Ah, the great outdoors! Nothing beats a fresh coastal breeze, the sweet smell of lavender or glistening sun through the trees of an untouched woodland. It’s a shame many of us spend much of our time in front of our over-adored smartphones, tablets and laptops, really. It seems we do nothing but shorten our planet’s lifespan and then fail to make the most of it, choosing to enjoy man-made technology without a balance of the earth’s natural offerings. Well it’s time to give our planet the loving it deserves by spending time among it, taking a break from the screens to appreciate the world around us.
Not only does a spot of green exercise prove a great distraction for scrolling through social media, but it is also perhaps one of the most inexpensive activities to pursue. So grab those packed lunch boxes, dust off those walking boots and head off on those undiscovered coastline and river adventures. The UK provides tonnes of these nature-loving holiday locations. But where's best for you to truly switch off?
Jurassic Coast, Dorset
The dramatic cliffs of the South West are home to some of the most beautiful views in the country; an untouched stretch of history exposing 185 million years of the earth. The coastline is famous for its unique geological form, coastal stacks, beaches and secluded caves, so there’s all sorts to explore along the 95-mile stretch between Exmouth (East Devon) and Studland Bay (Dorset).
Why not examine the ancient history recorded in the rock and go fossil hunting? You never know what you may discover along the coast’s beaches or cliffs, and the kids are sure to enjoy the adventure. Weymouth for instance, has its very own seafront treasure trail, both an educational and imaginative way to ensure boredom doesn't ensue. Although specifically designed with children in mind, there are another 57 treasure trails along the Dorset coast for the whole family to get involved in.
If you struggle with the concept of departing with technology completely, discover Dorset Segways in Poole, allowing you to leave those heavy walking boots behind and swap them for a Segway- a fun and exciting way to discover walled gardens, extensive lawns and a three hundred year old woodland.
The Jurassic Coast isn’t just seeping in historical significance but boasts a view like no other, with hundreds of miles of safe footpaths to enjoy gorgeous views out to sea or the rest of the cliff’s skyline.
There’s so much to discover in this part of the world that you can enjoy a full 7-day walking itinerary where you may explore quaint coastal villages and beaches among other cultural and historical activities. Despite being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast vastly goes unrecognised. Go south!
Norfolk Broads, Norfolk
Did you know, the Norfolk Broads has more miles of waterway than canal metropolises Venice and Amsterdam? Set in beautiful East Anglian countryside, this man-made National Park boasts over 125 miles of lock-free broads studded with heritage, natural woodland, incredible creatures and quaint towns and villages. The broads and its dynamic surroundings provide opportunity for both your next adventure and a relaxing retreat, with various adventure parks for kids and boating opportunities for the whole family. Play captain of your own boat tor the day or look into overnight boat hires for a holiday with your accommodation and trip activities sorted in one! Or if you prefer land to water, why not take in the calming views of the broads by bike?
Puck’s Glen, Argyll and Bute
Opening to visitors in 1935 as the first forest park in the UK, Scotland’s Puck’s Glen is a river-created ravine with a beautifully scenic walking trail beside the Eas Mòr (Gaelic for ‘big waterfall’) stream. A trail across the park is a magical and atmospheric experience, and there may be a supernatural reason why; it’s named after Puck, a mischievous spirit who haunts many legends, appearing in Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.
Forests might be the scene of your favourite fantasy film, but in the flesh it is even more incredible. Boasting quaint wooden bridges, dramatic rocks and dense trees in a mossy green wonderland, with a touch of glistening magic from the waterfalls and rock pools which can be spotted around the park. Perhaps it’s time to escape the normalities of every day and discover the enchanting aura of Puck’s Glen; enjoying a relaxing route which will be sure to capture your – and especially your children’s – imagination.
Lodges are a popular accommodation choice for those visiting the forest, adding to the charm of the whole experience and truly capturing the essence of escaping the ordinary!
Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire
You might need to wait until the summer for this one, but when the time comes, forget about jetting off abroad, why should you need to? You’ve got this little cove of paradise right on your doorstep… well, if your doorstep is Wales. Regardless, this beach is easily accessible by car and just a 2-3 hour drive from the buzzing city of Cardiff. There’s plenty of options to rent cottages nearby, with Stackpole – the nearest village to the bay – boasting glorious farmland, lakes and woodland. The area is beautifully scenic for cliff-edge walks, while the bay itself benefits from golden sand, clear blue waters and a feeling of complete remoteness. Your very own desert-island feel.
Holidays should be all about relaxation, adventure and discovery, none of which you can truly do with a smartphone in hand. We're lucky enough to live in a country brimming with historical and scenic delights, hiding up hills, in forgotten forests, beneath rugged cliffs and in the UK’s most underrated counties. Switch off the smartphone, shut off your screens, and enjoy brand new natural discoveries around every corner.