With summer just around the corner and the warmer weather upon us, there’s a good chance you’ve started dreaming about where you’ll spend your well-deserved time off this summer.
While you may initially think of far-flung destinations across Europe, or perhaps even further afield, you don’t need to travel a great distance for a fantastic holiday. Indeed, there are plenty of gorgeous destinations right here in the UK.
So, continue reading to discover eight breathtaking rural getaways in the UK where you can have an off-the-beaten-track holiday this summer.
1. A self-catering lodge in Loch Lomond
If you desire a holiday with sensational views of the rugged Scottish landscape, then a self-catering lodge in Loch Lomond certainly won’t disappoint.
The loch is found in the heart of the gorgeous Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, and there are plenty of self-catering lodges or cottages equipped with wood stoves, saunas, and state-of-the-art kitchens. There is something for all budgets and preferences.
As for activities, Loch Lomond has an abundance of outdoor activities, such as scenic walks and hikes, exciting cycle routes, and even several water-based adventures on the loch. You could even visit the island in the centre of the loch, Inchconnachan, where you can find around 60 wallabies!
2. Wine tasting in West Sussex
There are also some fantastic rural escapes in West Sussex, and if you’re somewhat of a wine aficionado, there’s a good chance you’d love Kingscote Estate.
The burgeoning vineyard offers premium wine-tasting tours that will captivate wine enthusiasts. And, if you fancy staying on location and taking in the whole 160-acre estate in your own time, there are cottages available to rent on site.
This area has it all – rugged woodlands, rolling fields, and areas of outstanding natural beauty – you won’t be left wanting after a visit.
If you do decide to stay on or near the estate, you shouldn’t miss the chance to tour the West Sussex countryside on the Bluebell steam railway nearby, a magnificent steam train from the 1880s.
3. Wild swimming in Norfolk
Norfolk is another location in the UK with some awe-inspiring scenery to explore thick pinewood forests, thriving wetlands, and gorgeous beaches.
As the weather gets warmer, this could be the perfect time to brave the waters of the former quarry at Manor Farm and go wild swimming. The quarry has become a must-see port of call for wild swimmers, and the farm itself has several former shepherd’s huts available for overnight stays. There are also plenty of relaxing walks in the area.
If you’d prefer to keep out of the water, there are various fishing experiences at the former quarry from the safety of the banks, such as carp fishing or night angling.
Also, just because you’re staying rurally, doesn’t mean you need to stray far from the lap of luxury – the cottages are adorned with hot tubs, food hampers, and even pizza ovens!
4. A holistic retreat in Dorset
If you wish to spend the summer on a serene getaway while remaining off the beaten track, Bonhays, found in west Dorset, offers a remote yet luxury holistic retreat to help you relax and escape the bustle of daily life.
The owner specialises in “Nei Gong”, a form of Chinese breathwork designed to help you relax. Additionally, the centre offers various other holistic experiences to nourish your mind.
The centre itself is environmentally conscious, with straw bale constructions and waste water recycling. You can also have a swim in the on-site pool or clear your head in the meditation studio found on the grounds.
If you visit the holistic retreat, this doesn’t mean you’re limited to the site, either, as there are plenty of stunning walks in the surrounding area.
5. An outdoor adventure in the Cairngorms National Park
Conversely, the Cairngorms National Park may be your ideal location if you find yourself yearning for adventure. You should essentially see the Cairngorms as your very own outdoor playground – you can go skiing, trek the gorgeous landscapes on quad bikes, climb dramatic rockfaces, and even try your hand at clay pigeon shooting!
Aviemore, a quaint town nestled in the heart of the national park, could be the perfect base of operations to explore the exciting surroundings – there is plenty of comfortable accommodation here, such as the Badaguish Forest Lodges or the Eriskay B&B and Glamping site.
Even if adventure isn’t your thing, it still may be worth considering the Cairngorms this summer, as the area truly has something for everyone.
6. Stargazing in Somerset
These days, light pollution here in the UK means it’s sometimes a struggle to get a clear view of the mesmerising stars above. Though, one of the places in the south of the country where you can enjoy a stargazing-based rural holiday is Court Farm in Somerset.
The farm, which is located near the charming village of Exford, has gorgeous self-catering accommodations close to the “Dark Sky Trail”. This new night walk combines a scenic stroll in the wilderness with stunning views of the starry night sky.
Aside from stargazing, there is still plenty to do in the area, such as the exciting Wookey Hole Caves, sheep trekking, or even a range of different thrilling watersports.
7. Watersports on the Pembrokeshire Coast
The Pembrokeshire Coast, found on the south-west corner of Wales, is a secluded area largely unspoiled by civilisation, offering a relaxing holiday away from it all.
There are plenty of rural cottages along the coast that could give you a chance to reconnect with nature, such as the Fishguard or Cardigan cottages.
With its coastal location, there’s an abundance of water-related activities to be found in the area. This includes fishing from both the shore or a chartered boat, coasteering along dramatic cliffs, or even sunbathing on the many sandy beaches.
If you’d rather stay dry in this tranquil corner of Wales, you could always go walking or cycling along the many different routes in the area, such as The Celtic Trail, which hugs the captivating coastline from Fishguard.
8. Alpaca trekking in Dumfries and Galloway
Dumfries and Galloway, a breathtaking area on the Scottish borders, boasts historic towns, ancient castles, and stunning beaches. If you’d like to try your hand at something unique this summer, you could consider going alpaca trekking in the area.
Senwick Alpacas, a farm located on the picturesque Solway coast, offers two charming cottages nestled in a quaint woodland area. After becoming acquainted with the farm, you can take some cuddly, six-foot alpacas on an exciting walk around the 320-acre plot of land.
Better yet, if you appreciate a dram from time to time, this could be the perfect destination for you, as there are several world-class distilleries close by. This includes the Annandale or Bladnoch distilleries that offer insightful tours and, of course, a few nips of whisky along the way.