The holidays are back on the cards for the British as lockdown restrictions kick in in the UK – and we can’t wait to go explore a place that isn’t the local park!
In England and Wales, outdoor attractions have reopened. (England’s indoor attractions could reopen from May 17 at the earliest, while Wales has yet to confirm a date.)
Meanwhile in Scotland, all visitor attractions have been able to reopen as of April 26 as the country has moved to Level 3 in the lockdown roadmap.
As we start venturing out of our backyard, here are some great day trips to gently ease your way out of lockdown …
Get up close and personal with the UK’s largest mammal at Sky Park Farm, near Petersfield in the South Downs, home to more than 200 red deer. Follow the trails on the 75-acre farm and kids can have fun on the outdoor adventure playground. Opens on May 21. Entry: £ 6 for adults / £ 3.50 for children (under 3 years free). You can learn more at skyparkfarm.com.
Homeground’s outdoor art space will open in the summer at First Street, and take center stage with a 400-seat socially distanced theater for magic shows and music. Among the regular productions are A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Candidate Theater (June 3-26) and a remake of Alice in Wonderland (July 15 – August 7). Book at homemcr.org/homeground.
Fiery displays of rhododendrons, azaleas, and wooden canopies give way to sea views on a two-mile path through the Sheringham Landscape Estate, designed by Humphrey Repton in 1812. The Caliph Capability Brown’s successor also designed the tranquil temple. Parking ticket 6.50 GBP. You can find out more at nationaltrust.org.uk/sheringham-park.
Burley Park hosts this fun festival dedicated to our four-legged friends where they showcase dog shows, volleyball, agility and scent training with vet advice from Dr. Scott Miller of ITV. There is a fun festival and live music. June 5-6. Tickets: For adults £ 13.90 / £ 8 children. You can learn more at dogstival.co.uk.
Blackfriars Road, Waterloo, Golden Jubilee, Westminster and Lambeth Bridges have now joined the Illuminated River installation. From dusk, the world’s tallest artwork will illuminate the River Thames with color sequences of light. Book a tour (starting at £ 8) or download a route from illuminatedriver.london/discover/explore.
At 100 feet high, Kelpies, the largest horse sculpture in the world, is hard to miss. Take a tour inside the horse’s head sculptures (adults £ 5, kids free) while the park itself is home to the lake, adventure area, and play spray. Find out more at thehelix.co.uk.
The Scottish Borders
A plethora of events have been planned to celebrate the 250th anniversary of one of Scotland’s literary sons, Sir Walter Scott. Fans of Ivanhoe, Rob Roy and The Lady of the Lake will enjoy walking the 92-mile part of Sir Walter Scott Trail (ldwa.org.uk) and visiting Abbotsford, Scott’s Baronial home, a must-see for adults £ 11.70 / kids 5.10 £, under 5 years free). Find out more at scottsabbotsford.com and walterscott250.com.
Combine a walk to Aber Falls in Snowdonia National Park with a visit to the Aber Falls Whiskey Distillery, in the village of Abergwyngregyn, to sample the single malt, launched in May, the first whiskey made in North Wales for more than 100 years. 1 hour tour, adults £ 8 / children (6-17 years) free. Find out more at aberfallsdistillery.com.
Visitors to the first-class 19th-century cottage that hosted last year I’m a Celebrity … bushtucker experiences won’t be on the list. Alternatively, there is a chance to see prime sites used to showcase reality and explore 250 acres of parkland and grounds overlooking the Irish Sea. Find out more at gwrychcastle.co.uk.
The English Welsh Frontier
Offa Dyke National Trail is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and to celebrate it, National Trails launches 25 new trails to enjoy the 177-mile route that crosses the England-Wales border more than 20 times. nationaltrail.co.uk