A Summer of staycations? It’s time to explore England

With many of our favourite attractions now beginning to reopen their doors, VisitEngland have rounded up some ways to enjoy outings across the country. Plus, with breaks away now possible from 4th July, restaurants, pubs, campsites and accommodation providers are busy putting measures in place to welcome people back. Look at some of the creative ways England’s amazing tourism industry is adapting.

Gardens re-awakening

With gardens in full bloom and long summer days, it’s never been a better time to reconnect with the beauty of our English gardens and landscapes!

The Eden Project in Cornwallhas partially reopened its 30-acre outdoor gardens with miles of scenic routes to explore and it won’t be long before we can visit the huge Biomes which house stunning plants in the largest rainforest in captivity. Tickets must be pre-booked in advance.

Trentham Estate in Staffordshire has re-opened to members and those with pre-booked tickets. Meander along the flowing weir and meadows of the Capability Brown designed Trentham Lake. Take the Fairy Trail and discover the fairies that live in the magical woodland and gardens.

The gardens at Hever Castle are home to an ever-changing display of wonderful plants and shrubs throughout the seasons, with the rhododendrons, azaleas and roses blossoming, providing a kaleidoscope of colour and wonderfully perfumed aromas this month The lake walk and boating alongside some takeaway options are also open. Entry tickets must be pre-booked.

Warwick Castle has opened the grounds and gardens with plans to reopen the castle and other activities from 4th July. The Peacock Garden is blooming a rainbow of summer florals and topiary to a backdrop of the grand fountain and over 20 roaming peacocks! Stroll along the rolling lawns of the Pageant Field, along the River Avon and see what nature you can spot as you explore the wooded areas. Witness the beauty of the portcullis of Warwick Castle and marvel at the splendour of the castle’s ancient architecture in the main courtyard and iconic East Front.

The National Trust has reopened many of their gardens, parklands and beaches. With over 780 miles of coastline or leisurely strolls across manicured lawns and gardens brimming with vibrant colours and floral scents in over 200 properties, there’s something to please all pleasures.

Beeston Castle and Woodland Gardens in Cheshire; Brodsworth Hall and Gardens in Yorkshire; Old Sarum in Wiltshire, and Battle Abbey, the site of the 1066 Battle of Hastings, in Sussex are now open for the public once again. More of their iconic sites are opening at the beginning of July including the UNESCO World Heritage Site Stonehenge, Whitby Abbey, Dover Castle and Tintagel Castle.

Take a walk on the wild side – the re-opening of zoos

ZSL Whipsnade and ZSL London Zoo’s resident animals are fluffing up their feathers and stretching their legs to welcome back visitors after three months of closure. The zoos reopened with only outdoor activities on offer in a first phase on 15th June for pre-booked ticket holders, with further phases in the planning.

Marwell Zoo is the perfect place to visit when looking for things to do with kids in Hampshire. The 140-acre wildlife park is home to hundreds of animals, from endangered Amur tigers, snow leopards and white rhinos to giraffes, gibbons and penguins. Marwell Zoo will reopen its doors yesterday for members, with a general reopening on 3rd July for pre-booked tickets.

Wild Place Project, which aims to inspire families to enjoy nature with a number of outdoor adventures, has reopened with a new timed ticketing system. Discover wildlife from the UK and around the world including Bear Wood; and explore the woods, parkland and trails.

Drive-in cinemas, discos and even comedy festivals popping up across the country

@TheDriveIn will show 12 movies across England from July to October, so if 80’s retro movies and noughties classics are your thing then get set for an evening of entertainment in the comfort of your car under the twinkling stars. They have also confirmed stand-up comedy, bingo and silent car discos! Cinema will cost from £35 per car with destinations including Brighton, Southampton, Bristol, London; Liverpool and Newcastle on offer.

INDOOR Drive-In Cinema are planning the World’s First Comedy Festival in a Drive-in Cinema with COMEDY IN CARS, packed full of leading comedians from the UK and International comedy circuit, teaming up with sister company the Award winning Grinstock Comedy to bring a comedy festival and shows, like nothing ever done before. More details and locations coming soon.

Pub in The Park, the UK’s biggest food and drink tour, will this year bring the ultimate drive-in theatre experience to eight different locations across the country in July and August including Tunbridge Wells; Marlow; Bath; Chichester; Warwick; St Albans and London. Enjoy classics and new films on the big screen while munching into gourmet food curated by Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge.

Overnight stays – when we can finally have that night away!

Rockliffe Hall in Darlington, Durham is offering the ultimate in luxury distancing.  The five star luxury golf and spa hotel has created a number of in-room and distanced experiences to welcome back their guests. With a Champagne and Cocktail trolley service bringing the bar to guests, wine and dine ‘al fresco’ on the sunny patios and terraces, or the option of ordering a picnic hamper to take on a leisurely stroll of the estate. If you are looking for ultimate relaxation, Rockliffe have created a ‘Spa in a Box’ skin care kit complete with a guided video on how to perform a treatment yourself in the comfort of your five-star bedroom. For those who like to get outdoors, the hotel will be offering complimentary bike hire for all guests along with tennis and croquet on the lawn.

Tudor Farmhouse, a 20-room boutique hotel in the Forest of Dean, has just announced a new three-night Breakout Escape, the perfect way to enjoy long summer days when the hotel reopens on thhttp://www.bicsport.comhe short break brings together a choice of life affirming outdoor activities such as wild swimming; stand up paddle boarding as well as the chance to go on a wildlife safari, with a boutique hotel stay in the heart of the Forest of Dean.

London Fitzrovia’s The Mandrake Hotel is set to reopen July 4 and with this, launches a reimagined spiritual wellbeing offering tailored to the needs of post-lockdown society. The two-night package will cost from £300 and include access to wellness sessions including morning meditation; Crystal Bowl Sound Healing; Breathwork; Gong Baths and Cacao ceremonies, a form of Shamanic healing. Also in time for July, the hotel will reopen the restaurant YOPO serving food to nurture both physical and mental health; unveil a new exclusive ‘Cabanas’ private dining option opening out onto the terrace, one of the largest outdoor spaces of any hotel in London as well as a rich calendar of retreats and  cultural and virtual events.

New ways to dine

10 dining pods at White Hart of Wytham, Oxford have been constructed out of mostly recycled materials. Structures made of wood and plastic sheeting, covered in vine leaves and dotted with fairy lights will make for an ambient experience.

Or what about feasting on a rooftop allotment at Where The Light Gets In, Stockport? This Manchester restaurant will accommodate their guests on the roof, turning a disused concrete patch into an allotment-like oasis. The space, which already houses their community garden, will have small barn-style buildings for happy diners.

Rock’s St Moritz Hotel & Spa set to launch new purpose-designed and built socially distanced restaurant  Nicknamed ‘The Anti-Social Club’, the new pop-up dining concept at this North Cornwall hotel, will consist of 16 private dining rooms, with a maximum of 96 covers.  Mixing the elements of private members clubs, private dining rooms, cool beach clubs and summer pop-up restaurants, the Anti-Social Club will feature multiple dining times, clear guidance and exacting operating procedures that ensure the social distancing rule and new environmental health requirements are met at all times. This will usher in a new ‘bubble’ dining ethos as an exclusive dining opportunity.

Before you travel check out https://www.visitengland.com/know-before-you-go for the latest guidance and top tips to help you plan responsibly and respect, protect and enjoy England when out and about.

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