Caroline MillsSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Travel and touring’ written by Caroline Mills
It’s English Tourism Week, aimed at highlighting the very best that England has to offer those visiting it. So here's a collection of ‘England’s Best Views’, a reminder of the beauty the country has to offer – and maybe the inspiration you need for your next staycation. After all, part of the joy of motorcaravanning is to enjoy simple pleasures, such as waking to a different view each day.
However, it wasn't until I started trying to decide what the best views in England are, that I realised what a tough challenge this was. The English landscape is so diverse, from charming, picture-postcard villages to imposing skylines, from rolling hills to rugged coastlines – and so much more. How can you compare like-for-like when it is such a rich and varied country?
And, of course, in compiling such a list, I can’t believe what magnificent places and memorable views I’ve had to unfairly leave out, such as atmospheric Dartmoor, tranquil Shropshire, the South Downs, the Norfolk Broads, stunning Somerset and the Malverns, to name a few – it's just not right!
Well, I did say it was a hard choice, which is why I've had to split it into categories. And we'd love to hear about your favourite English views, glimpsed whilst touring the country in your ’van.
Best hilltop view – Coaley Peak (The Cotswolds)
Two-thirds of the way down the Cotswold escarpment, between the towns of Dursley and Stroud, is Coaley Peak. It’s a spectacular viewpoint for it’s not just the Cotswold ridge as it curls and curves around that you can see, or indeed the Severn Vale spread out like a billiard green below. On a clear day, you’ll also see the Malvern Hills, the Black Mountains, the Forest of Dean and the Brecon Beacons; about seven or eight counties in all. Pitch your motorhome at Tobacconist Farm, a relatively new campsite across the Nailsworth Valley, in nearby Minchinhampton.
Best village view – Lavenham (Suffolk)
Quaint cottages and grand merchants’ houses lined with timber and in-filled with wattle and daub; this medieval village doesn’t just possess one or two attractive residences but streets of them, each decoratively painted in pastelly shades. The Guildhall is the star of them all. Clock House Farm Caravan Park, a handful of miles away, will welcome you.
Best town view – Salcombe (Devon)
Tucked onto the hillside amid the natural watery fingers of the Kingsbridge Estuary, Salcombe has, for years, graced the covers of boxes of clotted cream fudge. Any wonder? Step up onto the hills above the town and you’ll see Devon and Salcombe at its best. The town is not one for motorhome parking, though. It is better to leave the ’van at Higher Rew Caravan & Camping Park, which opens later this month, and wander into town, or catch the ferry a mile from the site.
Best campsite view – Castlerigg Farm (Lake District)
For me, there are no doubts about this category. Castlerigg Farm really is the campsite with the definitive best views in England. Tucked away along a quiet lane north-east of Keswick, the views are 360 degrees. Sat with your ’van, if you wonder why fellow motorcaravanners are dedicated recyclers, it’s because there are views of Derwentwater below! And if you’re wondering why all these motorhomes are pointed away from this majestic view in the picture (above), well, you haven’t seen the views looking the other way!
Best sea view – St Agnes Heritage Coast (Cornwall)
Utterly sublime, this magnificent coastline is a part of the Cornish Mining UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wheal Coates, in the picture, is just one of the dozens of disused mines that add industrial beauty to the scene. Stop by in late summer to witness the explosion of colour on the headlands. Beacon Cottage Farm Touring Park, which opens on 21 March, is a definite contender for the campsite with the best views. Visit Cornwall and see it for yourself.
Best river view – Langstrothdale (North Yorkshire)
Where? OK, so it’s not the Thames or the Tyne, but this gorgeous little valley lies in the centre of the Yorkshire Dales and it is stunningly beautiful. It’s also spectacularly peaceful, perhaps because its neighbours, Wensleydale and Wharfedale, overshadow it in recognition. Seriously, go there. Pull up the ’van, and enjoy a picnic beside the bubbling beck. At Langstrothdale’s northern end is the bustling town of Hawes and Honeycott Caravan Park.
Best heritage view – Bamburgh Castle (Northumberland)
Catch the sun on this windswept coastline and Bamburgh Castle glows iridescent. Its size dominates the coastline – and the skyline. What’s more, from the right angle you’ll also have the Farne Islands and nearby Holy Island (Lindisfarne) popping up in view, too. Waren Camping & Caravan Park is sited just along the road, overlooking Budle Bay.
Best spring view – Roseberry Topping (North Yorkshire)
I read recently about a man who has climbed Roseberry Topping six days a week for the last 20 years. Nuts? Well, with views like this over the North Yorkshire Moors, I wouldn’t say so. The eye-catching landmark is spectacular at any time of year, but with slopes smothered by bluebells, springtime is the best. And pitching your motorhome at Fletchers Farm in Little Ayton will grant you views of Roseberry Topping without the need to climb it every day of your stay – unless you want to, of course.
Best National Park View – Edale (Peak District)
Like any of our national parks, the Peak District has its fair share of superlative views. The sights to be seen on top of Stanage Edge are notable and the softer views of the southern Peak District are remarkable. But the vale of Edale as seen from either side, whether from the Pennine Way as it lifts up out of Edale village or, as above, from the top of Rushup Edge with Mam Tor and Lose Hill in sight, possibly has the edge. It makes you glad to be alive. Coopers Camp & Caravan Site (01433 670372) is a back-to-basics farm campsite (you’ll want to use your own on-board facilities), but its location, in the centre of Edale village and just yards from the start/finish of The Pennine Way, is second-to-none.
Best city view – Salisbury (Wiltshire)
Whether a field or two away, or slap-bang up against the stonemasonry of Salisbury’s mammoth cathedral, these city views are far from insignificant. But I’d be lying if I said they were the ‘best’. For Salisbury has a gem up its sleeve – climb the 225 feet of the cathedral tower to the foot of its legendary spire, the tallest in the United Kingdom, step out onto the balconies and then you’ll see the best city views. You’ll also get to see the countryside around the appealing Church Farm Caravan and Camping Park in Sixpenny Handley, from where you can catch a bus into Salisbury.