits, Reed Buntings and Warblers, Avocets and perhaps Bittern, Otter, Water Voles and more!  4 hours, priced from £85




TOP ECO ATTRACTIONS Be inspired and educated, as well as entertained, by visiting projects which showcase our natural world at the same time as working to protect it Words | Helen Holmes


T’S BEEN A SURREAL and difficult twelve months. Aside from everything else, the pandemic has demonstrated how quickly normal life can be turned upside down. This kind of crisis could just as easily be caused by climate change as by a health emergency, and the need to protect our planet’s environment, and with it our own human lives, feels more vital than ever. As life gradually heads back to something more like normality, we will, of course, want to get out and about again, and maybe make up for lost time in the process. Beautiful natural environments are particularly appealing when we’ve been stuck inside, and Britain has many to offer. We hopefully already understand that we need to tread lightly when travelling – tourism can easily destroy a beauty spot if we’re not careful. But we can go one step further than treading lightly – by visiting, and in the process supporting, places which are actively seeking to conserve the environment. We’ve talked to some of our best sustainable attractions about the important work they’re doing – as well as the beautiful and restorative experiences that visitors will find to lift their spirits this summer.




Sited in the UNESCO Dyfi Biosphere Reserve, on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, the Centre for Alternative Technology combines beautiful organic gardens and sustainably managed woodlands with experimental green buildings and renewable energy systems – a visit is both an educational and a restorative experience. “CAT is probably best known as a visitor centre,” says John Challen, Head of the Eco Centre, “but it’s much more than that. We run postgraduate degrees in a wide range of topics relating to sustainability; our Zero Carbon Britain Hub and Innovation Lab work with local authorities, businesses and community groups; and we have short courses and online events running all year round.” From May this year CAT will be running new nature experiences at the centre, including gardening for wildlife, and moth and bat nights. These are bookable in advance. Early summer is also the perfect time to explore gardens in bloom, the buzzing of nature, and the spectacular views that surround the centre. “We inspire, inform, and enable people to play their part in creating a sustainable future for all humanity,” explains John. “A visit to CAT can really give a sense of hope for the future – seeing ways of living that allow people and nature to thrive together is a real inspiration.” 




Eco Retreats: A few minutes from CAT, five luxury yurts are spread over 50 acres. Each is set in a secluded area, away from other guests, and each has its own outdoor wood-fired bath and facilities for outdoor fires, as well as a private eco toilet and shower block.  Living Room Treehouses: Created by local artisans from local sustainable wood, the treehouses are built high in the forest canopy of an ancient woodland. They have solar-powered hot showers, as well as running water from purified local springs. 


The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew are a 320-acre UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to the largest collection of living plants in the world. Kew’s world-renowned glasshouses showcase species from all over the globe, and are vital for Kew’s scientific work, protecting endangered plants.

“Over the past year in particular, we have all come to understand the importance of nature to our wellbeing,” says Rachel Purdon, Head of Sustainability at Kew. “Visitors to Kew can immerse themselves in the beauty of their surroundings, and those seeking to learn more about plants will find a wealth of diversity to explore.” Spring is a magical time to visit the gardens, with a succession of spring bulbs at their very best – from carpets of crocus on the Great Lawn to swathes of daffodils along the Great Broad Walk Borders. For blossom fans, there are 161 cherry trees waiting to burst into bloom, and the garden is also home to magnificent magnolias and unique rhododendron hybrids. Visitors to Kew are not only treated to a stunning collection of rare and impressive plants, they’re also supporting vital work to protect the planet’s flora. “RBG Kew strives for a world where plants and fungi are understood, valued and protected,” says Rachel. 


Birch: Just north of London, Birch is a luxury hotel with an eco philosophy. As well as good food and a restful environment, it offers activities which range from pottery and art to baking and gardening. There is also a wellness space, and a new 25-metre lido opening in May!  Heckfield Place: Heading south west out of London, Heckfield Place is a 50 minute drive from Kew. This grand Georgian building is set in a secluded estate containing woodlands and meadows. Food served in the restaurant comes from the estate’s own home farm, kitchen gardens and orchard, and the spa offers all natural treatments. 



Perched near the coast in the north of Scotland, Findhorn is an ecovillage, and also a centre for experiential workshops, conferences and events. “We work from the broadest sense of an environmental perspective,” says Janet Limb, who runs the foundation’s public relations. “The environment is not separate from us, the human species, it is an ecology of all life.” Visitors from all over the world come to Findhorn to slow down, reenergise, reflect and explore their own purpose. While residential courses are currently paused because of the pandemic, visitors can still explore the ecovillage – including the whisky barrel houses and the Universal Hall, hand built by community members. There is also a café, and two pottery shops, and a beautiful bay and beach a few minutes’ walk away. “At the Findhorn Foundation we see each person’s life journey in the global context of the evolution of the human species in relationship with the rest of the natural world,” explains Janet. “And this takes place in an


aspiring ecovillage demonstrating a way of life that regenerates people and planet.” 


Lodges at the Mains: East of Findhorn, towards Inverness, these architect-designed, five star eco lodges are nestled in a secluded woodland setting. Ground source heating, solar panels, and cellulose insulation help the lodges keep their environmental impact to a minimum, while wood-fired hot tubs and bespoke, locally-made furniture mean that comfort has not been sacrificed in the process.  Hobbit Hideaway: In the foothills of Ben Rinnes, surrounded on all sides by stunning scenery, is the Hobbit Hideaway. This quirky house, built from wood, straw, clay and stone, will delight Tolkein fans, as well as anyone who wants to stay somewhere unique and sustainable in a beautiful environment. 


Built on the site of a clay pit in Cornwall, the Eden Project’s bubble-like biomes have become an iconic symbol of sustainable tourism. As well as a visitor attraction, Eden is an educational charity and a social enterprise. Visitors to the project can immerse themselves in the world’s largest indoor rainforest – which includes four distinct types of rainforest environment; a canopy walkway offers views across the biome and the biodiversity platform showcases the range of life in the rainforest. The Mediterranean biome recreates the landscapes of the Mediterranean, South Africa, California and Western Australia, and outside the biomes there are miles of pathways winding through 20 acres of outdoor garden, planted with over 3,000 plant varieties. The project has been focused on sustainability since its inception – using pioneering building techniques, harvesting water on site, and now experimenting with different methods of power generation. Eden has also worked with Natural England to propagate rare native species and reestablish them in Cornwall.

to see courtship displays from resident and breeding birds, including the Great Crested Grebe, and the Goldeneye. Into early summer the wildflower meadows come into bloom and the first of the ducklings can be seen bobbing along the shoreline. “If you’re really lucky you might see a grebe carrying its young on its back, or a flash of blue as a kingfisher flashes past,” says Neil. The shore side woodlands are also home to red squirrels.


Balbirnie House Around 20 miles east of the loch, is Balbirnie House. This country house hotel was built in 1777, and views from the building extend over lawns and flowering borders, to the 400 acre country estate beyond.  Market Street Hotel Loch Leven is just 45 minutes from Edinburgh by car, and if you’d rather stay in town, Market Street Hotel is a sophisticated choice. Opened in 2019, the hotel was built on a derelict site in the city’s historic centre and sensitively constructed using locally sourced stone. 


The Scarlet: A 30 minute drive across the Lizard will take you to The Scarlet. A luxury eco hotel with sea views, meadow gardens, and clifftop hot tubs, The Scarlet lists the 111 ways that they aim for sustainability on their website.  Kudhva: Kudhva are architectural cabins, specifically designed for the location, just up the Cornish coast from the Scarlet. They are off-grid hideouts, raised high above the ground, with captivating views of the coastline. 


Loch Leven is a Scottish National Nature Reserve, and is known internationally for the thousands of ducks and geese that come to breed there. “It’s an important barometer for environmental change,” says Neil Mitchell, the reserve manager. The loch has been monitored by scientists for over 60 years and current work there is focused on improving water quality, and improving biodiversity. Visitors to the loch can enjoy spectacular natural scenery and can choose how much of the accessible 13 mile loch circuit they feel able to tackle. In spring expect


Gateway at PEAK Located near Chesterfield, Gateway at PEAK is a new resort planned for visitors to the Peak District. It will provide accommodation for the millions of visitors that already head to the area each year. Construction is planned to start in 2021. Eden North The Eden Project is expanding into the north – and has plans to transform the Lancashire coastal town of Morecambe. There are plans for indoor and outdoor attractions connecting visitors with the internationally significant natural environment of Morecambe Bay. Scheduled to open in 2024.




ADVENTURES From metropolitan marinas and busy ports to the open seas and peaceful archipelagos, sailing is the definition of both freedom and excitement Words | Lydia Paleschi



HERE’S NO DENYING it’s possible to experience the beauty of Britain from the land, yet there’s something remarkable about accessing it via the water. Even more so whilst aboard a traditional sailing boat or Tall Ship. Heading towards the horizon, rigging overhead, powered by nothing but the wind adds a sense of excitement to any adventure. Fortunately, Britain’s diverse coastline offers a rich selection of places to explore. From rough seas and Celtic crossings to the serene waters of tidal creeks, here are some of our favourite Tall Ships and traditional sailing adventures to take part in this summer.

RECHARGE ON NATURE For those wishing to “recharge on nature”, The Coastal Exploration Company, Norfolk have a small fleet of traditional fishing boats from which they explore the waters in and around Norfolk. Their three boats – a whelk boat, a crab boat and a mussel flat – berth between four and eight people and are available for a variety of excursion types. An appreciation for the environment and positive social change underpins each of the explorations on offer, whilst also engaging with the history and wildlife of the local area. Whether you decide to opt for a Salt Marsh sail through protected tidal creeks, embark upon a wild swimming and foraging expedition, book a wellness adventure, or enjoy an overnight sail sleeping in hammocks underneath the stars, you’re guaranteed to connect with nature and encounter the wilderness of the north Norfolk coast. 




A SLICE OF BRITISH PARADISE Explore the UK’s largest archipelago as part of the guest crew of a replica Scillonian Pilot Cutter. Working Sail’s hands-on, week-long sailing holidays to the Isles of Scilly are perfect for those looking to sail solo, or with friends, and to gain some sailing miles. After taking the 60-mile trip from Falmouth to Scilly, prepare to meander amongst the five inhabited islands and numerous uninhabited islands, whilst soaking up views of pristine white sandy beaches and azure waters. There’s a sense of remoteness here and a wide range of wildlife to be enjoyed from a selection of stunning anchorages. You can choose to participate as much or as little as you like in the crewing side of things, striking the balance between both sailing and relaxing.  52

Sail your way from Wales to Ireland on an impressive Tall Ship with Kraken Travel (Cardiff to Dublin). Perfect for those looking to spend a bit more time under sail and to head out to the open seas, this Cardiff to Dublin route includes six nights aboard the STS Tenacious. Regardless of whether you’re an experienced sailor or a complete novice, this trip provides you with the opportunity to get your sea legs. Participants can expect to join as part of the crew, getting full, hands-on tall ship sailing experience and taking part in activities such as watch keeping and going aloft. Expect to feel a sense of escapism as you hit the open water and soak up the Irish coastline, whilst getting to know what it’s like to enter into two of Britain’s vibrant capital cities by boat. 

FOR THE BEGINNER Based in Portland Marina, Moonfleet Adventure Sailing (Dorset) operates a 1930s tall ship originally built in Holland. The ideal opportunity for families and people of all ages to ‘dip their toe in the water’, there are a range of daytime experiences on offer, ranging from two to six hours in length. All excursions offer a chance to soak up the views of Weymouth Bay and beyond. The longer excursions make their way towards the iconic Durdle Door for a picnic and a more in depth exploration of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 



Bessie Ellen (Scotland) is a vessel with a colourful past. One of the last remaining sailing cargo ketches, this historic sailing ship traded during a time when Tall Ships and rigged vessels were an everyday sight in Britain’s ports and harbours. Now 116 years old, Bessie Ellen is on the National Historic Ships Register as an important vessel to conserve. On offer are a series of voyages of between three and seven days around the British coast, with a fantastic selection in both Scotland and Cornwall. Our favourites are the Scottish wildlife tours, where there’s a good chance of spotting red deer, otters, golden eagles and red squirrels. Plus, whales, seals and dolphins in the water. Bessie Ellen adventures are known to be great for the independent traveller as much as for groups and couples. 

Cornwall, 17 - 19th August 2021 The pinnacle of Tall Ship sailing, this year’s annual Tall Ships Race starts in Falmouth, Cornwall. Over 30 Tall Ships from around the world are expected to be anchored in Falmouth for three days of festivities before racing to A Coruna in Spain. The main attraction is the Parade of Sail (19th August) before the race start, which involves the Tall Ships, along with hundreds of supporting local boats and marine craft sailing in company out of the harbour. Visitors will be able to take tripper boats into the Carrick Roads to view the ships up close whilst they are anchored and there will be a range of shoreside activities including markets and music during the course of their stay. 





There’s nothing better than getting outdoors on a guided ramble of the great British countryside on foot - and with our diverse range of scenic routes, trails and guides, it has never been easier. From acres of glorious rural scenery, off-the-beaten track woodland walks, to coastal paths with views out to sea, Britain offers a tranquil escape for those dreaming of the great outdoors Words | Emma O'Reilly


T SEEMS WE’VE ALL fallen in love with walking over lockdown, but now that we can roam further than just in our local area it’s time to start taking note of our fantastic national walking routes. From the coastal charms of the North Coast 500 in Scotland to the idyllic countryside and quaint villages of the Great West Way in England, it’s time to lace up those boots and make time to explore somewhere new. Take advantage of your increased fitness levels with our selection of guided walks from across the British Isles, guaranteed to put a renewed spring in your step!




Love and appreciate works of art and beautiful things? Then you might enjoy the new Renoir Walk in Guernsey - an art trail following in the footsteps of the famous French impressionist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir showcasing how the island inspired some of the artist’s greatest works. GUERNSEY This Channel island has a dazzling coastline - from long glittering beaches to secret rocky coves, Napoleonic forts and Second World War bunkers. The new Islands of Guernsey Way signposted trail can lead you round it all, as well as the smaller sister islands of Herm, Sark, Alderney and Lithou. The free app helps visitors find their own way around, featuring a comprehensive walking guide with maps and audio (a hard copy guide will be available to buy for those who prefer old school!). Each route will also detail timings, gradients and difficulty levels, as well as those all-important refreshment and loo stops. Dip in and out of the walks as you desire or go all out and do the lot, totalling over 50 miles (plus the odd ferry hop). Find out more about this and Renoir Walk from  British Travel Journal Top Tip: Take a small rucksack and pack swimming cossies and towels for impromptu sea swims.


THE ANTRIM COAST The Antrim coastline packs in blockbuster sights – from the Glens of Antrim to the Carrick-a-Rede bridge and the spectacular hexagonal basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway. Exploring on foot is a good way to savour them properly. The new Walking the Antrim Way holiday from Headwater (, with three days of self-guided walking, enables you to see them all, plus huge sandy shores, clifftops, castles and forest trails in between. All route maps are provided, as is a luggage forwarding service. Accommodation is in small B&Bs and the adventure finishes in Bushmills, where you can toast the end of your stay with a whiskey tasting at the famous distillery. Daily departures run until 3rd October.  British Travel Journal Top Tip: Game of Thrones fans can visit Ballintoy Harbour, near the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge – it appeared as the Iron Islands when Theon first returns home on his ship.

DORSET “I somehow feel more English for having seen those Dorset fields, surrounded by hedges basking in the sun”. So said Julian in Enid Blyton’s Five on Finniston Farm. The author holidayed for over 30 years in the Studland area, and it inspired much of her writing. The Carter Company ( have based their Enid Blyton’s Dorset walking and cycling tour around the places she loved. Set off on adventures on foot or by bike - maps and lunch (don’t forget the ginger beer) packed into your rucksack. Cycle trafficfree forest trails to Corfe Castle, thought to be the inspiration for Kirrin Castle, walk the Jurassic coastline to picture perfect Lulworth Cove and Stair Hole, which featured in the stories, and hop on a boat to Brownsea Island, aka Whispering Island.  British Travel Journal Top Tip: If you have the enthusiasm but not the energy of the Famous Five, an electric bike is an option.

Pictured left-right: Saints Bay, Guernsey; Carrick-a-Rede bridge and the Giant’s Causeway on the Antrim coastline; Corfe Castle and Durdle Door on Dorset's Jurassic Coast; hikers walking the England Coast-toCoast trail.

ENGLAND COAST TO COAST Experienced hiker? Then the 182-mile England Coast-to-Coast trail could be your most exhilarating challenge yet. This guided trip, from newly formed Wilderness England ( from the same team as Wildnerness Scotland, starts on the coast at St Bees in Cumbria and finishes at Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire. In between, you’ll walk up hill and down dale through no less than three National Parks – the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. Expect eye popping scenery -and some fascinating lessons in everything from medieval history to local romantic poets like Wordsworth and Coleridge from your expert guide. You could do your research first looking online at England's Coast who have just launched an interactive map planner ( create-itinerary). Everything - food, snacks, water and cosy accommodation- is included on this hike, so you can concentrate on enjoying yourself. The trip runs on several dates between now and mid-September.  British Travel Journal Top Tip: It’s good to do this with a guide to avoid having to map read as it’s not the best marked trail, although good progress is being made!



Follow the campaign hashtag #WalkTasteExplore to join an English walking adventure as part of a new national campaign from sleeping under the stars near the Pennine Way to following in the footsteps of Romans along Hadrian’s Wall Path OUTER HEBRIDES Five hours on the ferry from Scotland’s north east coast carries you to the far flung Outer Hebrides. These islands have their own special feel, with bleached white beaches lapped by the wild Atlantic, a land dotted with mountains and moorland and a gaelic culture all their own. Macs Adventure's Outer Hebrides Island Hopscotch ( is an easy breezy ‘drive and hike’ self-guided trip around five of the them. Short daily walks (maximum seven miles) leave time for feasting on the heavenly local seafood and for sightseeing. Visit an eagle observatory, a whisky distillery, the showstopping beach of Luskentyre and prehistoric ruins including the world-famous Standing Stones of Callanish (older than Stonehenge) and the Bosta Iron Age house. Even the ferry trips between the islands are an adventure… This trip is available now until October.  British Travel Journal Top Tip: Treat yourself to a Harris Tweed jacket, woven by hand on the island of Harris.


NORTH NORFOLK The new Seascapes of North Norfolk itinerary from Inntravel ( uncovers this unique coastline. The walks are self-guided and gentle (maximum seven miles), with some circular routes, meaning that you stay in just three excellent pubs and hotels over the course of the six nights. When it comes to scenery there’s plenty of variety - vast beaches and dunes, marshland nature reserves, cute flint and brick villages and historic country estates. The flatness of the coastline means the skies (as well as sunrises and sunsets) are always huge – don’t forget your camera. A transfer is included from Kings Lynn station, which means you can leave your car at home. You might choose to extend your holiday by booking a stay with Barefoot Retreats (, a holiday cottage rental agency with some of the finest luxury holiday cottages (and self-catering holiday homes) in North Norfolk.  British Travel Journal Top Tip: Take binoculars to appreciate up close the huge variety of bird and wildlife enroute.

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Don't miss the new aerial walkway opening at Aira Force, Cumbria later this summer, to experience its waterfall from a new dramatic steel platform. “This innovation will recreate the drama that Victorian thrill-seekers sought here” says Project Manger Charlotte Fuke. WALK THE LAKE DISTRICT The Borrowdale Valley makes a perfect base for exploring the beautiful Northern Lake District. On Explore’s ( small group walking holiday you’ll stay at a comfortable three-star hotel and stride out on six days of spectacular walks. These begin with Cat Bells, the perfect first day fell - not too arduous, with just one steep but short scramble to the top. The reward is 360-degree views over Derwentwater and the surrounding fells. That should give an appetite for further forays, including Haystacks (favourite of Alfred Wainwright - author of the famous guides to the fells – and where his ashes were scattered). Toughest of the walks is a seven hour schlep up Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak at 978 metres. It’s no Everest but most walkers feel proud to have conquered it! The walks run from April-October.  British Travel Journal Top Tip: Train hill walking muscles on that StairMaster at the gym – or your stairs at home will do.

GOWER COAST PATH This wild part of the Welsh coastline is less well known than Pembrokeshire, yet its magnificent beaches are regularly voted amongst the best in the world. Celtic Trails ( invigorating 43-mile route can be covered in five or six days (depending on preference) with stays at guesthouses and B&Bs along the way and your luggage sent ahead of you. Highlights include Three Cliffs Bay, with its limestone cliffs and vast swathes of caramel coloured sand and the giant curve of Rhossili Bay, which includes the wreck of the Helvetia Viking ship on the shore. The path snakes slightly inland in places, past dunes and through marshland and forest. The Gower Coast Path itinerary is available between March and October.  British Travel Journal Top Tip: Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife, which could include kestrels, herons and seals plus all sorts of birds and butterflies.



WALKING EVENTS IN 2021 – MORAY WALKING AND OUTDOOR FESTIVAL 11-22 June Walks in every corner of the county, from Cairngorms to coastline 

THE GREAT GLEN WAY Take a highland fling following the route of the Caledonian Canal from Scotland’s west coast at Fort William, to the east at Inverness with HF Holidays ( It’s not all tow paths – on this seven day guided walk you’ll follow forest trails and skim the shores of Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness (from where, if the group takes the high route, the views are sublime). You’ll see Neptune’s Staircase, with its eight ‘climbing’ locks, enjoy views of Ben Nevis and visit a floating pub. After skirting a river that feeds Loch Ness you’ll see Nessie herself (just kidding – but please let us know if you do!) Accommodation is in two hotels, both with indoor pools – great for easing tired muscles after a day on your feet. The Great Glen Way Guided Trail is from 18th-25th September.  British Travel Journal Top Tip: This is a ‘moderate’ level trip, so only book if you are fit to cope with some ascents and six-seven hours of walking per day.

THE COTSWOLDS If just a long weekend of walks is appealing, Foot Trails’ (foottrails. Taste of the Cotswolds package should suit. You will be based in an 18th century inn, celebrated for its excellent food, and head out each day on a self-guided trail. The team tailor-make a trip to suit your interests – and you can include rest days and change distances if you prefer. A typical itinerary might include 7.5 to 10 miles of daily walks, with a mix of villages and scenery, steering away from crowded ‘honeypot’ villages. Instead, discover quiet lanes, achingly pretty cottages, tinkling streams and rivers, maybe even a Roman villa. After a two to three hour morning walk, there’s time to enjoy a slap up pub lunch before another couple of hours on foot.  British Travel Journal Top Tip: The Cotswolds is not just about the villages. Check out stunning Cirencester, once the second biggest city in Roman Britain. 62

ULTRA CHALLENGE – WALK 25, 50 or 100km to raise money for your chosen charity, at events all over England. Challenges in the next few months include the Peak District, Yorkshire, South West and Thames Path  WHITE CLIFFS WALKING FESTIVAL 26-31 August A choice of walks of varying length each day over the coast and downs in East Sussex  TREKFEST - THE BEACONS 18 September Choose from a 25 or 50km walk over stunning but challenging terrain to raise money for your favourite charity  MIGHTY HIKES MACMILLAN Lots of walking marathons between now and September in locations around the UK. Participants pledge to raise a minimum £250 through sponsorship.  DARTMOOR WALKING FESTIVAL 29 August-5 September Around four events a day, including ranger led walks, archaeological visits and evening walks and talks. The festival will raise money for Devon Air Ambulance. 

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Whether you prefer to do your laps in five-star luxury, reconnect with nature in a stylish swimming ‘pond’ or soak up the skyline from a city rooftop, here are our top outdoor pools for taking the plunge this summer Words | Sophie Farrah


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The swimming pool at Cotswolds haven Thyme is tucked away in a beautiful, honey stone walled garden on the hotel’s 150-acre estate. This secluded and serene heated outdoor pool is surrounded by nature and filled with water drawn from the estate’s very own underground spring. A unique bio-filtration system means that no chemicals are used whatsoever, so you can enjoy a swim in water that is pure enough to drink! Complete the all-natural experience by drying off in the sunshine on one of the stylish sunbeds that surround the pool or grab a botanical cocktail from the new poolside bar. 



Whilst the outdoor pool at North Cornwall’s eco hotel The Scarlet may be on the chilly side, it’s worth braving it for the views. Fringed by granite rocks and greenery, this picture-perfect swimming spot overlooks the beautiful beach of Mawgan Porth. Cleansed by a living reed bed as opposed to harsh chemicals, this unheated natural ‘pond’ is usually a bracing 22°C in the summer but fear not - after an invigorating dip you can warm up in the nearby wood-fired hot tubs and outdoor cedar wood sauna, both of which boast more stunning sea views. 



Perched on the shores of a stunning sea loch, the extraordinary spa at Portavadie cost a cool £10 million, and it shows. Built using glass, steel, stone and neutral tones, this serene, sprawling spa experience boasts an indoor pool, outdoor spa pools and a Scandinavian sauna. The star of the show however is the 81sqm heated outdoor infinity pool - said to be the largest in Scotland - with breath-taking views across Loch Fyne to the Isle of Arran. It’s kept at a comfortable 33°C, so whatever the Scottish weather may bring, you’ll feel positively balmy. 



Nestled in the beautiful Borrowdale valley in the heart of the Lake District, the luxurious spa at The Lodore Falls Hotel makes the most of the stunning scenery that surrounds it. From the cool, contemporary 16m outdoor hydro pool, complete with neck jets, underwater loungers and an overflow hot tub, alfresco swimmers can enjoy breath-taking views of Derwentwater and Cat Bells mountains. The nearby glass-fronted Finnish sauna boasts more wonderful views and, if you’re feeling brave, invigorating cold-drench buckets (followed by hot showers) are available on the open-air poolside terrace. 



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The Headland Hotel’s new and already award-winning £10 million Aqua Club has wow factor at every turn. Enjoy the sunset from the outdoor spa pool or do a few laps in the larger, deeper pool that encircles it; either way, ingenious design makes the most of the spectacular views over Fistral Beach whilst also sheltering swimmers from the wind. Elsewhere, there’s a spacious outdoor vitality pool with a stunning Cornish granite menhir (standing stone) at its centre - a perfect place for soaking tired muscles after a day exploring the nearby coastal path. 


On a clifftop overlooking the seaside village of Saundersfoot, the award-winning spa at St Brides boasts a heated, infinity-style spa pool, with sweeping views of the harbour and the stunning Pembrokeshire coastline beyond. With submerged loungers and a hydrotherapy fountain, this bijou pool is less for strenuous laps and more for relaxing, whilst taking in the fresh sea air and magnificent views. It contains natural salt instead of chemicals, and is heated to a toasty 32-34°C. 


The beautiful, 18m outdoor swimming pool at the luxurious South Lodge Hotel & Spa may be described as ‘wild’, but the good news is that it’s heated. Edged with swaying reeds and pretty flowers, this undulating and ohso inviting wild swimming ‘pond’ is surrounded by stylish decking, parasols and comfy sunbeds to curl up on after your dip. Elsewhere, there’s a state-of-the-art spa to explore, and more open-air bathing on offer at the small but sleek outdoor hydrotherapy pool. 





In the summer months, city-centre hotels with outdoor pools are a real treat. What better way to shake off the sticky urban heat than with a refreshing open-air dip, sky high? The sleek, slate-grey infinity spa pool at King Street Townhouse may be small, but it is perfectly formed. Located on the hotel's seventh floor, the pool has a glass roof but is completely open to the elements on one side, offering incredible views across the city’s skyline, dotted with pointy spires, and of the iconic clock tower of Manchester Town Hall. Sightseeing from a swimming pool? Why ever not? 




Positioned on its own private island, it seems only fitting that the completely unique Burgh Island Hotel would offer a suitably extraordinary outdoor swimming experience. The hotel’s Mermaid Pool is a breath-taking natural seawater bathing pool, reminiscent of a mythical lagoon. Secured by a historic sluice gate and surrounded by rocks for utter privacy, it’s worth braving the unheated water for this totally unique swim. Alternatively, there’s also a rowing boat available for those who would prefer to remain dry - just watch out for the mermaids… 



Very few swimming pools can claim to be the origin of a worldfamous political scandal, but this one most certainly can. The legendary ‘Profumo pool’ at luxurious country retreat Cliveden House is where John Profumo first laid eyes on Christine Keeler, and their infamous affair began. Surrounded by rows of cream sunbeds, neat topiary and swaying lavender, this picturesque pool sits in the hotel’s elegant walled garden and is the last remaining listed outdoor pool in England. Admire the hotel’s stunning neoclassical architecture whilst doing a few lengths, before unwinding in one of the outdoor hot tubs. 

Pictured above then clockwise: Thames Lido, Reading; Tinside Pool, Plymouth; Bristol Lido, Bristol; Jubilee Pool, Penzance and swimmer at Bristol Lido, Bristol


Our love for lidos emerged in the 1930s when outdoor swimming first became popular in the UK, and now these sociable swimming spots are making a comeback. Today, there are more than 100 to discover, with more renovation projects in the pipeline. Here’s where to make a splash this summer! Thames Lido, Reading: After more than three years of careful restoration, this beautiful, historic lido re-opened its doors in 2017. Located by the river Thames in Reading, the water temperature at this urban retreat is heated all year round to between 24-26°C. Spa treatments are available on-site, as well as a stylish poolside restaurant with a Mediterranean menu.  Bristol Lido, Bristol: Tucked away in the heart of Clifton, this historic lido is in fact a restored Victorian swimming pool and it oozes stylish serenity. It’s kept at a toasty 24°C and is surrounded on all sides by beautifully designed buildings that include an awardwinning restaurant and a poolside tapas bar, perfect for a post-swim sangria.  Tinside Pool, Plymouth: Built in 1935, beautiful Tinside Pool is an internationally acclaimed Art Deco style seaside wonder. Open only during the summer months, this stunning semi-circular saltwater pool is 50m in diameter and is both family friendly and fully accessible. Dry off on the large sunbathing terrace; the sea views are unbeatable.  Jubilee Pool, Penzance: Another Art Deco gem is the recently restored Jubilee Pool on the Cornish coast. It is the country’s largest seawater lido and there are three pools to choose from. The popular geothermal pool is the first of its kind in the UK, where you can bathe in natural salt water heated to between 30-35°C by the lido’s very own geothermal well. 


Pictured: Laid-back Breakfast by Dine in the Lakes. Inset images: One Fine Dine chef and One Fine Dine gourmet dishes


CHEF'S TABLE Chantal Borciani rounds up the best gourmet at-home dining options from Michelin-chef catering to curated menus delivered direct to your door


OLIDAYS ARE ALL about relaxing and enjoying your surroundings and now more than ever the world of private dining and high-end restaurant meals delivered right to your luxury rental doorstep means staycationers can take all the work out of mealtimes. Whether you want a top chef to come and cook for you or a traditional afternoon tea delivery, some of Britain’s top producers are on hand to ensure you spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your vacation…

ONE FINE DINE From the finest gourmet boxes you heat and serve at home to fully chef-catered private dining, One Fine Dine is the byword in exclusive gastronomy. One Fine Dine offers superseasonal gourmet menu boxes delivered to your doorstep and now its professionally trained fine-dining chefs can take all the work off your hands and cater your entire meal. The company has just announced a partnership with five-star UK property rental company Bloomsbury Estates, so guests at the luxury lodgings can enjoy bespoke dining packages from curated menus, fully catered dinner parties, luncheons or simply a wonderful family meal – all made to Michelin restaurant quality. From £65 per person. 



JACK & SCOTT’S PRIVATE DINING SERVICE The UK’s most foodie village now adds another string to its bow – Bray Cottages has teamed up with Jack Blumenthal (son of Heston) and Scott Perkins to offer delicious private dining experiences. Located in the heart of Bray-on-Thames, guests at the six luxurious, quintessentially British cottages can book the services of Jack and Scott to create truly memorable dining experiences at home from personalised menus to in-chef dining and virtual cooking classes. Jack Blumenthal and Scott


Perkins are both Michelin trained chefs – the pair have worked across some of the UK’s finest restaurants including The Fat Duck, The Hand & Flowers, L’Ortolan and Petrus. Round off your staycation in Bray with a visit to one of the village’s famous eateries such as the The Fat Duck or Alain Roux’s The Waterside Inn, which both boast three Michelin stars. Alternatively, for those not making a pilgrimage to the pretty village of Bray, Jack & Scott’s private dining experiences are also available nationwide. 

NORTHCOTE AT HOME Lisa Goodwin-Allen, executive chef of Northcote Hotel and Michelin-star restaurant in Lancashire’s picturesque Ribble Valley has introduced Northcote at Home Gourmet boxes – bringing restaurant quality dining to your home. Seasonally inspired and boasting four courses, the Gourmet Boxes can be delivered nationwide and are a fantastic foodie journey of British produce. For the ultimate staycation surprise, you can also have Northcote’s Michelin-star trained chefs cater for your private dinner party, afternoon tea or lunch, at your home or holiday

Pictured leftright: Dish from One Fine Dine; Stein at Home; Cookaway Miso Tofu Steaks; from Bistrot at Home; and fresh seafood from Harbour at Home

cottage, complete with waiter service and sommelier, should you wish. From £125 for two people.  gourmet-boxes AFTERNOON TEA TO GO Elite Hotels is offering a luxurious Takeaway Afternoon Tea at two of its south of England properties; Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa in Bedfordshire and Ashdown Park Hotel and Country Club. An ideal holiday treat or tasty celebration for a birthday or anniversary, the exquisite afternoon-tea boxes

include freshly made sandwiches, fluffy scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserve, and beautiful handmade patisserie such as matcha opera cake and hazelnut praline cream éclair, complemented by fine teas. From £25 for two people.  STEIN'S AT HOME & BEACH RETREATS During the past year, Rick Stein has been ever-successful in providing a taste of his coastal menus through his Stein’s At Home

Boxes – available nationwide. Now Stein’s At Home has partnered with Luxury Cottages, the staycation specialist offering 80 stunning destinations around the UK, enabling guests to pre-order a Stein’s At Home delivery box at a discounted rate. Luxury Cottage’s Guest Services team is also on hand to book and arrange delivery, so you can simply arrive and enjoy! Feast on a weekend breakfast box, fresh fish box, Stein’s at Home lobster or the ultimate foodie weekend box. From £35 for two. 



BIRTELLI’S Independent pizzeria, Birtelli's, has teamed up with holiday rental company, Crabtree & Crabtree, to offer its artisan make-your-own-pizza kits – a fun twist on pizza night for your holiday. The kits comprise ingredients sourced by Michelin Star Executive Chef Paul Foster and provide the perfect night-in meal with no hassle. The partnership is part of Crabtree & Crabtree's newly launched Doorstep Delivery service, which gives guests staying at their picturesque abodes discounts with home-dining specialists such at Birtelli’s artisan pizza, Pasta Evangelists pasta kits and Aubrey’s craft butchery. Crabtree & 76

Crabtree also have a team of chefs who can cater for private dining at any of their beautiful settings. From £16.99.  COOKAWAY Dine like kings on menus dreamt up by MasterChef finalists and longstanding chefs with flavour-packed recipe boxes from The Cookaway. The team has partnered with luxury villa company Oliver's Travels enabling guests to pre-order a recipe box for their UK and Irish holidays. Choose from recipe boxes created by former MasterChef finalist Sara Danesin, Kyoto-born chef and

cookbook author Reiko Hashimoto, The Cookaway founder Nidhi Verma and former MasterChef finalist Jack Lucas to name but a few. Options available from just £16 for 2 people.  HARBOUR AT HOME Overlooking the mesmeric sands of Elie Beach in the picturesque East Neuk of Fife in Scotland Harbour at Home offers boat-fresh lobster, langoustine, crab and more to diners around the British Isles. Chef patron, Amy Elles, has created a series of luxury Scottish seafood and fish hampers with produce from small boats landing at Pittenweem

harbour, organic heritage breed beef from Butchery at Bowhouse and salads from East Neuk Market Garden. The hampers contain personal touches such as Elie stones from the beach for breaking open your lobster, bibs, Harbour Café placemats and gorgeous illustrations from artisan designer, Edinburgh Letters. Boxes from £25.  BISTROT AT HOME The 25-year-old independent French restaurant group Bistrot Pierre is adding three new boxes to its range of high-end at-home dining boxes. Ideal for those staying out of town the new boxes include the Celebration, Steak and Breakfast boxes. From £35. 

Pictured above-right: Garden Gathering from Dine in the Lakes; One Fine Dine; and dishes from Bistrot at Home

44 FOODS Launched at the start of the pandemic, with national delivery, 44 Foods offers all the quality and freshness of a farm shop direct to your door. From producer to plate, 44 Foods is a collective of farmers and food producers who are passionate about ethically produced, fairly priced, sustainable food. Together, they supply fruit and veg, meat and dairy, and larder essentials to your home or holiday cottage – they are also the company behind the Ultimate Staycation Breakfast featured in our Travel News page 13. Meals for two from £20.50.  DINE IN THE LAKES If you’re travelling to the incredible hills, valleys and waterways of the Lake District, it’s imperative to sample the region’s incredible dining. Dine in the Lakes is a new gourmet food delivery service providing luxury food boxes from crème de la crème of Lake District producers, delivered direct to your door. The gourmet purveyor has teamed up with luxury holiday home company Lakeland Retreats meaning guests can have a breakfast, brunch or a garden picnic package awaiting their arrival. Prices from £35. 



CARY ARMS HOTEL & SPA With rugged sandstone cliffs and azure-blue waters, the coastal scenery surrounding Cary Arms is beautiful enough to rival towns in the Mediterranean. Jessica Way spends 48 unforgettable hours with her family staying in luxury and exploring Babbacombe... Words | Jessica Way


NSPOILT VILLAGES, RUGGED MOORLAND and golden beaches there are many reasons to visit South Devon, though sitting proudly in the beautiful Babbacombe Bay, there’s an award winning “Inn on the Beach” - making the destination yet more inviting, irresistible perhaps. Few hotels on our British coastline have a setting as spectacular as Cary Arms & Spa, and from stepping foot inside, the views, character and warmth induce an alluring sense of tranquillity. Built in the late 1800s, the Torquay inn is steeped in history and has hosted Admiral Lord Nelson, King Edward VII and Sir Winston Churchill. There are coastal-chic memorabilia lining the walls of the cosy alcoves and hidden corners with some intriguing finds – one of which is an original hand-written thank you letter from Winston's secretary in the 1940’s to the then owners, Mr and Mrs Cox, expressing how they “thoroughly enjoyed their Cary Arms Babbacombe Bay lobsters over dinner with Pol Roger champagne”.



Pictured left-right: Cary Arms Hotel & Spa; Beach Huts at Cary Arms; Cove Cottage cosy sitting room and stylish kitchen; views from Babbacombe Bay; Jessica looking out over Anstey’s Cove

With 10 elegant sea-facing rooms and suites at the inn, seven restored cottages, each with their own private gardens and outdoor space, and eight brilliantly quirky deluxe beach huts and beach suites, it is perfect for families – and easy to socially-distance too. We stayed in Cove Cottage, a charming characterful property with more than enough space for the four of us (my husband and two daughters), and wonderful terraces from which to admire the breath-taking sea views. There was a fusion of romantic Tudor in the architecture with décor combining traditional seaside with a Mediterranean twist. Modern luxuries were found throughout with the homeliest of colourful coastal kitchens, complete with red Aga, blue tongue and grove, and a green statement leather armchair. Think The White Company toiletries, patchwork quilts, stylish cushions, Persian rugs and logs piled up high by the open fire. From the kitchen a back door lead straight out onto the barbeque patio area (large enough to have invited the neighbours!) leading down to the beautifully landscaped lawn with rows of inviting sun loungers.

Cary Arms was named after The Cary family, who have been a part of Torquay’s history since 1662 when Sir George Cary moved into Torre Abbey. Today a museum and well worth a visit, the monument itself dates back to 1196 and is set within 18 acres of garden and parkland. The Cary family owned much of the land at Cockington, St Marychurch and Babbacombe. The hotel is privately owned and managed by multi-millionaire entrepreneur Peter de Savary, or PdeS (as he is known) and wife Lana, the inspiration behind some of the finest clubs and resorts around the world including the St James’ Clubs, The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle in Scotland, and Bovey Castle in Dartmoor National Park. Acquired in 2006, they re-opened the popular seaside inn following a no-expenses-spared renovation in 2010 launching as a luxurious boutique retreat, with bedrooms, food and activities to rival any of the finest hotels in the country. Babbacombe Bay has always been one of Torbay’s quietest and least spoilt beaches, and as a guest at the hotel gazing at idyllic views, from sunrise to sunset, is a wonderful way to spend a few days.


It opens up onto a grassy “path between bushes of gorse, blackthorn and bramble leading onto the Downs, with a vast open space and plenty of benches from which to enjoy the scenery.

DAY ONE With the South West Coast Path just yards away from Cary Arms and Cove Cottage doorstep it felt natural to begin the day with a coastal walk. So, following a hearty breakfast we decided to take the 1.5 mile coastal route to Kents Cavern, passing Long Quarry Point and Anstey’s Cove. Self-guided exploration is at its best when you have the handy yellow arrows to follow, and although there were quite a few steps along the windy path, the incredible views more than rewarded you for your effort. The woodland areas were stunning, lined with shade-loving plants from butterbur plants with horseshoe-shaped leaves to harts tongue ferns. Then it opens up onto a grassy path between bushes of gorse, blackthorn and bramble leading onto the Downs, with a vast open space and plenty of benches from which to enjoy the scenery. You can look down on the beautiful bays from here and there is access to Redgate Beach which we may have visited for a swim if the weather had have been better. There is also an interesting pavilion which proved useful to us during a sudden rain shower! At the far end of the Downs, the path disappears into the trees again and from this small path you can see down into Anstey’s

Cove, one of Agatha Christie’s favourite haunts. Also, on the left of the path, you may be interested in a partially-hollow ash tree – a natural work of art. It is not long before you see signs to Kents Cavern, where you can enjoy a pre-historic experience on a tour into the limestone cave – as Britain’s “oldest home”. This popular attraction is also one of the key sites to justify the English Riviera (the name given to the nine-mile stretch of coast between Torquay and Brixham) UNESCO Global Geopark status, one of only 7 in the entire UK. Exploring the extensive labyrinth of caverns and spectacular natural formations is fascinating - the most significant artefact is a 38,000 year old human jawbone; Europe’s oldest human fossil. I would take a warm jacket as it can be quite chilly down in the caves - the coffee and cake was welcomed afterwards (hot meals also available). From Kents Cavern we took a slight detour, joining the coastal path a little further along at the brilliantly named, Brandy Cove, from which I’m sure there will have been a few smugglers’ tales! You can see Hope’s Nose from here, an odd-shaped piece of land looking out over the sea in all directions. Back towards Cary Arms, another interesting peninsular, Long Quarry Point with its horns of different sizes looks like the nose of a rhino! The path tucks close in under a limestone cliff, passing Anstey’s Cove. Make your way down the steep hill for the fabulous beach





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All the senses are engaged by “smooth and enchanting notes of frangipani blossom, the sound of the surf, and the gentle rocking of the body in time with the waves, the ultimate feeling of relaxation and total escape.

café selling paninis, baked potatoes, sandwiches and burgers. Once back at Cary Arms we enjoyed a delicious alfresco lunch of Lyme Bay lobster and line caught seafood on the sun garden terraces, while watching the kayakers and scuba-divers enjoying themselves in the blue waters below. The sun came out and amidst the glorious scenery I couldn’t agree more in that moment as one of the friendly waiters described it as surely one of the most romantic spots in the British Isles. Inside, big windows show off views across the bay. Portland Bill, fifty miles away, is visible on clear days. By the late-afternoon I was ready for some more seaside therapy at the hotel spa. This came in the form of pouches of hot sand during an incredible Polynesian-inspired massage. All the senses are engaged by smooth and enchanting notes of frangipani blossom, the sound of the surf, and the gentle rocking of the body in time with the waves, the ultimate feeling of relaxation and total escape. The waterfall hydrotherapy pool is equally as impressive, with an innovative floor-ceiling glazing framing the views out to the ocean. The spa also has a sunbathing terrace decorated with exclusive American Art illustrations from Peter de Savary’s own private collection.


Once refreshed back at the cottage it was time to head out for dinner – the best of both worlds. It is just a short stroll to the charmingly restored historic inn, still brimming with the charm and character from when it was built in the 1880s. Beamed ceilings, original stone walls, planked floors, books and boardgames. A crackling log fire for cooler evenings - the informal mood is achieved with effortless style. For those who enjoy a proper pint, Otter Ale and Bays are just two of the highlights, and there is an impressive selection on the wine list, with a few local gems to include; Devon’s Harpham Pinot Noir & Précoce, Hampshire’s Nyetimber, Devon’s Sandford Orchards Ice Cider, as well as Plymouth and Salcombe gin. I opted for their Cary Arms signature cocktail - a blend of Crème de Violette, Malibu, coconut water, lime juice and almond garnished with a Viola flower. In addition to the fabulous local food, liquid refreshments and warm atmosphere, an evening meal at Cary Arms is made even more special by the quirky alcoves providing the perfect cubbyholes for private dining – with views.

There’s the Captains Table, seating six, the Pod, seating four, or the Wheel House, where we sat, with panoramic sea views enclosed by original stone walls. Head Chef is Steve Poyner, a Devon local, born in Torquay, he joined the kitchen of Cary Arms following the reopening after Peter and Lana de Savary’s extensive refurbishment in 2009. In 2010 he went to work at de Savary’s Oxfordshire hotel, The Old Swan and Minster Mill, where his skill and enthusiasm to learn led to his promotion to Chef de Partie after only eight months. Four years later and with much ignited passion and experience under his belt, Steve chose to return to his roots back at the Cary Arms & Spa as Sous Chef. Since 2014 he’s been working with a talented and close-knit kitchen team and has been instrumental in the philosophy and success of the restaurant – from their use of the finest local ingredients to their AA rosette. At only 30 he’s an inspiring young talent. With such a fantastic range of Devon fish, seafood and farm produce, Steve and his team do not need to look far to find great ingredients. From perfectly hung steaks to the freshest local shellfish, their menu changes frequently according to what ingredients are available locally and in season. For me, the 'catch of the day' was the obvious choice, caught from Brixham less than 12 miles away – this is a Devon, sea-to-fork dining experience at its finest. They describe their dining as simply ‘gastro food cooked simply’ but it feels more special than that to me. However, the unpretentious friendly approach to their fantastic service is hugely welcomed and relaxing, especially when making the most of time together as a family. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day.

DAY TWO Following a fabulous night's sleep (must be all that fresh coastal sea-air) and another leisurely breakfast we decided we wanted to explore Babbacombe a little more before heading home. From the jetty in front of Cary Arms it is easy to spot the Babbacombe Cliff Railway adjoined to the red sandstone cliff – on the shore of Oddicombe Beach, and so we could see our first stop and the route we needed to take. In the opposite direction of the morning before we headed off, picnic in hand, for our second adventure. Taking the wooden catwalk to the path under the limestone cliff there becomes a choice to follow the coast path to Babbacombe (signposted off to the left), or to continue along the beach route (signposted right to Petit Tor). We wanted to experience the Cliff Railway and decided the best route would be to take it up and walk down rather than the other way round – so continued until we reached Oddicombe Beach. From this path there are fine views on a clear day across to Sidmouth and even as far as Portland Bill. A waterfall cascades down the cliff on our left and huge

Pictured opposite page: The glass faceted sea-facing spa; the Captains Table; and alfresco dining, all at Cary Arms Hotel & Spa. Pictured below: The Babbacombe Cliff Railway

boulders keep us dry as the gentle waves brake to our right. The Babbacombe Cliff Railway line runs every day, with a closure period in winter for maintenance. Dating back to 1926, it has shuttled holiday makers to and from Oddicombe Beach for over 90 years! 2 parallel tracks, each over 700 feet long, take you on a carriage ride tour up (or down) the cliff – and there is an informative Visitor Centre on the beach. There is also the highly recommended Three Degrees West café, bar and bistro, perfect for coffee, cakes or a spot of tapas. At the top station there are fine views over Lyme Bay and it is only a short walk to Babbacombe Model Village – another must visit on our list, and one of Torquay’s most famous attractions. This miniature world is quite a spectacle! You can get lost in admiring the details and impressive creativity at every twist and turn. As seen on BBC’s comedy drama 'Don't Forget the Driver', and the ‘One Show’, there are 4 acres of award-winning gardens showcasing hundreds of model scenes, vehicles & people. This is an evolving attraction too, Mike Rhodes, General Manager, who has worked previously at Walt Disney World, has in the last few years started using 3D printing to create some of the smaller figures and details such as lampposts. We visited during the day – but during the summer you can also visit in the evening and experience the creation of illuminations – with every car, van, lorry, street lamp and model being carefully wired to create authentic lighting as you would see in any real street scene. The walk back to Cary Arms took us on a bracing route



Pictured left-right: Babbacombe Model Village, Cary Arms Hotel & Spa and fun on the rocks.

This miniature world is quite “a spectacle! You can get lost in admiring the details and impressive creativity at every twist and turn.

along Babbacombe Downs - the highest cliff top promenade in England. From here you can not only take in the spectacular coastline, but also spot seabirds, seals and even dolphins. For adrenaline junkies there is plenty to challenge you with coasteering, sailing, scuba diving and hiking. If you are a keen sailor, Babbacombe makes a convenient departure point for a Lyme Bay crossing: to Portland Bill, from Devon Riviera to Jurassic Coast. The charming and characterful village of Babbacombe is quite enchanting with its colourful promenade and picturesque buildings. There are also plenty of independent shops, boutiques, bars, restaurants and cosy tearooms. We passed Babbacombe Theatre - host to many fantastic performances throughout the year, one of the most successful theatres of its size in the country. We followed the woodland path back down to Cary Arms as it was sadly time to go home. My only regret was not staying longer, with so many more coastal and woodland walks on our doorstep, and such a treasure trove of hidden coves and tranquil settings, we could have easily stayed for a week discovering something new every day. From Cary Arms you could even walk all the way along the South West Coast Path to Torquay – and Torbay, at the very heart of the English Riviera. Just one reason of many to plan a return!  Stay at Cove Cottage mid-season to higher season from

£450-£650 per night,



Whether it’s National Parks, coastal retreats or city escapes, book now at, on our app, or at a station.


Relax, get fit, reboot body and mind and be pampered…all is possible, and at a social distance, on these revitalising, life-affirming breaks around the British Isles Words | Emma O'Reilly


Peace, privacy, luxury… The Fold is a beautiful new shepherds hut in the Weald of Kent. Actually, it’s two shepherds huts, joined in the middle. This means room for a full spec kitchen, shower room and loo, a king-sized bed, sofa and swanky copper bath plus a wood burner and back up heating for year-round cosiness. The Fold sits in its own field, where your only company will be the birds (including the resident barn owl), the bees and the butterflies. While you’re here, have a full body check! Co-owner John is an ex Harley Street ‘super coach’ and corrective exercise specialist and offers everything from Fit2Go Body Screening programmes, which identify body areas that could be prone to injury, right up to detailed assessments for those with existing back and joint injuries. With each you will receive targeted training programmes to take home. Pilates in the onsite studio and Nordic Walking lessons in the surrounding countryside are also possible. Prices from £130 per night, room only, although chefcooked meals can be delivered at extra charge. ◆ 



Yoga and climbing may not, at first glance, have very much in common. Yet both are about connections, with ourselves and our universe, and each requires a discipline of both body and mind. On two-night Yoga and Climbing breaks in North Yorkshire, the days are a combination of energising and relaxing yoga plus climbing instruction at a chosen crag (depending on ability) in the North York Moors. Then it’s back to Yoga & Spice’s base near Whitby for relaxed evenings with vegan and vegetarian dinners followed by satisfying slumbers in comfortable ensuite cabins. These breaks work really well for a family or group of friends (4-6 people) wanting a fun activity break away together. No climbing experience is needed but you do need to be reasonably fit to take part. Prices from £450 per person in a shared room or £575 in a single room, to include yoga, two days climbing, meals and two/three nights accommodation. ◆ 


We might not think of the UK as a Scuba diving destination but it can actually be a great place to start discovering our underwater world. You can do a full PADI diving course but why not dip a toe in the water, so to speak, and learn the basics on a PADI Discover Scuba Diving (sometimes called Try Dive) course. That way, you can find out if you like it before splashing out on a more expensive diving holiday abroad. The courses take place in more than 200 centres around the UK, often in swimming pools but sometimes in the sea, too, and can be completed in just one day. For example, you could stay at Cantick Head Lighthouse Cottage (sleeps four) which has an incredible location on the edge of a cliff in the Orkney Islands, and then do a Try Dive at Scapa Flow, famous for its shipwrecks. Dive prices vary. Guided shore diving in Orkney costs £170 per person, and prices at Cantick Head Lighthouse Cottage start from £120 per night. ◆ ;;





Well we’ve heard of horse whispering. But do we ever stop to think about the positive effect that horses could have on us? At Heale Farm, owners Judith and Dean run two-day (one-night) Heale Horses & Nature Retreats, designed to help those with too much stress, anxiety or trauma in their lives. Guests are invited to go out walking and talking in the Exmoor wilderness with Judith and her two gentle horses, Shalindra and Roger. Judith is an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Master Practitioner and uses this method of coaching, alongside the soothing power of the horses and surrounding nature, to help people think in more useful and positive ways. As well as two sessions with the horses, the retreat includes two breathing and mindfulness sessions and meals in Judith and Dean’s farmhouse kitchen. Guests stay in one of three beautiful cottages on site. Prices from £250 per person, all-inclusive. ◆ 


Whilst the TT may be one of the most wellknown events in the Isle of Man calendar, their shores are also home to a range of activities to get your blood pumping. Feel elated as you whiz down the zip-lines after navigating one of the highest rope course in the UK at Ape Mann Adventure Park, or, for an experience you will never forget, try coasteering with Adventurous Experiences in Peel. Find your inner child wanderlust as you explore caves, scramble over boulders and take courageous leaps off the rocks, with the backdrop of Peel Castle. Treat yourself afterwards to a locally-made Davisons ice cream as you stroll through the pretty seaside town. The Isle of Man, with its unspoilt coastline, hidden coves and craggy cliffs is perfect for water sports, but how ever you choose to spend your time on this stunning Manx island there’s never a dull moment! Coasteering is priced £45 per person. ◆  /



That’s the motto of Thera-Sea, who run breaks in Cornwall, on the banks of the River Fal. The first clue that this is a get-awayfrom-it-all type of holiday comes when you arrive – access is only via hiking or boating. An old woodsman’s cottage is on the banks of the River Fal and surrounded by woodland – guests stays in the cottage or other buildings dotted around, like The Treehouse and The Potting Shed. The goal during your two-night stay is to inspire you to achieve goals and manage stress. Founder Katy Griffin trained as a mental health nurse and runs inspiring self-development workshops alongside off-grid activities. There’s wild swimming and torch lit boat trips along the river plus star gazing and huddling around the fire pit to chat and watch the chef prepare dinner. Plenty of time is given also to just lie round in a hammock. The course is available on selected dates from now until November. Prices from £315 per person, all-inclusive. ◆ 




Ancient Ayurvedic texts claim that many illnesses, both physical and mental, stem from poor digestion. Modern science is catching up, with a growing realisation that we really are what we eat. The five-night Healthy Gut Retreat, at The Clover Mill in Worcestershire, aims to help guests re-set their biome with a combination of pre- and pro-biotic food and drinks, yoga and yoga-nidra, meditation, massage and talks. Guests stay in beautiful, peaceful eco lodges overlooking a lake, which helps to complete the unwinding process. Goody bags are dished out before leaving and, guess what?, they’re not full of chocolate, but instead are crammed with healthy recipes, spice mixes, fermentation starters, massage oil, a personalised yoga practice and more , so that you can keep up the good work when you get home. The next retreats are from July 15-20, September 16-21 and October 21-26. Prices from £1975 per person, all inclusive. ◆ 



The Tudor Farmhouse, in the heart of both the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley is a great place to immerse yourself in nature. The hotel’s Soul Soother breaks take things a step further as they include forest bathing experience (or Shinrin-yoku in Japanese) with expert Carina Greenwood. So…for those who don’t know, it doesn’t mean having an actual bath in the forest. It isn’t just about taking a walk in the forest either. It’s about learning to fully immerse yourself in the woodland environment, being mindful and opening up all your senses. Exercises might include time spent concentrating only on movement, colour or smell for example, or really studying a tree up close. The experience finishes with a foraged tea ceremony. All those who book this package will also receive a gratitude journal plus a sleep spray. In-room massages or a visit to local floatation centre Float in the Forest can also be arranged. Prices from £298 per person including two nights half board, a forest bathing session, a Bramley Sleep Spray and a Gratitude Journal. ◆ 


Just a one-night break away from home can be surprisingly invigorating. Sea Kayaking, Foraging and Wild Camping along the Pembrokeshire Coast with Much Better Adventures achieves it even better than most. Day one blows away the cobwebs straightaway, pootling in a kayak around wooded estuaries and secluded bays. Explore sea caves, spot seals and fish for mackerel, which you’ll cook later over the campfire for dinner. The expert guides teach you some bush craft skills and help you forage for more edible goodies. Slumber comes in the form of sleeping and Bivvy bags beneath the stars on a secluded beach, only accessible by boat. Next morning after breakfast, there’s more kayaking and your guides can teach you the art of body surfing. This trip runs between May and September and is for up to eight people, so ideal with a group of family or friends. Prices from £260 per person, all-inclusive. ◆ 




CHESTER CITY WALLS Now that we are able to wander around Britain's towns again, visiting historic sites and stopping somewhere picturesque for a relaxing lunch, the walled city of Chester is at the top of our list


NCE UPON A MEDIEVAL time every British city needed walls. Most demolished them in less turbulent times, to ease expansion in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries but a few cities were far-sighted enough – or simply Words | Adrian Mourby not wealthy enough – and deferred demolition until it happened that walls suddenly became fashionable again. Nowadays we no longer need them to keep out marauders or exclude rebellious Pictured: DISTANCE armies but walls do keep a town centre King Charles — compact and they do make for a great This two mile Tower found in tourist attraction as well. walk takes the North East Nowhere in Britain have city walls about 45 corner of minutes but been so well preserved as at Chester, a Chester's City will of course Walls walk small half-timbered, sandstone city on take longer if the River Dee that was a major west coast you stop to take photographs or port in Roman times. The port silted up divert to explore in the middle ages and is now a famous all the curious racecourse beautifully laid out below the and historic sights visible Chester city walls. Today almost every attraction from the walls. that Chester has to offer the visitor can be viewed from the two mile circuit of these walls.



Pictured left: Bridge Street, which along with Northgate Street, Watergate Street and Eastgate Street, is one of the four original streets built inside Roman Chester. Below: Installed in 1899, the Eastgate Clock is positioned on the bridge over Eastgate Street.

Nowadays we no longer need city walls to keep out marauders or “exclude rebellious armies but they do keep a town centre compact and they do make for a great tourist attraction as well” Start your visit by taking the steps on Pepper Street up to the walls and turning left. Peppergate was the scene of a famous elopement in Tudor times. The furious alderman whose daughter had slipped through the gate to run away with her lover ordered that it must henceforth be kept locked after sunset, which gave rise to a local saying that mocks any precaution taken too late. “When the daughter is stolen, shut the Pepper Gate. The city walls are as wide as a modern British pavement and they pass over all of Chester’s gates. Three hundred yards east along the parapet we encounter East Gate over the old Decumanus Maximus, the main Roman road through the city. Originally it continued on as far as Mamucium (modern day Manchester). Here there is a 96

splendidly ornate painted Victorian clock over the gate under which all walkers must pass. It commemorates Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1897. One of the best views into the city is from this clock, all the way down pedestrianised Eastgate Street with its huge range of typical

Did you know? The Eastgate Clock in Chester, is said to be the most photographed clock in England after Big Ben


Chester architecture, Gothic, Tudor, Georgian, neoclassical and nineteenth century mock Tudor. Further along the walls we pass the cathedral and the old abbey grounds. Sometimes you’ll see a range of swift hunting birds being put through their paces below. At a point where the walls turn north there is a round tower marking the corner. From Roman times Chester was always a rectangular city with rounded corners and a defensive

tower at each corner. This particular tower is named after King Charles I who in 1645 is said to have watched the Battle of Rowton Moor unfold from its roof. It was a bad day for the ill-fated king as his army were driven from the field and he narrowly missed being killed by a Parliamentary sniper as he escaped. From here walls now run parallel to the Shropshire Union Canal which is cut deep into the sandstone outcrop on which Chester was built. At

North Gate the old Roman northsouth road through Chester (Cardo Maximus) passes below. The elegant, brick-built Blue Coat School, opened in 1717 to provide education for poor and deserving boys of the city is visible from the gate. It is now part of Chester University. The walls now run westwards, downhill towards the old Roman port. Midway along there is an eighteenth-century round tower with stone seating facing into the




This popular modern restaurant close to North Gate was created by Joseph and Benjamin who are also responsible for Porta Tapas next door. This winning team have recently ventured into Greater Manchester too. 134 – 140 Northgate Street, 01244 344295,



bridge was opened by Queen Victoria’s mother in 1832, it was the longest single-span arch bridge in the world, an honour that it retained for 30 years. After Roodee the wall reaches Chester Castle which was built on raised ground overlooking the River Dee. Constructed over centuries in the same sandstone as the city wall the castle consists of a Norman tower, a medieval stronghold and a sequence of neoclassical buildings that were designed by Thomas


Close to the race course, the home of Thomas Harrison who created so many of Chester’s fine 19th century buildings has been turned into a pub-cum-dining room offering traditional British dishes with an eastern twist. 54 Nicholas St, 01244 353070,


city. This was built as the Goblin Tower but now it’s locally known as Pemberton’s Parlour after a mayor of Chester who was involved in its reconstruction. Below this stand two towers built to defend the Roman port. The one nearest the river is called - not surprisingly - Water Tower while the other is named after Bonewaldesthorne, an officer in the army of Queen Aethelflaed, who in the tenthcentury was responsible for extending Chester’s Roman walls down to the river. Surprisingly, at this point a railway line is cut straight through the walls. This act of Victorian vandalism was done in 1846, long before the city walls were scheduled as an ancient monument in 1979. The walk along the western length of the walls gives a good view over the Roodee racecourse which was Britain’s largest port in Roman times. The River Dee now skirts the racecourse in the distance where it is crossed by the Grosvenor Bridge. When this elegant stone

A tiny, cheerful café-cum-bistro that is open from breakfast till very late. Bare boards and black tables rightly place all the emphasis on the food and the service. This is probably also the best vegan restaurant in Chester. Music Hall Passage, 01244 403040,

Pictured Left-Right: Afternoon Tea at The Architect, Nicholas Street; Chester Castle; The Roman Gardens

Harrison (1788 – 1813) the same person who designed Grosvenor Bridge. Today Chester’s military museum and Crown Courts are housed in the castle. Just before Bridge Gate the wall briefly disappears and becomes Castle Drive and the University’s Riverside complex, but it resumes within a few hundred yards at Old Dee Bridge. The very first bridge on this site was built by the Romans but this span dates from 1387. On the far side of this low sandstone structure there are the remains of a Roman temple to Minerva and the road then leads on to Wales. In medieval times relations between the people of Chester and their Welsh neighbours were so bad that it was not deemed illegal to kill a Welshman found within the city. (This law has never been repealed.) We are almost back at Peppergate but do look out beyond the walls as we come full circle. Next to the eleventh-century Church of St

John the Baptist – greatly reduced following many collapses over the centuries – lie the remains of the largest Roman amphitheatre in Britain. Only half of it has been dug out because to uncover the rest several buildings would have to be demolished, not to mention the damage to St John’s shaky foundations. Now it’s time to set off into the centre and explore.  For more information visit

Stratford -upon-Avon, wander round this medieval market town in England's West Midlands...



This 2 mile walk takes about 45 minutes but will of course take longer if you stop to take photographs or divert off it to explore all the curious and historic sights visible from the walls.




With visually-stunning public rooms, Oddfellows is a well-heeled counterculture boutique hotel hidden behind a sombre 19th century facade. Modern bedrooms lie across a courtyard known as The Secret Garden. 20 Lower Bridge Street, 01244 345454,

Perhaps the most romantic hotel in Chester is this luxury Georgian villa on the city walls and overlooking the River Dee. A sweeping staircase, working fireplaces and lots of chandeliers complete the blend of heritage and luxury. 22 City Walls, 01244 347007,



NCE UPON A MEDIEVAL time every British city needed walls. Most demolished them in less turbulent times, to ease expansion in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries but a few cities were far-sighted enough – or simply not wealthy enough – and deferred demolition until Pictured: it happened that walls suddenly King Charles became fashionable again. Tower found in Nowadays we no longer need the North East them to keep out marauders or corner of exclude rebellious armies but Chester's City Walls walk walls do keep a town centre compact and they do make for a great tourist attraction as well. Nowhere in Britain have city Stratford walls been so well preserved as at -upon Chester, a small half-timbered, -Avon sandstone city on the River Dee that was a major west coast port in Roman times. The port silted

Words | Adrian Mourby

Built by the Duke of Westminster, this five-star Chester hotel represents very high standards of service. It also offers valet-parking and a Michelin-starred dining room with over 1000 wine labels. Simon Radley at The Grosvenor. Eastgate St, 01244 324024,



Visit Stratford upon Avon to catch a performance at one of Shakespeare’s plays or take a boat on the river.


– à







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The new Mavericks collection from Millican. If you have not yet heard of this sustainable backpack brand, and enjoy everyday adventures, then you should check out their website before you next lace up! The team are based from a farm at the foot of Skiddaw in the Lake District National Park, and named their company after a local legend, Millican Dalton who they describe as "a maverick spirit, defined by fierce independence".  Smith The Roll Pack, as pictured, £140,

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