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A Nature Expedition

Golders Hill Park

Most people stay at BEST WESTERN Palm Hotel because the Golders Green location is handy for the M1 and the whole of central London spreading south, so local greenery and wildlife are unexpected extras. The much loved Golders Hill Park has a flower-filled walled garden, a water garden, pond with swans, and plenty of grassy space for an aimless amble. Anyone feeling (slightly) active can try their hand at croquet, outdoor table tennis, or head to the putting green; those more inclined to sit on a bench in the sun, can do it with an ice cream from the park café. As well as a deer park, the park includes a small zoo housing laughing kookaburras and ringtailed lemurs. Golders Hill joins West Heath, part of the gigantic Hampstead Heath area. Before tackling that, call in for pint at the Bull and Bush, a good old fashioned pub on North End Way.

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Mist and crag

Ben Nevis, just four miles from BEST WESTERN Imperial Hotel in Fort William, is one of the most majestic sights in the British Isles, and on a clear day you can see up to 100 miles in all directions from the summit. Alas, it’s very unlikely to be a clear day – that famous Scottish mist rarely lifts long enough. As poor John Keats reported in his sonnet entitled Written on Top of the Ben Nevis: ‘I look into the chasms and a shroud / Vaporous doth hide them.’ The poem ends: ‘All my eye doth meet / is mist and crag, not only on this height / But in the world of thought and mental might.’ Alas, the poet’s little Scottish holiday doesn’t seem to have done him much good.

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Walking: I’ll take the high road

With its diverse landscape of mountains, forests, moors and beaches, the Isle of Arran is often described as a Scotland in miniature. It takes less than an hour to get here from the mainland, but the slow pace of life makes it feel a world away. The island has just two roads; one goes around the outside, and one goes through the middle. Why spoil the landscape with more? Luckily, both will take you to Blackwaterfoot where BEST WESTERN Kinloch Hotel sits proud above the tiny harbour.

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