A great one or two day walk with fantastic views, bracing climbs and a great overnight camp.
It also gives you a rare chance to be at top of Scafell Pike on your own if you leave it to quite close to sunset - a rare thing.
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A really warm welcome in a well preserved, attractive and unspoilt village inn with a roaring fire, good selection of beers including an excellent Black Sheep, and filling meals at fair prices. Good anytime, but well earned bliss if youve just staggered round the three Yorkshire Peaks in under the twelve hours allowed for the 26 mile romp. The worrying tale at the bar is that the fastest fell runner came in at two hours 20 something minutes, but you should feel good just if you made it.
By the bridge in Horton in Ribbledale, and close enough to the station to get you there and back, and on the Pennine Way
Yattus is a self-catering cottage in the Lake District. For me, the best things about it were:
* two king-sized bedrooms (very unusual in my experience) so perfect for two couples going away together
* Amazing old building, 17th century with wood fires and even some original furniture. Felt like a real treat to stay there.
* Location - Eskdale seems to be a bit off the beaten path but you're really near all the big peaks (Scafell, Bowfell, etc) and L'al Ratty (toy steam train) goes through the village too
Urquhart is one of the most picturesque castles in Scotland as it sits overlooking Loch Ness. The castle is in ruins but there is still plenty to see and some excellent photo opportunity's.
A must see on any trip to Loch Ness.
In the middle of the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, the twin attractions of this world heritage site are the perfect day out. The beautiful ruins of the cistercian abbey are a lovely walk from the lake and gardens of Studley Royal with its rolling deer park. Indulge your inner Regency bourgeois.
Fountain's Abbey, Studley Royal, North Yorkshire. A few miles west of Ripon, or 10 miles north of Harrogate (30 from Leeds). Off the B6265 and close to the A61.
I stayed at this seaside cottage in Boulmer, Northumberland last year. There's a pub with good sea food down the road and the beaches are empty. My favorite day? Crab sandwiches at Craster followed by a walk along the coast to Dunstanburgh castle. Bliss.
Near Alnwick in Northumberland
An oasis of peace in central London! Keiko's massages are well described by a friend of mine as "a cross between psychotherapy and spa". Wide range of treatments from Balinese rituals to CACI and green peel facials are delivered in a lovely, spacious and fragrant treatment rooms.
64 Marchmont Street,
020 7837 9156
It was good to read of someone who appreciates the unsung delights of the Cambridgeshire fens (Rowan Pelling, Guardian Travel 14-2-09), especially since my partner and I spent Valentine’s Day in the same area, around Denver. But we didn’t have the “iron-grey” sky that she describes! The sky was blue and the winter sunshine brought out the best of the vast landscape of the Fens, with its big sky.
She visited the famous Denver sluices, impressive indeed. But how can she have missed the other attraction nearby, the Denver windmill with its wonderful tearoom and home bakery (where you can buy fresh bread of various kinds), and accompanying bookshop and leather worker?
From Denver, via Downham Market, you can pick up the A1122 which winds its way to Wisbech through a landscape criss-crossed with waterways. And just to the north of Wisbech, at West Walton village, is a great rarity: a church with a tower, but the tower separated from the church, standing 50 metres away. The church was originally built by Normans in 1240 and, with later modifications, is a real mixture of styles. It is quiet and communicates a great sense of peace.
Near to Matlock is the National Stone Centre. It's open all year round and there is no parking charge and admission to most of it is free, which is very refreshing these days! There's a Discovery Centre with a quiz for the kds (or adults) and also onsite trails. It's all fairly simple and basic but a great day out for the kids to do something different and not cost the earth. Lots more info on the website, including details of dry stone wall courses, educational trips etc.
Middleton by Wirksworth
Tel/Fax: 01629 824833 (NSC offices)
Tel: 01629 825403 (Discovery Centre and Shop)
Smart, stylish hotel in the new Leopold Square development. Nice rooms, good breakfast (buffet or a-la-carte options), close to a selection of nice restaurants. Service was friendly, verging on the over-fussy side (e.g. personal items 'tidied' within the room, but to be fair, when I left a note expressing a preference that my things be left as I had arranged them, this subsequently stopped).
Leopold Square, Sheffield
The Wheatsheaf is a beacon of excellence in a sea of mediocrity that is now the chain filled restaurants of Bath. The setting is beautiful and the food and wine are exceptional - it's must if you are in the area.
For one of the best roadtrips in the British Isles, head north on the A82 from Balloch (near Glasgow) at the South end of Loch Lomond.
Stop off for breakfast at The Station Cafe at Crianlarich Station on the West Highland line for an authentic Full Scottish Mid-Morning Snack.
Keep North on the A82, and prepare for the most stunning of Scottish scenery as you will soon reach the top end of Glen Coe (not far past Achallader). Roll down the road (A82) through the valley on a day of good Scottish broken sunshine and rain for the most dramatic effect.
Before you reach the Village of Glen Coe, gather your thoughts in the Boots Bar at the back of The Clachaig Inn - full of walkers in the summer and skiers in the winter - for a selection of over 100 malt whiskys, or a jar of Real Ale from their wide selection.
A perfect road trip.
And the next day, who knows - North, to the delights of Loch Ness, and further North, on the North Cost, Tongue has a rather good bar...
There aren't many road in the North West of Scotland, so it's quite hard to miss!
If you want to stay in the UK this summer I recommend a trip to Llangadog in Carmarthenshire, South Wales.
Llangadog is situated in the heart of the Towy Valley, half way between Llandeilo and Llandovery. Llangadog is on the western edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park and is surrounded by beautiful rolling hills with stunning views towards the Black Mountain.
The Last Gallery has been open in the village for the last two years and hosts exhibition of contemporary art from March through to December (www.thelast.co.uk).
Also in the village there are several pub/restaurants/hotels including The Red Lion (www.redlioncoachinginn.co.uk) and The Goose and Cuckoo which serve great food, drink and are very welcoming.
There’s lots to see and do in the area including The Towy River, a favourite with fishermen from all over the UK; Llangadog Common where you can spot Reds Kites and just up the road The Red Kite Feeding Station www.redkiteswales.co.uk/. There is also a spectacular drive along the A4069 from Llangadog to Brynamen passing over The Black Mountain.
Two summers ago I went with my partner to the Isle of Mull in Scotland
for our summer holiday. We camped on a wildly beautiful beach for a
week (I feel guilty to say where - to spoil the secret - but there are
plenty to choose from) and then we treated ourselves to two nights in
a little luxurious hotel. There are also loads of beautiful bed and
breakfasts and little hotels and we have never eaten so well in our
lives - always fresh local produce, lots of fish and home grown
We had such an amazing time that last Summer we decided to
go to Scotland again - this time to the Isle of Skye and then across
to Harris. Again I feel guilty to tell the secrets of this place but
the beaches on Harris in particular are mindblowingly beautiful. When
we show people our holiday pictures, they don't believe it is Scotland
- white white sand beach - all to ourselves, with turquoise blue sea
and the most serene mountain backdrop.
We had two days of horrible
rain but the rest of the time it was blazing sun- we both came home
with deep tans after 10 days. On the 2 days that it rained we went sea
If you want a place to stay in the middle of the countryside and to feel good about your carbon footprint, then try the Straw Cabin at Howden, East Yorkshire. It really is made of straw and comes complete with wind turbine, solar panels, composting facilities, bikes to use and even a compost loo (totally non-smelly though). You can be met at the station by the lovely owner who will also buy your shopping before your visit from local suppliers. The sheets and towels are organic cotton and there is a small honesty shop supplying fairtrade and organic food within the cottage. It's a great relaxing place.
Straw Bale Cabin, Village Farm, Brind,Howden, Goole, East Yorkshire, DN14 7LA
Nearest station is Howden
Tasty tapas selections - with window seats enabling great people-watching. The lunchtime platters are great value at £7.50 for a varied and filling selection (the veggie one comes highly recommended), or pick from the menu if you want more control.
Little Clarendon St, Jericho
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