Lonely Planet Unveils the UK’s Top Unmissable Experiences!

On Tuesday 13 August, Lonely Planet unveiled their first ultimate Ultimate UK Travelist, revealing the top 500 unmissable attractions across Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.

Compiling the most exciting, unique and memorable experiences, the list reveals all that is great about Britain – with the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival topping the list!

With icons like the British Museum in London, Stonehenge in south-west England, and the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland all featuring in the Top 10 Experiences, the country’s icons are well and truly represented. But the list is also jam-packed with lesser-known but no less impressive highlights – from hobnobbing with royalty in Glamis Castle’s rose-tinted turrets to wild swimming in Durdle Door.

Compiled from the Lonely Planet roundup, we’ve selected 21 of the most unusual, surprising and unforgettable activities, sights and landmarks – for a truly unmissable British experience.

Yorkshire Dales Adventure, Yorkshire (number 18)

Coming in at number 18 on the Lonely Planet list, the Yorkshire Dales are a fairy-tale landscape of heather moorland and rolling green valleys. Home to some of Britain’s finest karst limestone scenery, the Dales also offer some of the country’s best hiking and cycling routes. And with hidden highlights including Forbidden Corner - a labyrinthine walled garden, and Hardraw Force - England’s highest unbroken waterfall, to explore, it’s the ideal spot for travellers looking to discover the lesser-known side of Yorkshire.

Wild Swimming at Durdle Door, Dorset (number 29)

Located in the turquoise waters of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, the ancient Durdle Door archway is one of Britain’s most unforgettable destinations for wild swimming. Soak up the sunshine on the pristine golden sands before taking the plunge and swimming beneath the monumental limestone archway, which was carved by the waves over centuries. Ranking at number 29, Durdle Door is an experience that testifies to the power of nature and the forces that shaped one of Britain’s most spectacular coastlines.

Hike the South West Coast Path, South-West England (number 37)

Combining the highlights of the Devon, Cornish, Somerset and Dorset coastlines, the South West Coast Path is 628 miles of staggering British beauty. Requiring around six weeks to complete in full, the path takes in sunlit beaches, picturesque fishing villages and major highlights including Tintagel Castle, the birthplace of King Arthur. With terrain ranging from easy to challenging, there’s something for every walking enthusiast looking to explore the delights of the south west.

Wild camping on Dartmoor, Devon (number 56)

Wild ponies, mist-covered moors and crystal-clear rivers await on a wild camping trip to Dartmoor. Get back to nature and sleep under the stars on a camping experience that reveals the rugged beauty of one of England’s largest open moorlands, all while discovering its staggering history at landmarks including Spinster’s Rock, which dates back to 4,000BC.

Island hop Scotland’s Western Seaboard, Scotland (number 58)

From exploring the only island country park in Britain to sipping the rich peaty whisky produced by Bowmore, the oldest distillery in Scotland, island hopping across the western seaboard reveals Scotland’s traditions and landscapes in all their glory. Discover Duart Castle, home of the Clan Maclean, and Iona Abbey, the ancient burial site of Scottish Kings, and spot magnificent red deer on the island of Jura. From wildlife to whisky, Scotland’s western islands have it all.

Deer Spotting Safari, Exmoor (number 61)

Get up-close-and-personal with Britain’s native wildlife on a deer spotting safari in Exmoor National Park. A former royal forest, the park is home to around 3,000 red deer – the largest wild land animals in England! Spot knobbly-kneed calves in spring and summer or see majestic stags battle it out in the search for a mate under a canopy of autumn leaves. With Exmoor ponies and a staggering array of flora and fauna to discover, it’s no surprise this experience ranks at an impressive number 61 on the list.

Coast to Coast Path, Northern England (number 76)

One of Britain’s most popular routes for walkers, the Coast to Coast Path comes in at number 76. Designed by renowned author and fellwanderer Alfred Wainwright, the path encompasses 190 miles of northern England’s most impressive landscapes. Covering three of our finest National Parks - the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors – and roaming across terrain that ranges from flower strewn dales to mountainous peaks, the path is perfect for cyclists and walkers looking to discover Britain in all its diverse glory.

Banksy Trail, Bristol (number 85)

Follow the trail of Banksy, one of Britain’s best known street artists in his birthplace, Bristol! One of the country’s lesser-known urban delights, the city is awash with quirky culture, cool boutiques and an eclectic dining scene, in addition to a wide array of impressive street art. With a range of street arts tours on offer, visitors will discover the impact that Banksy has had on pop culture and the art scene, and can even try their hand at creating their own graffiti.

Dungeness Train, Kent (number 110)

Jump aboard the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway steam train and step back in time on a journey to Dungeness. Best known for the historic battle of 1652, Dungeness is now classified as Britain’s only desert. Home to a fascinating array of plant, bird and sea life, this Site of Special Scientific Interest is well worth discovering. See the traditional cottages of local fishermen and find out more about their lives, before climbing the historic lighthouse for incredible views of the English Channel towards France.

Victorian Tunnel Tour, Newcastle (number 167)

Step back in time on a tour of Newcastle’s secret Victoria Tunnel. Originally constructed in 1842 to transport coal below the city streets, the tunnel was used as an air raid shelter during World War II and is rich in history. Experience an air raid re-enactment and walk beneath the city’s major landmarks, including Hadrian’s Wall, before hearing tales of the resident ghost and the city’s Victorian past.

Spot Puffins and Seals on Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland (number 194)

Wildlife lovers and photography enthusiasts should make a beeline for the rugged cliffs of Rathlin Island. Managed in part by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the island is particularly appealing during the birds’ nesting season. Head to the West Light Viewpoint to spot baby puffins and their parents cavorting through the undergrowth in spring and summer, see native species including kittiwakes and guillemots, and make sure to look out for basking seals, porpoises and even dolphins!

Channel Your Inner Braveheart at Stirling Castle, Scotland (number 217)

Trace the footsteps of Scottish hero William Wallace and discover his true history on a visit to Stirling Castle, the setting of the 1995 epic Braveheart. Scale the 246 steps to the William Wallace Monument and enjoy staggering views of the surrounding countryside. Explore the Royal Palace, the Great Hall and Queen Anne Gardens, hear tales of legendary combats including the Battle of Bannockburn, and learn the story of King Robert the Bruce – a Scottish National Hero.

Ride Some of Wales’ Wildest Waves Along Hell’s Mouth Beach, Wales (number 232)

Surfing enthusiasts can ride some of Britain’s best waves at Hell’s Mouth Beach in Gwynedd. Home to the Wakeboard Festival in July, the beach offers four miles of sandy shores, perfect azure water and even the chance to spot harbour porpoises and bottlenose dolphins. With a current that’s gentle enough for swimmers looking to relax in the waves, but strong enough to guarantee some perfect waves, the beach is one of the area’s best kept secrets for lovers of water sports.

Branch Out at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, South Wales (number 261)

Featuring the world’s largest single-span glasshouse, a national nature reserve, and a variety of beautiful and innovative themed gardens, the National Botanic Garden of Wales has something for every green-fingered enthusiast. Discover the medicinal secrets of local herbs at the Apothecary’s Garden, meet native species at the British Bird of Prey Centre, or enjoy an ever-changing range of flora-themed events throughout the year.

World Conker Champs, Northamptonshire (number 317)

We Brits love a quirky festival, and at number 317 the World Conker Championships fits the bill perfectly! Played using the seeds of horse chestnut trees, the championship sees competitors smash their way to victory in the picturesque Northamptonshire village of Southwick. Hosted by the Ashton Conker Club, the competition has taken place since 1965 and involves players using a conker, threaded with a piece of string, to break their opponent’s conker. Competitors take it in turns to strike their opponent’s piece, with the winner owning the conker that does not break.

Whizz Through the Zip World Slate Caverns in Blaneu Ffestiniog, Wales (number 327)

Zip World, near the historic mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, offer guests the chance to climb through a unique underground course in a disused slate mine or zip down Europe’s largest zip wire! Surrounded by stunning Welsh scenery, it’s an unbeatable place to bounce and slide through a huge underground adventure, for an action-packed experience to remember.

Margate Shell Grotto, Margate (number 339)

An ancient temple, a pagan place of worship, or even the residence of a cult – nearly 200 years after it was discovered, the debate still rages as to the origins of the Margate Shell Grotto! Nicknamed Shellhenge and decorated with an incredible 4.6 million shells, the grotto is a unique work of art that has to be seen to be believed. Join the debate and wander along 70ft of chalk tunnels to discover the 2,000sq foot mosaic, which features oysters, ancient gods and even the tree of life among its swirling, intricate patterns.

Learn to Cook at River Cottage, Devon (number 392)

Founded by British celebrity chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the chance to cook at the renowned River Cottage comes in as a foodie favourite at number 392. With a wide range of courses including gluten-free Christmas cooking, easy cheese making and meat curing and smoking, visitors will have the chance to discover the secrets of the acclaimed TV series, savour local produce and learn how to create truly scrumptious British recipes.

Star Spot on Lundy Island, South-West England (number 452)

A designated Dark Sky Discovery Site, Lundy Island has no street lighting or electricity after midnight, making it a stargazing spot that’s out of this world! At night, budding astronomers can expect to spot the Milky Way, distant galaxies and meteor showers, while its incredibly diverse flora and fauna, including basking sharks, dolphins and puffins, make it a nature lover’s paradise.

Hobnob with Royalty in Glamis Castle’s Rose-Tinted Turrets, Scotland (number 468)

One of the lesser-known royal residences, this fairy-tale castle inspired Shakespeare’s Macbeth and was the childhood home to HRH The Queen Mother. Visitors can explore the birthplace of HRH Princess Margaret, discover the sprawling gardens and admire the rose-tinted turrets. Alternatively, take a guided tour and learn the secrets of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, who have resided here since 1372.

Learn to Churn at Wensleydale Creamery, Yorkshire (number 496)

The British love affair with all things cheese-related is long established. Now, visitors can get in on the act and learn to churn beautifully British cheese at Wensleydale Creamery, one of Yorkshire’s best known producers. With cheese and butter-making demonstrations held throughout the day, plus cookery demonstrations of popular local dishes including Wensleydale Chicken and Yorkshire Rarebit, the creamery is a tasty experience for food fans on a trip to Britain.

Discover the UK’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site

Britain has a new UNESCO World Heritage Site after Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire was granted the prestigious status.

It means the UK is now home to 32 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a list which includes Stonehenge, the city of Bath, Blenheim Palace, Hadrian’s Wall and the Tower of London.

The home of the Lovell Telescope, the world’s third largest steerable radio telescope, Jodrell Bank is a working scientific observatory and a leading tourist attraction.

First used to track the Soviet Union’s Sputnik satellite – the world’s first artificial satellite – Jodrell now operates the UK’s national e-MERLIN radio telescope and is the headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array – a ground-breaking project to build the world’s biggest telescope.

Jodrell Bank’s addition to the World Heritage Site list is in recognition of its outstanding scientific heritage and of its role in the development of radio astronomy.

The Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre acts as a site of inspiration for budding scientists of all ages, while its 35-acre gardens are popular for walks and picnics.

Families can explore scientific theory and discover more about space in the Planet Pavilion, find out about the inner workings of Jodrell Bank in the Space Pavilion and enjoy science shows and exhibitions in the Stars Pavilion.

An exciting array of interactive screens, games and displays explore space, encouraging people of all ages to discover more about the solar system and the extent of the universe.

Telescope Walking Tours take place daily at 3.15pm, with additional tours at 11.45am at weekends, offering visitors the chance to find out more about how the Grade I-listed Lovell Telescope works. The tours last around 45 minutes and are free with general admission to the site.

Other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Britain include Durham Castle and Cathedral, the Ironbridge Gorge, the old and new towns of Edinburgh, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the Forth Bridge, the waterfront in Liverpool, Maritime Greenwich and the Dorset and East Devon Coast.

Discover English wine at some of the UK's best vineyards

Britain is home to an incredible selection of thriving vineyards that produce deliciously tempting wines. From the greenery of Kent and Dorset to the rolling hills of Yorkshire, a visit to one of the wineries can add some sparkle to the summer in more ways than one.

English Wine Week, running from 25 May to 2 June, promotes the nation’s wine industry and will see many vineyards opening their doors to welcome visitors with tours, tastings and special offers. English Wine Tasting and Tours also operate from central London to wineries in Kent and Sussex, meaning English wine remains incredibly accessible.

With award-winning wine offerings in a number of counties, it’s time to explore Britain’s vineyards and raise a glass to a blossoming industry.

Langham, Dorset

Occupying 30 acres at Crawthorne Farm, the Langham Wine Estate takes a ‘low-intervention’ approach to its growing process in a bid to limit its environmental impact. What results is a mix of terroir-driven sparkling wines from hand-picked grapes that are processed on site. Visitors can be talked through the entire process during a two-hour guided tour and tasting. Alternatively, they can embark on a self-guided tour, before treating themselves to lunch or afternoon tea in the Vineyard Café, set in a former 19th-century milking parlour.

Rodington, Shropshire

Hidden away in the heart of picturesque Shropshire is Rodington Vineyard, a family-run 10-acre site that offers an abundance of fine wines. Their Blue Tractor Wines are internationally recognised for their quality and visitors can arrange tastings and a visit to the vineyard during its opening hours – 10am to 4pm daily (closed Wednesdays) – to find out more.

Giffords Hall, Suffolk

Renowned for its array of sparkling wine, rosés and reds, Giffords Hall in Hartest, Suffolk is set on the clay soils of a former glacial riverbed. Taking advantage of its geographic location, it produces quality grapes that are high in both natural sugars and acids – a fantastic combination for both sparkling and dry aromatic wines. Visitors can take part in private or group tours and dogs are also welcome, although they must be kept on a lead to protect the vineyard’s collection of free-roaming lambs and chicks. Grand Tours of the vineyard also take place on selected dates throughout the summer, featuring a guided tour and tasting session with 3 wines and 3 liquors.

When? Grand Tours at 11am on 6 May, 27 May, 22 June, 13 July and 26 August.

Three Choirs, Gloucestershire

With a unique microclimate that is perfectly suited to grape growing, the Three Choirs vineyard and brasserie is found amid the scenic beauty of the Cotswolds. Having first been planted in 1973, the 75-acre site near Newent is among England’s oldest vineyards and is best explored via a guided tour. Visitors can also stay among the vines in one of the luxury vineyard lodges, which offer verandas on two sides for soaking up the sun and the scenery. The Brasserie has a menu packed with country classics and plates that are designed around the seasons using fresh ingredients from the region. Booking in advance for tours and tastings is a necessity.

Camel Valley, Cornwall

Nestled in the spectacular Cornish countryside in Bodmin is Camel Valley, developed by husband and wife pair Bob and Annie Lindo. They’ve been making wine at the site for two decades and possess a Royal Warrant for their sparkling wine from the Prince of Wales. All of the wines produced at Camel Valley are sold in the onsite shop too, meaning visitors can sample the flavours even when Grand Tour tastings are fully booked. Sit back and relax on the terrace or follow the Camel Trail through the farm to the picturesque sandy beaches of Padstow. The Grand Tour details the entire process of winemaking and is accompanied by a taster session when visitors can try the highly acclaimed Cornwall Brut.

When? Grand Tours take place at 5pm on Wednesday evenings between April and October, with additional tours at the same time on Thursdays throughout August. Guided Tours also take place at 2.30pm, Monday to Friday, between April and September.

Chapel Down, Kent

Using locally sourced fruit and mirroring the Traditional Method that is used to create Champagne, Chapel Down vineyard is notorious for its still and sparkling wines. Now covering hundreds of acres of prime Kentish countryside, the vineyard is open all year round to visitors, with gift experiences, tutored tasting sessions and guided tours all available. Chapel Down supplies iconic British institutions including The Royal Opera House and No. 10 Downing Street, while its wines are also popular with leading chefs Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver. Visitors can also enjoy modern British cuisine in the Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded restaurant The Swan, with its spectacular outdoor terrace that overlooks the vineyard.

When? Guided tours run throughout the year, and booking in advance is recommended.

Greyfriars, Surrey

Occupying close to 50 acres of the Surrey North Downs, Greyfriars is another vineyard that mixes traditional methods with modern wine making technology to create a delightful array of English sparkling wines. Reflecting the unique soil conditions and climate of the region, the wines have won numerous international accolades for owners Mike and Hilary Wagstaff. Tours and tastings run on most weekends, while Greyfriars also hosts open days with free entry on selected days throughout the year.

When? Open days on Saturday 8 June and Saturday 14 September 2019. Booking in advance for tours and tastings is recommended.

Hush Heath Estate and Winery, Kent

Hidden away amid scenic Kentish countryside, the Hush Heath Estate and Winery is home to the award-winning Balfour Brut Rose. Alongside the winery is a picturesque Tudor-framed manor house, glorious gardens and acres of ancient orchards and woodlands. Visitors can embark on a self-guided tour at their own pace after picking up a map from the Cellar Door, taking in the spectacular scenery and wildlife on the way before finishing up with a complimentary sample of wine, cider or beer in the tasting room. There’s an option to add more tastings for an additional fee. Tutored tasting tours, full estate tours and private group tours are also available, but must be booked in advance.

When? Tours take place all year round when the winery is open.

Kingscote, West Sussex

Developed to be a wine tasting break, Kingscote in West Sussex offers not only vineyard tours and tastings, but an all-encompassing countryside experience. The 150-acre estate is also home to Tithe Barn, a spectacular venue used for weddings and corporate events. Visitors can fish at two picturesque lakes known as Leggett Lakes or join one of the public footpaths that meander their way through the estate to discover other attractions in the 2,000-acre Kingscote Valley. Guided tours of the site take in the vines, winery, Tithe Barn and the shop and feature a tutored tasting of 2 of the vineyard’s award-winning wines. Vineyard tours with lunch or afternoon tea are also available, as well as a Gourmet Vineyard Tour option.

When? The vineyard shop is open daily from 10am to 5.30pm. Tours run from the start of April to the end of September and must be booked in advance.

Wyken Vineyards, Suffolk

With its country lanes, tall hedgerows and patchwork fields, the 1,200-acre farm of Wyken is characteristically Suffolk. The 7-acre winery, first established in 1988, produces several award-winning wines that are sold via the shop and the on-site Leaping Hare restaurant. Housed in a 400-year-old barn, the Bib Gourmand awarded restaurant serves a delightful mix of British and European dishes, while Wyken Farmer’s Market runs adjacent to the restaurant on Saturdays, selling an array of local goods, delicious food, alcohol, plants and sculpture. Visitors are encouraged to walk to the vineyard through the grounds of the estate. Alongside the Elizabethan manor house Wyken Hall there is a set of formal gardens that can also be explored.

When? The restaurant is open daily between 12pm and 3pm for lunch, and from 7pm on Friday and Saturday for dinner. The café is open from 10am to 6pm from Sunday to Friday, and from 9am to 6pm on Saturdays. The Farmer’s Market runs from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. The Gardens are open daily from 2pm to 6pm but are closed on Saturdays.

Sharpen Wine and Cheese, Devon

Producing more than a dozen wines, many of which have won awards internationally, as well as unpasteurised cheeses, Sharpham offers an array of exciting tours and tastings opportunities. Visitors can explore the site overlooking the River Dart as part of a self-directed vineyard walk, or can take part in a Vine to Wine Tour that takes in the vineyard and the winery with expert guidance. The Cellar Door Kitchen, an on-site alfresco kitchen café, is open throughout the season and features local ingredients and those picked from the estate itself.

When? Vine to Wine tours run from April to October at 3pm on weekends. Booking in advance is a must.

Ryedale Vineyards, North Yorkshire

The UK’s most northerly commercial vineyard, Ryedale Vineyards is a small family-run business near Malton at the foot of the North Yorkshire Wolds. Enjoy informal tours and tastings, or relax with a stay at the small B&B at the vineyard farmhouse. The 7-acre vineyard, established in 2007, produces an array of white, red, rosé and sparkling wines, as well as cider and apple juice.

When? Tours and tastings take place on selected days at 3pm between April and October, and must be booked in advance.

Rathfinny Estate, West Sussex

A relative newcomer to the English wine scene, having been founded in 2010 by husband and wife team Mark and Sarah Driver, the Rathfinny Estate occupies exceptionally beautiful countryside in the South Downs. With vines separated by rows of wildflowers, the picturesque site has glimpses of the Sussex heritage coast and features an abundance of tour opportunities. The state-of-the-art winery on the estate is capable of producing one million bottles of sparkling wine annually, a process that is explained as part of an exclusive tour and tasting experience that includes food at the site’s Tasting Room restaurant. Visitors can also stay at the Flint Barns or explore the Rathfinny Trail, a pathway that weaves its way through a mosaic of habitats, presenting numerous opportunities to spot plants, flowers and wildlife.

When? Tour, Tastings and Lunch, and Afternoon Tour and Tastings run on selected days between May and September and must be booked in advance. The Rathfinny trail is open daily, but can be closed at short notice for vineyard works.

The Best Tipples of South West England

England's South West is famous for its scenic villages and dramatic coastline, but it’s also home to some of the country's most historic and exciting pubs, breweries and drinks festivals.

 

ALL ABOARD 

Combine the scenery of Devon and Cornwall with some of its finest beers, by taking a day trip on the Great Scenic Railways' Rail Ale Trails. With seven self-guided trails to choose from, they take visitors through lush valleys and traditional rural towns while chugging along sandy coastal tracks. Each stop includes a list of pubs within walking distance; jump off and enjoy a chilled pint before continuing to your next destination. 

 

A FINE VINE

If wine is more your tipple, plan a visit to Quoins, a family-run organic vineyard in Wiltshire near the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath. Quoins produces four single-variety wines, which can be purchased directly from the vineyard. It opens for tours from mid-August, or you can drop into one of its open days and tastings, which are held throughout the year.

 

HISTORICAL TIPPLE

Sitting in 180 acres of orchards, Somerset Cider Brandy Company and Burrow Hill Cider has been making apple cider for over 200 years. In 1989, the company began setting aside half its yield to produce apple cider brandy, a once-popular liquor that fell out of favour with English drinkers 300 years ago but is undergoing a modern-day revival. Wander the orchards, tour the cider house and distillery, and finish with a tasting. 

 

THE GRAPE ESCAPE

The fun doesn't have to stop when your winery tour does. At Three Choirs Vineyard in Gloucestershire, you can stay overnight in a room that overlooks the neat rows of grapevines, or even in a lodge right in the middle of them. Time your stay with one of their regular events such as dinner and wine tastings, and even pop-up opera performances.

 

SHAKE IT UP

Create your own signature drink with a cocktail-making tutorial at The Milk Thistle, an uber-cool Bristol bar styled like a 1930s speakeasy and complete with an unmarked front door. Make it past the secret entrance and into their masterclass, and their mixologists will teach you a few tricks of the trade. 

 

SOUTH WEST SPIRITS

This Easter, Cornwall's Colwith Farm Distillery will open its doors for tours. Originally a potato farm set up to help feed the nation during the Second World War, it produced the county's first potato vodka, Aval Dor, in 2014. The following year, Stafford’s Gin was created from the vodka and botanicals foraged from the farm. The distillery is now working on a premium Cornish whiskey. 

Luxury that doesn’t cost the earth in south-west England

Sustainable tourism is a hot topic right now, as the fight against plastic pollution gains ground, along with the aim of reducing carbon footprint and achieving zero waste. As 5 June marks World Environment Day, we highlight a few of the multitude of eco-friendly places to stay in south-west England, just one of Britain’s regions well-known for its green approach.

 

The Scarlet, Cornwall

Perched on landscape that looks out over the gorgeous Cornish coastline and Mawgan Porth Beach, sustainability is a way of life at The Scarlet, which describes itself as a luxury eco-friendly hotel. Solar panels heat the indoor swimming pool, a renewable energy source provides electricity and there’s a natural ventilation system throughout. Its green credentials – which also embrace extensive recycling, water-saving initiatives and using ingredients in its menus sourced from as many local producers as possible – are seriously impressive. Guest rooms are provided with organic towels and, to save energy and reduce packaging, there are no fridges or tea and coffee trays; instead, guests are taken freshly made tea, coffee and homemade snacks (all complimentary) at their request.

 

Dartington Hall, Devon

A country estate near Totnes in Devon, the elegant Dartington Hall cleverly combines its long and varied history – its Great Hall dates back to the 14th century and you can stay in rooms that face onto its medieval courtyard – with a commitment to sustainability. A large proportion of its energy is produced via renewables such as biomass boilers and solar panels, while locally grown food is used at its restaurants The Green Table and The White Hart Restaurant. The estate also runs an in-depth conservation programme and, to really get back to nature, you can also enjoy wild camping on the estate.

 

Log House Holidays, Cotswolds

Roll-top baths under the stars, private beach and Finnish hot tub – sounds idyllic. All this luxury is also eco-friendly at Log House Holidays, which provides eight secluded luxury log houses around a 130-acre lake and nature reserve. Stargazing on a clear night is essential and guests have ample opportunity to spot local wildlife. The largest cabin, Mayo Landing, is set on a private island in the middle of the lake and has its own heated pool and wood-fired sauna, while all the lodges are furnished from local antique and auction houses, another positive step towards reducing that carbon footprint.

 

The Green House, Bournemouth, Dorset

This Grade II-listed Victorian villa style property in the heart of Bournemouth is fully committed to sustainability. At The Green House Hotel water is heated by solar energy, electricity is generated on site and each of its rooms are fitted with locally made wool carpets. The paint that adorns the walls is eco paint, the furniture throughout is created in the UK using trees felled by storms or tree surgeons, its restaurant sources from local producers, the wine list is created taking into account each bottle’s carbon footprint and even its company car runs on the cooking oil used in the kitchen. Yet its rooms are luxurious with walk-in showers, luxury toiletries and goose down duvets, and in-room beauty treatments are an added treat.

 

Burgh Island Hotel, Devon
There are many elements to recommend Burgh Island; it’s in An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the coast of south Devon, you can arrive there via sea tractor, it’s one of the most prominent places to see and experience Art Deco in the country and it counts literary legends such as Agatha Christie and Noel Coward among its former guests. But it’s also led the way in environmental matters for more than a decade. It’s gorgeous location on the coastline of south Devon means it can meet its local sourcing policy – particularly for seafood and meat – where 80% of ingredients are sourced within a 30-mile radius of the island. It has a natural sea water bathing pool and, as far back as ten years ago, it installed its own borehole used for irrigation and cleaning water, while 11 years ago it introduced elements to control external light pollution. Last year it installed electric car charging stations and there are plans a foot for a new eco-build on the island, The Pool House.

 

Eco Chic Cottages, Cotswolds

Effortlessly combining luxury style with sustainability, Eco Chic Cottages – The Chestnuts and Culls Cottage – are built in the beautiful honey-stone native to the Cotswolds offering elegantly luxurious accommodation that’s considerate to the environment. Its energy saving initiatives are first-class; the thick traditional stone walls keep the cottages naturally cool in summer and warm in the winter, each cottage has a wood fire rather than coal and curtains are thermally lined to keep heat in. You’ll only find products in the cottages that are kind to the environment, taps have aerators to reduce water follow and there are recycling and rainwater-harvesting initiatives in place.

 

You might also like these sustainable restaurants and attractions in the region:

In the beautiful cathedral city of Salisbury, Wiltshire, restaurant Greengages is focused on using locally sourced products in all its food that is prepared fresh to order – cutting down on carbon footprint and food waste. And just 30 minutes away in the Wiltshire town of Tisbury, the Pythouse Kitchen Garden focuses on an ‘eat the seasons’ ethos and grows many of its ingredients on site. Nearby attraction, the Bombay Sapphire Distillery – where you can book on tours and tastings of its gin – was awarded the BREEAM Award for Industrial Design – an award that sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design.

Cornwall has a raft of organic, sustainable restaurants; check out Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in Falmouth, which focuses on sustainability across everything from recycling and sourcing to conservation and energy usage. Or dine at the restaurant at Bangor’s Organic on the north coast of Cornwall, where the journey from garden to plate can be counted in minutes. You can also stay at its B&B, one of only three Soil Association certified B&Bs in the UK. For Michelin-star cuisine, head to Michael Caines at the stunning Lympstone Manor hotel just outside Exeter in Devon. Michael is passionate about sourcing local produce and supporting local producers and has also recently planted 17,500 vines over 10.5 acres to grow his own Lympstone sparkling wine.

Britain on the silver screen

Travelling through the UK, you may experience a sense of déjà vu - that’s because Great Britain is filled with locations you'll recognise from the movies. Several are being honoured this year with a host of BAFTA and Academy Award nominations so here are some of those places that you can visit in real life.

 

Dunkirk

Nominations: Eight Academy Awards including Best Picture and eight BAFTA Awards including Best Film.

Most of Dunkirk was filmed in France, but Britain makes some stunning cameos. Think of the scene when the civilian fleet sets sail from the seaside town of Weymouth in Dorset while on their return, they're bolstered to see the white-chalk cliffs of the Jurassic Coast. Weary soldiers receive a hero’s welcome when they pull into a postcard-pretty train platform; you can book your own journey on the Swanage Steam Railway.

 

Paddington 2

Nominations: Outstanding British Film, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay at the BAFTA Awards.

London’s busy Paddington station appears in the sequel although exterior shots filmed at Marylebone Station. Visit the Paddington Bear Shop, then find the statue near Platform 1 and follow the rest of the Pawprint Trail. You can also follow in Paddington’s pawsteps at Portobello Market or wander the towpath of Little Venice where the bear gave chase to the thief from Mr Gruber's antique shop.

 

Phantom Thread

Nominations: Four Academy Awards including Best Picture and four BAFTA Awards including Best Actor.

The Victoria Bay Hotel near Whitby, North Yorkshire, was stripped back to fit the 1950s setting. Visit the modern incarnation and enjoy familiar views over the fishing village of Robin's Hood Bay - you might even recognise some of the staff who appeared as extras. The opulent glamour of Blackpool Tower Ballroom also made the cut as the perfect setting for a lavish party scene. Take a tour, enjoy afternoon tea, or spin on the famous dance floor.

 

Darkest Hour

Nominations: Six Academy Awards including Best Picture and nine BAFTA Awards including Best Film.

London’s Cabinet War Rooms, where Winston Churchill orchestrated Allied troops during World War II, were meticulously recreated for their role in this film. And of course, you can visit the real-life underground bunkers too, which stand exactly as they did in 1945. And while the Commons Chamber in the Palace of Westminster was another carefully constructed set, get a glimpse of the real thing with a guided tour of Parliament. Also in the capital is the film’s backdrop, picturesque Greenwich; explore the rest of this World Heritage Site which includes the Royal Observatory, the historic Cutty Sark, and the Meridian Line.

Up in Rotherham, Yorkshire is Wentworth Woodhouse which doubles up as the interior of Buckingham Palace. Privately owned for many years, this grand historic home has recently been opened to the public.

 

Victoria & Abdul

Nominations: Best Costume Design and Best Makeup & Hairstyling at both the Academy Awards and the BAFTA Awards.

Osborne House was Queen Victoria's beloved family home on the Isle of Wight, and the place where she first met Abdul. Peek inside royal life with a tour of the private apartments, bathing beach and children's play cottage. Queen Victoria later introduces Abdul to her Aberdeenshire getaway, Balmoral Castle, which remains the summer holiday home of the Royal Family today and open to the public from 30 March to 31 July. Don't miss the stunning setting of Cairngorms National Park that surrounds it, where the pair enjoyed a scenic picnic.