The UK is renowned across the globe for its ‘green and pleasant land’ – to such an extent that it may be difficult for you to know where to start when contemplating the country’s finest rural destinations.
So if you aren’t in the mood for a city break this year and would instead like to get up close and personal with the British countryside, these are the areas of the nation that we would urge you to consider.
Rugged Yorkshire has often been described as ‘God’s own county’, and you can expect a warm welcome from locals, too – an annual survey by the Office for National Statistics, for example, found that the Craven district of the Yorkshire Dales was the happiest place in the UK.
Another Yorkshire highlight is the pretty town of Harrogate, which serves up such attractions as the relaxing Harrogate Turkish Baths & Spa and the acclaimed Bettys tea room, where you can always expect a delectable cake or two.
England really doesn’t come any more idyllic than the Cotswolds area in the south of the country, with its houses often immediately recognisable in tourist photography on account of their characteristic golden-coloured Cotswold stone that is quarried here.
The quaint towns and villages atop gently rolling countryside that represent the quintessential image of the Cotswolds have long attracted those seeking a true time-warp, picture-postcard destination.
The Causeway coast, Northern Ireland
It wasn’t so long ago that Northern Ireland would have seemed an unlikely destination for a rural break in the UK – yet today, the varied and often dramatic countryside here has been made world-famous by its use as a shooting location for the American fantasy drama series Game of Thrones.
Nor are the about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway itself the sole great reason to make Northern Ireland your next UK countryside break. This is an area, after all, also graced by historic castles, the world’s oldest distillery and a must-not-miss gastronomic scene.
The Lake District
It’s staggering in many ways to think that this seductive mountainous region of North West England was only designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.
This enchanting destination of lakes, forests and mountains has been capturing imaginations for generations, including in the 19th century, when it attracted the admiration of celebrated poets and writers such as William Wordsworth, John Ruskin and Beatrix Potter.
Indeed, it was Potter – who died in 1943 – who was responsible for preserving much of the land that is now the Lake District National Park. Her life is commemorated by such local attractions as the Beatrix Potter Trail at Brockhole and The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere.
The longstanding popularity of the South West England county among the UK’s many fine countryside destinations shows no sign of relenting in 2018.
There is quite simply always something to see and do in Cornwall, whether you head in the direction of the extraordinary artist’s colony of St Ives, the one-time medieval monastery in Marazion known as St Michael’s Mount, or the Eden Project, which is the world’s largest rainforest in captivity.
Those are merely a few of the very real attractions of Cornwall, which is why you may also wish to consult the Cornwall Live site’s guide to 27 things to do in Cornwall before you die.
Have any of these suggestions got you in the mood for a spot of travelling around Britain? If so, we would also advise you to check a reputable hotel booking portal such as Toprooms for the best deals on the highest-quality and most in-demand local accommodation.