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Green Britain features in Olympics Opening Ceremony

The Olympics Opening Ceremony held in London recently was a veritable spectacular.  With fireworks, music and dancing it was a feast for the eyes.   Some of the best of Britain’s artists and musicians helped to make the ceremony such a noteworthy event.  What we really loved though was the start of the ceremony which very much focused on Britain as a green and pleasant land which of course it is.  It is not really just Ireland that could be described as an Emerald Isle as all throughout the UK you find naturally beautiful green scenery.  We should celebrate the beauty of our countryside.  There are so many activities and sights to relish in rural Britain and what’s more, most of them, as with the best things in life are free!  Britain is a great pkace to take a rural retreats break or to simply get out and enjoy naturally beautiful areas near to your own community.

Country Celebrations for the Queen’s Jubilee

Up and down the country, there are celebration and special events taking place for the Queen’s Jubilee.  London, as home to Buckingham Palace is of course where the main celebrations and parades are taking place.  Visitors to London are in for a real treat this weekend.  The main celebrations start on Sunday when the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant will take place.  More than 1000 boats will parade along the Thames, including the Royal Barge.   On Monday a special concert will be held outside Buckingham Palace.  What’s more,  a number of beacons throughout the country will be lit for the Queen.

Elsewhere in the UK, different communities are holding their own festivities for the Jubilee.  These include street parties, pageants and festivals.  If you are taking a country break, do some internet research and find out what is going on in the area you will be visiting.  Many rural communities are gearing up to celebrate.  It can also be useful to get hold of a local paper for full details of what is going on.  Wherever in the country you are this Jubilee weekend, whether you are taking a cottage break away or taking it easy, have a great time.

Bank Holiday Getaways

With the bank holiday weekend fast approaching now is the time to be thinking through ideas for weekends away.  Did you know that many cottages and other types of self-catering accommodation nowadays welcome bookings for short breaks and long weekends?  So you can enjoy a home from home stay in a cottage, rural retreat or country hideaway.  The UK is blessed with plentiful greenery and has a large number of national parks which are excellent places to go walking, hiking, cycling and wildlife watching.  If the weather is good why not pack a picnic, there can be nothing better than packing some of your favourite foods and sharing these with friends and family.  Do check the weather forecast and make sure that you have a plan for all kinds of weather.  The weather in the UK can be unpredictable at times and it has been very rainy lately so wellies may be obligatory!  Whatever you choose to do have a great time.

Finding guides on what to do in the country

When taking a country break you may well want to plan a few activities or a few places to go see whilst you are away.  The internet can be a great source of free information when it comes to finding out what there is to see and do up and down the country.  Many websites now produce area guides which highlight the main attractions and things to do in each area.  Country Cottages Online produce some such guides, which are excellent for free information.  These guides can be a valuable source of information and advice.  Sometimes the best information though comes directly from friends or family who have been to your chosen destination already and are able to personally recommend places to you.  There are also various review websites available  but peoples’ opinions do vary so greatly that some people find such reviews useful whereas others simply do not.

Local papers very often have lists of events including country events.  Over the Easter weekend there are likely to be a number of country shows throughout the UK.  You may find such events advertised locally or in the local press.  Another good source of information is the local tourist information office.  Within the UK local Tourist Information Offices offer free advice and in most you can enjoy browsing through brochures, most of which are available for free.  Here you can pick up details of walks, attractions and things to do.  You can also ask the staff whether they are able to make any recommendations.

Wherever you decide to get information from, we do recommend doing thorough research before booking a trip in the country so you can have a fun packed break.

Last minute Valentines cottage breaks

If you are looking for a last minute Valentines break in a cottage in the country, a rural retreat or a self catering cottage then why not check out Country Cottages Online for a range of cottages.  See their Special Offers and Last Minute sections for latest offers.  When booking last minute it is usually best to call owners or agencies and follow this up with an email.  Be prepared to spend some time searching the internet and calling owners to find the best cottage for you.  We hope you find your perfect rural retreat and that you have a loved up Valentines day.

Making the most of the countryside in the snow

When the countryside turns white and snow covered, it can be tempting to stay tucked up indoors and enjoy looking out at the beautiful white coloured landscape from the comfort of your cottage.  This can be enjoyable in itself and what can be better than being snuggled up by a roaring log fire or feeding the birds and watching them from the comfort of indoors.  You may be lucky enough to spot pretty birds like robins or sparrows.

Snow sculpture by Chiltern Valley artist Dom Norris

Snow sculpture in Chiltern Valley

Many people are put off driving in snow which is quite sensible.  Long or short journeys by car that are not essential are usually advised against for a number of reasons.  If you have good snow boots or waterproof boots with a strong grip there is no reason though why you can’t still enjoy the countryside when it is covered with beautiful white snow.  Remember always wrap up warm and wear a good insulated coat, gloves and scarf.  Then why not get out and about and explore the local area and enjoy a walk.  Taking a stroll down to the town or the local village can be really enjoyable when admiring a snow covered landscape.  Pop in to a local cafe or pub for a hot drink.  Do make sure that if you are staying somewhere on a cottage break that you are aware of any potential hazards before venturing out and take all necessary precautions to stay safe.

If you are taking  a break with children look out for locals sledging.  In some countrified places there will be a local hot spot for sledging and if you can buy or borrow a sledge you may want to join in.  Sledging can be enormous fun for adults and children alike.  There is always so much negative publicity in the press about snow and the disruption it can bring, but snow can also bring lots of joy and fun, fun, fun.  So wherever you are on a country break, do make the most of what there is to see and do, snow or no snow.

If you need some inspiration for building a snow man check out this photo of a snow sculpture created by Dom Norris in Hertfordshire.

Great country walks

When it comes to finding good country walks it is not always easy knowing where to go and which paths are available.  I recently discovered some great walks near my home which I literally stumbled upon whilst out walking near Tring Park with my husband.  Here we discovered that in the forest at the top of Tring Park, there is the Ridgeway trail where you can walk to the Dunstable Downs or onwards towards Wendover through more of the Chiltern Hills.  I had no idea that this great walk was literally on my doorstep.  I mentioned it to my friend who knew all about it but she had discovered this walk a while back as she had popped in to the local tourist information office where she had picked up various leaflets on great walks nearby.  Word of mouth and personal recommendation are sometimes the best ways of finding out about good walks but from what I have learned, tourist information offices can also be a good source of information.  From what I have seen there is no one definitive site to refer to for great walks in the UK but if anyone knows of a great site do let me know, I’d love to discover it.

Outstanding countryside in the Chiltern Hills

Enjoy walks in the countryside


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