For Incredible Coastlines…
1. Ravenscar, North Yorkshire
This tranquil clifftop setting on the Cleveland Way national Trail epitomises the beauty of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park coastline – where the moors and farmland meet the sea. In the early 1900s, there were plans to develop Ravenscar as a rival to nearby Scarborough and Whitby, but the development company went bankrupt, leaving much of the village unfinished. Find out more with a free “Tracker Pack” from the National Trust visitor centre in the village.
Discover it: Stay at Feather’s Nest, a one bed cottage just outside Robin Hood’s bay. Rates from £345 for three nights with gorgeouscottages.com
2. The Blue Lagoon, Pembrokeshire
Head north from the tiny city of St David’s and you’ll reach Abereiddy beach, with its magnificent Blue Lagoon. It was formed when a slate quarry was breached, and it’s the remaining slate and minerals that gives the water its extraordinary deep blue colour.
West Pembrokeshire is a popular spot for adventure sports, but once the cliff divers and other adrenaline hunters have gone, those lucky enough to live here (even for a week in a holiday cottage!) have this amazing spot to themselves.
Discover it: Rent a cottage for a week here in August for £1,400 with coastalcottages.co.uk
3. The Shambles, York
Wander down the city’s narrow cobbled streets and it’s as if you’re stepping back in time. Browse the timber-framed boutiques, independent shops and cafés. If you were wondering why they built the steets so narrow then, it was to help the butchers, the original occupiers of these shops, to keep their meat out of direct sunlight. Today you’ll find chocolate shops, shoe shops, fudge shops and jewellers.
4. The Rows, Chester
The City of Chester is a great shopping destination, especially if you enjoy double-decker medieval retail! The Rows, as they’re known, are unique, half-timbered galleries, many dating from the 13th century, which you’ll find on Bridge Street, Watergate Street, Northgate Street and Eastgate Street.
5. Forbes of Kingennie, Angus
Positioned in the beautiful Angus countryside, just a few miles from the City of Dundee and a short drive from St Andrews, Forbes of Kingennie country resort is the perfect location for a tranquil break. The four-star Woodland and Waterside self-catering lodges are the perfect retreat after exploring the Scottish lochs, mountains and castles. Wind down with a round of golf or catch a fish on the resort lakes – with the V&A opening in Dundee in 2018, this little gem won’t stay a secret for long.
Discover it: Rent a Woodland Lodge from £505 per week (forbesofkingennie.co.uk)
6. Lince Lodge, Oxfordshire
Step into a world of traditional charm, luxury and timeless elegance at this beautiful three-bedroom cottage that forms part of the original Blenheim Palace estate. Luxury cotton sheets, fluffy white towels and a welcome hamper are just some of the treats you can look forward to during your stay. Nearby Woodstock has lovely pubs, cafés, gift shops and even a beauty spa. (nichefaceandbody.co.uk).
Discover it: Expect to pay £653 per night with homeaway.co.uk
7. Huntsham Court, Near Tiverton, Devon
The beautiful Victorian Gothic mansion in rolling Devon countryside was built in 1868. Only available for exclusive hire, when you’re there it feels like it’s your (rather extraordinary!) home from home.
There are 34 bedrooms for up to 80 guests, but you can also hire it for smaller groups and even just for the day. Communal space includes a clubby-style bar, library, Great Hall and grand dining room. Each bedroom is unique, most with four-poster beds, roll-top baths (some bedrooms even have two!) and original fireplaces.
High-profile guests have included Liam Gallagher and Douglas Adams. It sits close to Exmoor National Park. There’s even a church on the driveway to the house where you can take bell-ringing lessons.
Discover it: Two-night’s exclusive hire during the week costs from £8,500 (sleeps 44 and six children in 19 bedrooms), around £100pp per night, 01398 361 277, huntshamcourt.co.uk
8. Pony & Trap, Chew Magna, Bristol
A Michelin-starred hostelry in the beautiful Chew Valley, seven miles from Bristol. There are rolling country views and exceptional, locally-sourced food. Starters from £9, mains around £22, Sunday lunch from £26 (theponyandtrap.co.uk)
9. The Fortalice Perthshire
Rich in history, this private castle was originally built in 1560 and has been painstakingly rebuilt and renovated with modern comforts by its current owner. Set over five floors, there are six bedrooms, sleeping 12 in comfort, as well as an open fire in the great hall to relax around on a bad day or the rugged Perthshire countryside to explore on a sunny one.
Discover it: Oliver’s Travels offers The Fortalice from £4,250 a week, oliverstravels.com
10. Sunborn Yacht Hotel, London
Enjoy an “Under The Sea” themed afternoon tea on the deck of this unique super yacht hotel moored in the Royal Victoria Dock. New this spring in association with The Hummingbird Bakery, it includes cupcakes decorated with seahorses, shells, starfish and lifebuoys. There’s also a delicious selection of seafood finger sandwiches plus traditional English scones. For a real treat, book an overnight stay in one of the 136 cabins over five decks. The executive suite even has its own sauna and a balcony overlooking the dock, Canary wharf and the O2. Just don’t expect the super yacht to actually cruise anywhere – this glamorous floating hotel doesn’t have any engines!
Discover it: Under The Sea tea, £32 per person, or £42 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Brut, from 12:30-5pm. Cabins on the Sunborn London (sunbornlondon.com) start from £160.
11. Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire
This 13th-century abbey is located in the heart of the village of Lacock, with its own Capability Brown-designed parkland. It’s his 300th anniversary this year, and a National Trust sculpture exhibition celebrates his landscape designs.
Discover it: £12.10 admission; £30.20 for families, nationaltrust.org.uk/lacock
12. Cliveden, Buckinghamshire
Remember Disney’s Cinderella (2015) or A Little Chaos, the 2014 film about the building of the garden at Versailles? They were both filmed in Cliveden’s gardens. Follow in the footsteps of film stars, dukes, earls and royalty as you discover the formal Parterre Garden, with colourful floral displays; Rose Garden, with more than 900 roses; and the oriental Water Garden. And enjoy the breathtaking vistas on the “Cliveden Views” trail.
Discover it: £10 admission; £25 for families, nationaltrust.org.uk/cliveden