The 10 best countryside holiday ideas

Photo credit: Tony Eveling - Getty Images

Photo credit: Tony Eveling – Getty Images

With many of us still enjoying a holiday at home in the UK rather than jetting off abroad, we thought we’d take a look at the best countryside holidays and getaways for rediscovering the peace and beauty of Britain this year.

There’s so much to see across the length and breadth of the beautiful British Isles and we’re always excited to explore a new countryside location in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Home to stunning landscapes for walkers, charming villages and rolling green hills, the UK is an amazing place for countryside getaways.

While we know city breaks in London and Edinburgh will always be popular, a countryside holiday in the UK offers all the relaxation and views you won’t find in elsewhere.

To celebrate everything rural Britain has to offer, we’ve compiled the best countryside holidays in the UK.

Our incredible ideas invite you to meet wildlife experts, weather presenters and legendary cooks, such as Delia Smith. You can also sail on luxurious private-yacht style ships and ride nostalgic steam trains.

Check out these revitalising countryside holidays in the UK, where you can stay at incredible hotels and experience inspirational views around every corner.

1. Admire the spectacular Peak District

Derbyshire’s mighty Peak District was the first area of the UK to be made a national park, in the 1950s, and when you visit it’s easy to see why. From its ancient stone villages, half-hidden walking trails through magical woodland and soaring hilltops, there are unforgettable scenes everywhere you go.

Photo credit: wellsie82

Photo credit: wellsie82

During Country Living’s five-day railway and walking tour in April and September, you’ll explore the region’s best sights on foot and by train, including the home of the famous tart, Bakewell, and the magnificent Chatsworth Estate. You’ll also walk along the River Dove, enjoy a stroll along the Monsal Trail through old railway tunnels and across the Monsal Viaduct, and travel on the picturesque Ecclesbourne Valley Railway to take in the beautiful Peak District scenery by rail.

2. Have a proper adventure at a sprawling estate in the Cotswolds

Home to the vast Farncombe Estate that encompasses three hotels (Dormy House, The Fish and Foxhill Manor), a set of self-catering cottages and an array of activities and places to eat, Broadway is the village to visit for a Cotswold adventure this year. The Fish is an especially magical place to check into, where there are beautiful treehouses and huts (one even comes with a paddle boat for you to relax on your own private lake), and the vibe is laidback luxury at its finest.

Photo credit: Farncombe Estate

Photo credit: Farncombe Estate

While here, an adventure within the 400 acres of Cotswold countryside is a must. There’s axe throwing, falconry and archery on offer, and if you’ve always wanted to try clay pigeon shooting, this is the place to do it. After taking a stroll to a hill close to the hotel’s main building, Head of Adventure Neil Forsyth will show you how to perfect your aim and fire in an action-packed session. Once you’ve experience the thrill and sheer satisfaction of breaking some clays in the sky, you can head back inside for a boozy afternoon tea, pizza or simply relaxing by The Fish’s mesmerising fire.

Read our review of The Fish

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3. Ride the heritage trains of Devon and Somerset

England’s South West is treasured for its picture postcard views of sparkling blue seas next to rolling green hills, and you can explore the whole area on Country Living’s five-day break there from May to September, as you travel on five different railways.

Photo credit: Jodie Griggs - Getty Images

Photo credit: Jodie Griggs – Getty Images

Staying in Tiverton, a charming riverside market town in South Devon, you’ll ride through the famous Quantock Hills through Somerset, as well as riding on the world’s steepest, water-powered railway from the harbour town of Lynmouth up to Lynton, where you can enjoy amazing views of the Bristol Channel. Other highlights will include a ride on the Dartmouth Stream railway along the coast, and a relaxing cruise along the River Dart.

4. Stay in a quirky village inn in East Sussex

The Bell in Ticehurst is a truly unique country pub with rooms, with hearty South American-inspired dishes on offer, fairytale décor and oast house lodges out in its garden. You can expect a traditional welcome though, like roaring log fires and big comfy beds, plus stylish copper tubs in some of the rooms’ ensuite bathrooms.

Photo credit: Booking.com

Photo credit: Booking.com

Outside your front door is the cute village of Ticehurst, with a leafy, traditional centre and community atmosphere, and then the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty beyond, where you’ll find endless walks, the blue expanse of Bewl Water at the National Trust’s romantic Scotney Castle.

Read our review of the Bell in Ticehurst

5. See Scotland’s Highlands and islands on a stylish cruise

See some of Scotland’s most remote and wild corners in style on the magnificent Lord of the Glens, a private yacht-style ship where you can sink into supremely comfortable armchairs from the Orient Express and sip a whisky in the elegant bar.

Photo credit: rfwil - Getty Images

Photo credit: rfwil – Getty Images

On Country Living’s cruise around Scotland’s countryside in April 2023, you’ll sail past the romantic ruins of Urquhart Castle, visit the nation’s seafood capital of Oban and see Tobermory’s colourful harbour. You’ll also explore iconic Loch Ness and stay in Banavie, in the shadow of the mighty Ben Nevis.

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6. Explore the magnificent Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales have inspired countless artists and writers, perhaps most famously the Brontë sisters, with Emily Brontë’s iconic novel Wuthering Heights set among the wilderness of the moors. You’ll explore all this with Country Living on a five-day walking holiday in April, August and October, staying in the charming market town of Skipton and chugging through inspirational landscapes on old steam trains.

Photo credit: Terry Roberts Photography - Getty Images

Photo credit: Terry Roberts Photography – Getty Images

Transport yourself back in time on the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway, which includes a stop at Oakworth, made famous in The Railway Children, and soak up the scenery as you take in the Dales along the Pennine Bridleway. Plus, you’ll stay at a family-owned hotel with a bar, restaurant, indoor swimming pool, sauna and steam room – so there’ll be plenty of time to relax too!

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7. Discover Norfolk’s foodie hotspots with Delia Smith

The Norfolk Broads are one of the UK’s most famous landscapes, vast, wide-open wetlands with winding rivers and charming windmills that make for a beautiful backdrop on a lazy summer afternoon. It’s also a foodie haven, and the location of iconic British chef Delia Smith’s Delia’s Restaurant and Bar.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Photo credit: Shutterstock

On our foodie-themed tour of the Norfolk countryside in April, you’ll spend a full day at Delia’s Food and Wine Workshop, with a Q&A and book-signing with Delia, as well as cooking demo from Alex Mackay and a masterclass from cocktail expert Simon ‘Ice’ Atkinson, followed by a three-course lunch and wine-tasting. Bon appétit!

8. Relax on the ultimate spa break at Ragdale Hall

Refresh and revitalise yourself next year with a steamy spa break in the leafy Leicestershire countryside, home to one of Britain’s best-loved hotels, Ragdale Hall. Matching state-of-the-art facilities, like its fabulous rooftop infinity pool, and indulgent treatments with traditional Victorian architecture, it’s won a string of awards for its first-class service.

Photo credit: Ragdale Hall

Photo credit: Ragdale Hall

With Country Living, you can save up to 35 per cent on a two-night break, where you’ll enjoy full use of the spa and all facilities, two 40-minute treatments, three deliciously healthy meals each day and a free Clarins gift to remember your blissful stay.

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9. See incredible wildlife on the Isles of Scilly with the experts

When it comes to remote countryside, the Isles of Scilly are the perfect destination, scattered in the English Channel off the tip of Cornwall. Due to their southern location, they enjoy loads of sunshine and warmth, meaning that you can choose between gorgeous sandy beaches, lush gardens full of exotic plants, and rugged grassy plains.

Photo credit: AndyRoland - Getty Images

Photo credit: AndyRoland – Getty Images

This October, you can see the best of the Isles of Scilly alongside wildlife and nature experts who really know the islands. They’ll tell you all about the rare birds and plants that thrive here. As well we plenty of time to relax and enjoy the scenery, you’ll try some of the excellent local cuisine – including ultra-fresh seafood – and enjoy a stay at gorgeous island retreat Karma St Martin’s.

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10. Stay at one of Britain’s best hotels in beautiful Oxfordshire

One of the most iconic country escapes in the UK, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire won two Michelin stars when it opened 37 years ago and has kept them ever since. The hotel has magical gardens for growing its own herbs and tasty organic veg, as well as beautiful orchards to explore – and that’s just on site.

Photo credit: Paul Wilkinson/Belmond Le Manoir

Photo credit: Paul Wilkinson/Belmond Le Manoir

Venture beyond Le Manoir’s grounds to see some of the best countryside southern England has to offer. While at the hotel, you’ll want to experience the restaurant’s seven-course menu, browse the breathtaking Japanese garden and check out the Raymond Blanc Cookery School. Country Living has an overnight package for you to soak up all the luxury features at this special hotel.

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