Have you given a thought to summer camping yet? Those yurts, lodges and cool glampy sites get booked up waaaaay in advance, so to give you the early heads up, here are the 25 best places to start your search, as chosen by the people in the know – the regional Muddy editors.
Hollington Park Clamping ,Woollen Hill, nr Newbury
If you love the idea of getting back to basics, but can’t quite bring yourself to sleep on a deflating air mattress, pitch up at Hollington Park Glamping near Newbury.
Love a luxe break? A sucker for heritage holiday rentals? Or is it all about the location? They all have their place but, for pure fun value, there’s little that can beat a really quirky stay. The Muddy editors in counties from Cornwall to Norfolk, Kent to Warwickshire, have each found two brilliant, alternative properties with which to whet your travel appetite. And if you know a fantastic quirky stay somewhere that you think should be included, please comment in the box below – let’s share the knowledge!
Everywhere gets so darn booked up for Mothering Sunday – as you’ll know, if you’ve ever spent the week before desperately trying to nab a restaurant reservation only to find it’s Burger King or bust. So in the interests of being super-organized, we’ve decided to get in there early this year with our guide to what to do with your mother – or your children – on Sunday 26 March (I can think of a few suggestions that aren’t quite in keeping with the spirit of the day, but let’s leave that there).
Well hellooo there bum cheeks! You made yourselves known after a two-hour bike trail in Bedgebury Pinetum this weekend. Someone get me a bag of frozen peas! Okay, so I’m half joking – we quite enjoy a family bike ride in the Muddy family and obviously I have buns of *cough* steel. But mine had ever so slightly gone into hibernation over the last few months, how about you?
Beach holidays in Britain always come with that anxious niggle at the back of your head – will it tank down for the whole week? Well, how about an inland lake or river holiday as an alternative? The Muddy editors who happen to be landlocked (*sob**) have scoured their counties for some stonking rental properties with their own little piece of liquid heaven to entice you throughout spring and summer. Tempted?
STAY IN… BERKSHIRE
River Arts Club, Maidenhead
Who needs the coast when you can have the mighty Thames?
One of the big benefits of Muddy tottering its way into so many counties (er, 17 since you asked!) is that we have a raft of on-the-ground experts, squirrelling out the coolest, most useful stuff for the rest of us to plunder. Case in point – beach cottages. Thought about renting one this summer? Yeah me too. So allow me to lay before you a sandy smorgasbord from the Muddy regional editors – 14 beautiful beach properties for the bucket and spade brigade.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching (wahhhhh!). I always find it a tricky one to plan for, do you? I’m not massively keen on sitting in a restaurant along with a million other couples, gazing into each other’s eyes (Naff) playing romance-by-rote, being handed a soggy rose (Naff. And if you’re gonna do it, get me 24 will you?)… Red underwear? Double naff (and also a bit Kat Slater). Chocolate? Unoriginal (but edible at least).
So if you’re like me, and looking for something a bit less cringe/traditional and a bit more fun, here are some alternative, non-cheesy Valentine’s ideas that will help you feel the love…
Clifftop walk and stay at the White Cliffs Hotel, Dover
There is something so stirring and stunning about the Dover coastline – the raw natural beauty of those majestic white cliffs gets me every time.
Quite frankly the only thing likely to entice me outside at this time of year is a cosy Kent pub, roaring fire and good old Sunday roast. Sometimes we squeeze in a quick walk first (if we’re feeling particularly game and I’m wearing the prerequisite double-sock-layer-system). Afterwards we seek out the ultimate reward – mouth-watering meats, glorious gravy, yummy Yorkshires and all the trimmings. Here’s my pick of some of the best pubs (which happen to have great walks near by) to try:
Kings Head, Wye
There’s a lot to love about the King’s Head.
Some of you may be doing dry January – *groan* – but the weather certainly isn’t. And the half-term break feels forever away. It’s weeks like this that I take solace by gorging myself on potential holidays. Hot summer holidays in exotic climes with Rufus Sewell (if he’ll only stop moaning on and on about how he desires me), cool city breaks with Mr Muddy, gorgeous cottages in rugged climes for walking hols with my galpals and for family time in the UK, something luxe but active, rural but not too holiday campish.
Yup, it’s pretty chilly at the mo, but if anything can lure me outside it is a scenic stroll and a roaring pub fire. And it was on one of those gloriously clear, yet crisp, days that I discovered this perfect walk/lunch combo at The Barrow House, a gorgeous new pub in Egerton from the team behind ever popular The Milk House in Sissinghurst.
Egerton sits not far from the M20, almost exactly half way between Ashford and Maidstone – or if you’re coming from west Kent, just up past Headcorn.