From enjoying the English countryside to learning more about the history in a museum, there are so many things to do in Oxfordshire that are suitable for all.

Our newest resort has just opened its doors and would make the perfect base for you to explore the local area and the rest of the county. But even if you aren’t staying at The Springs Resort & Golf Club we have put together the ultimate list of things to do in Oxfordshire. Whatever you are wanting to do you will find something that is right up your street in our list below. With things to do in Oxford, local attractions in Wallingford and popular days out in Oxfordshire.

things to do in Oxford

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Parks Rd, Oxford, OX1 3PW | 34 mins

things to do in Oxfordshire - Oxford University Museum of Natural History

If you love history and want to learn more about various topics then the Oxford University Museum of Natural History is the place to go. With different exhibitions and events running throughout the year you will always find something that peaks your interest as well as the rest of the collections that are always at the museum. Whether you want to learn more about animals or even art this museum has it all. It’s a great place for families with younger children or just couples or even groups of friends.

find out more

Oxford Castle & Prison

44-46 Oxford Castle, Oxford, OX1 1AY | 30 mins

Oxford Castle was market by the Normans as the perfect place for a castle after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. But over time it transformed into a prison, now visitors come from far and wide to learn all about the history that comes with this incredible site. You can explore and climb 101 steps that leads to an amazing panoramic view of Oxford, go underground and visit the candle-lit crypt and step inside the 18th century prison cells. Oxford Castle & Prison also has guided tours, a jailbreak escape room and murder mystery nights that you can book.

find out more

Ashmolean Museum

Beaumont St, Oxford, OX1 2PH | 31 mins

things to do in Oxfordshire - Ashmolean Museum

Founded in 1683, The Ashmolean Museum is the University of Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology. There are a range of world famous collections for you to explore from contemporary art to Egyptian mummies. Admission is free into this museum but it is essential you book a ticket online as you are then guaranteed entry. As well as the usual collections there are also different exhibitions that are changing throughout the year.

find out more

Christ Church

St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1DP | 28 mins

Although located in the hustle and bustle of Oxford town centre, Christ Church is a peaceful and vibrant place to visit if you are in the area. There is a Cathedral and Choir, a picture gallery, a library and events that go on inside this building. Its architecture is magnificent and definitely somewhere you would want to see whilst you’re here. Christ Church was also the location for many Harry Potter scenes so if you are a fan you may want to go and see what you recognise!

find out more

The Oxford Artisan Distillery

Old Depot, South Park, Cheney Ln, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7QJ | 31 mins

things to do in Oxfordshire - The Oxford Astisan Distillery

If you enjoy whisky, gin or vodka and you want to know how they are created then The Oxford Artisan Distillery would be a great place to take a tour of. Learn all about how they make their award-winning spirits and watch every step starting from the seed all the way to when it’s in the bottle. Prices start from £20 and the tour lasts an hour and includes the chance to taste the vodka, gins and whisky. Then at the end if you’d like you can buy a bottle or two of your favourites.

find out more

Iffley Lock

Iffley Lock, Oxford, OX4 4EJ | 26 mins

Built in 1632, the Iffley Lock has helped canals make their way across the River Thames for centuries. It was rebuilt in 1924 and since has marked the starting point of many organised rowing races with the Oxford University Boat Club. On a sunny day you can enjoy a walk along the riverbank and incorporate watching the Iffley Lock alter its water levels to help boats pass along the River Thames.

find out more

Harry Potter Walking Tour of Oxford

5 Broad St, Oxford, OX1 3AJ | 32 mins

things to do in Oxfordshire - Bodleian Library

Calling all Harry Potter fans, this one is for you. Did you know many scenes in Harry Potter were filmed in different locations around Oxford? With this walking tour you will be able to discover all of the different movie locations like the Bodleian Library and a few of the oldest colleges in Oxford. Whilst you are on the tour you will also hear different insider gossip about the movies, characters and filming. Along with having the chance to test your knowledge with a Harry Potter quiz as you go along the tour.

find out more

local attractions near Wallingford

Wallingford Castle, Gardens & Meadows

Bear Ln, Wallingford, OX10 8DR | 8 mins

This medieval castle is a great one to visit if you want to explore the castle, gardens and meadows. With amazing views, an incredible history and beautiful flowers you will be able to learn all about when William the Conqueror began building the castle in 1067. And when the castle was expanded in the 13th Century and then all of its history since then. It’s a great place to visit that is only down the road from our resort.

find out more

Brightwell Vineyard

Shillingford Rd, Wallingford, OX10 8LJ | 10 mins

things to do in Oxfordshire - Brightwell Vineyard

Just a mile from Wallingford is where you will find Brightwell Vineyard. The vineyard adjoins the River Thames and they have various events throughout the year that you can go to. Like the English Wine & Food Festival for example. As well as events there is a vineyard tour & wine tasting tour that you can go on all year round. It includes a 1 hour vineyard tour along with the chance to taste 3 different wines that are produced here.

find out more

AV Boats

Unit 3 Benson Waterfront, Benson, Wallingford, OX10 6SJ | 6 mins

When the weather is nice a trip to AV Boats along the River Thames would be a great idea. You have the chance to hire a day boat, fishing boat, rowing boat, kayak, pedal sup, paddle board, canoe or pedal kayak. So there is something for everyone and it is perfect for all types of groups to enjoy. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get involved in some river sports or just enjoy sailing along the river in your chosen boat for the day.

find out more

Cholsey-Wallingford Railway

5 Hithercroft Rd, Wallingford, OX10 9GQ | 7 mins

things to do in Oxfordshire - Cholsey Wallingford Railway

The Cholsey & Wallingford Railway is a heritage railway that takes you on a 45 minute round trip from the historic market town of Wallingford all the way to Cholsey. It first opened in 1866 and has been running ever since. The train still has its 1950s coaches that you will travel in and you can choose different train tickets. From a usual journey to one that includes a cream tea and even one where you can enjoy fish and chips! It’s a great experience if you want to enjoy views of the beautiful countryside in a different way.

find out more

Wallingford Museum

Flint House, 52 High St, Wallingford, OX10 0DB | 8 mins

Wallingford Museum is full of different displays and exhibitions that provide you with interesting information about the history of Wallingford Castle. As well as general information on the castle you can also learn all about different aspects of what everyday life was like inside the castle. Throughout the year there are often various special exhibitions to give you more insights and information about local history.

find out more

Basildon Park

Lower Basildon, Reading, RG8 9NR | 15 mins

things to do in Oxfordshire - Basildon Park

This National Trust site is the perfect place to go if you want to enjoy the outdoors and learn about the life of Lord and Lady Iliffe. Inside Basildon Park there is the house, garden and parkland that you can explore. Dogs are welcome in the garden and parkland so long as they are on leads. It’s a great place to visit all year round and you can enjoy plenty of walks across the 400 acres of parkland.

find out more

popular days out in Oxfordshire

Grey’s Court

Rotherfield Greys, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 4PG | 19 mins

Grey’s Court is a 16th century mansion and tranquil gardens that you can explore. It was home to the Brunner family until recent years. Now you can explore the house and walled gardens and enjoy the colourful flowerbeds throughout. There is a tea room on site that serves hot and cold food and drinks along with a shop that has a wide range of gifts that are available to buy.

find out more

Thorpe Park

Staines Rd, Chertsey, KT16 8PN | 1 hr 2 mins

things to do in Oxfordshire - Thorpe Park

For the thrill seekers and the adrenaline junkies, Thorpe Park is just outside of Oxfordshire which means wherever you are in the county you will easily be able to enjoy this day out! Thorpe Park is home to the UK’s fastest roller coaster, the UK’s only winged coaster and the world’s first horror themed roller coaster that features a 100ft drop.

find out more

Hellfire Caves

Church Ln, West Wycombe, High Wycombe, HP14 3AH | 33 mins

Get the chance to explore the maze of caverns at The Hellfire Caves. They were built in the 17th century so that you could travel deep underground in the Chiltern Hills. This day out is perfect for any group and would make an amazing family day out. As well as just going to visit and explore yourself they also host kids parties, events and weddings and you can hire it out as a set if you are filming something!

find out more

Beale Wildlife Park

Lower Basildon, Pangbourne, Reading, RG8 9NW | 16 mins

things to do in Oxfordshire - Beale Wildlife Park

For all the animal lovers out there Beale Wildlife Park will be the perfect day out for you. The park is within 40 acres of land and is set right against the River Thames. There are various zoo and farm animals throughout the wildlife park along with plenty of attractions to keep all the family entertained. If you are planning a visit, be sure to check out any events and activities that they have on during the time your there – especially during the school holidays.

find out more

Aston Martin Heritage Trust

Drayton St Leonard, Wallingford, OX10 7BG | 17 mins

At the Aston Martin Heritage Trust you will be able to enjoy viewing the ultimate collection of cars, scale models, trophies, engines, racing memorabilia and engineering tools. It’s a great experience that everyone would enjoy whether you have an interest in cars or not. Ticket prices start from £5 that includes access to viewing everything in the museum. The Aston Martin Heritage Trust also run events throughout the year that are based across the UK!

find out more

Reload Reading

Beale Park, Lower Basildon, Reading, RG8 9NW | 16 mins

things to do in Oxfordshire - Reload Reading

Whether you are a family wanting to entertain everyone or a group of friends looking to have some fun, Reload Reading is a great place to go. You can enjoy archery or laser clay pigeon shooting here and each bay can have up to 6 people. It’s the perfect way to get involved in an outdoor activity that will test your aim and be something that everyone will love having a go at.

find out more

Wellington Country Park

Odiham Rd, Riseley, Reading, RG7 1SP | 43 mins

With Wellington Country Park you will be able to enjoy an adventure for the whole family. At this country park you will find an animal park, miniature railway, jumping pillow, splash zone, indoor soft play, welly wheels, mini golf, adventure play and the list goes on. There is so much to do here you can easily spend the entire day having fun. The kids will have an endless amount of things they will want to do during their day here.

find out more

Why not use our The Springs Resort as your base when it comes to exploring the area with all the things to do?


back to blog

So you are staying at the Beach Cove Coastal Retreat? We’ve put together the ultimate North Devon circular ale trail for you.

Beach Cove Coastal Retreat is located in Ilfracombe, North Devon and it is only a short bus trip to get into Ilfracombe town centre which is where you will find lots of choices for your circular ale trail. To keep things as easy as they can be we have given you a list below of how to get there and where to go when you’re there along with where to finish your ale trail when you get back to Beach Cove!

first things first

Start your North Devon circular ale trail by heading left out of Beach Cove and walking up to the top of Beach Road. There you will see the Hale Bay Hotel bus stop where you can catch the bus to Ilfracombe.

Catch the 301 (which comes every hour) to Ilfracombe (get off at the Scarlett Pimpernel Garage stop) duration: 3-5mins

here you’ll find plenty of choice, here are our favourites…

The Admiral Collingwood

Wilder Rd, Ilfracombe, EX34 9AP

This Wetherspoon pub used to be called the Collingwood Hotel and had been open for over 130 years accommodating visitors from all over. Named after Admiral, Lord Collingwood, The Admiral Collingwood is now a well-known pub right on the seafront of Ilfracombe. Here you can find plenty of well-kept ales like Exmoor Stag and other locally known ales all on draught. And when the weather is nice you can enjoy sitting outside in there amazing outdoor seating area.

find out more

George and Dragon

Fore St, Ilfracombe, EX34 9ED

Dating back to 1360, George & Dragon is the oldest pub in Ilfracombe! Set in the harbor area, you will be able to enjoy everything that comes with a traditional English pub along with the views of the area. There are three real ales on offer inside the George & Dragon and you can enjoy being cosy inside with wooden beams and large fireplaces. As well as being good for real ales it also makes a great stop for some lunch.

find out more

The Sandpiper Inn

The Quay, Ilfracombe, EX34 9EQ

Whether you are local to the area or not expect a warm welcome as you make your way inside of The Sandpiper Inn. Located just up the road from the Ilfracombe Harbour this B&B and pub has everything you could ever want as the bar is well-kept all year round. You will find local ales like Sharp’s Doom Bar. For the summer months you will find a spacious terrace where you can soak up the sun as well as karaoke for everyone to use.

find out more

Prince of Wales

2 Fore St, Ilfracombe, EX34 9ED

At the Prince of Wales pub you can enjoy the perfect blend of old and new with the low beamed bar and modern continental style outdoor seating. It’s one of the only two pubs on Fore Street and dates back to over 700 years ago! The pub is pretty close to the Harbour like the rest and you can see the Damien Hirst’s Verity statue where you are sat outside. The bar always stocks Sharp’s Doom Bar and Timothy Taylor Landlord so you always have a choice of cask ales.

find out more

The Pier Brewery Tap

The Quay, Ilfracombe, EX34 9EQ

The Pier Brewery Tap is in an amazing location, right next door to the harbour and the pier on the Quay. You will find it’s an extremely popular venue with a garden, traditional pub games, live music occasionally, a real fire, a restaurant and a bar area. The bar itself is always well stocked and you will always find a drink you are wanting there. It’s the perfect place to stop off at along your North Devon circular ale trail.

find out more

once you are ready to head back

Make your way back to the Scarlett Pimpernel Garage stop which will take you back into Hale. Don’t get off at Hale Bay Hotel bus stop, instead get off a couple of stops earlier as you can continue the real ale circular trail from here.

Catch the 301 (last bus is around 6.30pm) back towards Hale (get off at the Old Thatched Inn stop) duration: 1-2mins

add these to your way home

Thatched Inn

Hillsborough Rd, Ilfracombe, EX34 9PG

The bus stop is just outside the pub so you don’t have far to go when you jump off the bus. This 17th Century family run pub will provide you with an inviting authentic pub atmosphere. And you will find that there is a great selection of real ales and fine wine depending on what you are wanting to drink. They also have a spacious garden where you can take in the views down the valley which is the perfect place to go during a summers day.

find out more

Madrigal Brewery Shop & Tap Room

Witheridge Pl, Hele Bay, Ilfracombe, EX34 9RA

Madridal is a small-batch artisan brewery that is located inside of a former Edwardian gas works in Hele. They have a brewery shop and tap room on site where you can enjoy trying the beer that is made at the brewery. They make a range of beers, all vegan friendly and they go from vibrantly juicy pale ales through to liquorice porters and lemongrass saisons! All of these are available to buy which makes them a great addition to your ale trail as you can pick some up to take home with you.

find out more

finally, finish off at

Hale Bay Pub

39 Beach Rd, Hele Bay, Ilfracombe, EX34 9QZ

After a long day of drinking we bet you will be ready for some delicious pub grub which is why we’ve added Hale Bay Pub to the end of your ale trail. You will receive the warmest of welcomes along with plenty more real ale if you are wanting to continue drinking. But the most important thing on offer here is the food. This award-winning pub has plenty of choice on the menu – we recommend trying their homemade pies! Once you are finished here you are only a few steps away from Beach Cove or wherever else you are staying in Hele.

find out more

Our Beach Cove Coastal Retreat really is a unique and breath-taking escape where you can enjoy unbeatable views and relax and unwind together in one of our beach huts.

back to blog

Celebrate the festive season the right way and tick off all these Christmas markets in Kent this year!

We have done our research and found all the best Christmas markets and fairs that you will want to explore this year. They are the perfect way to get you in the festive spirit and create some magical memories with your friends and family. Have a browse through our list below and see which ones you like the sound of and what you might add into your days out during November and December.

Christmas Market at Kent MS Therapy Centre

Where? Kent MS Therapy Centre, Bradbury House, Merton Ln N, Canterbury, CT4 7DZ

When? 20th November 2021

Time? 10am – 2pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Craft and gift stalls
  • Santa’s grotto for kids
  • Refreshments and charity raffle

find out more

Paddock Wood Christmas Fair

Where? Mascalls Academy, Maidstone Road, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, TN12 6LT

When? 11th December 2021

Time? 10am – 4pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Festive food like Christmas cakes
  • Christmas gifts, books, clothes, handmade items
  • Unique gifts for all

find out more

Cyclopark Christmas Market

Where? Cyclopark, The Tollgate, Watling St, Gravesend, DA11 7NP

When? 17th – 19th December 2021

Time? 9am – 9pm

How Much? Adults: £4, Juniors & OAP: £2, Children under 4: Free

Other Info:

  • Wonderland play park walk and light show
  • Christmas market with local stalls
  • Food and drinks village

find out more

Canterbury Christmas MarketMature couple look at gifts for sale on a Christmas market

Where? St George’s Street & Whitefriars Street, Canterbury

When? 12th November – 24th December 2021

Time? Mon-Fri: 10am-6pm, Sat: 9am-6pm, Sun: 10am-4pm

How Much? 2 adults per child allowed, children are £7

Other Info:

  • Book in to see Santa in his grotto
  • Christmas market stalls
  • Food, drinks, gifts all available

find out more

Make a weekend of this experience and enjoy a festive trip to one of our resorts in Kent.

back to blog

Get into the festive spirit and head over to one or two of these Christmas markets in Oxfordshire.

Just a short drive from London, this county can provide you with everything you need to make the festive season magical and memorable without having to head to the capital. There are some amazing Christmas markets on this year that are dotted all around Oxfordshire and below we have listed our favourites. Have a read and see which ones you want to add to your list of festive days out.

Oxford Christmas Market

Where? Broad Street, Oxford City Centre, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3AS

When? 9th-19th December 2021

Time? Thu-Sat: 10am – 8pm, Sun-Wed: 10am – 6.30pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Started in 2009
  • Father Christmas, Christmas carols
  • Amazing wooden stalls selling gifts, food and more

find out more

Blenheim Palace Christmas MarketGirl is at the Christmas Market with her mother and is enjoying the Christmas Baubles.

Where? Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PP

When? 19th November – 19th December 2021

Time? 10am – 8.30pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Over 70 stalls across the market
  • Ceramics, textiles, homeware, jewellery, toys and more
  • Illuminated Trail around the grounds

find out more

Henley Christmas Festival

Where? Bell Street, Duke Street, Friday Street, Hart Street and the Market Place in Henley

When? 26th November 2021

Time? 5pm – 9pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • See Father Christmas in his grotto
  • Reindeer led Children’s lantern parade
  • Christmas tree light switch on

find out more

Waddesdon Christmas FairCouple looking at a gift to buy from a stall at the Christmas market

Where? Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0JH

When? 13th November – 21st December 2021

Time? 12pm – 7pm

How Much? Adult: £17, Child: £8.50 (children under 5 go free)

Other Info:

  • 20ft Christmas trees
  • Amazing stalls offering a range of items
  • Unique gifts, decorations, crafts and foods

find out more

Carterton Christmas Lights Switch-on

Where? Carterton Town Centre, Carterton, Oxfordshire

When? 19th November 2021

Time? 6pm – 8.30pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Light switch on in the town
  • Lantern parade
  • Huge event in the town

find out more

Oxford’s Christmas Light FestivalYoung family on Christmas market. Looking for something to buy.

Where? Oxford City Centre, Oxford

When? 19th – 21st November 2021

Time? TBC

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Been taking place since 2009
  • Three day weekend experience
  • Light trails and events through the streets

find out more

Banbury Christmas Craft Fair and Lights

Where? Longford Park LPCA, Hobby Road, Banbury, OX15 4GJ

When? 28th November 2021

Time? 3pm – 6pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Christmas craft fair
  • Christmas tree light switch on
  • Other activities and special guests TBC

find out more

Make a festive staycation out of visiting some Christmas markets and stay at one of our resorts that would make the perfect base.

back to blog

Yorkshire is a beautiful historic county in Northern England and it has some amazing Christmas markets for you to visit this year.

There is no better way to get into the festive spirit than making your way around a few Christmas markets throughout November and December. Whether you are from the area or you are heading there on a winter staycation we have put together a list of markets that you are going to love. Have a read through and see which ones you and your loved ones want to visit during your festive outings.

York Christmas Market – St Nicholas Fair

Where? Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square, York

When? 18th November – 23rd December 2021

Time? Sun-Thu: 10am – 6pm, Fri-Sat: 10am – 8pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Alpine chalets run up the street and around the square
  • Enjoy stalls selling food, soaps, handmade gifts etc.
  • Thor’s Tipi where you can sit and relax

find out more

Malton Christmas MarketMother and children looking at ornaments on a Christmas market stall

Where? Malton Market Place, Market Place, Malton, England, YO17

When? 4th – 5th December 2021

Time? 9am – 4pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Festive fun, live music
  • Delicious food, street food
  • Festive gift stalls

find out more

Skipton Christmas Markets

Where? Skipton High Street, Skipton, BD23

When? 5th & 12th December 2021

Time? 11am – 4pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Stalls across the street
  • Selling food, gifts, unique handmade crafts etc.
  • Festive gifts, food and more

find out more

Sheffield Christmas MarketsCouple with arms wrapped around each other looking at a Christmas market stall

Where? Fargate, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield, S1 2LG

When? Open from 12th November 2021

Time? 10am – 6pm (8pm on Friday & Saturday)

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Over 50 stalls
  • Alpine Bar
  • Santa’s Grotto and big wheel

find out more

If you are wanting to enjoy a festive staycation in Yorkshire why not use one of our resorts as your base for exploring?

back to blog

Enjoy the festive season in southwest England this year.

Dorset is known for the Jurassic Coast, it’s historic towns and now for its Christmas markets in 2021! What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than by exploring a range of different Christmas markets that are around the Dorset area. We have put together a list of all the best Christmas markets in Dorset this year, have a read and see which your favourite are.

Bournemouth Christmas Market

Where? The Square, 35-37 Bourne Ave, Bournemouth, BH2 5LY

When? 19th November 2021 – 2 January 2022

Time? 11am – 11pm

How Much? Free (book table for alpine lodge)

Other Info:

  • Alpine market and lodge, Christmas tree wonderland
  • Festive stalls for Christmas shopping
  • Mulled wine, mulled cider, steins of beer

find out more

Littledown Christmas MarketYoung family on Christmas market. They are walking around and picking what to buy.

Where? Littledown Centre, Chaseside, Bournemouth, BH7 7DX

When? 28th November 2021

Time? 11am – 4pm

How Much? 50p – £1

Other Info:

  • One of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Dorset
  • Free parking
  • Festive music, Christmas decorations, cards, gifts etc.

find out more

Shire Hall Christmas Market

Where? Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum, High West Street, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1UY

When? 11th – 12th December 2021

Time? 10am – 4pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Over 20 businesses showcasing their creations
  • Stalls will be spread across the Grade I listed building so you can explore
  • Food, drink, jewellery, photography and more on offer

find out more

Symondsbury Christmas MarketCouple eating food purchased from a Christmas market

Where? Manor Yard, Mill Ln, Symondsbury, Bridport, DT6 6HG

When? 4th & 5th December 2021

Time? 10am – 4.30pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Stalls inside the Tythe Barn and outside in the yard
  • Enjoy Christmas shopping at this fabulous event
  • Local foods, drinks and crafts available

find out more

Step Into Christmas Sherborne

Where? Digby Hall, Hound Street, Sherborne, DT9 3AA

When? 27th November 2021

Time? 10am – 4pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Over 50 stalls inside
  • Santa visits throughout the day
  • Seasonal café onsite serving light bites and hot drinks

find out more

Swanage Christmas MarketMature couple look at gifts for sale on a Christmas market

Where? Station Road & Commercial Road, Swanage, BH19 1DQ

When? 4th December 2021

Time? 10am – 5pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Streets lined with various stalls
  • Perfect for Christmas shopping
  • Food, drink, crafts and more available

find out more

Dorchester Christmas Cracker

Where? High West Street, Dorchester, DT1 1UW

When? 12th December 2021

Time? 11am – 4pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Stalls and entertainment for the whole family
  • High West Street will be closed to create the craft fair
  • Food, drink, homemade goods and Christmas presents

find out more

Why not enjoy a full festive staycation in Dorset and stay at one of our luxury resorts?

back to blog

Your plans whilst you’re in the Lake District don’t always have to involve lakes. There are so many great things that you can do in this National Park.

Of course the Lake District National Park is predominately known for its many mountains and lakes. But you will also find plenty of alternative things to do that you can add into your day. Whether you are staying at our Thanet Well Lodge Retreat or our Keswick Reach Lodge Retreat or somewhere else, this list of alternative ideas will be perfect for you. Have a read below and see which ones you are going to add to your next trip to the Lake District.

The Lakes Distillery

Setmurthy, Near Bassenthwaite Lake, Cumbria, CA13 9SJ

whisky pouring into glass

At The Lakes Distillery you can enjoy going on a range of different tours. From the distillery tour & tasting to the Lakes whisky tour and even a whisky & chocolate pairing tour. Each will take you behind the scenes where you can learn all about the distillery and the science behind creating the alcohol that is made here. There is also a bistro at the distillery that you could book into either before or after your tour to explore another area of the venue.

find out more

Alpacaly Ever After

The Lingholm Kitchen & Walled Garden, The Lingholm Estate, Portinscale, Keswick, CA12 5TZ

alpacas walked in field

In The Lingholm Estate you will find Alpacaly Ever After, an Alpaca farm where people can come and meet the alpacas, feed them, take photos, ask questions and even walk them around the grounds. It’s a great experience if you are an animal lover and want to learn more about alpacas! The activity itself lasts around half an hour and prices start at £7 for children and £15 for visitors 12 and over.

find out more

The Puzzling Place

Museum Square, Keswick, CA12 5DZ

optical illusion

Known for being the world of illusion, The Puzzling Place is an optical illusion paradise. Here you will find the perfect picture opportunities and you’ll not believe your eyes with some of the illusions around this puzzling place. There are a range of different rooms that are fascinatingly fun and will leave you questioning what was and wasn’t real in each room. It’s the perfect place to go with families, couples and friends.

find out more

Afternoon Tea in Cockermouth

3 Crown St, Cockermouth, CA13 0EJ

afternoon tea on table in hotel

Sit back, relax and enjoy an afternoon tea experience in The Trout Hotel in Cockermouth. Whether you are celebrating an occasion or you just want a luxurious experience to add into your day this will be perfect. And there are so many different ones to choose from, a classic afternoon tea, a gin and tonic afternoon tea or an afternoon tea with either Laurent Perrier Brut or Laurent Perrier Rose. The selection of sandwiches, pastries, cakes and sweet treats are also included.

find out more


Honister Pass, Borrowdale, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5XN

honister slate mine in the lake district

At Honister you will find a range of different outdoor and indoor adventures to suit all types of adventurers. From canyoning to mine tours, climbing the mine to going across an infinity bridge. There are so many fun, adrenaline fuelled experiences that will be perfect for the thrill seekers out there. The location was also the last working slate mine in England and they have a shop where they have used the slate to hand-craft various products.

find out more

Tree Top Trek

Brockhole, Windermere, Lake District, LA23 1LJ

tree top obstacle course

Take to the tree tops and enjoy an adventure like no other with various activities. You could complete a tree top obstacle course, bounce around in treetop nets with slides, tunnels and ball zones, or climb a 10m high wall and make your way down on a 250m zip line! There are so many fun adventure opportunities that you can get involved in here. And there is something for everyone to try out too which makes it the perfect day out.

find out more

Shed 1 Distillery

The Old Calf Shed, North Lonsdale Road, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 9AU

botanical ingredients for gin

Shed 1 Distillery is ran buy husband and wife, Andy and Zoe Arnold-Bennett. They started their distillery in there garden shed in 2016 but have since relocated to a bigger location where they can provide visitors with a visitor centre, a tour of the gin distillery with gin tasting and the opportunity to make your own gin. There is also a gin afternoon tea that you could book and enjoy with friends. Once you’ve finished with your time at Shed 1 Distillery don’t forget to pick up some gin to take home from their shop onsite.

find out more

Path to Adventure

Keepers Cottage, Ashlack, Grizebeck, Kirkby in Furness, LA17 7XN

canoeing on lake

The perfect addition to your day would be Path to Adventure, they have a huge variety of outdoor activities that you can do in the Lake District. There are things like ghyll scrambling, canoeing, abseiling, bushcraft, rock climbing, guided walks, scrambling and archery. So why not be at one with nature, take in all the breath taking sights around the Lake District and create some memories in an unforgettable adventure. Like the other things to do above, there are so many choices which make it perfect for groups of all ages to come and enjoy.

find out more

Lakes Escapes

Stanley St, Workington, CA14 2JD

escape room padlock

Test your skills and see how well your group work together under pressure at Lakes Escapes. It’s an escape room centre where groups of up to 8 people have to solve puzzles, riddles and tasks to provide them with information to escape. The hard part of this escape room challenge is that you only have 60 minutes to escape. There are 7 different rooms available for you to try all with different themes from Christmas, pirates, detectives and more!

find out more

Keswick Brewing Co.

Brewery Ln, Keswick, CA12 5BY

people cheers with beer

Keswick Brewing Co. is a craft brewery which has an onsite bar called the Fox Tap along with brewery tours available. And a beer shop where you can purchase some of the beer that has been brewed onsite! They have won over 15 different awards for all of the beer they have brewed. In the bar you will find 6 cask and 4 keg beers and plenty of canned and bottled beer too. Along with wines, ciders, spirits and soft drinks so there is something for everyone.

find out more

Both of our resorts in the Lake District will make the perfect base to head out and explore. And there are so many alternative things to do in different areas of the national park. Find out more about each resort and see which would be perfect for you.

back to blog

Brother and sister holiday in Hele Bay 80 years after war-time escape.

For many people, returning to a holiday destination is about finding somewhere comfortable to go year-in-year-out, somewhere that feels like a home away from home, yet for Allan Deacon, and his sister, Pat, their return to a holiday resort near Ilfracombe in North Devon proved far more poignant.

Nearly 80 years ago, the young siblings were moved into a Devon home for a three-year spell, as the family was evacuated out of London by their father in the terrifying heights of the blitz of World War Two.

This Summer, Allan and Pat returned to Hele Bay to stay at Beach Cove Coastal Retreat by Darwin Escapes, marking an emotional return to the area, as they spent a week exploring their base from all those years ago.

Allan’s father arranged for the family – including his pregnant wife, cousins, and aunties – to take shelter from the regular bombardment that the capital had been taking from the German Luftwaffe. Pat was born soon after at a local Devon hospital.

Allan had given little thought to the building that provided their war-time retreat over the years, until a 2019 holiday in the area led him to spot a house he could remember very clearly. Incredibly, the exact building remained as part of Beach Cove Coastal Retreat, a holiday resort with 26 beach huts and three spacious one-bedroom apartments following a conversion of the house. Each apartment is equipped with stunning views of Hele Bay, as well as stylish interiors that include a lounge, kitchen and bedroom.

“When I visited Ilfracombe two years ago, as a detour on a previous trip, I was surprised to see virtually everything was the same as it was during the war. My memory is prompted by photos taken by my mother and aunties, and despite the house now being converted into spacious holiday apartments, I recognised the place that I had stayed immediately” Allan, 84, explained.

“The beautiful beach huts that have been constructed on the cliffs were the only big difference that I could see, so we headed into the office and agreed to come and stay at one of them. Sadly, with the lockdown, the stay got put back a couple of years, but we are glad to have been now, and thoroughly enjoyed our week there.”

Lindsey Esse, managing director of Darwin Escapes, said: “We were so excited to hear Allan and Pat’s story when they visited two years ago, and we were really happy for them to return to the area and stay with us – even if we ended up having to wait two years before we could host them!”

“For visitors, our beach huts offer a unique staycation experience with really stunning views, and we are glad that Allan and Pat got to enjoy these, as well as the memories of their time here 80 years ago.”

back to blog

Two new species of dinosaur have been discovered on the Isle of Wight and are thought to have roamed the island around 129 million years ago!

The two species that have been discovered are both carnivorous dinosaurs that belong to the spinosaurid group. To give you an idea of size, experts have said that they believe they would have been around 9m (29ft) in length with skulls that are 1m (3ft) long. There was around 50 bones that they’ve collected and they are going to be going on display at the Dinosaur Isle Museum in Sandown.

take a look at the Sky News article to learn more

Due to the Isle of Wight having an ever-changing coastline you will find that is is an amazing place for dinosaur and fossil discovery. Before this recent discovery there have been plenty of other species discovered there in the past. Keeping on topic of dinosaurs and the Isle of Wight, we have put together a list of some dinosaur related things to do whilst you’re on the island.

Dinosaur Isle

Culver Parade, Sandown, PO36 8QA

Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton - detail of head

Dinosaur Isle is a dinosaur museum that is in Sandown on the Isle of Wight. Due to so many dinosaur discoveries that are made on the island it makes sense to have a museum dedicated to all the species. The museum was designed by the architect Rainey Petrie Johns who was inspired by the shape of a Pterosaur – it is apparently the first custom build dinosaur museum in the whole of Europe! Inside the museum you can find everything dinosaur related like robotic dinosaurs, fossils, bones and all the information about each dinosaur too.

find out more

Restricted Area 5 at Blackgang Chine

Ventnor, Blackgang, PO38 2HN

Model of Triceratops

Land of Imagination at Blackgang Chine is the UK’s oldest theme park and has many different lands that you can explore. One of them being Restricted Area 5, a place that you must enter at your own risk! There are huge life size moving dinosaurs all around Restricted Area 5 and it would be one of the most realistic dinosaur encounters you will have experienced. Some of the dinosaurs that you will see are the Argentinosaurus, T-Rex and a Triceratops trio. It’s a great experience for all dinosaur lovers out there to enjoy.

find out more

Dinosaur Expeditions

Military Rd, Brighstone, Newport, PO30 4PG

dinosaur fossil in rock

If you love dinosaurs and fossils and want to have a go at discovering some during your time in the Isle of Wight then the Dinosaur Expeditions will be perfect for you. They have a centre onsite where they collect scientifically important fossils as well as giving people the chance to go on a fossil hunting trip with an experienced and professional guide. There are two main areas that the trips go to, one is Yaverland beach which is near Sandown and the other is on the south-west coast and goes from Atherfield to Compton.

find out more

Dino Islands Golf Adventure

39 Culver Parade, Sandown, PO36 8AT

crazy golf course

Just down from Dinosaur Isle you will find Dino Islands Golf Adventure. So if you want to have a full day of dinosaurs you could pair these two together. Dino Golf will take you on a prehistoric adventure where you have to complete a family-friendly 18 hole experience. This multi-level golf course has various life-size dinosaurs and water features that you can see from all the different holes you will have to complete. It’s a great experience and will be a fun addition to your action-packed day out on the island.

find out more

We have two incredible resorts that are located on the Isle of Wight. Both will provide you with a getaway where you can relax, charge up, and have time to explore the island.

back to blog

Whether you are from North Wales or are staying for a festive staycation we have found some amazing things to do during the festive months.

From Christmas markets to festive walks and everything in between. Below you will find a list of all the best festive things to do this year during November and December. They are the perfect way to get into the festive spirit and have the chance to create some memories together with your loved ones. Have a read and see which Christmas markets and festive outings you want to do this year.

Chester Zoo Lanterns

Where? Chester Zoo, Upton-by-Chester, Chester, CH2 1EU

When? 12th November – 23rd December 2021

Time? 4pm – 8.15pm

How Much? Adult start from £13, Children start from £11

Other Info:

  • Explore Chester Zoo after dark with the Lanterns
  • Lantern style animals throughout the trail
  • Fairy light tunnel

find out more

Chester Christmas MarketTwo children stood with Santa reading through their Christmas list

Where? 33 Northgate St, Chester, CH1 2HQ

When? 18th November – 22nd December 2021

Time? Sun-Wed: 10.30am – 6.30am, Thu-Sat: 10.30am – 8pm

How Much? Free

Other Info:

  • Over 70 stalls
  • Christmas gifts, art and crafts, food and drink
  • On site bar where you can sit and drink

find out more

Christmas at Bodnant Garden

Where? Bodnant Rd, Tal-y-cafn, Colwyn Bay, LL28 5RE

When? All year exc. 24th-26th December 2021

Time? 9.30am – 5pm

How Much? Adult: £14, Child: £7, Family: £35, Family (1 adult, 3 children): £21

Other Info:

  • Festive afternoon tea in December
  • Festive food at the Pavilion & Magnolia tearooms
  • Explore the winter wonderland

find out more

Christmas at Penrhyn CastleGirl is at the Christmas Market with her mother and is enjoying the Christmas Baubles.

Where? Bangor, LL57 4HT

When? All year exc. 24th-26th December 2021

Time? 10am – 4pm

How Much? Adult: £12, Child: £6, Family: £30, One adult family: £18

Other Info:

  • Winter wander trail around the gardens
  • Victorian kitchens open during weekends
  • Christmas gifts and castle café

find out more

Reindeer Safari

Where? Reindeer Lodge Black Meadows Farm, Leeswood, Mold, CH7 4SQ

When? 20th November – 21st December 2021

Time? By Day starts from 10am – 3.40pm, By Night starts from 4.20pm – 7pm

How Much? From £39.50 per car

Other Info:

  • Tickets are bought per car
  • The safari takes about 90 minutes
  • Festive food and drinks are available to buy

find out more

Enjoy a weekend away in North Wales and have a festive staycation at one of our amazing resorts.

back to blog
Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our resorts in England and Wales are open. Please note, the opening times for all facilities and bistros/restaurants are subject to change throughout the 2021 season. All visitors and guests are asked to follow all government advice relating to Covid-19 whilst at our resorts.

find out more here