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We love to champion the great British staycation, and we particularly like to focus on holiday destinations that are a little less at the forefront of our minds. The locations we are about to introduce you to are beautiful, idyllic coast and countryside options for holidays at home. So, if you feel inclined to try something new in 2022, give one of these destinations a try!
The garden of England, a hop pickers paradise, the gateway to Europe! It's all those things and more. On a summer's day, there are few views better than an oast house and a bright blue sky. Oast houses were historically used for drying the hops, as part of the brewing process. This stunning example is at Sissinghurst Castle Garden.
The garden is managed by the National Trust, and you can find plenty of places to visit in Kent if you are a member. Being so close to London, it means you can explore the city as well as the picturesque countryside. If you stay at Broadhembury in Ashford, the fast train from Ashford into London only takes 38 minutes. The county is positioned between the Straits of Dover and its white cliffs, and London. Historically an easily accessible county for holidaying Londoners to visit, Kent is still hugely popular with city dwellers heading to the beach.
Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate are situated in East Kent and are hugely popular. Whitstable is a pretty and historic town, perfect for browsing quirky shops and eating oysters! As you move along the coast, you'll notice the coastline changes and is most unique as you arrive at Dungeness, a nature reserve that is home to a vast array of wildlife, and a nuclear power station. Diversity at its best! It may sound unusual but the shingle expanse of the rather dystopian Dungeness beach is really striking and much loved by locals.
If you visit Tanner Farm in Marden, you'll be over in West Kent, nearer the East Sussex border and perfect for a countryside break. Near to picture perfect Tunbridge Wells, you could visit the Pantiles, the historic shopping area, a Georgian colonnade. You could splash out on a trip to The Ivy, or visit a small cafe or bar and soak up the atmosphere. All in all, Kent has it all – history, heritage, pretty architecture and fabulous and unusual beaches. Both Tanner Farm and Broadhembury are open all year round.
We now move over to a county in the West Midlands. Herefordshire is bordered by Shropshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and the Welsh counties of Monmouthshire and Powys. It is a great location to holiday in if you'd like to explore both the English and Welsh countryside. Tucked against the Welsh border, hugged by the Malvern Hills and the Brecon Beacons, Herefordshire is ideally placed for an active holiday.
However, the towns and villages are worthy of a visit, despite the county being so well known for its beautiful countryside. Lined with a wonderful selection of independent shops and eateries, Ledbury is surrounded by the woods, orchards and hills, with footpaths winding up to the Malvern Hills. You're not far from the countryside at all.
Holidays in Herefordshire are a memorable affair. Try Townsend Touring Park's 'earth lodges' if you'd like something truly unique. Or, Poston Mill Park offers touring stays all year round. Perfectly positioned to explore. Take a trip to Symond's Yat, which offers amazing views of the River Wye from an internationally famous viewpoint. It's one of the best places in the country to watch Peregrine Falcons, although there is a wealth of bird life to spot. The walks are stunning and the circular walks are extra special as they take you through the forest itself. A cycling trail is also available.
And finally, if you've explored the towns and the countryside, head off to The Cider Barn in Pembridge for dinner. Well reviewed, this cafe, bar and restaurant will ensure you eat well in preparation for another day of exploring.
Neighbour to Herefordshire, Shropshire shares the same credentials for a great holiday. Another great location for walking, cycling, exploring, eating and history. Our two Shropshire holiday parks, Oxon Hall Touring Park and Beaconsfield Caravan Park are both based just outside Shrewsbury. So, this is where we will commence our whistlestop tour!
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire and it sits inside a loop of the River Severn, and its Tudor centre is lined with half-timbered houses. The medieval, red-brick Shrewsbury Castle houses the Shropshire Regimental Museum, where military artefacts include uniforms and weaponry. Not far from Shrewsbury are the Shropshire Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
It's a living landscape, loved by locals and visitors alike for its quality of environment, rich history, and for walking, relaxation and inspiration. We'll say no more, it's just stunning and we're lucky to have landscapes like this so accessible to us.
Now, let's take in some of the history and heritage that Shropshire is known for. Say hello to Ironbridge…
Ironbridge is a large village in the borough of Telford and Wrekin. Located on the bank of the River Severn, at the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge, it lies in the civil parish of The Gorge. The world's first iron bridge was erected over the River Severn in 1779. This pioneering structure marked a turning point in English design and engineering; after it was built, cast iron came to be widely used in the construction of bridges, aqueducts and buildings.
The bridge was so successful that it gave its name to the spectacular wooded valley which surrounds it, now recognised as the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site. In 2017-18 English Heritage undertook a £3.6m conservation project on the Iron Bridge, to help safeguard the future of its historic ironwork. It's a stunning location to visit, especially on a blue sky day to get the ultimate photo!
We can't speak highly enough of this East Midlands based county. There are a selection of characteristics to explore, from rolling countryside with historic market towns and villages, to an award winning coastline and Britain's Best Small City, there is so much to see and do in this county of contrasts. You may have passed through on the A1 previously, but it's well worth a stop.
Firstly, just off the A1 you'll find Burghley House. One of the largest and grandest surviving houses of the sixteenth century, it was conceived by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, between 1555 and 1587. Green tranquil walks, modern sculpture and family fun can be found in abundance here. The gardens and parkland that you see today at Burghley were largely designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in the 18th century. Today, sweeping vistas down to the spires of Stamford in the parkland, mesmerising oasis of flowing water can be viewed in the Garden of Surprises or tranquil walks next to the lake in the Sculpture Garden can all be enjoyed.
Continuing the heritage theme, and heading north, we arrive at the cathedral city of Lincoln.
Isn't this architecture stunning! Known for the medieval Lincoln Cathedral, the city is compact enough to walk around yet there is so much to explore. With unique attractions such as Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Castle, culture at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life and the thriving Cornhill Quarter at the heart of Lincoln city centre, you will want to spend a day here at least.
We'd suggest you next head toward that famous Lincolnshire coastline and experience the the sea breeze in your face and fresh air in your lungs. And when you're ready to rest, we have three holiday parks in the county for you to stay at.
We're going straight for the big draw to Northumberland first, and that's the beaches! And what's better than a beach? A beach AND a castle!
Standing guard 150 feet above the spectacular coastline for over 1,400 years, step through centuries of history at Northumberland’s most well known visitor attraction and national treasure. There are sweeping views towards the Farne Islands, Holy Island and Bamburgh village from this extraordinary viewpoint. In the castle itself, visit the treasure filled staterooms, including the castle’s centrepiece – The King’s Hall, discover a fortress like no other at Bamburgh Castle. Take a long walk along the beach afterwards, and take in the spectacular scenery from afar.
Known for its landscape, Northumberland is a walker's paradise.
Diving and delving across Northumberland, Hadrian’s Wall is the most significant pile of stones in the UK. Spanning 73 miles of northern England, Northumberland holds the longest stretch of it and it rises and plunges across some of the county’s most staggering landscapes. But, you don't need to walk all 73 miles! Drive or cycle the scenic route, you can even take the AD122 Country Bus and stop at points of interest along the way, before hopping back on.
And when you've tired yourself out, the county is well known for its food and drink offerings. Rest your head at our very own Ord House Country Park. A top tip from Ord House is to try one of the outdoor pursuits on offer in the local area. They suggest taking a dolphin watching trip from the mouth of the River Tweed or visit the Farne Islands for a spot of bird and seal watching.
We hope our whistlestop tour of these five counties has given you some food for thought when choosing your next holiday destination! We wish you blue skies and sunshine for your next staycation holiday!