Home to two National Parks, busy fishing harbours and quaint Cotswolds villages as well as dramatic Cornish beaches, rolling Devonshire hills and miles of lush English countryside – the South West is heaven for lovers of the outdoors. It’s also fascinating for its history, encompassing four World Heritage Sites. Meanwhile, Salisbury Cathedral, Bath Spa and the magnificent Stonehenge are some of Britain’s most popular tourist attractions
Traditionally the South West of England is known for producing Cheddar cheese, which originated in the Somerset village of Cheddar, Devon cream teas, Cornish pasties and cider
Bristol Old Vic to celebrate 250th birthday in style
Britain’s oldest theatre will be marking this major milestone with a weekend of amazing celebrations.
Top 10 escapes in the UK
Living in the UK can easily feel very busy. Our towns and cities, although lovely, can be congested and the daily grind can become a chore to wade through queues and traffic jams. Our green and pleasant land has so much more to offer and can provide beautiful opportunities to escape and get away from it all. Here are Oliver’s Travels top picks for the best great escapes in the UK.
Ross-shire, in the Highlands of Scotland
Head north, and just keep going. Half an hour from Inverness lies Ross-shire, where you can enjoy the wilderness by fishing in lochs, watching dolphins in the Moray Firth, or taking a walk through the breathtaking views.
Where to stay: Ross-shire Hall is a luxury holiday home nestled in the heart of the Ross-shire countryside. This traditional home, set in six acres of private land, provides plenty of room for large parties to stay in luxury. Sleeps 14
Cowal, on the west coast of Scotland
It is easily accessible from Glasgow, yet feels as if it were a million miles away. Stunning areas of remote natural beauty include rugged coastline and mountains reflected in mirror-surfaced lochs. It’s a perfect area for being outdoors and soaking up the peace around you. Rural pubs provide open fires, local whiskies and infamous oysters.
Where to stay: 17th-century Old Argyll House provides ample space for a family escape in the wilds of Scotland. This large holiday home has large entertaining spaces, but also provides gardens, a games room, and sumptuous bedrooms for when you want to enjoy time to yourself. Sleeps 18
Ullswater, in the Lake District
Britain’s second largest lake at seven-and-a-half miles long is flanked by dramatic mountains and rolling hills just waiting to be explored. Its renowned hikes are peppered with quintessential country pubs with roaring fires and hearty fare.
Where to stay: Lakeside House enjoys a secluded setting within 26 acres of private grounds, with half a mile of lake shoreline. Flexible to suit the number of people in your party, this contemporary holiday home offers a boathouse and jetty, spa, infinity terrace and hot tub. Sleeps 12-20
This area enjoyed some time in the spotlight during the 2014 Tour De France, and this region is set to enjoy a reprise in 2016, with the Tour De Yorkshire cycle race in April and May 2016. The region’s beautiful rolling landscape, picturesque villages and famous hospitality is welcome therapy from busy city life.
Where to stay: Eden House is a handy 2.5 miles from the quaint market town of Skipton, however its proximity to the town doesn’t hinder the seclusion and peace offered by this sprawling estate. Sleeps 11
The cliffs of Norfolk
A perfect vantage point to view the staggering 90 miles of pristine beaches that Norfolk has to offer. The Norfolk Broads are surely the most relaxing way to take in the area, from the deck of a sailboat as you lazily navigate the purpose-built network of waterways.
Where to stay: Perched atop the cliffs, Meadow Manor is close to the tranquil village of Mundesley. Your family or friends can enjoy private beach access, a year-round spa pool, and modern comfortable interior. Sleeps 14
The Brecon Beacons National Park and the Wye and Usk Valleys, Wales
Together these locations form an outdoor paradise. Atmospheric forests, waterfalls, ancient monuments and caves provide a huge range of activities to enjoy and marvel at.
Where to stay: Incredibly secluded Valley Cottage offers no mobile network coverage, absolute heaven for those needing a digital detox. Its remote location means that noise and light pollution are at a minimum, so star-gazers, be sure to look up. Touches such as roll-top baths and Aga stoves are a lovely addition to this luxury cottage. Sleeps 8
Fondly known as ‘The English Riviera’, but don’t worry, you’ll still find lots of privacy on your escape to this unspoiled area of southwest England. Huge networks of walking and cycling routes are a fantastic way to see Devon’s staggering five areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Where to stay: Heatherside House lies in open farmland close to the rugged cliffs of the North Devon coastline. This luxury Georgian manor house is furnished to the highest standard, complete with a games room, large screen TVs and multiple entertaining areas. Sleeps 24
The New Forest
A magical place full of wild ponies and lush green glades. Cycle tracks are plentiful, and the forest is a relatively flat and relaxing place to explore on two wheels.
Where to stay: On the outskirts of neighbouring Ringwood, Forest Court is a beautiful spot for a family escape, complete with Italian sunken garden. This luxury holiday home is completely submerged in the forest, so you are free to enjoy complete tranquility. Sleeps 6-8
This reservoir is the largest stretch of open water in southeast England. The intricate shape provides interesting coves and beaches to play amid and skim stones in, and the surrounding landscape is hilly, lush and calming. It is currently undergoing refurbishing works and will open in spring 2016 with a new boathouse, water taxis and improved pathways.
Where to stay: An impressive driveway and electric gates reveal the imposing Waterside House. This stylish luxury holiday home has sumptuous finishes and design touches to make you and your nearest and dearest feel truly spoiled in this private oasis. Sleeps 16
This beautiful region is scattered with pretty villages, set in typical English countryside. Antiques shops, small galleries and markets are perfect for leisurely ambles and country pubs provide charming stop-off points.
Where to stay: 300-year-old thatched Beamers Cottage, is a gorgeously romantic escape. Exposed beams, stunning copper bathtubs and cosy sofas all lend themselves to a decidedly couply time, but be sure to leave this luxury cottage at some point to explore the nearby pretty market town of Chipping Norton. Sleeps 4
For more information on any of the above properties, or to get advice on your own perfect escape, please contact the Oliver’s Travels concierge team who will be happy to help.