Why go abroad when we have these to choose from?

We have a reputation, us Brits. We like a whinge: too hot, too cold, too tired, too fat, too slow, too many queues. We’re bloody good at it. And, granted, sometimes it’s warranted.

But when you give it some thought, we really don’t have it that bad. As I write this, the sun is beating the ground, attributed to the shifting patterns of climate change and not enough tree hugging. The polar bears may be suffering, but here on UK soil people are wearing smiles, laughter is echoing around the city, beer gardens are bursting at the seams and restaurants are running out of salads. It’s all blissfully Mediterranean-esque.

So, weather – tick, for now at least. Added to this we have hearty cuisine, sparkling wine that’s seducing oenophiles, real ale the colour of mud, the Lake District, wild salmon, Big Ben, Snowdonia, the Loch Ness Monster, Durdle Door and Fingal’s Cave… Yes, I’m getting overly jingoistic and teetering on the edge of mutating into Hugh Grant’s Love Actually character, but you catch my drift.

Do you know that there are seas lapping the shores of the Outer Hebrides that sparkle with an emerald green clarity we see in the Bahamas (albeit bloody cold though)? There are valleys within Cumbria where you can truly escape, not see another soul, and experience star-studded skies without any hint of urban graffiti.

Anyhoo, to get to my point, what this all boils down to is the fact that we don’t have to venture to the most foreign corners of the atlas to find our slither of perfect holiday pie. We have a cornucopia of hidden gems within our own sceptered isle – here are 5 prime examples…



If it’s seclusion you’re after, Scotland is your oyster. Nestled within dramatic scenery on Lewis, part of the Outer Hebrides, the Uig and Hamanavay Estate offers a true escape. This is picture-postcard Highlands, as all around the lodge towering rock-strewn slopes climb towards the skies, deer are visible as specks among the faraway crevasses, and tucked within sheer-sided basins are desolate lochs, so totally wild and untainted.


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Think log cabins and your mind probably wanders to the likes of Canada or Finland. But let’s be honest, both require a fair deal of travel and the mosquitoes are the size of sparrows. The answer comes in the way of the Cotswolds; with seven traditional Finnish log houses – each with their own lakeside hot tub and rowing boat – set within a private 130-acre nature reserve. Each boasts their own unique charm, encapsulating the intoxicating aura of the Scandinavian tundra only 90 minutes from the Capital.


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For many, a littoral landscape is high on the agenda when holidays come knocking. Cue Cornwall, a stunning county littered with coves and bays to rival those of the Greek archipelagos. Our pick of the bunch is The Edge, the perfect summer’s retreat for two set in a cliff top location with a bird’s eye view of Whitsand Bay.


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Back with log cabins, this time situated on an old Highland broch on an elevated ridge overlooking Strathglass, this is a retreat offering luxury of a unique sort. Using the finest Western Red Cedar logs, each cabin has been hand-built by master craftsmen using authentic Norwegian techniques and provides spacious and cosy interiors.

Eagle Brae Promotional Shoot, October 2013

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England’s answer to the French Alps, the Lake District has beauty and attraction in spades. Stunning panoramas and charming lodges and cottages set within wild surroundings, all only a few hours drive away. This luxurious self-catering boathouse with private mooring overlooks the serene waters of Lake Windermere in the Lake District National Park and boasts some of the most enviable vistas imaginable. Why go abroad with the likes of The Osprey on offer?


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Further Reading