World Photo Day – 4 Tips for Taking the Perfect Pic

World Photo Day

How to take better holiday snaps…

So you’ve managed to get everybody in place, the kids are smiling and you’re as positive as you can be that everyone has their eyes open… only to find the finished product is far from great.

Here’s how can you make sure those holiday snaps are going to be something to share!

1. Lighting

Most portraiture photographers will avoid full sun at all costs so it’s understandable to get frustrated when you can’t get the results you’re looking for.

Before you even lift your camera, take a look at the sun’s position and place your subject in the most ideal place, or if it’s a more relaxed shot, move around until the lighting looks good.

Open shade is the most ideal as you can capture the brights of the sun without people squinting and details being blown out. Use a beach brolly, a building or even find a tree, but be careful to avoid hotspots from any dappled sunlight.

If there’s no shade then back-lit images are the next best thing and can give you amazing sun flare and light leaks, so look for the sun being positioned behind the person you’re shooting.

caption pic

2. Composition

Composition can make what would be an ordinary photo look amazing.

There are numerous rules you can use including the rule of thirds, which is great when taking pictures on the beach or with far reaching views.

Rule of thirds

Rule of thirds

Or try framing the image with trees for example. This works great for more closed in shots and where you want beautiful surroundings without detracting from your subject.

Framing the image

Framing the image – the wall, tree on the right hand side and sunny bokeh give depth and interest but work to lead your eye back round to your subject.

If you’re looking to take pictures of the kids then it’s important to get down to their level.

Taking images whilst angling your camera down to the ground won’t usually produce great results so kneel down and move around to find the best perspective.

It’s great for seeing the world from a child’s point of view and even works well for taking pictures of your dog!

Low level photography

Getting down to their level

3. Capture the moment

Instead of choreographing your photos, try having your camera within easy reach so you can react quickly and get that perfect shot.

Most cameras now come with a continuous mode, even the camera on your smartphone, which means you can press and hold the shutter button to take multiple images per second.

This means you have a much better chance of getting that perfect image.

4. Use your camera’s settings

If you have a DSLR camera, don’t be afraid to change your camera’s setting to suit your style.

Play around with a bigger aperture to get that beautiful blurry background or bokeh, or try a faster shutter speed to avoid any blur when the kids are running through.

A slower shutter speed will give you a soft blur to any movement in your photos, so flowing water for example, but be warned, you will then be in need of a tripod to avoid camera shake from your hand.

It’s not all about DSLRs though. Cameras on smartphones take some amazing images and some come with large apertures, allowing you to capture more light and create that blurry background for a shallow depth of field.

Vicki Andrews is a professional photographer in East Lancashire and North Yorkshire.

Food Festivals for August Bank Holiday Weekend 2017

Lichfield Food Festival, Staffordshire, 26th – 28th August 2017

https://www.lichfieldfoodfestival.com

Lichfield Food festival takes place in the centre of the Staffordshire city.

Enjoy a smorgasbord of food and drink, with 100s of stalls offering breads to burgers, cheese to chutney and pies to Prosecco – the list is endless, plus entry is free!

The Great British Food Festival at Bowood house, Wiltshire, 26th – 28th August 2017

Bowood

https://greatbritishfoodfestival.com/bowood-house

The Great British Food Festival offers great food and drink in one of the country’s most treasured locations:  a grade I listed Georgian country house in Wiltshire.

But it’s more than just a scenic food festival!

You have a cocktail of delicious food, ale and wine bars with competitions, an interactive baking stage (with guests from The Great British Bake Off), not to mention challenges and games taking place all weekend.

Food for Thorpe, Essex, 26th and 27th August 2017

Thorpe

http://www.thorpefoodfestival.co.uk

Food for Thorpe is a great day out for all the family with a huge range of amazing food and tasty drinks and a few non-foodie surprises in five acres of Essex countryside.

Celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli will be doing live cookery demonstrations, and there will be magic shows, a vintage fair, craft activities and a classic car display!

River Cottage Festival, Axminster, Devon, 26th and 27th August 2017

river cottage

https://www.rivercottage.net/festival/2017

Immerse yourself in a weekend at River Cottage with a jam-packed program of food, masterclasses, music and festival fun.

Hugh will be there kicking off the weekend and signing books. Attend numerous masterclasses from bee-keeping to sushi and find face-painting, monster-making, music and more to keep your tribe entertained!

BBC Good Food’s Feast at Hampton Court Palace, 26th – 28th August 2017

good food feast

https://www.bbcgoodfoodshow.com

Celebrate summer in the magnificent palace gardens with and array of food and drink with top chefs, cooks and bakers bringing summer dishes to life.

Enjoy browsing and buying from a selection of independent producers. Feast till your heart’s content with mouth-watering street food, picnic treats and out of this world desserts.

007 Filming Locations – James Bond’s Best European Breaks

Skyfall and Spectre: London

big ben

Both films featured the UK’s capital as a very prominent supporting character with Westminster Bridge, the Thames, Trafalgar Square, M’s house in Knightsbridge, Bond’s pad in Notting Hill and most of Skyfall’s Shanghai sequences taking place in London.

Quantum of Solace: Siena, Italy

palio

The bi-annual Palio horse race will be familiar to viewers of Quantum of Solace; it was during this event that Bond took part in a foot chase over the slate roofs of the town and through the Piazza del Campo.

A View to a Kill: The Eiffel Tower

eiffel

Roger Moore’s 007 swansong may have been one of the lesser Bond films, but the stunt with Bond chasing a parachuting Grace Jones from the top of the Tower was incredible.

Spectre: Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

blenheim

The nefarious Spectre organisation’s headquarters in Rome were actually filmed at the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill. Still privately owned, visitors can visit The Palace, Formal Gardens and Park throughout the year.

Spectre: Vatican City, Rome

St peter's

007 gets behind the wheel of his DB10 to drive typically fast through Rome’s St Peter’s Square and down the scenic narrow streets to the Scalo De Pinedo alongside the Tiber.

The World is Not Enough: Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

eilean

The villains destroyed MI6 headquarters on the South Bank of the Thames in this Pierce Brosnan adventure. As luck would have it, the world’s most secret spy agency had a standby office in one of Scotland’s most beautiful locations.

Casino Royale: Lake Como

como

Scenes of Bond recuperating were filmed in the gardens of the Villa del Balbianello on the western shore of the southwest part of Como.

Skyfall: Glencoe, Scotland

Glencoe

Apparently, Ian Fleming was so impressed with Sean Connery’s portrayal of 007 that he added Scottish ancestry to James Bond. Skyfall, the 50th anniversary film saw Bond head to his familial home in the Highlands.

 Licence to Kill: Stonor House, Oxfordshire

stonor

Stonor House and Gardens in Oxfordshire acted as another of MI6’s safe-houses. One of Britain’s oldest manor houses, Stonor House has remained in the same family’s possession for over 850 years!

Casino Royale: Canale Grande, Venice

grand canal

The beautiful waterways and architecture of Venice offered the perfect backdrop for a romantic interlude in Daniel Craig’s first Bond adventure.

The Spy Who Loved Me: Romazzino Beach, Sardinia

romazino

During The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond gets chased along the coast of Sardinia by a helicopter. After diving/driving into the water, he emerges shaken but not stirred onto the golden sands of the beautiful Romazzino Beach.

Bank Holiday – Events & Activities for August 2017

A Boy Wizard’s Birthday in Northumberland

Alnwick

www.alnwickcastle.com

Celebrate 20 years of wonderful wizardry at the place Potter first learned to fly.

Alnwick Castle really does know how to throw a party; you can take a tour of filming locations from the first two films, learn how to fly your very own broomstick and find even more magic-themed experiences during ‘Wizard Week’.

Two outdoor screenings of Potter films follow, so practice your good-weather spells!

The Epic Tale of England in Durham

Kynren

www.elevenarches.org

Putting Potter in the shade, Kynren’s ‘epic tale of England’ tells 2,000 years of history, myth and legend in 90 mind-blowing minutes.

How do they do it? Well, having a cast of 1,500 humans, dozens of horses, 29 scenes and a Creative Director who has worked on 13 Olympic opening ceremonies must help.

With a large, living lake-side set featuring Auckland Castle, spectacular lighting, sound, pyrotechnics plus an emotive score, this is an amazing English history lesson like no other.

Celebrate with Pride in Manchester  

pride

http://festival.manchesterpride.com/

Manchester’s annual LGBT celebration covers the city in colour this August Bank Holiday weekend.

4 days of music begins on Friday with several stages around the Gay Village offering DJs, live music, cabaret and more. Then, on the Sunday, the carnival begins!

This year’s theme is ‘Graduation’, and the thousands of participants aim to make it the biggest and best celebration yet.

Cardiff’s City Beach

Bay Beach

http://cardiffbaybeach.co.uk

The spectacular Bay Beach brings summer to the city with sand, rides, activities and entertainment.

Cardiff’s Roald Dahl Plass is the setting for this seaside spectacular, with plenty of traditional trappings (sand, stalls & deckchairs) and enough outlandish attractions (bungee trampolines, zorbing) to delight Mr. Dahl himself.

If that’s not enough to make you forget you’re holidaying in central Cardiff, there’s also a Tropical Bay Bar making exotic concoctions.

Flaming Giraffe, anyone?

The Sounds of Summer

feastival

The sun may be setting on summer but that doesn’t mean the party’s over.

Far from. August bank holiday weekend offers some of the biggest, best and most bizarre acts offering all sorts of musical entertainment for your ears.

Day tickets are still available for many of the biggest, including Leeds and Reading (Eminem, Muse and Kasabian), Alex James and Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival in the Cotswolds (De La Soul, Olly Murs, Madness) and Blackpool’s first-ever Livewire Festival (Will Smith, The Jacksons, The Hit Factory Live).

And with a cottage near-by you don’t need to sleep in a tent!

Weird and Wonderful Activities

Whether it’s Lancashire’s World Gravy Wrestling Championships putting you off your chips, the World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Llanwrtyd Wells or Bourton-on-the-Water’s wet approach to ‘the beautiful game’, there’s no shortage of the weird and the wonderful to keep you entertained this bank holiday.

Beside the Seaside

You don’t need an event to visit Britain’s beaches, but our Beach Bingo activity sheet can certainly make it more fun. Print or download yours and try to get the highest score on the shore!

8 of Our Most Excellent National Parks

Every summer we celebrate our 15 gorgeous green ‘breathing spaces’ with National Parks Week.

But our parks – stunning, accessible and perfect for picnicking – are worthy of celebrating at any time of the year.

So lace up your boots, top up the Thermos and join us for a tour of the very best countryside heritage and wildlife the UK has to offer…

Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales

The incredible limestone pavement of Malham Cove was some 12,000 years in the making.

Formed by melting ice and rainwater, the ‘pavement’ of Malham Cove is so otherworldly that Harry Potter himself chose it for a magical holiday in The Deathly Hallows.

Cross the stepping stones at Bolton Abbey before stopping for ice-cream at nearby Billy-Bob’s 1950s style ice-cream parlour – perfect for rounding off your tour of ancient Yorkshire with a twist.

Did you know? A whopping 9.5 million visitors flock to the Dales each year.

The Cairngorms                     

Cairngorms

Home to our highest mountain range and a huge Caledonian forest filled with Scots pines, the Cairngorms is the perfect place to challenge yourself.

Hike, climb or search for an elusive pine martin or reindeer in winter. And don’t forget the Scottish hospitality – a wee dram of whisky goes down well after a day in the mountains.

Did you know? At nearly 1,500 square miles this is the UK’s biggest National Park – you could fit over 10 Norfolk Broads inside!

Brecon Beacons

Brecon Beacons

Dark Sky Reserve status makes the Beacons almost as beautiful by night as by day. Wild Welsh mountain ponies can be spotted by day while a clear night offers an amazing display of stars and constellations.

Equally out of this world is the opportunity to get close to Wales’ unofficial national bird at the Red Kite Feeding Centre. Once used to keep the land free of carrion it’s now championed for more savoury reasons (but best keep those sandwiches wrapped up just in case!).

Did you know? Pen-y Fan is South Wales’ highest point at 2,907 feet above sea level. That’s over 5 Blackpool towers! 

Northumberland

Northumberland

The remains of Emperor Hadrian’s mighty wall snake along the park’s southern boundary.

With rampaging Picts beyond the wall no longer a threat, those seeking wilder experiences should try the Hethpool Wild Goat Walk – it gives you the best chance to spot the elusive Cheviot goats.

Did you know? Perfectly peaceful, Northumberland has a smaller population than any other National Park with just over 2,000 residents.

Loch Lomond & the Trossachs

 Loch Lomond

Within striking distance of Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs is one of Scotland’s most accessible playgrounds.

Explore part of the 96 mile West Highland Way or, if you’re feeling hardy, paddle along the bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond itself.

Did you know? Loch Lomond contains 92,805 million cubic feet of water and maybe one monster: the lesser-known Loch Lomond beastie has been spotted several times over the years.

Norfolk Broads

Norfolk Broads

A watery wonderland in one of Britain’s driest places, the 60 broads – wide, shallow lakes created by flooded medieval peat pits – and 7 rivers are visited by 8 million people every year.

The swallowtail butterfly lives only here, bitterns and marsh harriers are on the increase and water shrews may be glimpsed by the eagle-eyed.

Boating is the Broads’ other major draw. Enjoy comfortable cruisers, relaxing waterside eateries and messing about on the rivers!

Did you know? The Broads were only discovered to be human made in the 1960s. Before that they were considered a natural attraction. 

Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Britain’s only coastal National Park, make sure you beat a path to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Trail.

Here you will find a fairy-tale seascape with ancient castles and Iron Age forts overlooking the water.  Look skywards for choughs and skylarks and out to sea for basking sharks and even orcas if you’re lucky.

They return annually to this wonderful bit of Wales. And who could blame them?

Did you know? Pembrokeshire has been voted one of the best coastal destinations in the world by National Geographic magazine (and anyone who’s ever visited).

Exmoor

Exmoor

Exmoor is known for its moorland, yet one of the park’s most celebrated features are the highest sea cliffs in England.

Kayak, walk or wind sail for the best views – and the best tales to tell afterwards! Inland you’ll find orchards, cider farms and ancient woodland.

This quiet park is a perfect place to enjoy not seeing another soul.  Apart from the famous ponies, of course – you’ll always be pleased to see them.

Did you know? Continental drift means that in 100 million years’ time Exmoor will be north of the Arctic Circle.   

15 of Britain’s Best Summer Hikes for 2017

Mountain climbs, coastal walks or just an excuse to enjoy an ice-cream…whatever your reason for setting out into the UK countryside this summer, you can be sure of amazing sights and routes for all ages and abilities.

1. Lower Ddwli Falls, Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales

Lower Sgwd Ddwli falls

Easier to enjoy than it is to pronounce, this is a great woodland walk along the Fechan and Mellte rivers near Ystradfellte in the Brecon Beacons.

With plunge pools beneath waterfalls and cool woodland gorges, there’s plenty of wild swimming (or paddling) to be enjoyed.

2. Chatsworth Estate, Peak District National Park, Derbyshire

Chatsworth

In addition to Chatsworth’s stately pleasures, you can climb to the Hunting Tower to play Lord of the Manor and enjoy views across the estate. Stroll through the shaded Stand Wood and on to Beeley Hilltop if you fancy stretching your legs.

Tea and cake is also available back at the house.

3. Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve, Perthshire, Scotland

Panoramic View Across Lochan nan Cat to Ben Lawers

At 1,214m, Ben Lawers is one of Scotland’s highest peaks.

So this isn’t one of our easiest recommendations, but a summer hike offers brilliant views, rare flowers in bloom (‘gentians’ and ‘alpine saxifrage’ – impress your co-walkers!) and a chance to spot the rare wildcat.

4. Whisby Nature Park, Thorpe-on-the-Hill, Lincolnshire

Emperor Dragonfly

Spot emperor dragonflies and southern marsh orchids in some of Lincolnshire’s prettiest countryside.

If that doesn’t appeal, you can also head to Skellingthorpe village for homemade ice-cream at Daisy Made Farm.

5. Sticklebarn Blea Tarn trail, Coniston, Cumbria

Lake District idyllic mountain valley vista summer peaks panorama

The views of the Langdale fells from this family-friendly National Trust trail are unbelievable.

The paths are also easy enough for young and old alike to follow, making it an awesome but accessible summer hike.

6. The South West Coast Path, Porthgwarra, Lands End Cornwall

Porthgwarra

This walk in the far-western corner of Cornwall will divert you away from the tourist hot spots.

Walk north from Porthgwarra following the coast path towards Nanjizal beach, a secluded cove, with an amazing – and amazingly named – arch known as ‘The Song of the Sea’.

If you’re after more beach and less hike, walk from Land’s End instead – Nanjizal is one mile south.

7. Croyde to Woolacombe, North Devon

Croyde

This bracing, seaside walk is brimming with history and follows a stretch of coastline once favoured by smugglers.

Hike from rugged Baggy Point in Croyde along the coast path to the sublime and sandy Woolacombe beach.

Make it a 10 mile circular walk and your cottage will be even more welcoming!

8. Ivinghoe Beacon, Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

Duke of Burgundy

This climb offers several summer treats including meadows with rare flowers and wildlife, such as the beautiful Duke of Burgundy butterfly.

Enjoy far-reaching views over several counties at the top and historic cattle-droving paths, Bronze Age burial mounds and an Iron Age hill fort on the way.

9. Marloes Peninsula, Pembrokeshire, Wales

marloes

The sea around this pretty Pembrokeshire peninsula is teeming with wildlife, and this walk is perfect for giving you the most spectacular seats.

Try the National Trust’s four-mile circular walk following the coast path from Marloes Sands car park. Look out for wetland birds and porpoises playing out at sea.

10. Bridlington to Filey, East Riding of Yorkshire

gannets

The 20 mile trek takes you along chalk headland past both Flamborough Head and Bempton Cliffs.

At Bempton, you’ll find the most easily accessible gannet colony in England. Get a true ‘bird’s-eye’ view from cliff-edge viewing platforms – and keep your sandwiches hidden!

11. Old Man of Hoy, Orkney, Scotland

old many of hoy

You’ll know you’re on the right ferry to Hoy when you see the famous red stone formation of the Old Man standing out to sea.

You will also know you’re on the right path for this walk, as this uphill hike from Rackwick heads straight to one of Britain’s most iconic sights, and the views at the end aren’t too shabby either.

12. Minffordd Path, Cader Idris, Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Cadair idris

This is a brilliant day hike to attempt in fine weather.

The 3 mile ascent on the Minffordd Path takes in Llyn Cau glacial lake – said to be bottomless and home to a mythical monster (only the fearless need apply!).

A spectacular ridge walk finishes with panoramic views of Snowdonia and the Cambrian Mountains.

13. Burrington Camp, Mendip Hills AONB, Somerset

Mendip hills

This walk feels as much like walking through time as much as it does the stunning Somerset countryside.

Climb the limestone grassland of the Mendips to the Iron Age hill fort of Burrington Camp, or Burrington Ham as it was once known – maybe because it’s a great place for a picnic…

14. Redgrave and Lopham Fen National Nature Reserve, Suffolk

otter

A wild game of I Spy awaits at this nature reserve…

Spot the fen raft spider (the UK’s largest!), otters, snakes basking in the sun, and 21 species of dragonfly on either a three or five mile trail starting at the Visitor Centre.

15. Inversnaid to Inverarnan, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Scotland

Loch Lomond

If you’re looking for a really demanding challenge, this seven mile stretch of The West Highland Way is known as its toughest.

During the loch-edge hike from Inversnaid to Inverarnan you’ll negotiate boulders and cross bridges over chasms like a Highlands Indiana Jones.

It’s definitely an adventure just to get to this peaceful side of Loch Lomond, but the views and sense of achievement guarantee a happy ending when you get there!

10 of Britain’s Best Microbreweries

There are now nearly 2,000 breweries in the UK.

Many of these are microbreweries, some literally nothing more than the back room of a pub or a glorified garden shed, while others are slick operations with a wide range of ales commemorating every event and anniversary you could think of!

All of which is great for real ale fans, and where better to sample it than right at the source…

1. Black Sheep Brewery…great for families

black sheep

Wellgarth, Masham, Ripon, North Yorkshire HG4 4EN (01765 689227,)

Open daily; tours £6.95 adults, £4.95 children (under-5s free)

Founded in 1992 by Paul Theakston (of the Yorkshire brewing dynasty – the Black Sheep name is a sly reference to his decision to go it alone when Theakston’s was sold off), this brewery is  now something of a Dales institution.

Occupying a solid Victorian building at the entrance to Wensleydale, it has a top-notch visitor centre including a bar (sorry, “Baa…r”) and bistro serving hearty English food: sausage and mash, fish and chips.

Children are welcome – older ones will appreciate the bubbling brews and gleaming vats (and might even learn some science!), while youngsters will be drawn to the sheepish memorabilia and groan-worthy puns in the gift shop. Bring your sense of ewe-mour…

Drink this: Riggwelter – described as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, it’s a dark beer with heaps of chocolate malt flavours.

Also in the area: the Wensleydale Creamery – these days, it’s also something of a shrine to Wallace and Gromit.

2. Beartown Brewery…great for a relaxing pint

Bromley House, Spindle Street, Congleton, Cheshire CW12 1QN (01260 299964, )

Open daily; tours (must be booked ahead); £8.75 per person

“Congleton rare, Congleton rare, sold the Bible to buy a bear.” So says a 17th-century rhyme commemorating an early example of council cutbacks: bear-baiting was big business here, so when a new animal was needed, officials raided funds set aside for a new bible rather than risk disappointing the locals.

The tag has stuck, and since 1994 the Beartown brewery has produced a grizzly line-up including Bruins Ruin, Bearly Literate and Pandamonium .

Beartown is close to the centre of this pretty market town, and an ideal refreshment stop after walking to the top of The Cloud, a rocky outcrop at the edge of the Peak District that offers spectacular views across the Cheshire Plain as far as the Welsh mountains.

Drink this: Ginger Bear – brewed in honour of the town’s gingerbread-making tradition, this blond beer is given an added kick by root ginger.

Also in the area: Little Moreton Hall, a grand yet charmingly wonky Tudor manor, as seen on TV in Moll Flanders.

3. Hawkshead Brewery…great for walkers

Mill Yard, Staveley, Cumbria LA8 9LR (01539 822644 )

Open daily; tours Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 2pm or groups by arrangement; £6.50

So successful has this Lake District brewery been that it has outgrown the pretty village where it was christened and moved to a new home on the other side of Lake Windermere.

Good news for visitors, though, because instead of a ramshackle barn, it now has a glass-walled beer hall that lets you gaze into the brewhouse, cellar and fermentation room while you sup.

It serves a range of “beer tapas”, too, ranging from bite-size pickles to a whopping 2lb pork pie. The menu says it serves 4-8, but if you’ve just tramped up a fell or two (High Street, at 2,717ft, is the loftiest nearby) you might see that as a challenge. There’s also regular live music and a summer beer festival.

Drink this: Hawkshead Bitter – named CAMRA’s champion bitter of the northwest, this pale hoppy brew is just the job for thirsty hikers.

Also in the area: four miles to the west lies the town of Windermere. Orrest Head is a modest climb from the centre but rewards you with spectacular views – it’s the walk that got Alfred Wainwright hooked.

4. St Peter’s Brewery…great for history buffs

St Peter’s Hall, St Peter South Elmham, Bungay, Suffolk NR35 1NQ (01986 782322)

Open daily; tours Saturdays & Sundays every hour and a half between 11.00am – 3.30pm; £7.50

This brewery is housed in a cluster of pretty listed farm buildings beside the 13th-century St Peter’s Hall.

In keeping with the historic setting, St Peter’s brews old-fashioned ales such as honey porter and seasonal fruit beers, as well as traditional bitter and mild, using water from its own borehole.

In terms of volume, it’s at the top end of the microbrewery spectrum – it produces 83,000 pints a week and exports them around the world – but the ethos is authentically micro. The beer looks the part, too, sold in distinctive oval bottles modelled on a 1770 design.

Drink this: Golden Ale – a pale brew that’s a great British alternative to pilsner.

Also in the area: wander the Norman ruins of Bungay Castle, still impressive after almost 850 years.

5. Woodforde’s…great for nature lovers

Broadland Brewery, Woodbastwick, Norwich, Norfolk NR13 6SW (01603 722218)

Open daily; tours generally every second Wednesday in high season; booking essential; £10

Bird-watchers will appreciate Once Bittern beer, especially when they learn that for every pint sold, Woodforde’s will donate a penny to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

The breeding population of bitterns in the region is booming (in more ways than one) thanks to the NWT’s efforts, so be sure to stop off at this pretty thatched brewery, tucked away down a quiet lane on the edge of the Broads National Park, and lend your support.

Once you’ve bought the beer you can try to emulate it yourself with the home-brew kits available in the shop. Next door is the brewery tap – the aptly named Fur & Feather Inn, which serves ales straight from the cask and locally sourced food.

Drink this: Once Bittern, of course – a “booming marvellous” copper-coloured brew with a hint of spiciness.

Also in the area: seek out the real thing at NWT’s Hickling Broad reserve, half an hour’s drive away.

6. Black Isle Brewery…great for purists

Old Allangrange, Munlochy, Ross-shire IV8 8NZ (01463 811871)

Open daily; tours free

In 1998, David Gladwin set out on a mission “to make top quality beers that could stand among the best in the country – and to do it using organically produced barley and hops”.

Since then, his brewery has gone from strength to strength, brewing award-winning beers totally in-house.

You can follow the process on a free tour. A speciality are the bottle-conditioned beers, which undergo extra fermentation in the bottle rather like champagne. The yeasty sediment is good for you, says Gladwin – “it’s full of vitamin B!”

Drink this: Heather Honey Beer – made with honey gathered from the moors, it’s bottle-conditioned and has lively citrus notes.

Also in the area: Inverness, seven miles away, has plenty more drinking dens, including Hootananny, a live music venue with Black Isle beers on tap.

Just a taster

Lots of microbreweries are just too small (or too busy) to cater for visitors, but it’s worth tracking down their beers. Often you can buy on site even if you can’t take a tour; otherwise check out local pubs for these specialities:

7. Williams Bros, AlloaClackmannanshire – Fraoch Heather Ale is based on a Pictish recipe that goes back at least 4,000 years. Said to be the oldest style of beer still produced anywhere in the world.

8. Fox Brewery, Heacham, Norfolk (01485 570345 – “official” tours are only available to groups, but anyone can sample their unusual beers on site at the Fox & Hounds pub.

9. Roosters, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire  – look for their floral brews such as Orange Blossom Ale and Elderflower Ale. Perfect summer sipping.

10. BrewDog, Balmacassie Industrial Estate Ellon, Aberdeenshire – one glance at the punkish labels, with names like Trashy Blonde and Hardcore IPA, will tell you that this is no ordinary microbrewery. Book a ‘Dog Walk’ for the freshest ales and 4 interactive tastings!