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Try somewhere different

Jean Elgie

Jean Elgie

Author

Lifestyle

The UK has a wealth of wonderful destinations for such a small country, and we've rounded up alternatives to some classic favourites

See four countries

Snaefell on the Isle of Man may not be as high as Snowdon, but on a clear day you can see Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England from the summit. Arrive in style on the Mountain Railway, and enjoy the many great walks on this beautiful island.

*Great Rail Journeys (greatrail.com) offers a six-day escorted Vintage Railways of the Isle of Man tour from £675, half-board, staying at the four-star Claremont Hotel.

This other Eden 

Nestled in between the well-known beauty spots of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, the Eden Valley is one of Cumbria’s best-kept secrets. Head for Kirkby Stephen for a touch of history, and explore surrounding villages set among unspoiled landscapes. 

*Stay at Corner Cottage (sleeps three) in Kirkby Stephen (sykescottages.co.uk), from £254 for seven nights.

Secluded South coast

The wonderfully named Manhood Peninsula is one of the last relatively undeveloped stretches on the south coast and home to the RSPB Pagham Harbour Local Nature Reserve. It’s a great base from which to explore Chichester Harbour, West Wittering and the East Head sand spit. 

*Stay at the Crab and Lobster (crab-lobster.co.uk) at Pagham Harbour in Sidlesham, West Sussex. Rooms from £110 per night, including breakfast. 

Peak scenery

The Derbyshire Peak District is one of England’s most beautiful landscapes, divided into the Dark Peak (exposed moorland) and the White Peak (limestone dales). It’s similar to the Lake District but less crowded.

*Discover the gardens of grand stately home Chatsworth, follow the river Derwent towards the moors, and explore Hathersage and Castleton on a six-night self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking break with Inntravel (inntravel.co.uk). From £535 per person, including B&B, three picnics, luggage transfers, route notes and maps. Or stay near Tudor Haddon Hall at Peak Cottage, Bakewell, from £373 for three nights (sleeps five). More details at holidaycottages.co.uk.

Walk through time

The Jurassic Coast is well known for its beauty and fossils, but the Durham Coastal Footpath is equally uplifting. You’ll find fossils at Seaham’s marina, but do scour the beach for sea glass, which can be made into jewellery.

*Stay at the romantic cliff-top Seaham Hall (seaham-hall.co.uk), with its award-winning Serenity Spa, from £195 per night B&B in a junior suite, including use of spa facilities.

The city of hills 

Belfast, like Bath, is surrounded by hills, providing a stunning backdrop. The Titanic was built in its shipyards, which are now home to a fascinating museum about the doomed liner. And the County Antrim coastline is glorious.

*Stay at the Culloden Estate & Spa (hastingshotels.com), on the slopes of the Holywood Hills, overlooking Belfast Lough. From £240 per night, B&B.

2,000 years of history 

There are so many beautiful cathedral cities in the British Isles, and one that is sometimes overlooked is Durham. Explore Open Treasure, the cathedral’s world-class exhibition experience, and discover 2,000 years of history. Also, explore the Secret Walled Garden at the medieval Crook Hall and Gardens.

*Stay at The Kingslodge Inn. It’s tranquil but close to central Durham. From £89 for a single room (kingslodgeinn.co.uk).

For golf fans

Harlech, a charming coastal town in North Wales, not only boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site medieval castle, but also – like St Andrews – a top links golf course at Royal St David’s. 

*Stay at No 1 Porkington Terrace in the heart of town, with views of the castle, coast and mountains. From £500 per week (sleeps six); more information at dioni.co.uk.

A Painter’s paradise 

If you love the Cotswolds, you will also enjoy Dedham Vale on the Essex-Suffolk border. Starting in Dedham, follow a circular four-mile trail across riverside meadows and fens, with signs marking the locations of paintings by John Constable, such as The Hay Wain and The Leaping Horse. A short detour from the walk will take you to Flatford Mill, also painted by Constable. 

*Stay at country house hotel Maison Talbooth (prideofbritainhotels.com
on the River Stour, from £300 for two people sharing a room with breakfast. 

Go north for big views 

With amazing views, big skies, striking sunrises and lots of empty beaches, the Northumberland coastline is like Cornwall without the traffic jams. It’s awash with history, from Anglo-Saxon saint kings and their bloody battles to epic Border warfare. 

Inland, the Kielder Forest Park boasts the largest protected Dark Sky Park in Europe, from where you can enjoy star-studded night skies and perhaps the Northern Lights, too. 

*Stay at the Bamburgh Castle Inn, Seahouses (bamburghcastlehotel.co.uk), from £79 for single occupancy of a standard room, B&B. Or self-catering at a Landal Kielder Waterside Lodge (landal.co.uk/uk/landal-kielder-waterside-kiel) from £254 for four nights (four sharing).

 

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