At this time of year lots of people are thinking about their holidays. However, the coronavirus pandemic has dented an awful lot of people’s plans. According to the BBC, Government advice in England is that “businesses providing holiday accommodation – including hotels, campsites, caravan parks and short-term lets – should stay closed for leisure-related trips” and no one should stay overnight away from their own home for a holiday. Also adding to the problem is the fact that Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland remain closed to tourists and foreign travel remains complicated to say the least! Even the option of a day out somewhere is complicated because many museums and art galleries remain closed, beauty spots, such as the Lake District, would rather we weren’t there and government advice is to stay home as much as possible… Yet none of this stops us thinking ahead to better times.
As we’ve seen this week with non-essential shops opening, lockdown restrictions continue to be eased. Already Knowsley Safari Park and Chester Zoo have reopened just weeks after being told they’d remain closed indefinitely. So there is hope out there. With this in mind, we’ve been thinking of some of our favourite places in England to visit. So in no particular order:
If you want quintessential English villages and countryside, The Cotswolds have them in abundance. With more than 3,000 miles of footpaths and bridleways, woodlands and wildflower meadows, there is plenty to explore whilst obeying social distance guidelines. Claire also has fond memories of Cotswold Safari Park and Gardens, having visited there with her husband and adopting a meerkat.
Situated on the Yorkshire coast, beyond the Yorkshire Moors, Whitby is a seaside town with a difference thanks to it’s connections to Dracula. You can even take a walking tour pointing out some of the sites connected to the Dracula story. The gothic connections don’t stop there though. Overlooking the town is Whitby Abbey and it’s graveyard and twice a year there is the Whitby Goth Weekend. Another thing Whitby is famous for is it’s fish and chips and, at some venues, people even queue around the block for it.
From gingerbread shops and Striding Edge to Peter Rabbit and William Wordsworth, the Lake District National Park has valleys, mountains, lakes and plenty of pretty villages. There’s also more than a touch of history at Castlerigg and Swinside Stone Circles. There really is something for everyone and you can be there and back in a day.
Famous for small towns and villages nestled in deep valleys shrouded in clouds. I really love the small, independent shops around here, several of which are now open. Brimming with boats, bridges and ducks, walks along the Rochdale Canal and Hebden Beck are a treat for all the family. Literary fans can also pay their respects at the grave of Sylvia Plath located in the graveyard of St Thomas The Apostle, Heptonstall.
Are you a fan of Harry Potter? Do you like ‘olde worlde’ buildings overhanging narrow cobbled streets? Then you have to visit The Shambles in York! This medieval street was apparently the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books. Claire also particularly liked Shambles Market, situated just behind the famous street, where she bought some gorgeous banoffee fudge. Then, as well as the Yorkshire Museum, the famous Bettty’s Tea Rooms, and York’s Chocolate Story, there is York Minster and the Jorvik Viking Centre. There is no shortage of things to do in York!
Of course we’d never forget the delights we have on our own doorstep. The list is endless: beaches, shopping, theatre, museums, art galleries, football, a popular beat combo called The Beatles… Merseyside has it all! So whether you want to check out the ice creams in New Brighton, Another Place in Crosby, the aquarium in the World Museum, see what the latest attraction in Chavasse Park is, be dazzled by Paddy’s Wigwam, walk the length of Southport’s pier, or see the sights from the top of Radio City Tower, there’s no need to go anywhere else. Which is why when WHISC treats it’s volunteers to a day out, we always choose somewhere in Merseyside. In recent years, we’ve been lucky enough to have guided tours around the International Slavery Museum, Sudley House and Lady Lever Art Gallery. Each one has been a fascinating and unforgettable experience. So maybe being told to stay home by the government isn’t so bad when your home’s in Merseyside!
So what plans are you making for your holiday? Why not tell us about them in the comments section? We’re here for you and, although the drop-in at WHISC remains temporarily closed, we’re still offering our Listening Ear service. Just phone 07708 381568, leave your name and phone number and we will ring you back. Alternatively, leave us a message on Facebook with your phone number and, again, we will ring you back when we can. Together, we will get through this.