Summer? What’s that? God knows. It’s been a few months and summer feels like a distant memory – it’s terrifying to think we have a long solid slog of glum weather to get through before the earth tilts us back to the sun’s warmth.
We had Christmas, but now the festivities are over and we’re left with the hangovers, the food babies and of course, the dismal winds and endless rains. But hey now, let’s not be a drag – lets try and flip this on its head and be positive! Here’s how to do it and why we think you should get to the countryside this winter.
We headed down to Devon the other weekend and stayed in the giant Amberstone Manor in Chumleigh, Devon, courtesy of Oliver’s Travels. Ten of us made it to Chumleigh via the long winding roads of Devon’s outback, cowering from fast winds, slipping on wet leaves, skidding to stops when tractors came round blind corners and watching the sun set at the obscenely early time of 5pm.
Welcome to Britain’s winter, people; a cold and wet season that can prove to be a major annoyance when wanting to explore the English countryside. But it’s not impossible and it shouldn’t be simply an idea that should wait for summer! You can still make the most of this season, so take a look at why you should get to the countryside this winter.
Why You Should Get To The Countryside This Winter
Escape the routine
It’s easy to survive a winter in your home city, but when you’re sheltering at home during yet another evening of Netflix, wine and chocolate, you can feel the mundane routine begin to eat away at you. You need to shake up your routine in the winter or you risk slowly going insane with red wine mouth.
If you don’t escape every now and then, the winter is going to stretch into an endless slog of uninspiring darkness… So what better way to shake off the dust than packing a weekend bag, grabbing a train or car, and heading down to the quiet countryside of the UK? Bid farewell to your bedroom cave that’s tried to seduce you into hibernating all winter, and reconnect ‘with nature’ (or at least your sanity).
Photo courtesy of Oliver’s Travels
Talking of sanity, we all need a touch of luxury in our lives. It’s pretty darn hard to face a barren winter without a little special touch here and there. If you’re heading off on a weekend break this winter, look into villa booking websites such as Oliver’s Travels, and pick out a stunning lodge or manor house for you and a group of mates. It works out pretty cheap if you rally the troops and once you’ve got your team of friends with you in gorgeous accommodation, winter suddenly won’t look so bad.
Explore the surroundings
So that’s the accommodation sorted, but don’t forget to choose the location wisely. The point of this exercise is to embrace the countryside – bonus points if you manage to fit in, exercise. It might be a long shot to instruct all to go for a long jog, but if you pick a good location in the countryside then the surrounding fields and country lanes can provide entertainment for all. Go for long walks, explore the fields, elegantly dangle like a spider on a tree swing and go chase some sheep. Why not even rent a villa with a tennis court or a swimming pool? A hot tub will do though – hey, it is outside.
Manor houses to rent are located in various places in Britain, so do try and go for somewhere slightly remote so there’s no temptation to pop to Topshop and you can embrace a weekend completely out of the norm. A local country pub is allowed, ideally one where patrons openly turn and stare at you (the out-of-towner) as you enter.
Get your zen on
If you’re all for getting out and about breathless in the fresh air, but it’s not exactly your cup of tea when it comes to exercise, yoga is a top alternative. We absolutely love yoga, but if we don’t haul ass to a class we don’t get a ton done at home.
Sign up to Yoogaia and you can take part in online live yoga classes from the comfort of your own
manor home. They run yoga, Pilates, core and barre classes in real time, plus as they’re love you get coaching via a webcam – don’t worry, no other participants can see you!. If you’d rather not be watched on webcam, you can catch the recording of the class and watch it at your leisure.
Take in the clear night skies
Living in bustling cities, it’s very easy to forget that big ole nature surrounds us every day. When you’re outside in the countryside and there’s not a light in sight, look up as the skies come alive with all the stars. Wrap up warm, forget about looking (too) stylish and be sure to capture the sights that usual city life steals away from you. Take a deep breath of that fresh air and just let go of that gloom of a winter city.
Eat good, drink good
A weekend away without great food is just not worth thinking about. And without a cheeky tipple to warm the cockles after an outside jaunt? Whilst in Chumleigh, we were in the presence of the master baker and food stylist, Amy from Twigg Studios, who whipped up a gorgeous naked cake with frosting and poached pears. The decorative additions transformed it into a masterpiece which had us all instagraming like there was no tomorrow, and best of all? We got to munch it all after. And yes, it tasted as great as it looked.
And after a big ole slice of cake art, it’s time to crack open the wine for a cosy eve of wine tasting, chats and ghost stories. The wine was provided by Winerist and we tried to guess which was which by clues about their fragrance, taste and tannin’s. I’m not a wine connoisseur, but I know a delicious wine when it hits my palette. It makes for a brilliant bonding eve, and just make sure you don’t pee your pants when the ghost stories freak you out on the way to the toilet.
When the weekend draws to a close, you can rest assure that you’ll be content and refreshed from the break. A countryside getaway is ideal at winter – you can wear cosy clothes, nestle down on plush sofas, share great chats, unwind, sip wine and eat cake among friends. The cold weather won’t even touch you afterwards. Hey, winter doesn’t feel too bad now, eh?
Oliver’s Travels invited us down to Devon for a blogger retreat – we attended on behalf of travelettes.net.