Natural Wanders

Getting out and about in nature is one of the best ways we can do to rejuvenate mind, body and soul. Here are our top tips for ways to connect with nature and all it's bounties - from formal gardens to pick your own and wild swimming.


There are so many incredible gardens to visit throughout England that we’re really spoilt for choice. And no wonder - gardening is a passionate past time of the English, so it’s no surprise that they’re an extremely popular destination for a day out.

Our very own Chicheley Hall Hotel has a grade 2* listed park and garden and is classed as a particularly important site, of more than special interest. The 18th century formal gardens were designed by George London in c 1700, surrounding a slightly later country house, set within a small park.

With so much choice it was hard to pick one standout place or garden but we decided on Kent – The Garden of England.

The Garden at Sissinghurst Castle is, according to the National Trust, among the most famous gardens in England and is well worth a visit. The garden is famed for its vibrant planting schemes and architectural planning. It is set within the ruins of a great Elizabethan house and surrounded by a rich landscape of woods, streams and farmland. Gardens include the Rose Garden, The White Garden  Herb Garden and Nuttery.

See the National Trust website for more details. Other special gardens can be found on Gardens of National Significance.

Nearest Countrywide Hotel - Broome Park.

2. Pick Your Own

There's nothing more delicious than eating a freshly picked strawberry or plum - just bursting with the taste of summer sunshine.

Pick your own farms are a great way to get the freshest produce possible - and can be great value, particularly if you're allowed to munch as you go.

Essington Farm in Wolverhampton not only has fruit like strawberries and raspberries - you can also pick veg like beans, courgettes and sweetcorn on it's 50 acre site.

Nearby hotels

Park Hall Hotel and Spa, Wolverhampton and

Wolverhampton Goldthorn Hotel

3. Birds, Bees and Butterflies

Meadows and flower rich grasslands are of course nature's home for our natural wildlife but not everyone has access to these ever-decreasing places.

How about visiting a butterfly park? They're great rain or shine and often support conservation and species renewal

Tip - Visit Stratford Butterfly Farm, one of the country's largest and stay at M40 Warwick Hotel.

4. Wild Swimming

On a hot summer day, what could be more refreshing than slipping into the cool, clear waters of a lake? Our rivers, lakes and waterfalls, coves, caves and beaches are healthier and more accessible than they have been in living memory and the health benefits of a wild swim or a natural dip are becoming increasingly known.

We've picked Yorkshire for our wild swimming hot spot (or not so hot!) because of the wonderful Yorkshire Dales and Lakes District. There's caves, waterfalls and even places to go skinny dipping.

Countrywide Hotels in Yorkshire -

Bridge Hotel & Spa Wetherby

Crab Manor Hotel

Allerton Court Hotel