On 8th May, 75 years ago, the guns fell silent marking the end of the war in Europe. Millions of people took to the streets to celebrate peace and remember their loved ones. ...Read more
With the summer holidays in full swing, perhaps heading abroad for a quick getaway is on the cards. However, there are plenty of hidden gems right here in Britain that are definitely worth a visit when you want to explore somewhere exciting and new.
Whether you’re after seaside escapes, wildlife retreats or historic monuments that offer the unusual or unique, Britain has an abundance of hidden treasures. And what’s more; you don’t even have to travel too far or spend a fortune to enjoy them.
To find out which of Britain’s hidden gems are the best, we asked people from all over the UK to vote. With one hidden gem per region to choose from and a selection that were somewhat off the beaten track, our final 1,400 voters selected 11 hidden gems in the UK. Read on to find their number one!
Appearing in a listing of the world’s most spectacular theatres, there’s no doubt that the Minack Theatre is a gem in Porthcurno, close to Land’s End in Cornwall. The outdoor theatre itself welcomes more than 80,000 people a year to watch a variety of performances from musicals, concerts, plays and storytelling. It also attracts nearly double that figure each year, for those who just want to take a glimpse at its beautiful coastline and architecture.
Due to the success of its production The Tempest back in the 1930's, Minack Theatre began to grow in popularity. Today, it is used from Easter to September for a full summer season of 20 plays, and it is open for visitors throughout the year.
Margate, Kent, is probably best known for being a popular seaside destination, drawing people to its beaches for years. However, if you look a little closer and avoid the usual tourist areas, you might stumble across the Shell Grotto.
The Shell Grotto is a concealed ornate passageway that sits below the streets of Margate. Its rooms and hallways are covered almost entirely in mosaics of seashells; mussels, cockles, whelks, limpets, scallops, oysters and more. It's a place for a perfect photo opportunity and it's a magical spot for kids to explore.
A National Nature Reserve on the north Norfolk coast, Blakeney Point is home to remarkable wildlife and offers magnificent views of beautiful coastline. A four-mile-long shingle spit protects both Blakeney Harbour and the surrounding saltmarshes, creating the perfect environment for many species.
In particular, the reserve is internationally renowned for its stunning displays of terns in the summer and grey seals in the winter. Hop on a ferry at Morston Quay to experience Blakeney Point and its wildlife at their best.
Located in the North York Moors National Park, these 18th-century landscaped gardens offer a beautiful spot for a summertime stroll. Weave through the woodlands and out onto the terrace where you’ll be greeted by stunning views overlooking the ruin of Rievaulx Abbey.
The gardens are also bookended by two classical temples: at one end the Tuscan Temple and at the other the Ionic Temple. Adorned with paintings and rich plasterwork, step inside the temples to marvel at their craftsmanship. The Rievaulx Terrace also, on occasion, holds outdoor art exhibitions.
Bondant Gardens is a National Trust property in Wales. More specifically, it can be found near Tal-y-Cafn, in the county borough of Conwy overlooking the Carneddau range of mountains. Wales has a plethora of hidden gems, most of which show the regions incredible beauty, but this garden spanning 80 acres of hillside is a definite winner.
The gardens themselves are known for their great conifers, cedars, Laburnum arch, the Pinetum in the Dell and much more. It’s open 362 days a year, has two on-site restaurants, welcomes dogs and picnics and is generally, a fantastic day out for those that appreciate foliage and fauna!
This fascinating house near Rothbury was the family home of Lord Armstrong; a Victorian inventor. The first building in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity, it is teeming with wonderful gadgetry, including a passenger lift, telephones and fire alarm buttons – most of which are still working!
And, as well as being an inventor, Armstrong was also a landscaping genius. Take a stroll through the estate’s incredible gardens, which feature one of the largest rock gardens in Europe, five lakes and more than 30 miles of footpaths.
London is awash with hidden gems, but we think a horticultural treasure in the capital city is one worth mentioning. The Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park, London were donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in recognition of the Japan Festival held in London in 1992.
When you’re there, you’ll find a tranquil Japanese-style garden with tiered waterfalls and serene ponds full of Koi Carp. You’ll wander past Japanese maple trees, lanterns and even some wildlife. It’s the perfect spot if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
This unique hilltop park in Matlock is Derbyshire’s oldest attraction, having been open since the 1780s. Although originally accessible only on foot, you can now take a spectacular cable car journey over the Derwent Valley to reach the hill’s summit.
At the top, take a tour of the myriad underground caverns and mines that remain after the area’s lead mining. This reached its peak in the 17th century and allegedly began in Roman times. And, of course, you’ll be able to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding Peak District from the park’s spectacular viewing platform.
Perched dramatically at the head of Loch Awe with Ben Cruachan’s peak as its backdrop, Kilchurn Castle in Dalmeny, Argyll, is one of Scotland’s most photographed castles.
Built by Sir Colin Campbell in the mid-1400s, this castle remained Clan Campbell’s power base for 150 years, only being abandoned in the 1700s. Still largely standing today, you can enjoy magnificent views across Loch Awe atop the castle’s original five-storey tower house.
The Rock Houses are found on a high heath named Kinver Edge and are well known for being the last troglodyte dwellings occupied in England. There is much history surrounding the complete cave-houses which are now owned by the National Trust.
If you’re looking for an outdoor activity with the family, a visit to the rock houses will not only present great views but a bit of history too. You’ll be able to walk around one of the houses that has been restored to its original appearance, as well as other caves showing what life in the 1930’s really would have been like.
Hewn out of the rock in search of slate, the Cathedral Cavern is the main chamber of a small network of connected quarries above Little Langdale. Standing forty feet high, it is dappled with soft light by two windows high in the cavern’s walls, and a magnificent sloping pillar holds the roof in place.
For those feeling adventurous, the cavern can be explored from the entrance of the quarries. Proceed down narrow tunnels to emerge out into this truly awe-inspiring, man-made wonder.
On 8th May, 75 years ago, the guns fell silent marking the end of the war in Europe. Millions of people took to the streets to celebrate peace and remember their loved ones. ...Read more
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Leslie and Ann Harpin, 87 and 81 recently made the decision to move to McCarthy and Stone’s Isabella House Retirement Living development in Hertford. The couple are not only enjoying spending more time together, they also have a new group of friends who they refer to as their extended family. ...Read more
Ultradistance and 50-times marathon runner Marie Caldwell inspires and motivates her fellow residents to keep fit and active. ...Read more
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Renting can be perceived as just a temporary housing option, especially to those who have always owned their own home. But not if you rent an apartment with McCarthy & Stone.
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McCarthy & Stone Resales is having a positive impact when it comes to supporting those who wish to resell their retirement properties, as well as helping new customers experience what a retirement living lifestyle is all about. ...Read more
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Thanks to your generosity, we have smashed our target for this year’s charity partner Beanstalk. Here's a round up of some of the activities we have been getting up to across the UK. ...Read more
Our Christmas dinner events are always a highlight of the calendar year at McCarthy & Stone. To learn more about them, we spoke to our Catering Director Andrew Rowlands. ...Read more
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For retired retail manager, Marion Hughes and her late husband Edward, when it came to making the decision to downsize from their three bedroom home for 60 years in Edgware, they thought long and hard about it. ...Read more
Wine and cheese can be a delectable festive treat and getting the right pairing can be easier than you think. So, to point you in the right direction we’ve given our advice on some of the best wines to go with each type of cheese. ...Read more
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To help make your home full of Christmas cheer, we’ve spoken to Clare Gibson, Head of Interior Design at McCarthy & Stone who’s provided her top Christmas decorating tips. ...Read more
Find out about volunteering & fundraising for our charity of the year, Beanstalk. ...Read more
McCarthy & Stone discuss how you can find and pick antiques with James Constantinou from Prestige Pawnbrokers and TV’s Posh Pawn. ...Read more
Many people find that later in life that their home is far bigger than they need. Downsizing can bring a variety of benefits, including both financial and practical ones. That said, it can often be an emotional or difficult time. ...Read more
Home recycling is incredibly important. To coincide with National Recycling Week, McCarthy & Stone spoke to First Mile to see how more people can recycle at home. ...Read more
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At McCarthy & Stone, we like to make the process of selling apartments simple. To help you, we’ve put together this guide on how to sell your apartment. ...Read more
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Selling a family home can be difficult, but at McCarthy & Stone, we’re here to help. Read our guide on how to sell your house today. ...Read more
If the time has come for you to downsize and you want to be able to move quickly and easily, then Part Exchange is a good option to consider ...Read more
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Here in Britain, we love a holiday, but the journeys involved – especially when heading abroad – can be challenging at times. So, we’ve put this guide together to explain how you can make your holiday travel more comfortable. ...Read more
Get out and about this summer and discover for yourself the joy of picking your own fruit ...Read more
Whilst there are most certainly plenty of benefits to owning a home during your retirement, renting is another fantastic option that provides many with a flexible and easy way to make the most of their retirement. ...Read more
We’ve partnered with the National Trust to select the best secret National Trust locations near to the UK’s favourite ‘hidden gems’. Read on to find out our 10 best secret spots. ...Read more
We love spending time outside, and what a great time of the year to get out and about with your grandchildren. Spend some quality time together, make memories which will last a lifetime and make the most of the great British sunshine! ...Read more
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Mary Jones from Bath moved to McCarthy & Stone’s Lambrook Court development just down the road from her old home. ...Read more
McCarthy & Stone homeowner Sylvie Morgan recounts her tour of the UK, visiting developments and staying in our guest suites whilst visiting friends and family. ...Read more
A city of extraordinary cultural and historical wealth woven into every brick and beam, York seeps history at every turn. ...Read more
The summer season is packed with a variety of events to appeal to a range of interests and ages. Savour the delights of new and exciting cuisine, enjoy the thrill of world-class horse racing and discover the latest super cars, at events taking place across the summer months. ...Read more
Sparkling white beaches, deep blue seas, sugar-cube villages and venerable ancient sites make the
Greek islands an idyllic holiday destination for many. Tourists can immerse in the Greek cuisine,
century-old sites and local culture each island has to offer, while enjoy luxurious accommodation
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Although warmer weather can be a welcome sight for many, the increased temperatures can lead to
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Our research shows that one in three over 55s in Britain are looking to downsize their home. Here we explore our findings. ...Read more
The world-famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show. It’s the most glamorous day out in the gardening calendar.
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McCarthy & Stone has officially launched its charity partnership with Beanstalk, a national children’s literacy foundation. ...Read more
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If you’re looking to book a holiday and need some inspiration, then take a look at our selection of some of the best UNESCO World Heritages Sites to help you plan what could be the trip of a lifetime. ...Read more
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eharmony’s relationship expert, Rachael Lloyd explains why online dating can be a great choice for anyone over 60. ...Read more
We understand the problem of loneliness amongst older people and we want to do something to combat it. That’s why we have created our latest Pen Pals programme, an outlet to connect older people with other older people in communities by the writing and exchanging of letters. Click to find out more. ...Read more
Friendship is hugely important at every stage in life, and retirement is no exception. What’s more, in retirement you could make the most of the extra free time you have to discover different experiences and meet new people – leading to new friendships and relationships. ...Read more
Earlier in 2018, Rightmove surveyed 21,000 people in a bid to find the happiest locations to live in the country. We take a look at the results. ...Read more
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Plant containers are a space-saving option for the garden that's easier than working the soil. Leigh Hunt, Horticultural Advisor for the RHS tells us all that's needed to know about upcycling them. ...Read more
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September 23rd marks the first day of autumn with cooler days, darker nights and annual harvests ahead. But how can you prepare for the season? ...Read more
As summer fades, England’s largest history and culture festival is back. This September, hundreds of historic monuments and buildings throughout England – including many usually closed to the public – will throw open their doors for free. ...Read more
Discover Inspirational Generation winner and former Olympian, Marjorie Carter’s inspiring story, with a sports career that spanned over 70 years and a refusal to ever give up gymnastics! ...Read more
Whether you're a pet owner or have a pet free home, animals of all kinds have been proven to improve the happiness of their human counterparts. To find out more McCarthy & Stone conducted a survey to see how pets enrich their owners lives. Here are the results! ...Read more
McCarthy & Stone spoke to Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Writer and Broadcaster Corinne Sweet about the psychological benefits of owning pets. ...Read more
Helen Bostock, Senior Horticultural Advisor at The Royal Horticultural Society shares her advice on creating the perfect environment for butterflies, by making the most of your outside space no matter what its size. ...Read more
Here we put the spotlight on two retirees whose hobbies have taken them on trips all over the world. ...Read more
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Wrap up warm and get walking this winter with us! Discover new trails across the country and explore new scenery with McCarthy & Stone. ...Read more