At the southern end of the three mile stretch of sandy beach in Studland is a secret rock pool cove, cut off by cliffs on both sides. Wait until the tide slides out before skirting round the cliff face and you’ll find yourself in a hidden world of crabs, fish, barnacles, snails and weird looking worms.
My favourite way to get a closer look at these pool dwellers is with an old detergent tablet net with a bit of chicken or meat inside tied to the end of a stick. Wait a bit for whatever creature is enticed and carefully lift it out of the water, its weight will close the net behind it so it can't climb out- just take care when letting the blighters go!
Studland Bay, Swanage, Dorset
At the southern end of the three mile stretch of sandy beach is a secret rock pool cove, cut off by cliffs on both sides. Wait until the tide slides out before skirting round the cliff face and you’ll find yourself in a hidden world of crabs, fish, barnacles, snails and weird looking worms.
My favourite way to get a closer look at these pool dwellers is with an old detergent tablet net with a bit of chicken or meat inside tied to the end of a stick. Wait a bit for whatever creature is enticed and carefully lift it out the water, its weight will close the net behind it so it can't climb out- just take care when letting the blighters go!
Studland Bay, Swanage, Dorset
Great little place right in the middle of the Afan Forest, sandwiched between the Afan and Glyncorrwg mountain bike centres. Basic accommodation but perfect for mountainbikers with a lock-up and jet wash, not to mention a cracking breakfast and pub dinner. Lush.
Rhossili Beach is beautiful, it gets a good wave as it picks up similar swells to North Devon. Though it lacks the power of many beaches in Cornwall or Devon it is by far easier to get to and has a very relaxed vibe.
But what I really like in Llangeneth is the Kings Head pub. It has good beer, great food - the dragons breath curry is fantastic after a day on the water - and order the crumble early as they make it in enormous quantities and it still sells out nightly. But the best thing about it is the whisky collection behind the bar. Single malts three deep the length of the bar on two shelves. They certainly help for the wobble back to the campsite, even if they don't help you get up for the dawn surf the next day.
We celebrated our anniversary at Plas Dinas which is a 400-year-old country house where the Armstong Jones family used to live - it still has lots of photos and portraits of Antony and Princess Margaret and is really interesting.
Rarely have we been somewhere that not only oozes character and is set in a lovely location with great views but also manages to deliver on service too. The hosts were really chatty and friendly and we had a great meal in their restaurant.
It was a beautiful weekend and we took the opportunity to walk round the grounds. They have benches strategically placed so you can sit and enjoy the view - we took our books out there to read with a glass of wine.
Our room was imaculately clean, came with a really comfy super king bed and a great bonus for me was the fresh milk for my tea in the morning.
I can't fault dinner (great cheese from the local delicatessan - we were given the details to go and buy some to take home) and breakfast was great too.
If you are looking for a relaxing break I can't reccommend this place more - we had a great time and will definitely be back.
Poldhu beach, near Mullion on The Lizard in Cornwall is a little known surfers paradise because it is one of the very few beaches to face directly West, from the Lizard peninsula. This means that as well as benefiting from the swells generated out in the Atlantic, there are often offshore breezes holding up the face of the waves making them smooth and glassy - perfect for surfing.
The long sweep of sand, free parking spots at the edge of the beach and beach cafe, plus the fact that this has now got an official life guard station as of last year make it the place to go for local surfers in the know.
Poldhu beach is near Mullion, between Mullion village and Cury in Cornwall on the Lizard peninsula
Achmelvich is a beautiful place north of Ullapool, with clear blue waters and exotic white beaches which can be found within many rocky coves that are host to a plethora of pools, teaming with sealife.
Achmelvich, north of Ullapool
It is a clean, large white expanse of coast with chunky groups of rock pools, many with names linked to the shape, for example : stag rock, cat rock etc. My two boys aged six and 10 delighted in them and I did think we could spend two weeks here and they would never tire - delightful.
Nearest station , Berwick on Tweed ( from the North) then the local 501 coastal bus - - a lovely journey through all the villages, spying seascapes and countryside.
I do not know about driving, yet I have lots of tips and affordable holiday advice for car less families. ( you know; green, guardian reader type holidays, all acceptable and educational for the kids, whilst full of fun and freedom)
The best cream tea - so far. I've tried lots of places and this was the best yet. Large warm scones with lashings of clotted cream and a giant pot of strawberry jam. Served with a pot of tea inside if cold or on the decking overlooking Mawgan Porth beach, fantastic! I will be back -but will also carry on looking just in case I find a better one.
Mawgan Porth main road
Nice and simple English food locally sourced. I love fresh food and this comes very fresh indeed. Hidden away, but worth finding it for the great food at very good prices. One of Newcastle's best kept secrets. Small but mighty.
0191 232 4949
situated behind the laing art gallery in newcastle city centre.
The Robin Hood is my favourite pub in Brighton. It's cosy, friendly and they've got a great wine list. The beers are always good too. They do basic food like pizzas, have a Wii, loads of boardgames and a free computer. It's always been one of my favourites, but I've just found out that they give all their proffits to charity. Sounds like a perfect excuse for another glass of wine! It is a bit out of the way, but well worth checking out.
1-3 Norfolk Place
Just off western road, near norfolk square
This building is the latest addition to Edinburgh. It also wins prizes, including the RIAS Andrew Doolan Prize for best building in Scotland (2008), but unlike the parliament it was built within budget.
This building houses the research of Edinburgh University's world-leading School of Informatics. Look for it on Doors Open Day!
10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB
A friendly hotel in a great part of the small island. There are only two hotels on Tiree, but this is my favourite. It's basic, but good value and the staff are very welcoming.
After a day's walking or cycling around the island, what better way to relax than in the adjoining pub with the friendly locals and a large whisky!
An ice-cream parlour/cafe with two sister sites in central Oxford, this one stands out because it takes you into vibrant East Oxford. The ice-cream is great, with 'petition' flavours which change frequently. It's light and airy and seems to be tolerant of the many local freelancers and students who sit and work there. It opens early and closes late - another bonus.
After you've been, wander up the Cowley Road away from the city to get a taste of Oxford beyond the gown-ridden centre.
104 Cowley Road
Cowley Road Area
Telephone: 01865 727111
Spend three to four days in a Canadian canoe, gently paddling along fantstic scenery. Really relaxing and peaceful as you observe wildlife on the river close up. Camping on the river bank, some fast water, river side pubs, lazy picnics and loads of fun.
I recommend The Ross on Wye Canoe hire company who will drop you off up river and then pick you up at the end of your trip, very informative, friendly and flexible service, reasonably priced.
Sharpham Vineyard is a small vineyard and dairy set in the beautiful landscape of the South Hams along the picturesque river Dart. It is set within the Sharpham Estate where Sharpham House, dating back to 1770, resides in a Capability Brown Landscape. Different tours are available, from a self-guided walk with instructed cheese and wine tasting to a riverside walk followed by tutored wine tasting and a light lunch. However, it is necessary to book in advance for longer tours or larger parties. The Estate is also home of the Sharpham Trust which supports diverse projects balancing practical endeavors with spiritual enquiry. Sharpham is a truly inspiring and calming place to spend time.
3 miles from the historic town of Totnes, on the A381 towards Kingsbridge, turn right for Sharpham Vineyard and Ashprington. Follow signposts.
Closest station: Totnes.
Sharpham Partnership Ltd.
Tel: 01803 732203
By pure chance we ended up at Green Gables B&B and were very glad that we did! For £65 we got a huge top-floor room with ensuite, flat-screen TV and tea making facilites. The breakfast is served until 8:45 and is worth getting up early for - the lady of the house, Paula, will cook any breakfast you wish for to perfection. Husband Gabriel is the one who serves up and entertains guests with storys from his past. The beach is only minutes away and there is loads going on in town to keep visitors entertained - we absolutely loved it!
Enjoy a relaxing scenic paddle along two miles of tidal water, starting at Iford Bridge where you can park for free and enter the water easily. If you want breakfast before you begin I recommend the Old Bridge Tea Rooms.
Follow the meandering river heading away from the Bridge, although Stour means 'the strong powerful one' the course is suitable for novices, the river is full of Mullet, Bass and Flounder head for Tuckton Bridge and on towards Christchurch, you will hear the bells of the priory and enjoy the ambiance of Christchurch Quay from your priviledged position and opposite the unspoilt village of Wick where the ferry takes foot passengers across to the quay.
At Christchurch the Stour meets the Avon, the main river flows past historic Hengistbury Head (also a site of special scientific interest) dating back to 10,000BC one of only 25 from the Old Stone Age period.
Head towards the colourful beach huts at Mudeford Sandpit and take a leisurely break for lunch at The Beach House Cafe - the view is great and the food is fabulous.
At Mudeford the river enters the sea through a narrow channel known as 'The Run' which is best avoided unless you are extremely brave and experienced! If you enjoy sea kayaking the sandy beaches of Avon and Southbourne are close by and offer a contrast to the serenity of the river for those wanting to enjoy the surf.
Old Bridge Tea Rooms 16, Old Bridge Road, Iford, Bournemouth Tel:01202 477110
The Beach House Cafe, Mudeford Sandbank, Broadway,Southbourne. www.beachhousecafe.co.uk
Àite Cruinnichidh is a hostel on the outskirts of Roy Bridge in the Spean Valley, a short drive out of Fort William.
It's a fantastic kayaking destination for people who are more adventurous. Tere are a large number of fantastic white water rivers nearby at a range of grades from 2/3 upwards. The Roy, the Upper Spean and the Arkaig are almost on the doorstep. For those in need of an introduction there are a number of guiding companies who operate locally and if the weather is not right for kayaking there are a host of other activities in the area to entertain you.
The hostel is family run and the owners are always welcoming. They have fantastic drying facilities – very important for a kayaking holiday - and a good knowledge of the area. It also sports a sauna, which is a great way to unwind of an evening.
Starting at £12 a night, if you are looking for a cheap base for a fantastic white water kayaking holiday then this a great place to start, either for a small or larger group of people.
Train Station: Roy Bridge
Phone: 01397 712315
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