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In Bloom: Beautiful Places to Enjoy a British Summer

By: Virgin Atlantic

April 24, 2018

Bourton on the Water

Bourton on the Water

Bourton on the Water

Bourton on the Water in the Cotswolds

Maybe we’re biased but if the weather is kind, few places in the world can match the beauty of the British countryside in the summertime. But where are the best places to spend these precious sun-drenched days? After much debate, we’ve narrowed it down to three of our favourite regions.

The Cotswolds

Painswick

Overlooking the village of Painswick in the Cotswolds

This ancient patchwork of rolling hills and rural market towns is one of the UK’s most popular tourist regions, and it’s easy to see why. Most of the honey-coloured limestone villages really do look like clichéd chocolate box covers, and the idyllic countryside that surrounds them is impossibly pretty. On top of all that, a dash of eccentricity gives the region a unique flavour, brought to life in events like the annual cheese rolling race and the Cotswold Olimpicks – though it’s easy to see how the area’s reputation as a modern day bolthole for stressed celebrities came about too. Gorgeous gastropubs like The Five Alls and high-end venues like Daylesford Organic do a fine line in cosmopolitan country grub, and you never know who you might bump into.

Lower Slaughter

Village walks in Lower Slaughter

It’s not hard to find a beautiful place to stay in the Cotswolds: Glorious manor houses, cosy B&Bs and small village hotels are everywhere. Three Ways House in Mickleton is one of our favourites (don’t miss the weekly Pudding Club nights) as is Lower Slaughter Manor, one of the UK’s finest country house hotels.

Cornwall

St Ives Cornwall

St Ives, Cornwall

Cornwall often endures extremely tough winters, but this picturesque county remains one of our most popular holiday destinations. Why? Well, for starters there’s the sheer variety of beaches: secluded coves backed by jagged cliffs, natural rock pools ripe for exploring, and mile upon mile of golden sands. Then there’s the dramatic coastline punctuated by fishing villages and harbour towns, and the opportunity to try your hand at activities like rock climbing, abseiling, surfing and wakeboarding. There’s plenty to do if the rain should return for a few hours, too – including the Eden Project and Tate St. Ives.

Mousehole at Sunrise

The harbour of Mousehole at sunrise

From family-friendly farmstays with daily tractor rides and animal feeding sessions, to clifftop self-catering cottages and sophisticated beach hotels overlooking the sea, Cornwall is packed with accommodation for all budgets. Young families will love to get stuck in at Higher Lank Farm in the village of St. Breward near Bodmin, or if you’re looking for a little slice of urban style by the sea, check out the cool white architecture of St. Moritz on the north coast.

The Lake District

Grasmere from Alcock Tarn

A view of Grasmere from Alcock Tarn

It’s “the loveliest spot that man hath found,” said William Wordsworth about Grasmere in the Lake District, and it’s hard to disagree. This region of far northwest England is simply unbeatable in summer, whether you want to explore by car, bus, bike or lake cruiser. But one of the best ways to discover the Lake District – especially at this time of year – is on foot. England’s largest national park is criss-crossed with walking trails for all abilities, from simple lakeshore strolls to challenging hikes up some of the country’s highest peaks. There’s even a number of multi-day Ale Trails which combine stunning scenery with cosy places to stay, great local food and fine real ale.

Sunrise at Buttermere, Lake District

Sunrise at Buttermere, Lake District

Incredible views are everywhere in this heavenly corner of England, but particularly photogenic locations include Buttermere when approached from Borrowdale via the Honister Pass; Derwentwater from the hillside viewpoint known as “Surprise View’, and Wast Water looking out towards Wasdale Head with Scafell Pike – England’s highest peak – in the background. But after a hard day’s walking it’s time to relax. The Lake District is home to accommodation ranging from five star retreats like Gilpin Hotel and Lake House at Lake Windermere, to pubs with rooms like the Drunken Duck Inn above Ambleside. Or why not really get away from it all at Howthwaite: a handsome 8-person self-catering property at Grasmere, which shares the same view as Wordsworth’s own Dove Cottage.

Ready for your own British summer? Book your flight to the UK with Virgin Atlantic today.

Categories: Our Places