Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is connected to Scotland’s northwest coast by bridge and is famous for its rugged & beautiful landscapes. The island is home to stunning mountains, bays, waterfalls and rock formations – an adventurers paradise! The varied terrain makes for a huge array of trails to explore – from gentle seaside strolls to more challenging routes through forests and cliffs.
It’s not just rocks and trees you’ll see on your walks either, as the largely unsullied land is home to plenty of wildlife you may not see elsewhere in the UK. This includes the rare white-tailed sea eagle, along with otters, seals, whales, dolphins and red deer.
If you enjoy a bit of history, then there’s plenty this famous island has to offer – from dinosaur fossils and clan warfare to medieval castles and the tale of the Jacobite rebellion.
The picturesque capital, Portree is a wonderful place to stay and is ideally suited as a base for exploring the island. In your downtime, you’ll find some fantastic harbourside pubs and boutiques.
Another famous British island, Jersey doesn’t quite have the same jaw-dropping landscapes as the Isle of Skye. But, thanks to its small size (just nine miles by five) and varied landscape, it’s easy to pack a lot into one weekend. There are miles of beaches to explore on foot, bays to navigate by kayak, and coastal roads to traverse by bike.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you might be tempted to try Blokarting. Blokarts are essentially go-karts with sails, which you can drive along Jersey’s more blustery stretches of sand. They’re simple to operate, and you’ll have a blast tearing along the coast with the wind propelling you!
The island is also a food haven, with many of its towns bursting with fantastic local food – whether it’s the famous Jersey farming & dairy produce, or the freshly caught seafood.
If you fancy a quieter day, visit the Jersey war tunnels. These were a partially completed underground hospital complex built by the German forces during their occupation of the Island in World War II – a fascinating day out.
The New Forest
The New Forest is one of the largest remaining expanses of greenery in the UK, covering southwest Hampshire and southeast Wiltshire in uninterrupted pastures, heathland and forest. Despite the name, the area is ancient – it was even proclaimed a royal forest in 1079 by William the Conqueror! It was created at the expense of more than 20 small hamlets and isolated farmsteads; hence the name: Nova Foresta
Thanks to its national park status, granted in 2005, the area is now a protected, natural sanctuary, and the ideal location for a summer retreat. There’s a huge array of accommodations to stay in, including campsites, lodges and B&Bs, along with a laundry list of adventurous activities to get stuck into. They include cycling, archery, walking and canoeing – you can even take a ride on the UK’s largest steamship, or explore the forest in a classic convertible car!
One exhilarating highlight is cable wakeboarding at the New Forest water park – a form of wakeboarding that employs a long cable, rather than relying on a boat. It caters for wannabe wakeboarders, along with seasoned pros, by offering kids mornings, development courses, beginners courses and ladies mornings. So the whole family will be pros in no time!
Home to Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales, Snowdonia has established itself as an essential visit for fans of the great outdoors. Standing at 1085 metres, the mountain itself is one the most rewarding hikes in the UK, thanks to the unbelievable view of the welsh landscape that greets you at the summit. There are also multiple trails of varying difficulty that all lead to the top, so you can still say you’ve climbed a mountain, even if you’re a beginner.
The region isn’t just home to the famous mountain though – there are also beaches and coastline perfect for fishing enthusiasts, award-winning golf courses, and world-class surfing facilities.
For a unique experience, head to the Tryweryn National Whitewater Centre, located near the historic market town of Bala. Here, you can indulge in some truly memorable days out, including kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, and whitewater rafting!