The United Kingdom is blessed with beautiful countryside; and heading out into the country over the weekend is something many Brits indulge in. It’s a great way to escape urban, and modern life, and feels like you are taking a nostalgic step back in time.
There are long hedgerows criss-crossing a patchwork of hills and dales; vast ancient woodlands, dating back to 1600; dramatic cliffs and mountains; sandy beaches to relax on, and rock pools to explore; winding country roads to traverse; a wealth of native flora and fauna to enjoy; and so much more.
Let’s not forget the historic sites – churches, memorials, stately homes and gardens; and monuments – ancient stone circles, and crumbling castle ruins.
And what trip to the countryside would be complete without a picnic basket filled with yummy food – maybe picking up some local delicacies in a farmshop or market town; a delicious cream tea at a quaint cafe, or a drink and a Ploughman’s at a village pub?
The countryside covers an amazing 93% of the UK, and I think you’ll agree, is rich in history and diversity – but what is the best way to see it? I’ve got seven fun and adventurous ways to see the UK countryside below – which one takes your fancy?
Fun & Adventurous Ways To See The UK Countryside
Take a Road Trip
Whether you plan it in advance, or just see where the road takes you, a road trip is one of the easiest ways to see the countryside. For a day trip, take a picnic with you, and stop off at a country park; or maybe as you wind down a country road, you’ll come across a pub for a pint and some local fayre. If there are a couple of you going, and you all drive, it is worth taking shifts, so that everyone can enjoy the scenery. And thanks to the brown signs showing the way to attractions and facilities, you will always find something interesting to visit en route. For a longer road trip, what about hiring a camper van, or a spot of camping?
Fly Above It All
Remember the patchwork hills and dales I mentioned? What better way to see them, than from the air? Sit back, relax and take in the sights on a pleasure flight over various areas of the UK. At an altitude between 1500 and 2000ft, and keeping you below most clouds, you’ll see a lot more during this experience, than the tiny aeroplane window on your way home from your hols!
But for the serious adventurer, why not have a flying lesson! Think of it like a driving lesson, but in a small plane instead. Yes, you’ll have to keep an eye on the controls, but imagine seeing the country below, whilst flying an actual plane… amazing.
From up in the air, to back down on the ground – almost! What about horse riding around the New Forest, or trekking around Dartmoor National Park? There are opportunities all over the country for all abilities, from beginner, to advanced. And again, it gives a different perspective of what the countryside has to offer.
Walk The Walk
Whether it is a family day out, a short afternoon walk, or an adventurous long hike, there are national trails and walking routes for everyone to enjoy. The National Trust website has some great top 10 lists, including trails for those who have mobility issues and need to use wheelchairs or other mobility devices.
Make walking fun for the kids by having playing nature bingo, or i-spy; and for slightly older children, try geocaching, which is a treasure-hunt game, played using GPS.
Kayaking & Canoeing
Taking to the waterways, allows you to see the countryside from a different angle. There are guided tours available around the country. It could be kayaking along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast where you can enter caves, and travel under rock arches; or canoeing on the Norfolk Broads to discover the hidden wildlife.
Hire A Narrowboat
Like the idea of seeing the countryside from the water, but not up for using a kayak? Why not hire a narrow boat, and travel along some of the 2000+ miles of navigable canals in the UK? You will discover so much about the countryside and British wildlife as you drift along, leaving everyday cares behind.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Imagine gracefully floating high above the rolling countryside on a hot air balloon ride, as the sun rises in the morning sky. With stunning panoramic views of the horizon in front of you, and a unique birds eye view below, a ride in a hot air balloon is both thrilling and serene. Definitely one for the bucket list – an out of this world experience!
“Adventure is out there!” as the movie quote from UP goes, and it’s a lot closer to home than most of us realise. Researching this post I am fired up to start exploring more of the wonderful countryside around me, and maybe, just maybe, get my bravery up to go on a hot air balloon ride! But until then, I think a road trip is in order – much more accessible for us!
Which one of these experiences would you like to try?
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