Destination Inspiration

Six mini-breaks to blow away the cobwebs


UK trips to recharge your batteries

Feeling a bit sluggish after Christmas? Still suffering from the back-to-school blues? Well, if your new year’s resolution was to fly less to cut your carbon footprint, you’re probably trying to resist jetting off somewhere hot and sunny to cheer you up, but these UK mini-breaks should put a spring back in your step:

A walk in the wilderness

Peak District walking

How does a stroll along a section of Hadrian’s Wall followed by a night of stargazing sound? Or how about a walking and Go-Ape weekend in the Peak District? Kite Adventures has lots of options to get you out in the open and up close to nature and if this doesn’t revive you, I give up

Costs from: £160 for two nights


Soothe your soul

If Christmas left you stressed, consider booking a Soul Soothing package at the seriously gorgeous-looking Tudor Farmhouse Hotel in the Forest of Dean. It includes the Japanese art of Shinrin-yoku, which, in case you don’t know, isn’t actually a bath in the middle of the forest, it’s more …well, a guided walk in the woods, but it leaves you feeling immensely revived, apparently. Personally, I’m not 100% convinced, but a stroll through a forest is never a bad thing and if it doesn’t work miracles, you can opt for an in-room massage or a session in a giant floatation tank to ease away the tension.

Costs from: £475 for single occupancy, £595 for two, massages cost an extra £75 an hour


Find your Mr Darcy

Hire a vintage car, pack a picnic, and drive along the unspoilt lanes of the Mr Darcy’s Peak District to the grandeur of Chatsworth House, stopping off at local pubs and cheese shops on the way. Deer-filled Chatsworth Park, designed by Capability Brown, is a stunning place to stop for your picnic, where you can sit on your rug and pretend the house is yours, for keeps. Chatsworth Gardens are also a lovely place for a stroll. If this doesn’t float your boat, other vintage car tours are available.

Costs from: £129 for up to four people for a 2.5 hour tour.


Dive with Sharks… in Birmingham

While it’s not exactly the Red Sea or the Indian Ocean, Birmingham’s Bear Grylls Adventure does give you the opportunity to scuba dive in a tropical tank filled with 800 sea creatures – including sharks and rays. This should get the adrenaline pumping round your veins, and you’ll get a PADI beginner’s dive certificate. Other activities at the Bear Grylls Adventure include indoor sky diving and an assault course.

Costs from: £120pp, which includes a donation to the Shark Trust.


Kayak tours along the Jurassic Coast

Less Hawaii Five-O, more of a gentle, tranquil paddle beneath the Dorset cliffs and through the sea caves of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. If you’re lucky, you’ll see dolphins, seals, peregrine falcons and even seahorses. Afterwards, Fore Adventures also gives the option to go coastal foraging, snorkelling or fishing.


Costs from:£50.00pp


Climb the iron mountain

Ever wanted to climb Everest? No, me neither, but you can enjoy the adrenaline rush normally only experienced by experienced climbers on the Via Ferrata at Honiston, England’s last working slate mine in Cumbria. You’ll follow the miners’ path high onto Fleetwith Pike, using a series of ladders and iron foot- and hand-holds hammered into the rock. You’ll be guided by professionals, so no previous climbing experience is required, and you’ll be secured to the mountain with a gable at all times. And if that’s too time for you, there’s a more extreme route you can take – but I’d recommend starting with the classic. For nearby accommodation, see below (affiliate link).

Cost from: £40pp

Linsey McNeill

A journalist and travel writer of 35 years' standing, a once-a-week yogi, terrible skier and out-of-order mum to 2 teens. Previously Editor of, bylines also include The Telegraph, The Times, The Observer, the London Evening Standard, Which? and The South China Morning Post.

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