The great outdoors


The Camino de Santiago pilgrims’ route – which begins in France and crosses northern Spain, ending at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela – is a very special trail, full of wonderful views and pretty towns and villages.

But the coastal walks of southern and south-west England are equally beautiful and far more accessible.

What’s there and why visit?

The South West Coast Path, the UK’s longest national trail, stretches for 630 miles around the coastline of the south-west peninsula, from the fishing villages of the south coast, around Land’s End to the surf beaches of the north.

Alternatively, the South Downs Way weaves across Hampshire and Sussex for 100 miles, with wonderful views of the countryside and coast below.

Must see

Minack Theatre perches high above Porthcurno Beach in Cornwall

The south-west is packed with sights, but we particularly love Clovelly, in Devon, with its cobbled streets and picturesque harbour, while the views from the renowned Minack Theatre, perched high above Porthcurno Beach in Cornwall, are impossibly beautiful. There’s also beautiful Kynance Cove.

In Sussex, the evocatively named Ditchling Beacon, Devil’s Dyke and Seven Sisters have sights to match.

Where to stay

Sennen Cove Camping & Caravanning Club Site is well placed for a visit to the Minack and for great walks from Sennen to Land’s End.

Brighton Caravan & Motorhome Club Site makes the ideal base for exploring nearby Ditchling Beacon and hikes across the Seven Sisters towards Eastbourne.

Why we love it

A fine opportunity to see England at its beautiful best and to recharge the batteries with a shot of power from Mother Nature.


The Greek Islands have long been a favoured destination with sailors of all abilities, from the experienced, looking to challenge themselves in the wake of Odysseus, to those who prefer a gentler guided flotilla holiday.

Nevertheless, we are a nation of seafarers and there’s much to occupy budding sailors right here in the English Channel – nowhere more so than in the waters of the Solent, near the Isle of Wight.

What’s there and why visit?

Regardless of your maritime skills, the Isle of Wight itself is a fantastic touring destination, with beautiful beaches, pretty villages, castles and museums. The island is the home of sailing in the UK, with its showpiece regatta, Cowes Week, held in August.

Must do

Learn to sail, naturally! There are several sailing schools in and around Cowes, where you can receive expert instruction by taking a Royal Yachting Association course – these range from basic dinghy sailing to full-blown day skipper courses.

Where to stay

Whitefield Forest Touring Park is just 10 miles from the Cowes ferry service and close to sandy beaches at Ryde and Sandown.

Why we love it

The sense of achievement – learning a new skill in a new place is good for body and soul. It’s great fun, too!


Silver Sands of Morar, Scotland

An exquisite slice of the Caribbean on the west coast of Scotland – here gorgeous white sand beaches have magnificent views towards the Hebridean islands.

Whiterocks Beach, Portrush, NI

This pristine Blue Flag beach just off the Causeway Coastal Route is a beautiful stretch of sand crafted by limestone cliffs, with many natural caves and arches.

Rhossili Bay, South Wales

Three miles of windswept golden sand stretching away from the tidal island of Worm’s Head on the western side of the Gower Peninsula.

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Bamburgh Castle overlooks this beautiful Northumbrian beach

Europe has some fantastic beaches, but not many can claim to have a castle! The Norman fortification of Bamburgh dominates the landscape above this beautiful Northumbrian beach.

Holkham Bay, Norfolk

An east coast prized possession, Holkham forms part of a nature reserve and is rightly celebrated for its beautiful sands and varied wildlife. Simply breathtaking!

Drink in the memories

3 Whisky Galore

On a tour of Germany, you might think that beer or wine would be the drinks that round off your day – but it could just as easily be whisky. Germany is home to some 29,000 distilleries – 250 of them producing whisky. That’s almost twice as many as there are in Scotland: it’s a business that has boomed in the past 20 years.

Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland are all producers, even Italy is getting in on the act, releasing its first whisky in 2015.

Of course, Ireland is already well established as a whiskey producer, but it is home to surprisingly few distilleries. These countries all have stunning scenery to please the eye as you drive between establishment… but they are not Scotland.

What’s there and why visit?

Visit a distillery along the Malt Whisky Trail

Scotland is home to 133 distilleries, producing whisky blends and malts. Some are located on the islands of Arran, Jura, Mull, Orkney, Skye and Islay, which would make a brilliant tour in itself.

However, if you would like to visit several in one area, you should head to Speyside, where you can follow the Malt Whisky Trail and discover why Scotland has a reputation for making the world’s finest whiskies.

Must see

Make your base in Aberlour to visit the Craigellachie Hotel and its famous Quaich Bar, which atmosphere-wise, rather resembles a gentleman’s club, and houses 900 whiskies from across the world. The food is good, too!

Where to stay

Speyside Gardens in Aberlour. The six-acre site, set in a Victorian walled garden, is a four-minute drive or a 30-minute walk from the Craigellachie Hotel and handy for several of the distilleries.

Why we love it

The scenery: every bend in the road will have you gasping from the sheer beauty of this gorgeous region.

The Spey Valley lies within the Cairngorms National Park, so getting there is a treat – you are surrounded by spectacular mountains. The River Spey itself is absolutely crystal clear and rightly famous for its salmon.


There’s nothing nicer than relaxing over a glass of wine (or beer) after a day of exploring – and even better if the wine you’re drinking has been made at the vineyards providing your pitch for the night.

Francophiles will be familiar with the France Passion concept, where hosts in the scheme allow you to pitch up in their vineyards, farms and orchards. There are similar schemes in Spain, Italy and Germany.

There are around 200 vineyards that you can visit in the UK, and some have a campsite alongside – perfect for allowing you to indulge in a good tasting.

What’s there are why visit?

Nyetimber vineyard at sunset, West Chiltington, West Sussex

In East Sussex, Carr Taylor Vineyard has parking, but no services: just phone ahead if you want to stop. In Kent, Far Acre Vineyard has a CL.

Setley Ridge Vineyard, in the heart of the New Forest National Park, also has a CL, as does Pembrokeshire’s Cwm Deri Vineyard. Ten Acres Vineyard in Devon, Ty Croes Vineyard in Anglesey, and Sealwood Cottage Vineyard in Derbyshire, have small campsites adjoining their vineyards.

All offer tours, tastings and the opportunity to buy a bottle or two.

Must see

For a concentration of vineyards, head to Kent and Sussex, and while you’re there, you’ll be able to drop in to enjoy some of the fantastic gardens in the area.

Great Dixter House and Gardens is simply an inspiration, as are Marle Place and the National Trust’s Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Scotney Castle and Bateman’s.

Other gorgeous plantings in this part of the world include those to be found at Pashley Manor Gardens and Goodnestone Park Gardens. And while you’re in the area, don’t miss the fabulous Leeds Castle.

Where to stay


Stay beside a vineyard in the UK

Far Acre is a working vineyard, farm and campsite, with a shower block, washing-up facilities and a chemical disposal point.

Why we love it

The number of wineries in the UK producing award-winning wines, particularly sparkling wines, has really grown in recent years: these days, you don’t have to cross the Channel to see row upon row of vines and taste the resulting elixirs.


The Sloop Inn, Pembrokeshire

This excellent inn at Porthgain, on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path between Fishguard and St Davids, makes for the perfect harbourside boozer.

The Old Success, Cornwall

Treat yourself to a pint of Tribute at another waterside pub! The Old Success has a magnificent view over Sennen Cove.

Angel on the Bridge, Oxfordshire

Oak beams, fine fireplaces, riverside views – this institution at Henley is the quintessential Thames-side pub.

Historical places


In the western region of France’s Loire Valley is the great city of Nantes and its now regenerated shipbuilding docks. The area houses Les Machines de l’Île, home to a famous mechanical elephant, a three-tiered carousel of sea creatures and submarines, and a mechanical heron’s nest.

This renowned steampunk project is opposite the Musée Jules Verne, celebrating the French novelist who wrote Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Around the World in Eighty Days, and is considered to be the father of science fiction and steampunk.

Continue the tour north-east to the city of Amiens and you can visit Jules Verne’s house and observatory.

Verne is one of an armful of great French authors – Voltaire, Balzac, Camus, Hugo, Baudelaire, Sartre, de Maupassant and more – whose history makes a fascinating tour.

However, you don’t need to cross the Channel to find literary greats. Britain has its fair share, including the Brontë sisters in Haworth, West Yorkshire, Jane Austen in Bath and Hampshire, Charles Dickens in London and Kent, Thomas Hardy in Dorset, Agatha Christie in Devon, and, of course, William Shakespeare in Warwickshire and London.

What’s there and why?

Hall’s Croft, in Stratford-upon-Avon, is the home of Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna

Tourists from all over the world are attracted to the lovely medieval town of Stratford-upon-Avon, mainly because of its historical associations with Shakespeare.

There are five places to visit here that have very strong Shakespearean connections. These are his birthplace; his daughter Susanna’s house, Hall’s Croft; his wife’s childhood home, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage; and the farm where his mother, Mary Arden, grew up.

New Place, the grand house built by Shakespeare, no longer exists; but you can discover its history at the site on which it once stood.

Must see

Take a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the adjoining Swan Theatre, and then catch a great production in the evening. Visit Shakespeare’s grave, at Holy Trinity Church.

Where to stay

Riverside Park, off Tiddington Road, Stratford is just a half-hour walk or 15-minute drive away from the town.

Why we love it

Those who seek to explore ‘ye-olde England’ will find it here in spades. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm are away from the town centre, so you also get to see a little of the beautiful Warwickshire countryside. And do visit Warwick Castle while you’re in the area.


Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world

The Palace of Versailles, just outside Paris, was the spectacular seat of power of the Sun King, Louis XIV, and is a wonderful testament to his glorious vision – and perhaps, some would say, his excess.

There are parallels between Louis, whose rule spanned almost 73 years, and our own sovereign here in the UK. As the longest-reigning monarchs in their respective countries, both amassed an extensive and enviable portfolio of land and property.

In the case of Elizabeth II, Windsor Castle is a favoured royal residence, and the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.

What’s there and why visit?

Buckingham Palace might be fun while you’re visiting the capital, but in terms of royal watching, Windsor is where you can expect to find the family in residence most regularly.

The castle’s great State apartments, including the Grand Reception Room and the Queen’s Drawing Room, are resplendent in decoration, and many reflect Charles II’s attempts to rival the achievements of his cousin Louis XIV at Versailles.

Must see

Changing of the Guards in Windsor

The Changing of the Guard is perhaps a more impressive spectacle here than at Buckingham Palace – the soldiers march through the streets of Windsor. Be sure to visit St George’s Chapel, a fine example of Gothic architecture and location of many royal weddings, including, most recently, that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Where to stay

Hurley Riverside Park features in our Top 100 Sites Guide and is well-placed for Windsor Castle and Legoland.

Why we love it

All of the pomp and pageantry of British history in one unique place.


Highclere Castle, near Newbury, Berkshire, is the film location for Downton Abbey

One of our greatest exports, the fictional Downton Abbey and its residents, the Crawley family, has fascinated viewers around the globe in what has been an international success. To see the real thing, head to Hampshire’s Highclere Castle, where much of the filming took place. Take a tour of the State Rooms and the Capability Brown landscaped gardens.

If you liked this… READ THESE:

15 socially distanced activities to do while camping

The Quirky Dozen

If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, why not get the latest news, reviews and features delivered direct to your door or inbox every month. Take advantage of our brilliant Practical Motorhome magazine SUBSCRIBERS’ OFFER and SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER for regular weekly updates on all things motorhome related.