To help us launch our new camping in Scotland section and our guide to holidays in Scotland, we thought we would let you in on Scotland’s top 5 best kept secrets. As the title suggests these are places well worth a visit that are not on all guide books or a little further off the beaten-track for many tourists, trust us and discover more.
1. Loch Morar’s Silver Sands
Take the road from Fort Willian to Mallaig and Loch Morar is just before you arrive in the port town of Mallaig. Silver Sands is the beach that gently eases its way into the warm, crystal clear waters of Loch Morar. There are no designated parking spaces, so carefully park along the narrow road and enjoy a day at the beach courtesy of Scotland. (pictured above)
2. Foyer’s Falls
Most people take the A82 road along Loch Ness, between Fort Augustus and Inverness and therefore miss Foyer’s Falls which are a set of spectacular waterfalls on the east side of the famous Loch. Leave this one for a rainy day, as the waterfalls cascade are even more impressive.
3. St Kilda
St Kilda is for those who really are looking for an adventure. The island, Scotland’s first World Heritage site, is the remotest part of the British Isles. Now managed by the National Trust of Scotland as a nature reserve. Visiting St Kilda is possible, please see more information on their website http://www.kilda.org.uk. Camping on the islands’ only campsite is the only way to stay on the island!
4. Regional Feis
Scotland is rich in history and culture and a Feis is a series of Gaelic Arts Festivals that takes place across Scotland between February and October each year. If you are planning a trip to Scotland in 2013, check out the nearest Feis using this site http://www.feisean.org
5. Carbisdale Castle
Built in 1907 for the Duchess of Sutherland and once the home of the exiled King of Norway, this ornate castle is now a youth hostel that boasts a ballroom, library, huge fireplaces and staircases to rival Hogwarts from the Harry Potter films. The castle is said to have a few resident ghosts, so if you don’t want to stay, just visit!
I don’t like to push and promote destinations to go camping without at least giving some ideas on why a certain place is worth a visit. And promoting camping in the Peak District is easy. I have been coming to the national park, since a school trip to Dovedale when I was 11 and have managed to get around most of the well-known and not so well-known places.
Here are my 5 top places to see in the Peak District:
1. Arbor Low
‘The Stonehenge of the North’ as it is often referred to, stands at 400m above sea level and with views in all directions across the beautiful Peak District landscape. Unlike its cousin in the south, Arbor Low does not have visitor figures in the millions and has managed keep its mystery. Whilst the stones lie on the ground, mostly broken, and it is easy to imagine how it looked in its prime, historians can only assume that Neolithic tribes gathered around Arbor Low for ceremonies/rituals, or as a market place. Well worth a visit for the views and mystery.
2. Buxton Opera House and the Buxton Festival of the Arts
Opened in the early 1900s, Frank Matcham’s beautifully designed Opera House is now host to the Buxton Festival of the Arts, a festival that takes place in the Peak District’s most famous town each July. The festival programme offers opera, music and literature; from Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera to Roy Hattersley reading The Devonshires to Claire Jones playing the Harp. The Opera house also hosts other events during the year. For more information please visit http://www.buxtonfestival.co.uk/whats-on/2013-festival/
3. Tissington Hall
Tissington Hall, situated near Ashbourne, has been in the Fitzherbert family for over 400 years. Now also a hotel, guests can stay for a long weekend to take in the estate, the surrounding countryside and the wider Peak District. However, if the £2,000+ price tag is too much, you’ll be pleased to know the hall and gardens are open to the public on certain dates through the year – adults pay £9 and children £4. Please see www.tissingtonhall.co.uk for more information
4. Derwent Dams
The Derwent is where the Peak District meets the Lake District. The 3 reservoirs of the Derwent, Howden and Ladybower flooded the upper Derwent valley to serve the thirsty industrial cities in the midlands at the turn of 20th century.
The Howden and Derwent dams which feature heavily in this watery landscape were used (and later famously depicted in the film) as training for 617 Squadron before their epic raid on the Ruhr dams in Germany in the second world war.
Today the area is hugely popular with families attracted by the beautiful landscape. (pictured above)
5. Snake Pass
Not far from the Derwent Dams is the A57. The road engineered by Thomas Telford as a thoroughfare between Sheffield and Glossop in the 1820s and at its highest point it reaches a height of 512m above sea-level.
Known as ‘Snake Pass’ for its meandering path through this part of the Peak District, takes travellers under Kinder Scout, the highest peak in the national park. The areas off this road is perfect for family walks and picnics.
Please bear in mind that the road in winter can be dangerous and often shut for long periods during snow.
Please use this link for our full guide to holidays in the Peak District.
Yorkshire is made up of West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire and South Yorkshire, each full of scenic, historical and cultural diversity. Yorkshire is also home to the beautiful Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, both bring a spectacular landscape perfect for a UK family break.
Here are 5 places to visit in Yorkshire, please see our full guide to holidays in Yorkshire on the I Spy Camping website for more ideas and information.
Top 5 places to visit in Yorkshire:
1. Bempton Cliffs, Bridlington
Standing 650 feet high at their highest point, the cliffs are a haven for a large variety of birds, including guillemots, puffins and gannets. The area is protected and the RSPB have installed safe viewpoints to allow close-up bird watching. (pictured above).
This former capital town of East Riding, whilst Hull was only a little port, offers excellent examples of gothic architecture and buildings of character. A visit to the Minster is a must.
3. Hole of Horcom, Lockton
A curious large natural ampitheatre lies three miles north of the village of Lockton in the Yorkshire Moors. There is a story to the Hole of Horcom, but visitors really should visit to learn more. The area is also a haven for hang gliders.
4. Castle Howard, near Malton
Best known as the setting for TV’s Brideshead Revisited, this glorious stately home welcomes visitors into its history and extensive collections and grounds that feature temples, lakes and fountains. The home was awarded ‘Out of Town Attraction of the Year’ by York’s Tourism Bureau.
5. Catrake Force, Keld
Catrake Force near the village of Keld, is a spectacular waterfall reached from the cottages at the bottom of village. Whilst its stepped formation, along with the old lead mine, is on private land, the force can be still be seen.
Today, cattle and sheep share the Welsh hillsides with walkers, cyclists, climbers and hangliders! For lovers of the outdoors here is paradise. There are so many things to do in North Wales for everyone, here are just 5 things. Five more await you on our guide to holidays in North Wales & Snowdonia.
1. Climb Snowdon
Possibly the reason most people come to North Wales. Find your way to Llanberis and choose to climb the UK’s second highest mountain on foot (3 hours with children) or pay to go by train. You could also take the train to the summit and walk down. Please ensure you wear suitable clothing and footwear, the weather in the mountains can turn nasty very quickly.
2. Eat Fish & Chips on Llandudno Pier
This popular resort of yesteryear still has its charm, with its town planners over the years resisting the temptation to lose its Victorian seafront and pier in favour or modern buildings. Drive, walk or take the tram up to the Great Orme for spectacular views across to the Irish sea, Puffin Island and Snowdonia inland.
3. Spend the day at the Beach in Harlech
Brought your bucket and spade? Yes, Harlech is your place, beautiful sandy beach perfect for families. There is also Harlech castle to explore that overlooks the beach.
4. Walk through Betws y Coed
The gateway to Snowdonia, a popular town, with a rushing river and brimming to the edges with outdoor equipment shops, cafes and hotels. Plenty of campsites border the town making it a perfect place to base yourself to explore Snowdonia. Look out for Swallow Falls not far from the town.
5. Take a ride on the Ffestiniog Railway
Your kids will love this, so we thought it would merit its own place in the top 5. This 19th century railway carried slate through the Welsh mountains, but will now give you and your family a spectacular scenic journey.
Use this link to read our full guide to holidays in North Wales & Snowdonia
It was -5c this morning in Daventry, leaving me in no doubt that winter is here! I walked to I Spy Camping HQ… why? The sun was out, the sky was blue and the trees were white, who wouldn’t want to enjoy a walk with a backdrop like that?
We all need to get out and get fresh air, even during winter and you don’t need to wait until the sun is out before doing so. Here are some ideas to get you and your family on some great walks. So wrap up warm and get your walking shoes on.
These 10 walks have been rated as easy walks perfect for walks with little ones, prams and buggies. There aren’t too many inclines and not too long in length.
1. Chapel Row, Berkshire
This walk is 5 miles long through the peaceful, well wooded Berkshire countryside. It can be a nice gentle stroll with no difficulties underfoot. You start off through the trees from Chapel Row and then in to the broad valley of the River Pang, a seasonal stream which may or not be there!
You then reach Stanford Dingley, where there is the local church and a superb country pub, The Bull Inn. The wooded path then returns you to Chapel Row. How to get there: Off the A4 (Theale – Thatcham) at Woolhampton.
2. Sunderland Point, Lancashire
A 4 mile walk which is an easy, level route. The sandstone quays of Sunderland lie on the far side of a tidal causeway. You can walk across the peninsula to find Sambo’s Grave, with it’s poetical inscription to a young man from the Caribbean who was buried here in 1736. This is a lonely estuary with wailing seabirds. How to get there: 7 miles via Overton from Lancaster(M6 Jct34). Park on the beach.
3. Arlingham, Gloucestershire
Arlingham is a remote village with a small pub, the Red Lion stuck way out near the end of a peninsula around which is the River Severn. If you time your walk so that there is a half tide there will be memorable views across the half covered sandbanks. Newnham church can be seen on the far side of the river. A little way down the river there is the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust’s Slimbridge Reserve. How to get there: 3 miles beyond Frampton on Severn (M5,Jct13)