Get away from it all this summer. With over 300 houses and gardens, plus acres of some of the UK’s finest coast and countryside, there’s space for everyone to enjoy time well spent with the National Trust.
Find a quiet spot and celebrate the simple things in life. Here are some of the National Trust’s suggestions for the best relaxing activities to do this summer, and the best places to do them:
Read a book - Sheringham Park, Norfolk
Escape the hubbub of home and find a quiet spot to enjoy a few chapters of a good book. Sheringham Park has acres of space where the kids can roam wild, while you find a relaxing corner with a background of soothing birdsong. Perfect!
Make a break of it: Discover five holiday cottages with access to extensive woodland and coastal pathways on the doorstep. Sleeps from two to six people.
Find an artist’s paradise - Stourhead, Wiltshire
Get in touch with your artistic side in an inspirational setting. Dotted with classical temples, mystical grottos and rare and exotic trees, all surrounding a magnificent lake, Stourhead is a stunning place to draw, paint or simply admire the surroundings.
Extend your stay: Stay at 89 Church Lawn, a charming country cottage situated at the heart of the village. With the renowned Spreadeagle Inn just across the road and the sophisticated formal dining room in the cottage itself. It’s the perfect recipe for a proper break in English countryside.
Fly a kite – Rhossili Bay, Gower
Relive great childhood times with the family and go fly your kite. The open sands of the spectacular Rhossili Bay are the perfect place to test your skills, or teach the kids how to master a kite.
Get closer to the action: The Old Rectory is the sole house in the middle of three miles of perfect golden sands at Rhossili in Gower and was made to have been blown up in the opening episode of Torchwood earlier this year! Sleeps seven.
Play hide and seek – Cliveden, Buckinghamshire
The magnificent gardens of Cliveden are a delight to explore, and also offer a wealth of hide and seek opportunities. Enjoy the simple delights of this classic game around the woodlands, or get lost in the classic maze.
Visit for the weekend: Choose from two holiday cottages with outstanding woodland and riverside walks, including Ferry Cottage, a riverside cottage with enchanting views across the Thames and direct access to the walks available through the Cliveden estate.
Go for a paddle – Jurassic Coast, Dorset
Enjoy the summer sun and cool off on the coast. England’s only natural World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast in Dorset– 95 miles of unspoilt cliffs and beaches – is an unforgettable place. And what could be better than a paddle in the English Channel?
Stop over: Nestling at the bottom of a stunning southern Dorset valley, Shedbush Farmhouse forms part of a group of farm buildings dating from the 17th century. Restored to a superb standard, the farmhouse sits sturdily in half an acre of land; including a rolling front lawn and picnic area with views up towards the Golden Cap.
Capture the moment – White Peak Estate, Derbyshire
There’s no better place to work on your photography skills that the spectacular setting of the Peak District. At White Peak, explore the dramatic terrain and outstanding views, you can even gain inspiration from within the tea room.
Take a break: Stay at White Edge Lodge, a stunningly located cottage surrounded by wide expanses of open heather moorland, giving magnificent views across the National Park in all directions. Sleeps five.
In search of nature – Farne Islands, Northumberland
Take time to sit and admire the world around us with a stunning display of our natural environment. A short boat journey takes you to a different world in the Farne Islands, home to unrivalled views of 23 species of seabirds, including 37,000 pairs of puffins, plus one of Europe’s largest grey seal colonies.
Take a summer stroll – Springhill, Co. Londonderry
Enjoy the warm weather and take a leisurely walk while the sun shines. With tempting waymarked paths through the beguiling gardens and parkland, enjoy relaxing short walks at Springhill. Admire ancient trees or the subtle scents of the herb garden, for an escape to somewhere quieter.
A summer snack – Hanbury Hall and Gardens, Worcestershire
Enjoy a taste of summer at Hanbury, where home grown rhubarb, gooseberry, local honey andWorcesterplum are used by Churchfields Farm Ice Cream to make cooling and tempting ice cream.
Glorious gardens – Speke Hall, Liverpool
Escape the busy city life at Speke Hall – an oasis of calm protected by collars of woodland. The revival of the gardens includes delightful summer borders, stream and rose gardens, and The Bund, a high bank offering magnificent views of the Mersey basin and the North Waleshills.
Images courtesy of Matt Faber, Arnhel de Serra, Matthew Antrobus and Paul Harris
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Shabana Adam @Shabana_FAM