- Local Attractions in Dartmoor National Park
A series of National Park Visitor Centres are staffed with enthusiastic locals bursting with information and ideas to help you plan your visit. Once the home of a wealthy local family, the estate encompasses a vegetable garden, fruit orchard, ice house and other historic elements that helped the family become self sufficient, including a wonderful walled garden. There’s a low-key educational aspect, looking at agriculture and wildlife, but the emphasis is on fun. pennywellfarm.co.uk For information on local food and drink, nearby visitor attractions and activities, see our Green Traveller's Guide to Dartmoor National Park
- Local Attractions in Suffolk Coast and Heaths
As a company, they recognise the importance of preserving their environment and now recycle wherever possible from cooking oil to food packaging, and have even installed a solar powered sign at the entrance to the pier. southwoldpier.co.uk Long Shop Museum This 200 year old museum in Leiston provides a fascinating insight into the history of the town and the area. In the museum there is a wonderful collection of exhibits, ranging from full-size steam engines made by Richard Garrett & Sons to mementoes of the lives of local people such as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson who was the first female doctor in Britain. If you make it round all fourteen rooms, there’s a lovely tearoom in the museum library where you can revive yourself. felixstowemuseum.org Sutton Hoo This treasure trove of ancient British history was only discovered 70 years ago by local archaeologists Basil Brown and Edith Pretty, who owned the Sutton Hoo estate back in the 1930s. Whilst you’re there, pay a visit to the Orford Museum which is permanently housed upstairs in Orford Castle and exhibits all sorts of interesting objects from local history, from Neolithic tools to Bronze Age and Roman jewellery. english-heritage.org.uk Blythburgh Church It is believed that a church building has stood on this spot, overlooking the fields and marshlands of the Blythburgh Valley, since 630. Walk the miles of trails, stroll through the woods and watch wading birds, ducks and geese on the estuary. rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/stour-estuary/ For information on local food and drink, nearby visitor attractions and activities, see our Green Traveller's Guide to Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB
- Local attractions in the Dorset AONB
It is composed of about 100 million pebbles that shelve steeply seaward and (here’s an amazing feat) that are very neatly graded in size: it is said that true local seamen know exactly where they are on the beach simply by looking at the size of the pebbles – fist-sized near Portland at one end, pea-sized by West Bay at the other. Meals are served in Kingcombe’s excellent conservatory café whose menu is based on sustainably produced local foods and Fairtrade items. kingcombe.org.uk Abbotsbury Set behind the fabulous Chesil Bank, Abbotsbury’s cluster of historic sites – most notably its 14th-century chapel – draw in history buffs from far and wide. There are literary connections aplenty (John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Jane Austen’s Persuasion), and if food is your thing then you’ll be spoilt for choice in all the seafood restaurants, cosy pubs, markets and summer foodie events in the area. There are interesting shops to peruse, some great eateries where you can enjoy delicious local produce. Meantime at the Dorset County Museum in the centre of Dorchester you can explore a section devoted to Hardy. hardycountry.org For information on characterful places to stay, local food and drink, and nearby visitor attractions, see our, see our Green Traveller's Guide to Dorset
- Local attractions in Exmoor National Park
Elsewhere, displays illustrate various domestic and trade topics – imagine taking on the laundry duties of a Victorian maid – as well as artefacts from across Exmoor, while the photographic archive reveals snapshots of local life over the past 200 years. allerfordmuseum.org.uk Dunster Water Mill The River Avill powers the region’s finest working water mill, alongside Exmoor National Park and just steps from Dunster Castle. The attached museum features a fascinating collection of ancient agricultural machinery, once again demonstrating the efforts of farming and food production in years gone by. As well as selling the mill’s own stone-ground wholemeal flour, the Mill Shop is also stocked with home-made muesli and other local treats, and you can settle in for an indulgent cream tea in the adjacent tea room or riverside garden. nationaltrust.org.uk/dunster-castle-and-watermill Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Woody Bay was one of the original stations on the Lynton and Barnstaple railway, which was 19 miles long, much of it on a gradient of 1 in 50. Powered only by water from the River Lyn, the railway has a carbon footprint the size of an ant’s, and a ride in one of the two racing-green carriages, albeit lasting scant minutes, is as charming a travel experience as you’ll encounter. cliffrailwaylynton.co.uk For information on characterful places to stay, local food and drink, and nearby outdoor activities, see our Green Traveller's Guide to Exmoor National Park
- Local Attractions in the Forest of Bowland
Then again you could always visit the likes of Slaidburn Village Hall and the Tithe Barn, where you can combine natural beauty with galleries, exhibits of local artists and other cultural events. There’s also a café serving freshly prepared food and drink to set you up for a day of exploration on Beacon Fell itself. Order one of their locally produced cakes or try a cup of their own brand Bowland Bowbearer coffee, as you pour over their selection of walking leaflets or sit back and admire the permanent display of works by local artists. Originally part of Banton House Farm, the Newsham family have diversified this area of the farm and believe passionately in maintaining the ‘local distinctiveness’ of the location. There is also an innovative air to water heat pump which keeps visitors warm and snug throughout the Lancastrian winter. slaidburnvillagehall.co.uk For more information on characterful places to stay, local food and drink, and nearby outdoor activities, see our Green Traveller's Guide to the Forest of Bowland
- Local Attractions in Somerset & Exmoor
Keep an eye out too for the lesser known festivals that celebrate the best food and drink and music in the region. There's a vast range of trade stands displaying the best food and drink that the South West has to offer, and The British Cheese Awards and British Cider Competition are held at the show. There’s also a museum shop where you can pick up gifts of local interest. kingjohnshuntinglodge.co.uk Dunster Water Mill The River Avill powers the region’s finest working water mill, alongside Exmoor National Park and just steps from Dunster Castle. The attached museum features a fascinating collection of ancient agricultural machinery, once again demonstrating the efforts of farming and food production in years gone by. Always happy to discuss possibilities." ponyaccess.com For more information on characterful places to stay, local food and drink, and nearby outdoor activities, see our Green Traveller's Guide to Somerset & Exmoor
- Local Attractions in Cornwall
The recent timber and cob building now houses the shop and café – a beautiful space and worth the trip alone – serving local treats such as Cornish rarebit (with homemade chilli jam) and Cornish blue cheese and pear salad, all locally sourced. Make sure you save some time for the shop, a treasure trove of vintage knick-knacks and gifts made by local artisan designers. duchyofcornwallnursery.co.uk The Lost Gardens of Heligan The story behind the gardens of Heligan is the stuff of fairytales. The award wining Planters Café serves honest, seasonal food, featuring freshly caught crab and fish and locally made ice cream. The gallery’s café offers fine coastal views and locally sourced food, such as a Cornish plate of local fish and open Cornish roast beef sandwich. tate.org.uk/visit/tate-st-ives The National Maritime Museum Enter the magnificent granite, slate and green oak building into the lofty main hall displaying an impressive flotilla of boats and vessels, a huge Thames steam launch at its centre.
- Local attractions in the North York Moors
With a range of different arts represented across various events, galleries, pop-up galleries, and pop-up cafés, there are talks, walks, workshops and more, all surrounded by the fresh salt air. staithesfestival.com Staithes Gallery & Art School Not only is Staithes beautiful, it also has an impressive artistic heritage: the little fishing village’s most prominent showcase for both local, and locally-inspired, contemporary art is its gallery, with a changing range of exhibitions. From the Iron Age to the 1950s, discover how ways of life changed and developed over time – including set-piece historic buildings restored to their former glory, and demonstrations of local crafts in their traditional way. There’s also an art gallery celebrating the best local arts and crafts, and a programme of events and workshops throughout the year. ryedalefolkmuseum.co.uk Shandy Hall Grade I-listed Shandy Hall is a museum dedicated to the life and writings of Laurence Sterne, housed in a wonderful building dating back to the 15th Century and still containing preserved historic interiors. Up above, there’s a wealth of mining artefacts, photos and other memorabilia, bringing to life the reality of working in an ironstone mine. ironstonemuseum.co.uk For information on nearby characterful places to stay, local food and drink, and outdoor activities, see our Green Traveller's Guide to the North York Moors.
- Local Attractions in the Mendip Hills
Louise and Steve also run B&B in some of the neighbouring buildings. burcottmill.com King John’s Hunting Lodge Housed in a half-timbered building in the middle of medieval Axbridge, this museum illustrates the history, geology and community of the village and the surrounding area, with exhibits such as civilian life in Somerset during World War II, prehistoric caves found nearby, as well as those on local prehistory, the Roman period, and Saxon history. There’s also a museum shop where you can pick up gifts of local interest. kingjohnshuntinglodge.co.uk Wells & Mendip Museum The permanent collections in the Wells Museum, which was established by a member of the Wells Natural History and Archaeological Society in 1894, document the region’s history, from an intriguing collection of Stone Age artefacts, to an important collection of minerals and fossils, and social history artefacts dating from the 18th century. www.wellsmuseum.org.uk For more information on characterful places to stay, local food and drink, and nearby outdoor activities, see our Green Traveller's Guide to the Mendip Hills.
- Local visitor attractions in the Broads
Based on a series of books by local author Tom Blofeld, it brings the watery environment of the Broads to life for kids – both as a make-believe land and an overgrown adventure playground full of rope bridges, zip wires and treehouses. They have a decent café and usually a great selection of plants for sale, and they hold a GBTS Gold award for their environmentally conscious approach to the business, which includes installing a ground source heat pump and low-energy lighting in the visitor centre, rainwater harvesting, traditional coppicing and a sustainable approach to the management of waste. fairhavengarden.co.uk Wroxham Barns About a mile north of Hoveton, it’s an easy twenty-minute walk from the railway station to Wroxham Barns, a popular local attraction that has plenty for children and adults alike – various craft shops and galleries, a food store, garden centre and micro-brewery, Uncle Stuart’s, selling its products direct (along with other local beers). It’s also home to a small “junior farm” with goats, sheep, cows, pigs with lamb Feeding during the half-term school holidays and donkeys to pet and feed, a small funfair and mini golf course, and an excellent restaurant which is one of the area’s best bets for lunch, with an emphasis on quality local produce – one of several sustainable aspects of the business, which also includes water-less urinals and excellent recycling. Once you’ve emerged, you can enjoy tea and cake at the café and maybe buy a plant or two before you leave. e-ruston-oldvicaragegardens.co.uk Woodforde’s Brewery Situated on the edge of the pretty village of Woodbastwicke, Woodforde’s is one of the best-known and most successful of Norfolk’s many independent brewers, and makes a point of using only local ingredients in its ales. St Benet’s Abbey was the largest landowner hereabouts in the Middle Ages, and it’s still a sacred site, where the bishop of Norwich has celebrated Mass every year since the 1930s, although its most significant ruin is in fact the remains of a windmill added a hundred or so years ago. norfarchtrust.org.uk For more information on characterful places to stay, local food and drink, and nearby outdoor activities, see our Green Traveller's Guide to the Broads