The lost gardens of Heligan are as magical as the story behind them. Hidden away under decades of weeds they were discovered and now thrive. Complete with its own jungle, rope bridge, magical gardens, sculptures, woodland, giant exotic plants, rare breeds and the best holiday actives for children imaginable.
Strolling across the sand causeway to Burgh Island from the mainland is simply not good enough. You have to time it so that you wade knee deep through the water, otherwise where’s the fun in that? You will be rewarded with an island to explore, panoramic views to wow and then a pint and packet of crisps in a 700 year old pub. You could even get the sea tractor back to shore to complete the adventure.
Arguably one of the Devon’s finest unspoilt beaches. Set within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with dunes and rocky cliffs providing shelter from the wind and panoramic views onto picturesque Burgh Island. At high tide a ring of pale and fine sand frames the sea then at low tide it becomes a golden expanse, dotted with pockets of shallow water and fantastic rockpools for poking about in. A reputation as one of the best surf spots in Devon and to top it off a Gastrovan serving up culinary treats.
An army of children all teamed up with the unrelenting task of stopping the stream of water meeting the sea. Dam building is just one of the attractions at this pretty little seaside Devonshire village. It boasts pastel cottages, 2 good pubs, a gallery, and 2 lovely sandy beaches complete with rockpools. Previously a fishing village now more famous for landing crabs and lobster, Hope Cove was once a favourite haunt for smugglers and still retains all the intimacy and charm of its characterful past.
Tucked away high up on the cliffs above Salcombe sits this hidden paradise. A subtropical garden, bursting with colour, filled with unusual and rare plants creating a dramatic display of hot colours. Explore the banana garden, meander through the olive grove, or relax beneath the palms and soak up the spectacular panoramic views across miles of beautiful coastline and estuary.
Scotney is not one but two houses. The views from the big country house down the hillside gardens prepare you for the Medieval Castle. However, wandering down along the winding paths it is only when you walk around the moated lake that it hits you just how pretty it is. Country house, romantic garden, 14th century moated castle - all in a beautiful wooded estate.
Retrospectively, buying an axe, sword and shield for three littles boys was not my finest moment. What came next was pretty brutal even by battle of Hastings standards! That aside we had a wonderful time exploring the battlefield and abbey. The one date in English history that everyone knows is 1066 and the battle that took place here moulded our country into what it is today. It’s the last foreign invasion this country has seen and is a rite of passage for any self-respecting Brit.
Catching those first glimpses of spring seems to come when we need them most. Just when we think the days can’t get any bleaker, that winter will last forever and the skies have permanently turned grey, along come the tiny glimmers. Peeking out under the debris of winter are snowdrops, aconites, daffodils, crocuses, primroses, hazel catkins dangling on bare branches, lambs frolicking in fields and birds chattering overhead. These beautiful delicate joys not only survive but thrive in these cold bleak conditions and we should follow their lead!
View the natural world in all its raw beauty through the lens of the most talented wildlife photographers in the world. Tring Natural History Museum shows the compact version of this stunning annual exhibition and displays 17 of the winning images.
Waddesdon Manor has got winter all wrapped up. Every outdoor chair beckons you with a sheepskin rug to sit on and a blanket to wrap around you, so sip hot chocolate with the huge French chateau as a back drop and bask in the views all around.