Country Weekends

Disappear deep into the countryside with this bounty of inspiration to the best short breaks in the country the UK and Europe has to offer. These itineraries will take you to the greenest parts of Devon, the historical treasures of York, the fairytale lands of Alsace and so much more. R&R awaits, let’s go!

Autumn day out: Playing Alice at Prinknash …

PRINKNASH BIRD AND DEER PARK, Gloucestershire – Alice In Wonderland can keep her pipe-smoking caterpillars and amorphous Cheshire cats, because Gloucestershire has a wonderland of its own lazing along the Wolds near Gloucester. Leaf-blown trails, wooded follies, exotic birds, Disney-eyed deer…

A rainy Sunday at Barter Books, Alnwick

BARTER BOOKS, Alnwick – Do one thing for me the next time you’re in Alnwick, will you? Take a detour to Barter Books.   You might think this is just another second-hand bookshop that serves coffee and cake. But you’d be wrong – so…

A Red Stag Weekend on Exmoor

Overhead, the clouds sagged grey. Rain was not far away, but for now the air was dry. We were holding our breath, binoculars frozen in mid-air – waiting, watching, hoping – when, across the toasted grass and gorse of Exmoor’s…

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Beamish Museum: The ultimate Halloween fright fest

BEAMISH MUSEUM, Co. Durham – The mad woman in the Victorian town house, her violin screaming out a diabolical song. The “tra-la-laa-ing” girl in the woods; her wicker basket filled, not with a picnic, but a wolf’s head. And the clown, his starched face screaming out of…

Quaint shops and wild cattle in Dunster, …

DUNSTER, SOMERSET – Maybe it’s me. But I’ve been seduced. Again. Last time, it was the honeycombed colours of Palma that quickened my heart. This time, it’s Dunster. Then again, maybe it’s not me: maybe it’s just that this snuggle of a Somerset town has…

Waterfall hunting in the Jura Region of …

JURA REGION, FRANCE – They were treading unfamiliar ground, searching for the path back to their French campsite, when in a moment it appeared: (rising up before them) the torrent spray and crashing roar of water upon rock upon water upon rock. Often…

Dorset: Finding Thomas Hardy – Part Three

“Of durance – that is I; The eternal thing in man, that heeds no call to die”  – Heredity, Thomas Hardy   The sound of the birds are muffled now as I sit on a woven gold cushion, dust swirling in…

A Weekend Visit to Thomas Hardy’s …

‘Fifty years have passed since then, my child, and change has marked the face of all things.’  – Domicilium, Thomas Hardy     To Hardy’s Cottage Amongst towering oaks and a collage of greens, browns and oranges, a large Dorset thatched…