Embrace the UK’s great outdoors from rolling valley hills to scenic coastal stretches | The Sun

IF you’re after a proper countryside break, this is it.

Sitting at the foot of the Peak District National Park and surrounded by rolling hills, Pastures Barn has three bedrooms, a huge kitchen, a cosy living room with wood burner and plenty of board games.



Plus there’s a private hot tub and sauna.

The Games Shack in the neighbouring field is a rainy-day master stroke, with pool, air hockey, table football, karaoke (complete with fancy-dress props), dartboard, arcade games – you name it, they’ve likely got it.

Queen of the little details (think spare toothbrushes, Bramley toiletries and plush robes) is owner Jo, who also pulls together a treat of a welcome hamper and can cook up a divine local lamb stew in her Aga for a bargain £10 per person.

Explore Several walks start from your doorstep, while the closest town is Leek, five minutes’ drive away, offering cute knick-knack shops like The Alphabet Store (Thealphabetstore.co.uk) and Bibelot (Bibelot.co.uk).

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Twenty minutes in the other direction is pretty Buxton.

Take a fun and fascinating tour of Poole’s Cavern to learn the fate of its namesake, John Poole, and spot huge stalactites. Entry costs £14.50 for adults, £6.80 for kids (Poolescavern.co.uk).

Nearby, a miniature train runs a loop around the green expanse of Pavilion Gardens, perfect for little ones, £2.

Oh, and Alton Towers is 15 minutes’ drive from the barn – the perfect bribe for making sure the kids behave themselves all week! Entry costs £36 (Altontowers.com).

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Refuel Green Pavilion Cafe in Buxton is super-kid-friendly, with a table full of toys and delicious fare – think stuffed jackets served with piled-high salads, brie, bacon and blueberry jam sandwiches, and specials like chicken pot roasts, £9.50.

Pair with a locally made High Peak Cider (Greenpavilioncafe.co.uk).

Get your sweet fix with Belgian hot chocolate served up on quaint china at Charlotte’s Chocolates, a chocolatier/cafe nestled in Buxton’s antique Cavendish Arcade – and take home flavoured truffles like pear crumble, £5.50 per 100g (Charlotteschocolates.com).

Come Sunday, The Star at Cotton has massive butcher’s roast sharing boards, £20 per person.

You’ll be so stuffed that a creamy, blackberry gin-based French Toast cocktail makes for the perfect pud, £8.50 (Thestaratcotton.co.uk).

Don’t miss Take the huge kunekune pigs for a walk and get up close to wallabies, lemurs and red squirrels at Peak Wildlife Park.

Entry is £14.95 per adult, £12.95 per child.

You can even play zookeeper with your fave for a special treat, from £75.


Fuel up on stone-baked pizzas, £12, and bubble waffles, £6.50, if you forget your packed lunch (Peakwildlifepark.co.uk).

Book it Seven-night stays for six cost from £1,125 (Sykescottages.co.uk).

Rock Cottage, Gloucestershire 

Deputy Editor Gayle Schoales went wild for rambles and roasts in the Cotswolds.

The Pad Cottages don’t come much cosier than this gorge two-bed bolt hole in the quintessential honey-coloured village of Minchinhampton.



Hidden away just off the picture-postcard main square, it’s got a wood-burning stove, beautiful courtyard garden, White Company toiletries and a sweet reading nook on the top floor, perfect for curling up with a book under the timber beams.

The welcome hamper with locally made treats is a lovely touch, too.

Explore Lace up your hiking boots and hit Minchinhampton Common – 600 acres of grasslands where cattle and horses roam – for stunning views across the Stroud valleys.

Four miles away is the bohemian town of Stroud, with its award-winning farmers’ market every Saturday morning.

Stroll around more than 50 stalls selling everything from cheese to cider and honey, then wander the winding lanes of boutiques to seek out Moonflower for women’s fashion and jewellery (Moonflowershops.co.uk) and Made In Stroud for locally crafted treasures like luxe candles and ceramics (Madeinstroud.co.uk).

Hit the nearby town of Cirencester, with its stunning architecture, for more independent shops, plus Corn Hall Market selling affordable artwork and handmade homeware (Cornhallcirencester.org.uk).

Refuel Just 150m from Rock Cottage, the 300-year-old Crown Inn is the stuff of country-pub dreams, full of cosy corners and a lush beer garden out the back if the sun’s shining.

Tuck into the melt-in-the-mouth 8oz bavette West Country steak with watercress, triple-cooked chips and cracked pepper sauce, £18 (Thecrown-minchinhampton.com).

Fancy a roast? Head to The Ragged Cot, a 17th-century coach-house-turned-boutique-hotel and order the sensational Cotswolds leg of lamb, £20 (Theraggedcot-minchinhampton.com).

Don’t Miss Go canoeing at South Cerney Outdoor in the Cotswolds Water Park – an area of more than 150 lakes spread across Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. Hire costs £22 an hour (Southcerneyoutdoor.co.uk).


Meanwhile, the Sky-Line Aerial Adventure rope obstacle course, £15 for 45 minutes, is definitely not for the faint-hearted (or anyone under eight)! 

Book it A week’s stay for four costs from £777 (Ruralretreats.co.uk).

Seaside Breaks Apartment, Eastbourne

Senior Designer Jade Bright hit recharge in Meads Village on the south-east coast.

The Pad With a king-size bed, a four-poster double and bunks, plus two roll-top baths, the whole clan should be content in this seaside-chic apartment, which comes complete with a rooftop terrace for soaking up the rays come summer.



Explore Just a 25-minute walk from Eastbourne town centre, Meads Village is a hub of quirky shops, pubs and cafes.

Drop by Grand Flowers And Gifts for cute plants and interiors gems (Grandflowers.co.uk), then hit Little Chelsea in town for more indie boutiques, such as men’s lifestyle shop Born (Bornstore.co.uk), before picking up gorgeous gifts at Maybugs (Maybugs.co.uk) and taking the obligatory wander along the promenade and pier.

Refuel Stroll into town to Skylark cafe for the brunch of dreams – and make sure you order the triple-stack buttermilk pancakes with bacon, £8 (Skylarkeastbourne.co.uk).

If you’re after a Chinese feast, Xing Fu’s crispy duck and pancakes, £11.80, and crispy chilli beef with steamed rice, £13.80, should do the trick (Xing-fu.co.uk).

Early morning hike? Grab a breakfast roll to go and slabs of homemade cake from the sweet Black Cat Tea Room.

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Don’t miss Take a stroll round Beachy Head – join the trail from the edge of Meads Village and follow the South Downs Way National Trail to snap the bright white cliffs and their namesake lighthouse. 

Book it A week’s stay for six costs from £825 (Exclusivelyeastbourne.co.uk). 

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