Where to Go for Summer Holidays in England
Our look at where to enjoy the perfect summer holidays in the English countryside.
OK, so the tennis at Wimbledon is often a washout. But that doesn’t mean the whole summer in England has to be so... wet. Often, the country finds itself baking in a heatwave (and you can bet, the very same locals who had been complaining about the rain will now turn their angry attention towards the simmering heat, while news channels will talk of droughts and soaring temperatures). Speaking of Wimbledon, you’ll probably want to get out of the sweltering capital city if you do find yourself in an English heatwave. We’ve highlighted a few gorgeous country retreats, where we happen to have a healthy number of Plum Guide homes. You’ll saunter through Suffolk and Somerset, dally on through Devon and haunt the streets of Hampshire with our expert guide on where to go for your summer holidays in England.
Spend your summer hols (yes, we said hols) in Hampshire. Start in Winchester, which was the capital city of England until the 11th century. ‘Is that back when you were young, mum?’ the kids will ask. Forget them and try to enjoy your holiday by strolling along the canals, and visit some of the highlights, such as the Winchester Cathedral, the Great Hall and the National Trust Winchester City Mill. If food is at the forefront of your mind when planning for your summer holidays in England, you’ll find some top restaurants overlooking the water in this upscale town packed with old-world edifices. Continue south for the rural wonderland of the New Forest National Park. Have lunch in a castle and embark on hikes between the trees. At the southern end, you’ll find the coast and the famous white cliffs of the South Downs National Park.
They say all good doggies go to Devon, and if we’ve made that joke before on the Plum Guide journal, then we’re not sorry because it’s too dog-damn good of a joke. So, we’re on the Jurassic Coast now, but don’t worry, you’re unlikely to encounter too many dinosaurs (‘Except you, dad,’ your little one pipes up). It comprises 95 miles (150 kilometres) of gorgeous overhangs, bluffs and other synonyms we can think of for cliffs. Rummage through the Dartmoor National Park, where you’ll find an array of relics from the Bronze Age – fix that cheeky kid with a death stare before they squeak up again about your age. Visit Torquay where you’re likely to find a certain hotel owner (Brits will know what we’re talking about). Seriously, though, John Cleese lives on an island in the Caribbean, so… not here. Wander through the Torre Abbey and check out the boats in the harbour, before taking an expedition to the undulating green terrain of the Exmoor National Park.
You’ll be set to spend your Somer in this stunning countryside county after these tips. So, you know how we were talking about the Exmoor National Park? Well, if you walk far enough, you’ll tipple from Devon into Somerset. Lose yourselves in the woods and between the farms. In June, roll back the years at Glastonbury Music Festival, which seems to always be a soaking muddy pit (even if we insist the English summer is dry and hot). Visit Wells for the cathedral and gardens, before relaxing on the beaches in Minehead. Head into Yeovil to see the sights and enjoy the fine-dining in the Little Barwick House.
When you’re Suffolk-ationing (we were going for vacationing, but it reads more like suffocating – not exactly the mood you want on your summer holidays in England). Well, we’re here now, so no use complaining about the puns. Head into the Broads for a lovely walk alongside the waterways. Go to the beach at Southwold and admire the lighthouse, before enjoying the music festival. In Ipswich, you’ve got the Christchurch Mansion and the Ipswich Museum – in the very, very unlikely scenario there’s rain.