Countryside activities for every nature-lover

Time out in the country can be more than just a leisurely stroll. If you want to swap the hustle and bustle for birdsong and fresh air, why not do something a little different? Here are six suggestions for a wellbeing fix that goes the extra mile.
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For families: Trek with an alpaca

This unique trekking experience starts with a spot of speed-dating. At Nidderdale Llamas, they take care to match you with the perfect alpaca (or llama if you prefer). Then, after some helpful handling tips, you’re all set for a leisurely stroll together through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.

Best for older children, these animal-friendly adventures come with tea and cakes, as well as lots of woolly cuddles and Instagrammable moments. Treks range from 90 minutes to a full day, giving you loads of time to enjoy the local scenery and get to know the herd.

For children: Permission to get muddy!

An action-packed obstacle course, the Dorset Adventure Park mud trail is a test of stamina and agility but it’s also a lot of fun. That makes it perfect for kids with energy to burn, and if that doesn’t exhaust them, there’s a water park too.

Meanwhile, parents can enjoy the stunning Dorset countryside and nearby Corfe Castle – or join in. Adult mud parties are also available, with cake and food included. It’s one of the few attractions that’s better in the rain!

Give muscles a rest and maybe some pampering in the nearby Best Western Plus The Connaught Hotel & Spa

For friends, stags and hens: Sharpen your survival skills

If your axe work’s a little rusty, a day-long survival skills course will help you brush up your bushcraft. From foraging to making fire, you’ll learn the vital skills to help you make it through the wilderness.

There are various centres around the UK. The Survival School is one of them, with bases in Staffordshire and Devon. It also puts on accredited courses so you can give Bear Grylls a run for his money.

If you’re down in Devon, try the Best Western Exeter Lord Haldon Country Hotel.  For Staffordshire stays, there’s Best Western Lichfield City Centre The George Hotel

For couples: Get starry-eyed

Thanks to a lack of light pollution, the UK now has more Dark Sky reserves than anywhere else in the world. These are magical spots for star gazing. Among them is the magnificent South Downs National Park, and Old Winchester Hill in particular. It’s even better with a flask of hot chocolate and a knowledgeable guide who can show you around the constellations.

The best times to go are the evenings before, during and shortly after a new moon. So, consult a lunar calendar before you book a place to stay! Cosy up after an evening on the hill at the Best Western Chilworth Manor Hotel

For solo travellers: Fall hook, line and sinker for fishing

Get away from it all with a guided fly fishing session in the Derbyshire Peak District. The team at Peaks Fly Fishing offer stillwater fly fishing lessons and the slightly more strenuous river fishing option, which involves wading in and clambering down riverbanks. Either way, you’ll be surrounded by wildlife and acres of picturesque scenery. Plus, the local trout are plentiful, and you can always put them back in the water if you catch one.

Leaving with an empty net? You can always enjoy the dish of the day at the Best Western Plus The Quays Hotel Sheffield

For the less mobile: See more rolling hills with less walking

Take a vintage steam train and you can explore the UK’s loveliest landscapes from the comfort of a luxury carriage. Combine it with a cream tea, five-course meal or even a murder mystery and you’ve got memories in the making.

A favourite choice is The Bluebell Railway , one of the first preserved heritage lines in the country. It runs through the beautiful scenery of the Sussex Weald near the Ashdown Forest.

The Bluebell Railway line starts in East Grinstead. If you want to stay nearby, there’s the Rose and Crown Hotel, Sure Hotel Collection

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