15 day trips and short breaks to keep the summer atmosphere alive

Garden party in Birmingham

PoliNations is a garden party, but not as you know it. This free festival in Birmingham’s Victoria Square 2-18 September showcases cultural diversity through the lens of horticulture. In the shade of a forest of giant architectural trees, the festival will begin with a mass flower planting, continue with workshops, garden tours, poetry slams and yoga classes, and end with the Ballistic Seed Party. This four-day finale features music, dance and drag performances.
Free, polinations.com

View of sheep in Kent

Wake up to the sight of Kentish ewes harvesting the clover fields from your shepherd’s hut on a working farm in Romney Marsh. Cabins have built-in kitchens and bathrooms plus outdoor fireplaces. The newest one, launched this summer, also has an outdoor bathroom and sleeps a family of four. Owner Kristina Boulden works with local artists and businesses to offer a program of activities, including photography classes, alpaca walks, jeep safaris, wine tours and brewery visits.
Two-night weekday stay from £240 for two, romneymarshshepherdshuts.co.uk

Island camping in Dorset

National Trust-owned Brownsea Island, first used as a campsite by Scouts founder Robert Baden-Powell in 1907, is the largest in Poole Harbour, a haven for wildlife including red squirrels and summer visitors such as the rare ground-nesting nightjar. These days, campers can bring their own kit or opt for the comfort of new four-person bell tents. There are free family trails and natural play areas, and when day trippers head home there are bats and glowworms to spot.
Three nights in a pitch for a six-man tent costs £165, or £450 in a bell tentnationaltrust.org.uk

Snorkelling in the Firth of Forth

You don’t have to leave the country to enjoy the underwater world: the waters off Scotland are rich with marine life. The Scottish Wildlife Trust has six downloadable snorkelling trails, including a new one in East Lothian, based at the Scottish Seabird Center on the Firth of Forth. Sightings may include crabs, jellyfish, starfish, otters, porpoises and dolphins. You will need a wetsuit as the water is cold even in summer. Check the tide conditions and never snorkel alone.
Free, scottishwildlifetrust.org

Go off the grid in Northumberland

Leave crowded campsites behind and hit up some of Northumberland’s wildest and most beautiful corners thanks to Wild With Consent. The company connects campers with landowners, allowing them to stay legally on off-grid sites, and has launched a hand-picked collection along the Northumberland 250 self-drive route. It’s great for dark skies, rolling hills, wild beaches and Hadrian’s Wall – which celebrates its 1900th anniversary this year.
From £25 a night with your own van, wildwithconsent.com

Forage hedgerows in Suffolk

Related: 10 of the best beaches in the UK for swimming

Discover the diversity of a British hedge at the Food Museum in Stowmarket. A new exhibition traces the history of the hedge through the work of artists, chefs and farmers. See prints by Angie Lewin, test yourself on native birdsong and taste real hedgerow flavors in the demonstration kitchen. Food sourced from the museum grounds is turned into delicacies, from nettle tea to elderflower ice cream, and served with a page of information on biodiversity and folklore.
£12 adult, £8 child, £35 family, until June 2023demos of fodder every day at 11am–3pm until 30 September, foodmuseum.org.uk

Trail cycling in Staffordshire

If you were inspired by competitors thundering around the world-class mountain bike trails in Cannock Chase Forest at the Commonwealth Games last week, why not give it a try? A £900,000 investment has upgraded existing trails and created new ones, including Perry’s Trail for intermediates and a Pedal and Play Trail suitable for children aged three and up.
Rent bikes, or pick one up trail map for £1.50, at Cannock Chase Cycle Centre, forestryengland.uk

Art deco remains on the Causeway Coast

A few miles down the coast from the Giant’s Causeway is Elephant Rock, a new family-run boutique hotel in the seaside town of Portrush. Interior designer Adrian Bailie has brought in a slice of South Beach glamour, with jewel tones, bespoke fabrics and dramatic lighting. After a day of exploring, head to the emerald and gold-toned bar for a signature cocktail.
Room from £120 one night, elephantrockhotel.co.uk

Wild and free in Herefordshire

Meet wild ponies, skim rocks on pebble beaches and wander castle ruins: Herefordshire has plenty of free family fun. Visit Herefordshire’s On the Wild Side guide lists free or affordable outdoor adventures for children of all ages. Seniors will love free geocaching at Birches Farm nature reserve; younger ones can be tempted around woodland paths at Rowlestone Court farm with the promise of ice cream in one of 50 flavours.
Free, visitherefordshire.co.uk

Sea Kayaking in Pembrokeshire

Paddle among the caves and coves of the rugged St Davids Peninsula on a two-night trip for first-time paddlers. A guide will show you the ropes before you head out to explore secluded beaches, steep cliffs and kelp forests, where you can swim and see seals. No experience is necessary, but with four to five hours on the water each day, you need to be relatively fit.
Two-night trips cost £356; departures 16 and 30 September and 14 Octobermuchbetteradventures.com

Glamping in Gwynedd

Quieter than neighboring Snowdonia, the Llŷn Peninsula is a region of deserted beaches, coastal castles and offshore islands home to colonies of seabirds. Bert’s Kitchen Garden is an eco-camping site with pitches among flower meadows and an orchard. Kids will love the treehouses and shingle beach on the doorstep, but couples can stay in style in one of the new treehouses with king-size beds and marble-tiled shower rooms. The cabins are located near the kitchen garden restaurant, which serves locally roasted coffee and a seasonal menu.
Campsites from £22pp a nightcottages from £175 one night, bertskg.com

Walk in the middle of nature on Yorkshire Wolds Way

The 127km Yorkshire Wolds Way, which stretches north from the Humber estuary along wooded slopes and through tranquil valleys to Filey Brigg on the coast, turns 40 this year. A new Fab at Forty guide advises which section to walk, highlighting attractions along the way, from spotting red kites or finding works by local artists to the best pubs, tea rooms and picnic spots.

Sail away in Norfolk

Find peace even when the Norfolk coast is at its busiest on board Selkie , a 4.5m locally built sailboat. The new venture is led by Zoe Dunford, a former wildlife TV researcher, who will show you where seals swim and terns dive, find beaches only accessible by boat and stop for wild swims – followed by tea and homemade cake. When you move under sail or silent electric motor, this trip leaves the summer bustle far behind.
Departure from Blakeney dock, the trips last About two hours and costs £200, for up to foursailnorthnorfolk.co.uk

Sleep on a sloop in Cornwall

Little changed since the 18th century, Charlestown harbor is home to a small fleet of historic tall ships: a visit to this corner of north Cornwall feels like stepping back in time. Visitors can enjoy a day sailing experience or even sleep on board the fishing boat Pen Glas, gaze at the stars from the deck and wake up to the sound of the sea. In addition to bunk accommodation in hostels, there are now also private two-person cabins. The proceeds will support the conversion of the ship back to its original condition as a sailing rig.
Bunk beds £25pp, cottage £60 a nightcharlestownharbour.com

Hole up in the highlands

Overlooking the Kyle of Sutherland, the new log cabins at Ceol Mor are a spectacular retreat in the Northern Highlands. Enjoy the peaceful location and keep an eye out for the badgers and pine martens that live nearby, hike around the surrounding valleys and lakes, and let your hosts arrange off-site activities from canoeing and archery to distillery tours.
One-bedroom cabins that sleep four costs from NOK 140 one night, minimum three-night stayceolmor.co.uk

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