Overlooked UK attractions

Big breaks

no crowd Lanhydrock Estate, Cornwall

* Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, Dorset: Lord Baden-Powell and his pioneering scouts may have gone, along with Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’, but the red squirrels, deer and peacocks are still here. Indeed, Brownsea is a bit of a magnet for wildlife so bring your binoculars.
* Wimpole Home Farm, Royston, Cambridgeshire: Once upon a time, this was a cutting-edge model farm, the brainchild of Sir John Soane. Now it provides a rare chance to experience first hand what rural life was like two centuries ago. You can groom the donkeys, collect eggs, feed the goats and learn some traditional methods of farming. Or you can just take it easy and let shire horses pull you round in a wagon.

* Natural History Museum at Tring, Hertfordshire: The Hertfordshire museum has been part of the Natural History Museum since 1937 and its remarkable collections were once the private passion of its founder, Lionel Walter, second Baron Rothschild, who amassed the largest natural history collection assembled by one individual. Now visitors can see a huge variety of wild, weird and wonderful specimens from across the animal kingdom — from the extinct quagga to dressed fleas.
* Calke Abbey, Ticknall, Derbyshire: Tunnels, invisible corridors, a secret garden — just what is going on at Calke Abbey? An endearing hodgepodge of architectural styles, the house was inhabited for over 350 years by the pleasingly eccentric Harpur family. They appeared never to throw anything away and thus filled their home with a vast and bewildering array of curiosities from a crocodile head to a christening present made from boars tusks and an ostrich egg. Not to be outdone, the grounds feature a 1,000-year-old oak and what may be the last surviving auricular theatre in Britain.

* Lanhydrock, Bodmin, Cornwall: Some country houses can’t help but look cinematic. Lanhydrock, a venerable yet strangely homely pile, is just such a one and can be seen gracing film versions of both ‘The Three Musketeers’ and ‘Twelfth Night’. Visit the servants’ quarters, however, and suddenly you’re in the world of ‘Upstairs/Downstairs’. Outside, paths through the woods lead down to the river Fowey and the homes of otters and kingfishers.
* Kenwood House, London: Tucked into a corner of Hampstead Heath, Kenwood House is simply dripping with masterpieces from top drawer artists such as Rembrandt, Turner, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Vermeer.

* Dunster Castle, Minehead, Somerset: For over a thousand years a fortress has dominated this spot on the edge of Exmoor with its view out over the Bristol Channel. Remodelled by the Victorians with turrets, towers and flourishes galore, Dunster has exchanged its bellicose expression for a much more romantic look.
* Segedunum Roman Fort, Wallsend, Tyne and Wear: It’s an irony that one of the least known Roman forts on Hadrian’s Wall is also the one most thoroughly excavated. Perched right on the eastern end of the wall, Segedunum was home to 600 Roman soldiers for over three centuries and the astonishingly well-preserved site gives a unique insight into their everyday lives.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry