With London being the focus of the world for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II, many tourists may be considering a trip to the British Isles – this coupled with the Olympic Games being held in London this summer, tourists are bound to be flocking to the ‘Big Smoke’. Whilst London has a lot to offer tourists, there are many, equally impressive hidden gems in the capital and around the rest of the country.
This year, you’d be forgiven for thinking everything going on in Britain has something to do with the London Olympics – press coverage of the games has brought unprecedented worldwide attention to the city and, as so many people flock to the capital, it’s easy to forget just how much Britain has to offer beyond the showpiece of the games. If you’re planning a getaway this year, why not explore the British countryside – and find the events, destinations and activities that are right on your doorstep?
Exploring The Best Of Britain
Gundog Training & Falconry – Gleneagles
The famous Gleneagles Hotel hosts an impressive range of country pursuits, allowing guests to explore the beauty and drama of its 850-acre rural Perthshire estate. Two of its most popular attractions are the Falconry and Gundog schools – working with the hotel’s own specially-bred animals – and trained professionals – you’ll have the chance to master two ancient sporting disciplines in a test of agility, skill and animal handling. It’s a special experience – and a unique introduction to Scotland’s rich sporting heritage.
It is hard to imagine that London, one of the world’s most famous cities, has anything left to hide. While you should not rule out visits to the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, and Tower Bridge, you could see the whole lot in one go. To the North of the city lies Regent’s Park – the park itself is full of natural wildlife and is the ideal visit on a nice day. But the main attraction is Primrose Hill where which stunning views of the London skyline can be seen.
The Lake District
The Lake District lies to the north west of England and while it is a well-known tourist spot, it has to be classed as a hidden gem because every visitor discovers something new each time they visit. Whether that is the district’s largest lake Windermere, or the towns of Ambleside and Keswick – everyone has a personal favourite. For me, it’s getting back to basics in the stunning and picturesque setting of Langdale where you can really get drawn into the natural beauty. Equipment is key for adventures like this and I would advise sleeping hammocks from RV Ops to really be at one with the countryside.
The Lake District is a hugely popular destination for water-sport enthusiasts and offers the opportunity to try out activities like kayaking, water-skiing, wind-surfing and power-boating. Explore vast, open lakes against a backdrop of rolling hills and mountains – the perfect setting for an action-packed aquatic experience! Whether you’re already an expert, or still a novice looking for something new to try, getting out on the water is a fun, exhilarating option for all ages and abilities.
As the nation’s largest county – Yorkshire has a lot to offer.
Whether that be the historic city of York, the modern metropolitan that is Leeds, the breath-taking east coast or the industry, culture and UNESCO world heritage site of Saltaire in the city of Bradford – Yorkshire has everything.
But in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, at the bottom of the second highest peak Ingleborough, is Gaping Gill. A relatively unknown site and not one for those scared of heights.
Gaping Gill is a huge cave and one of the largest known underground chambers in Britain.
It also holds the record for the tallest unbroken waterfall in England and is accessible via a winch down the shaft and 344ft to the bottom – not one for the faint hearted!
The West Country
The West Country has many unique attractions, from ancient wonders of Stonehenge, the historic Roman settlement of Bath or the town and Tor at Glastonbury.
There is also a natural wonder hidden away towards the coast.
Cheddar Gorge is accessible by a road going right through the heart, meaning you can see Britain’s biggest gorge via your car. The stunning 450ft cliffs, nature reserve and caves provide a really great day out.
On the border of England and Scotland lies the northernmost county of Northumberland.
This is the most sparsely populated county in England with the majority protected as a national park.
The most impressive attractions are largely man-made however.
In terms of man-made sights to see for tourism in Northumberland, the Roman fortification Hadrian’s Wall is the obvious attraction that comes to mind.
However, for a complete mix of natural and man-made wonder, the tidal island of Lindisfarne is a must.
Also known as Holy Island, the tide determines whether Lindisfarne is accessible by foot or car as low tide reveals Pilgrim’s Way which acts as a natural bridge from the mainland.
Once on the island you will be able to access the stunning castle situated on the top of the mount.
Deer Stalking – Northumberland
A practice stretching back hundreds of years, deerstalking is a crucial part of maintaining populations of deer across Britain. Northumberland has a rich hunting tradition, and for those searching for that authentic historical experience, deerstalking offers a unique perspective on the natural world. If you think you’re up to the challenge, tracking deer through the quiet, forested hillsides of northern England is a tense and unforgettable experience.
Canyoning – Gloucestershire
Take on the south west’s roughest terrain the hard-way with a canyoning trip that brings you closer than ever to the natural environment. Guided canyoning tours take you over, under and through some of the most spectacular scenery in the country and present an impressive range of obstacles – mixing climbing, body-rafting and spelunking. Not for the fainthearted, canyoning is an exhilarating adventure for anyone looking for a physical challenge. You don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy the summer of 2012 and, if the Olympics just isn’t for you, don’t spend the time moping – get out there and find something to make your summer a memorable one!
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