UK WEEKENDS AWAY
UK Weekends Away
From wine tasting and spa luxury to stunning walks and kayaking
Countryside chic in the Cotswolds
Take a driving tour of the Cotswolds, stopping in honey-coloured villages such as Broadway, Stow on the Wold and pretty Bourton-on the-Water. Kids will love Birdland and Crocodiles of the World (time it so you see the crocs being fed) then drive south to Cotswold Water Park for a host of activities including archery, an aqua park and a swimming lagoon. Also make a stop at the fascinating Roman site of Chedworth Villa. Stay at boutique hotel Wild Thyme & Honey, near Cirencester. Book a room overlooking the stream then relax with a good book in the rolltop bath. Dinner is a treat here with a menu featuring the likes of slow-braised shoulder of beef plus great steaks cooked on a robata grill. It also has a cool courtyard with a firepit that feels more California than Cotswolds. Read our full review.
Pictured top: Cotswolds Way (c) Cotswolds Tourism www.cotswolds.com
Images: Wild Thyme & Honey + Cotswolds Tourism Stow on the Wold
Adventures in Dorset
Head to the Jurassic Coast for sea air, scenic walks and a fab selection of pubs and restaurants to reward your endeavours. Take a kayak trip to the iconic limestone arch of Durdle Door and explore the ruins of Corfe Castle. Hike to Golden Cap, which rises to 627 feet, making it the highest point on the south coast of England. For more great views, climb to the top of Portland Bill Lighthouse. Pick up the South West Coast path from Studland – a stunning spot with a top place to stay – The Pig on the Beach has an idyllic terrace and a restaurant that is passionate about local sourcing.
Images: The Pig cuttlefish + Portland Bill (c) VisitBritain Tom Carter
New Forest family fun
The tranquil pace of the New Forest is perfect for a weekend recharge. Hire a bike and take a family cycle ride along off-road trails then go kayaking along the river. Browse vintage cars at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu or explore the atmospheric interiors of the Victorian Palace House. The shipbuilding village of Buckler’s Hard is a fascinating spot: see where ships for Nelson’s Navy were built and find out more at the Maritime Museum. Stay at Chewton Glen where the kids can take part in a cookery class while you chill in the spa, and for something different, book one of the treehouse rooms.
Images: Chewton Glen Treehouses + Beaulieu – De Dion and Palace House
Wine, history and shopping
Take a train to Portsmouth Harbour, with its Historic Dockyard. You can easily spend a day here looking at the painstakingly recovered remains of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship, and really feel the hairs stand up on the back of your neck as you head below deck on HMS Victory, Nelson’s famous flagship from the Battle of Trafalgar. Then it’s an easy stroll to Gunwharf Quays for some shopping in the designer outlet stores. From Portsmouth you can get the train to explore Roman Chichester. Head on to Arundel for the fab castle, which dates back to 1067 and features a Norman Keep as well as elaborate Victorian Gothic-style interiors. Hop via a cab between West Sussex’s top vineyards – stay in a luxury lodge at Tinwood – it has a new restaurant overlooking the vines.
Images: Arundel Castle (c) VisitBritain Pete Seaward + Tinwood accommodation