Britain is a patchwork of historic cities, expansive landscapes and picturesque villages, making it easy to create a dream itinerary that balances bustling metropolitan experiences and relaxing moments in the countryside. From uninhabited Scottish islands to canal cruises in the south-west England and beyond, there are many ways for you to get off the beaten track in Britain, when we’re all able to travel again…
Sprawling across London's western limits, Richmond Park is the largest and wildest of the capital's eight Royal Parks. Historically used as a hunting ground for the royal family, here you can escape the hustle and bustle of the capital with woodland treks, off-road cycling and deer-spotting. Truly a wildlife hotspot in London, the park is home to more than 300 red and fallow deer, as well as native woodpeckers, bats and voles.
Kent’s iconic cliffs
Little over an hour from London by train, why not swap the fast pace of the capital for fresh sea air along the iconic White Cliffs of Dover? This dream-worthy cliff walk takes you on a refreshing journey, packed with panoramic views of the English Channel, as well as the traditional South Foreland Lighthouse and romantic meadows. These magnificent cliffs are also home to two semi-wild herds of grazing ponies, who help to manage the area’s rare and rustically beautiful chalk grasslands. History buffs won’t want to miss want lies at the base of these chalk cliffs too, as two shipwrecks are still visible – the steel hull and ribs of the SS Falcon from 1926 and the remains of a trade vessel which perished in a collision in 1910.
Liverpool’s calm cruise
Fancy mixing a trip to Liverpool with a spot of ‘slow travel’? Plan for a day away from the crowds with a Manchester Ship Canal Cruise. Set to sail along a new route for 2021, venture along a jewel of Victorian engineering as you travel from Liverpool and the Wirral to Latchford Locks near Warrington, and back again, in the same day! This leisurely six-hour canal cruise passes under several striking Victorian bridges and offers sweeping views across the Mersey Estuary to Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Waterfront and the city’s stunning skyline.
Oxford’s ancient art
The centre of Oxford is awash with historic sites and grand architecture, but why not also explore some of Oxfordshire’s rural gems? Nestled along a path less trodden is the village of Uffington, chock-full of traditional charm, undulating green hills and fascinating prehistoric monuments. Making for a wonderful cycle ride or walking route, plan to escape the busy city and discover an awe-inspiring Bronze Age chalk figure at White Horse Hill, as well as Uffington Castle, an Iron Age hillfort, and the nearby Dragon Hill, a name acquired due to its links with the legend of St George.
The south-west’s waterways
Alternatively, you can also experience Britain’s peaceful waterways on a smaller scale, by adding a private trip aboard a charming narrowboat, kayak or rowboat to your travel wish list. Prospective captains can explore the south-west’s serene natural beauty along the calm and picturesque waters of the River Avon. So whether you dream of taking in the sights of Bath aboard a quaint narrowboat, gently wading through the famous riverside of Bristol or rowing through Bradford-on-Avon, the south-west of England has plenty of quieter routes to bask in. Bristol and Bath are also great spots to explore by bike, with one traffic-free trail being the Railway Path. Once a buzzing railway line, the 13-mile route connects the two cities and now offers a stress-free path if you want to see the what’s beyond the city centres.
Edinburgh’s tidal island
Longing to discover what’s beyond Edinburgh’s beaten track? Add a trip to Cramond Island to your itinerary. This fascinating tidal island in the Firth of Forth is just a few miles from the centre of Edinburgh and is only accessible via a causeway that surfaces during low tide. Lovers of a peaceful adventure can set off from the village of Cramond, once a hub of local fishing, before travelling along the three-quarter mile tidal pathway towards the island. This secluded haven is just a third of a mile long and offers vast views across to Granton, Leith, the impressive Forth Rail Bridge and to other nearby small islands, although you should check the tide times before setting off to avoid being stranded by the incoming tide. As well as offering tranquillity in abundance, this uninhabited isle is home to rugged coasts and the remains of military defences dating back to both World Wars.
Glasgow’s loch-side serenity
Want to plan a trip to Scotland that takes in both the buzz of the city and nearby awe-inspiring landscapes? A trip to Glasgow can easily be extended to include the stunning scenery of one of Scotland’s most breathtaking spots, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Less than an hour’s drive from Glasgow, this expansive park offers a slice of peace and tranquillity away from the crowds. With a plethora of ways for you to explore, this is a bucket-list worthy destination for mountain bikers, canoers and hikers alike.
You are encouraged to always check individual attraction websites for the latest information, as events and details are subject to change.