25 ways to spend your 25 days
No matter how many holiday days you get off work each year one thing isn’t in doubt, they are extremely precious. They shouldn’t be wasted sitting around doing nothing. They are about having fun with family, friends and pets! Here are 25 ideas to help you make the most of your holiday year.
Conquer Ben Nevis!
What could be more satisfying than summiting the UK’s tallest peak? This isn’t one to tackle unprepared but thankfully you won’t need any specialist gear, just standard hiking stuff. Make sure you have plenty of layers, as well as snacks and water. It can be cooler at the top and climbing a mountain is hungry work! It’s a challenge, but one that will leave you feeling on top of the world.
Go castle crazy in Wales!
History buffs and fans of TV shows like Game of Thrones and Merlin will all love visiting Caernarfon Castle, Harlech Castle, Conwy Castle and Beaumaris Castle in North West Wales. Since 1986 they have been officially designated as the Castles and Town Walls of Edward I World Heritage Site. Caernarfon Castle, on the banks of the River Seiont, is the most popular castle in Wales with over 310,000 visitors a year!
Fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast
Good weekends should leave you with amazing memories and time spent down on the coast in Dorset is no exception. If you’re successful your time spent combing the beaches and cliffs of the Jurassic Coast will reveal caches of ancient fossils so you’ll have some souvenirs to take home as well.
Don’t stand and watch, jump in!
Grab a towel, pack your swimwear and leave warm chlorinated water behind. Wild swimming is all about braving the chilly waters whilst invigorating the soul with camaraderie and stunning natural scenery. Make sure you go with a local or do your research before leaping straight in. It is a truly uplifting experience but make sure you stay safe by swimming with you limits and bringing plenty of warm clothes for after.
Spend your time drinking award winning wine
When buying wine you probably think of quite a few countries around the world before you think of the UK but you’d be wrong to dismiss our homegrown bubbly. For those in the know, the South East is renowned for producing world class sparking wine that has even beaten our French cousins to awards. Many vineyards offer tours and tastings – sounds perfect doesn’t it!
For novices and experts alike the UK has a wealth of kitesurfing opportunities. From Camber Sands to Rhosneigr find a weekend soon to learn a new skill or hone an existing one. It’s a unique way to gain a fresh perspective on the UK’s beautiful coastline. Converts to the sport sing the praises of feeling the wind in your hair and how the sensation of gliding over the water can let you feel as if you’re flying.
Cycle the Camel Trail
This off-road trail is a wonderful way to see Cornwall by bike, and a popular choice for groups of all ages. Either bring your own bikes or rent them; you can get tandems, child seats or trailers for little ones. Wadebridge to Padstow is a much-loved section, and the promise of seeing the sea, and an ice-cream, might help the more reluctant ones in your group. It’s a flat trail which will suit most abilities
Explore Brownsea Island
If the name sounds familiar it might be because of Lord Baden-Powell and his Scouts who first camped here in 1907. Nowadays you can take a ferry, or if you’re feeling energetic, propel yourself across Poole Harbour on a paddleboard or dinghy. Once you arrive on this little island you’ll have spectacular views across to the Purbeck Hills plus there is woodland, heathland and a lagoon to explore. These natural habitats are full of wildlife including the rare red squirrel and a wide variety of birds, including dunlin, kingfishers, common and sandwich terns and oystercatchers.
Gin tasting – delicious!
When talking about drinks tasting in the UK, cider, whiskey or wine might first spring to mind, but gin tasting is also something worth travelling for and basing your weekend around. For one of the best selections of gin head to The Gin House in Wimborne. Here you’ll find delicious drinks and relaxed atmosphere. Set in Dorset it means the coast and beautiful swathes of countryside will also be within easy reach for those of you seeking fresh air to blow away the cobwebs the next day.
Skiing in Scotland
You’d be forgiven for thinking of the alps in Austria, France or Switzerland as the most convenient skiing destinations for us in the UK but you’d be very wrong! Scotland is blessed with five ski resorts; Glenshee, Cairngorm, Glencoe, Nevis Range and The Lecht. You’ll find green, blue, red and black runs, snowparks and a fabulously Scottish warm welcome. You’re best waiting for good snow and booking last minute to ensure the best conditions.
Geo caching, anywhere in the UK!
Geocaching is a bit like a modern treasure hunt with some top notch geeking thrown in for good measure. It is open to to anyone and all you need is a smart phone or GPS device. In the UK there are over 70,000 geocaches hidden so you are close to one wherever you are! Generally speaking, a ‘cache’ is a small container containing a logbook (that you sign to show you found the cache) and small trinkets that junior cachers are encouraged to swap with another piece of treasure.
Canoe in the Norfolk Broads
The Broads has more than 125 miles of lock-free navigable waterways to explore and what better way to get into the action than by canoe, kayak or paddleboard. You’ll really have time to take in the stunning scenery of the UK’s flattest National Park from your place on the water. Along the way you’ll find plenty of quaint pubs to keep you well fed and watered.
Have tea with Winnie the Pooh
As everyone’s favourite bear once said, “When you see someone putting on his big boots, you can be pretty sure that an adventure is going to happen”. You’ll need your boots to explore the 9.5 square miles of heath land and forest before heading to Piglet’s tearoom for a rest. You can also explore Poohsticks Bridge, Galleon’s Lap, Where the North Pole Was, Roo’s Sandy Pit, The Heffalump Trap and The Enchanted Places Memorial Plaque. It really is must for any Pooh fans.
Spook yourself in Whitby
Perched high on a cliff, it’s easy to see why the spooky remains of Whitby Abbey were inspiration for Bram Stoker’s gothic tale of Dracula! The abbey offers amazing views, lots of exciting events and is the perfect location for a gothic selfie. Down the hill you’ll find the picturesque Yorkshire seaside town of Whitby. If you feel brave you can time your visit to coincide with the world famous Whitby Goth Festival where the streets team with ghouls and ghostly goths!
Get inspired in the Lake District
This marvellous National Park has been a source of inspiration for hundreds of years; from the poems of William Wordsworth to the tales of Beatrix Potter. Despite being a popular holiday destinations, large swathes of the Lake District have hardly changed over the years. Spend a weekend here to find inspiration of your own, revel in the literary past and appreciate the your stunning surroundings. It’s hard not to fall in love with the towering fells and glistening lakes.
Visit Shakespeare country
As William Shakespeare wrote “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”. To understand a man it helps to imagine the life he lived, a visit to Shakespeare’s birthplace makes it clear he was not born into greatness and the sheer body of his work suggests his fame and fortune was hard won rather than being gifted. While in Stratford-upon-Avon you can visit four other historic buildings relating to his life, watch his work being performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company and peruse the non-Shakespearean delights of this beautiful part of England.
Visit The Giant’s Causeway
On the northern coast of Country Antrim you can follow in the footsteps of giants! This stunning part of Northern Ireland has the wild North Atlantic Ocean on one side and dramatic cliffs on the other. These world-famous basalt columns have inspired artists and scientists for centuries. Walk the cliff top trail, learn more in the visitor centre and recharge in the café.
Go bird watching in Norfolk
If you are interested in bird watching, Norfolk is the place to go. Not only are the Nature Reserves here excellent, but there is also plenty of choice. Top picks would include Holkham, Blakeney and Snettisham, but there are plenty of other exceptional place to visit. Bird watching offers a rewarding and educational day out; it’s a great way to get children interested in the natural world too. Make sure you don’t forget your binoculars.
Try mountain biking in Dalby Forest
Whether you need to rent a bike, or you have your own, Dalby Forest in the North York Moors is a fantastic place for a weekend of mountain biking. Although fans of this sport might know Dalby Forest for being home to a black graded World Cup cycle trail, there are also countless other more gentle trails which cater for beginners. All abilities are welcome here and whizzing around on two wheels is sure to leave a smile on your face.
Look for wildlife in Scotland
The Highlands of Scotland is a magical place. Remote and wild this is the ultimate location for an outdoor adventure. Unsurprisingly, this largely untouched region is also home to some magnificent wildlife. On a weekend here pack your binoculars, walking boots and see how many different animals you can spot. Keep your eyes peeled for magnificent red deer and golden eagles. By rivers you might be able to spot playful otters and the coast promises a glimpse of dolphins or whales.
Try Somerset cheese and cider
Home to Thatchers Cider and Cheddar Cheese, Somerset is the place to visit if you’re looking for a weekend full of tasty delights. Book in advance and you can enjoy a tour of Myrtle Farm where Thatchers is produced, and sample some of their produce. A visit to Cheddar and the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company will give you an insight to the origin of this much-loved cheese. There is plenty more cheese and cider to sample but you’ll have to head to Somerset to try it for yourself.
Enjoy the flora of Cornwall
Home to the most southerly point of the UK mainland, Cornwall can be graced with some wonderfully warm weather. A huge variety of plants thrive here, whether beside coastal trails or within cultivated gardens; making Cornwall the place to be if you have a penchant for plants. It would be almost impossible to pick the best place in Cornwall to enjoy the flora on offer but top picks would surely include Trebah, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trelissick and, of course, the Eden Project.
Walk Hadrian’s Wall
Stretching from Bowness-on-Solway in the west to Wallsend on the east coast, the wall built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to keep marauding Scots at bay is now a World Heritage site. It is 84 miles to hike along the path of the wall but fortunately there are amazing views, welcoming pubs and vibrant market towns along the way to keep you going!
Visit the only coastal National Park
Walking is a popular weekend pastime for many across the UK. This weekend, why not enjoy a walk somewhere inspiring? The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is the only coastal National Park in the whole of the UK. It is a special place and offers a wealth of spectacular walks. On a trip here you will find sandy beaches, secluded bays, imposing cliffs and a whole host of wildlife that calls this magnificent place their home. It’s a break that is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Visit Britain’s most remote pub
Think of a remote pub and the chances are you’ll imagine one hidden down a maze of country lanes, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Old Forge, Britain’s most remote pub, is on a completely different level! Most visitors start by taking a train to Mallaig (11½ hours if you’re coming from London) before taking a ferry for 7 miles across Loch Nevis or hiking for 17! No roads lead here so a car is not an option. The effort is worth it for the warm welcome, quality food and Laphroaig whiskey!