As life starts to resume its normal buzz, we’re all beginning to plan a life post-lockdown – hooray! However there are a few really valuable lessons I’ve learnt during this time that I want to make sure I carry forward in day to day life. One such lesson is a greater appreciation for the outdoors. After all that running, walking, gardening and sunbathing (I know- I was surprised too), lockdown has taught us all to love the world around us that little bit more. With holidays looking unlikely any time soon, exploring our own countryside a really fab way to keep this up and so I’m making a list of all the places I want to visit post lockdown.
Caring for ‘nature, beauty and history’, the National Trust has had this at the top of its priorities for 125 years now. Pulling out all the stops lately they’ve been spoiling us with open areas, offering podcasts and even giving virtual tours to keep us all entertained during lockdown. Britain is just full to the brim of picture-perfect spots to visit, go walking, running or book a weekend away…and just a few of these are listed below. Determined to get my fill of fresh air, I am dying to get the most out of my National Trust membership and visit some beautiful places whether as a family, on a romantic trip or for a solitary stroll when lockdown lifts.
Described as a place of ‘passion, pleasure and politics’ overlooking the River Thames, Cliveden is the very definition of decadence. Generations of characteristic, architectural oddities spread across 376 acres; the property has a feature to attract every age.
Thyme is the swanky, upmarket and just plain gorgeous spa set in the Cotswolds. The epitome of tranquility, the pool is even chemical free as it’s powered by Thyme’s underground spring. Girls weekend anyone?
Bluepool Corner, Gower
Ever the child at heart, get a taste of Peter Pan’s Neverland on this Welsh beach. To be discovered amidst the wild flowers, this is a beach of golden sand, blue sea, rock pools the size of bath-tubs and a history of pirating. Honor would love this place.
The beautiful landscape of Northern Ireland just echoes with fantastic legends. With walking trails for all abilities, at Giants Causeway you will discover a glimpse into the past in the form of basalt columns from volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago.
With plants of all varieties, colours for all seasons, three valleys and a sheltered beach, Alfred and Sarah Fox have created a romantic chaos that lets you indulge in your greatest fairytale fantasies.
The quintessential country estate in Surrey (near where I grew up) this is one of my favourite places to stay. So much history, so relaxing and they have a fabulous art collection as well as acres of parkland and garden to explore.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Water Garden
History is gently embedded within this North Yorkshire landscape. From the Cistercian monks’ architecture of 1132 to the statues and cascades of the water garden, history is a beauty that we can appreciate at any age.
Osterly Park and House
Once the scene of wild, Gatsby-eat-your-heart-out parties Osterly Park is now one of London’s last remaining country estates. Acres of parkland feature seasonal exhibitions, pathways for cycling, strolling and play trails. The house and park hold their stories in every corner.
New Forest Commons and Foxbury
Set free your Wuthering Heights fantasies in this place of cascading hillsides and hidden ponds, woodland, grassland, heathland, bogs and mires.
Wordsworth House and Gardens
With costumed servants full of personal tales, a heritage garden in which you can run wild, exhibitions and fancy-dress, you get a first hand insight into the love of nature that propelled the entire literary career of this iconic writer. This house is Wordsworth’s childhood home.
Grantchester Meadows, Cambridge
Embrace your inner daredevil with a spot of wild swimming as we head into the summer. If Sylvia Plath’s, ‘Watercolor of Grantchester Meadows’ is anything to go by, it sounds as though it could be worth the trip. I’m quite a fan of the TV show too.
Cornish Tipi Holidays
Swimming in a secluded lake, cooking over an open fire, canoeing, cliff walking, flower picking, bike-riding…this is a place for anything from family holidays to marriage proposals.
With so much to choose from, hopefully something in the list has inspired a day trip, date weekend or family getaway that will help keep you in touch with the natural world in the upcoming months.