The UK is such a beautiful country, and the more I see of it, the more I want to explore all of the stunning landscape it has to offer. From quaint villages, to stunning misty mountains, to the wonderful beaches that are dotted around the coastland, it has so much to offer right on our doorstep. We didn’t go abroad on holiday last year and due to young children and limited finances, we’re repeating that plan this year too. But there is so much that I want to see in this country, there’s no way we’ll tick it all off this year, so I’m creating a bucket list that we can work through over the coming years.
We’re actually quite close to the Cotswolds and I think that, ironically, that’s part of the reason we’ve not explored it properly before. It’s hard to justify a week away somewhere when you could do a day trip! But with small children, a long day trip becomes quite stressful, so we’ve planned a week in the Cotswolds this summer. We’re staying in Bourton on the Water, and I’m looking forward to exploring all of the picture postcard villages, the model village, the car museum, and visiting a few National Trust gardens I’ve wanted to see for years – Hidcote is right up there on my list, as we’ll be in lavender season.
The Lake District
John and I visited the Lake District a few years back, just before having Max, and it was my first visit. I was blown away by the stunning scenery and we loved getting outdoors and hiking up the huge hills. I remember being quite embarrassed though, when we were walking up one, huffing and puffing away, only to be overtaken by a man in his 60’s, dressed in workout gear, and running up the steep incline, not even drawing breath as he smiled and said “hi”! I suspect a trip with children will be less about walking, but I’d still love to explore Windemere with them, and visit the Beatrix Potter museum. Max is mad about Peter Rabbit at the moment, so I think this is one we’d like to do next year.
Norfolk & Suffolk coast
Norfolk is a place that we’ve not explored much at all. We saw a bit of Suffolk a few years back, when we went to a friend’s wedding in Aldeburgh, and I loved the beautiful quiet beaches. I’m thinking a little coastal road trip, starting at Aldeburgh, and working up to North Norfolk. I love the greyness of the landscape, and I know Max would love the beaches and wildlife.
Yorkshire is the land of the National Trust – there are so many grand properties to visit there that, as National Trust lovers, we definitely need to make a trip. I follow so many people on Instagram who live in this area and I’d love to see the places I’ve seen on their feeds. Founatains Abbey, Nostell Priory, Beningbrough Hall, as well as the Yorkshire Moors and Dales.
I’m embarrassed, given that I have Scottish family heritage, that the only part of Scotland I’ve ever been to is Edinburgh. I fell down a bit of an Instagram rabbit hole a while back, and realised just how much stunning scenery Scotland has to offer. I’d love a trip to the Highlands, to see Loch Ness, the Glenfinnian viaduct, Eilean Donan Castle – there are so many breathtaking things to see, it’s a photographer’s dream. I’d also love a trip to the Isle of Skye, but there are so many things on my list I think that will warrant a second trip. I’ve seen the most beautiful photos, both on Instagram in general, and from my friend Gemma at Life is Knutts, and I’d love to take the boys camping there and see the Fairy Pools and Fairy Glen.
I’ve explored very little of Wales at all – I’ve been to Cardiff and that’s about it! We’re set to explore a bit more of South Wales this year, but Portmeirion has been somewhere I’ve wanted to see for ages. It was designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis and built between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village. The Italian architecture in the middle of Wales must be quite a striking sight – the colours look beautiful.
The New Forest
I have fond memories of a camping holiday to the New Forest when I was little, and I think it’s a wonderful place for families to explore. The huge forest offers beautiful walks and stunning landscape, as well as having the Isle of Wight just a ferry trip away for a day trip. I can see long (ish – we do have kids!) walks through the forest, with a strategically planned pub lunch to rest our feet and fill our tummies.
We’re big fans of Cornwall and visit St Ives more than once a year at the moment. But although we explore a bit of Cornwall each time we visit, I still feel that there are huge swathes of it that we’ve not managed to see. I’d love to stay further north, and explore more around Padstow and Port Isaac.
Is there anywhere in the UK that you feel I should add to my list? I’d love to hear your suggestions!