September Events in the UK

September events

  • Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected, Cardiff, 17-18 September. A cast of thousands are set to transform the centre of Cardiff, Dahl’s hometown, to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of his birth. Expect incredible sights, performances, pop-ups and spectacle, culminating in an evening finale! http://cityoftheunexpected.wales/
  • Enchanted Forest, Pitlochry, Scotland. 29 September-30 October. This award winning multi-sensory show offers a magical tour of Faskally Wood with stunning light and sound. The theme of this year’s show  is ‘Shimmer!’ and is bound to sell out so get your tickets bought soon! http://www.enchantedforest.org.uk/.
  • The Windsor Festival, Windsor Castle, Berkshire. 18 September- 2 October. One of the UK’s most stunning celebrations of music and culture in the stunning environs of the largest inhabited castle in the world (and reputedly, the Queen’s favourite!). Enjoy talks, walks, food and more. http://www.windsorfestival.com/
Christie's summer residence (cottages.com ref. NT012044)

Christie’s summer residence (cottages.com ref. NT012044)

  • Agatha Christie Festival, Torquay, Thursday 15 September. This annual celebration of the ‘Queen of Crime’ – with tea and tours, talks, readings and more – takes place on the writer’s birthday. 2016 is also a special year as it marks 100 years since the publication of her first novel! Celebrate in style by staying at her summer home in Devon with the National Trust and cottages.com. http://www.agathachristiefestival.com/.
  • Jane Austen Festival, 9-18 September, Bath. Commencing with the stunning Grand Regency Costumed Promenade – with hundreds of participants in period finery – this celebration of Austen is comprised of walks, talks, workshops, concerts and more all taking place in the beautifully ornate streets of Bath. http://www.janeaustenfestivalbath.co.uk/.
  • Wales International Balloon Festival, Llangollen, 17-18 September.  The inaugural Wales International Balloon Festival Great Balloon Race is just one of many airborne attractions colouring the skies over Llangollen in September. Other activities include the Red Devils parachute display team, fireworks and a host of activities on land!  http://walesinternationalballoonfestival.co.uk/.
  • Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, Suffolk. 24-25 September. Taking place near the stunning Suffolk coast, this celebration of local food and drink boasts a stunning setting to complement its fantastic food and drink! Enjoy free children’s activities, hands on cooking workshops and feasting on Suffolk’s finest produce. http://www.aldeburghfoodanddrink.co.uk/the-festival
robot

Bestival

  • Spirit of Speyside: Distilled, Elgin Town Hall. 9-11 September.  The world’s best whisky distillers united under one roof for the very first time! Alongside some amazing drams, enjoy coffee, chocolate and much more! http://distilled.scot/
  • Newquay Fish Festival, 16-18 September. Celebrating the Cornish coast and seaside heritage of Newquay, this annual celebration of seafood offers bands, choirs, singers, dancers and pirates to perfectly complement the fantastic food and drink. http://www.newquayfishfestival.co.uk/.
  • Bestival, Isle of Wight. 8-11 September. 2016’s instalment of the award-winning boutique music festival promises performances from The Cure, Major Lazer, Hot Chip, Fatboy Slim and more. We still have availability on the Isle of Wight for Bestival weekend, so you can sleep in a comfortable bed and enjoy your own shower too! http://www.bestival.net/.

World Photo Day – 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 Facebook worthy and something to be proud of!

Lighting

We all hope that our holidays are accompanied with plenty of sunshine, but this can cause havoc when taking decent images. 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 backlit 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

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

Capture the moment

Capturing the moment is one of the greatest pleasures of photography, especially when it comes to children and families. 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. By doing this it means you have a much better chance of getting that perfect image.

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. Take a look at her website for more photography hints and tips. 

Capability Brown’s Greatest Gardens

2016 is the ‘Year of the English Garden’ and marks 300 years since the birth of our greatest gardener. We’re marking the occasion with a delightful directory of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s loveliest landscapes…

From humble beginnings, the landscape architect ‘Capability’ Brown rose to prominence by revolutionising the gardens and parklands around many of England’s finest estates. Signature sweeping vistas, serpentine lakes and artful tree plantings; Brown’s work was so naturalistic, garden and countryside were barely distinguishable. His harmonious style influences and endures in many of our most beautiful country houses today…

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

The lake in Blenheim Palace, blue sky with some clouds at sunset in Oxfordshire, England

A World Heritage Site and one of Britain’s grandest stately homes, the vast 2000 acre parkland around Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire is one of Brown’s most celebrated landscapes. In 1764, Brown’s work was in vogue and he was commissioned by the 4th Duke of Marlborough to transform his estate. The canal became a sinuous lake, while artfully planted trees defined a landscape that would constantly change as the viewer progressed. He also preserved Europe’s oldest collection of ancient oak trees, many of which are now almost 900 years old and still standing. Today, further Blenheim highlights include the wonderful Versailles-inspired Water Terraces, the splendid portrait and paintings collection and stunning Orangery restaurant. The adventure playground, butterfly house and miniature train are a must for families.

Highclere Castle, West Berkshire

Better known as the setting for the wildly popular TV series Downton Abbey, the imposing towers of Highclere Castle in Berkshire sit stunningly in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Here, from 1771 Brown continued his theme of perfecting nature, smoothing lawns, creating lakes and hills and re-envisioning the formal into the natural. The house and gardens are open to the public on selected dates when visitors may explore both the lavish interior of the house and the elegant grounds, or make like a lady and quaff a champagne afternoon tea.  Downton – we mean Highclere – is about as English as it gets.

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

Chatsworth house

The great house and gardens at Chatsworth are a jewel of northern England…indeed it’s the true ‘palace of the peak’; famous for its grand facade, striking 300 year old cascade and more than 100 acres of beautiful gardens. Between 1760 and 1764 Brown carried out large-scale landscape works here, transforming working farmland. He altered the course of the River Derwent, planted trees extensively and removed the estate’s formal gardens. His landscape vision endures today – a rolling green idyll, merging seamlessly with the verdant limestone landscape of its Peak District home. Don’t miss its impressive fountains,  wonderful walks through rare trees, sculptures and grazing herds of red and fallow deer.

Burghley House, Lincolnshire

Burghley in Lincolnshire, one of England’s greatest Elizabethan houses is regarded as Brown’s most important commission. His work here, close to the pretty riverside town of Stamford, took him 25 years to complete. He managed the beautiful vistas at Burghley, solved their drainage issues with a serpentine lake, and created the recently restored ha-ha – a small wall designed to keep the deer out of the garden whilst giving an uninterrupted view from the house to the parkland – a Brown signature feature . Notably, Burghley House (the architecture of which Brown also influenced) owns one of only two known portraits of the man, and it is displayed in their state rooms. This year, the house is hosting a range of specialist talks and walks with an exhibition dedicated to Brown’s legacy.

Hampton Court Palace, London

Hampton Court Palace

Brown’s illustrious career lifted him far above his lowly birth and in 1764 he was  appointed as Chief Gardener at Hampton Court Palace by King George III. The land agent’s son moved to live within the palace walls. Capability’s most dramatic legacy here is the Great Vine.  Planted  in 1768  it’s the world’s largest grape vine. It  still bears fruit and every September the sweet black grapes are available to buy in the palace shops. Today, Hampton Court’s many highlights include the royal Chocolate Kitchen, the Privy Garden and the maze. This year there’s also a special exhibition – ‘The Empress and the Gardener’; a fascinating collection of drawings from the time Capability was in charge. They provide a rare and  important record of life at Hampton Court in London towards the end of the 18th century.

Harewood House, West Yorkshire

The rolling swathes of green created by ‘Capability’ inside Harewood House’s boundaries are so inspiring that they were captured by another celebrated and particularly English luminary, the painter JMW Turner. The beautiful, Grade I listed, deer-grazed parkland at Harewood in Yorkshire, now patrolled by wheeling red kites, has survived largely unchanged since Brown spent six years creating it. The great curving sweeps of the carriage drive and the 32 acre serpentine lake are key Brownian features and still delight the eye today. Harewood House is celebrating their Capability connection with a series of guided walking tours and a new ‘Art of Landscape’ exhibition, exploring his cultural influence.

Audley End, Essex

Audley End Stately Home

It may not be hugely famous, but Audley End in Essex is one of England’s finest Jacobean houses, surrounded by a gorgeous example of Capability Brown’s work. By the banks of the river Cam (canalised by Brown to make a slim-line, gently curving lake) and protected by wooded slopes, this magnificent building enjoys a glorious position in  unspoilt English countryside. As sumptuous as any royal palace, (it was in fact bought as a country residence by Charles II) it is preserved in its majesty today by English Heritage.  Art aficionados will be wooed by the wonderful collection of Old Master paintings hanging inside, including a Holbein, and the striking Jacobean oak screen in the Great Hall.

Dinefwr Park, Carmarthenshire, Wales

A Site of Special Scientific Interest and the only parkland National Nature Reserve in Wales, Dinefwr is a beautifully diverse habitat of woodlands, wildflower meadows and beautiful bogland. Pertinently, it is also a historic house set in an 18th-century landscape park and medieval deer park with the only Capability Brown garden open to the public in Wales. The Park’s socialite owners commissioned Brown in 1775 to recreate the kind of undulating and idyllic gardens of their fashionable friends in London, and the tidy landscape was duly naturalised. Special tercentenary Capability Brown Walks this year are being organised by its custodians, the National Trust.

Into the Wild – Celebrating Britain’s National Parks

We are blessed in Britain with 15 national parks, our country’s ‘breathing spaces,’ and every summer we celebrate them during National Parks Week.

Whatever the weather, or season take time out in our beautiful, protected wild places and enjoy the very best of our countryside, heritage and wildlife…

Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales

The Vikings called them ‘dalr’, meaning valleys and today we worship these same rolling dales. The glorious mosaic of green, criss-crossed with dry-stone walls of the Yorkshire Dales is home to the Tour de Yorkshire and punctuated with picture-perfect villages. Feast on famous Wensleydale cheese, delight in the purple haze of August heather, bike along routes trail-blazed by the world’s greatest cyclists and recharge your batteries with, according to locals, the best cup of tea in England. Don’t miss the limestone majesty of Malham Cove and the drama of Hardraw Force waterfall. Children will love jumping the cracks in limestone pavement, or crossing the stepping stones at Bolton Abbey, before screaming for ice-cream from nearby Billy-Bob’s Parlour.

Cairngorms                     

Cairngorms        

For a true sense of space, lose yourself in the largest national park in the UK, in the heart of the Scottish highlands. Home to our highest mountain range and most extensive native Caledonian forest, dominated by striking Scots pines, the Cairngorms is a place to challenge yourself. This might be through hiking, climbing or simply searching for true wilderness and perhaps an elusive pine martin or reindeer. Yes, really. The only place in the UK place guaranteed for skiing, the Cairngorms transform into a snowy arctic expanse in winter. And don’t forget the Scottish hospitality – a wee dram of whisky goes down rather well after a day in the mountains. Cheers!

Brecon Beacons

Brecon Beacons

The singular geology of the Brecon Beacons makes this place stand out. Part of the park is an internationally recognised Global Geopark, and its flat-topped escarpments plunge into glacial valleys and lakes. Red sandstone peaks near Brecon in mid Wales give way to the Black Mountains, and the park boasts the highest peak in south Wales, Pen Y Fan. It’s also a Dark Sky Reserve, making it as beautiful by night as by day. Wild Welsh mountain ponies can be spotted in upland areas and you can also wander or horse ride over countless miles of accessible tracks and paths. Red kites are beloved as Wales’ unofficial national bird and you can view these magnificent raptors jostling for food at the Red Kite Feeding Centre.

Northumberland

Northumberland

In the far north east stretching towards the Scottish border is Northumberland National Park; the largest Dark Sky Park in Europe and one of the best places in Britain to gaze upon our solar system. Hadrian’s Wall meanders east to west across the country and in Northumberland, the last outpost of the Roman Empire’s northern frontier; it snakes along the national park’s southern boundary. Take a walk with a knowledgeable volunteer guide and learn about both natural and human history.  If your kids would rather be at a farm park than a National Park, delight them with the Hethpool Wild Goat Walk, taking in an exciting waterfall and affording the best chance to spot the comic, shaggy Cheviot goats.

Loch Lomond & the Trossachs

 Loch Lomond

A city-dweller’s escape providing fantastic opportunities for fishing, boating and(if you’re brave or mad!) swimming. Within striking distance of Stirling, Edinburgh and especially Glasgow – it’s less than an hour from the city – Loch Lomond & the Trossachs is one of Scotland’s most accessible playgrounds.  You can mountain bike, walk part of the 96 mile West Highland Way or simply paddle along the bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond itself – Britain’s largest inland stretch of water. Summer brings Highland Games and the melodic sounds of traditional pipe bands. For those in search of serenity, try the calming ponds and towering trees at Benmore Botanic Garden.

Norfolk Broads

Norfolk Broads

A watery wonderland in one of Britain’s driest places, the Broads are our largest protected wetland. 60 broads (wide, shallow lakes created by flooded medieval peat pits) and seven rivers are visited by eight million people every year.  Despite this, the combination of fen, woodland and grazing marshes feel like a tranquil getaway and the unique habitat allows our rarest wildlife to thrive. The swallowtail butterfly lives only here, bitterns and marsh harriers are on the increase and water shrews may be glimpsed. Boating is the Broads’ other major draw, with a choice of glamorous cruisers and waterside eateries. Choose a canoe or paddle-board and you can explore all but its very smallest streams.

Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire is our only truly coastal nature reserve. And what a coastline! It’s well loved for sandy, safe beaches, abundant wildlife and impossibly pretty shores. If you’re visiting between April and October, beat a different path to Pembrokeshire’s islands. Mostly uninhabited, these remote places support populations of puffins, manx shearwaters and gannets. Take a sea safari, particularly if you have a soft-spot for seabirds. Back on dry land, walk parts of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and drink in ancient heritage with its castles and Iron Age forts. Look skywards for choughs and skylarks and out to sea for basking sharks and unbelievably orcas, who return annually to this wonderful bit of Wales.

Exmoor

Exmoor

Exmoor’s diversity is special, with a sense of wilderness so hard to find in densely populated southern England. The name is synonymous with moorland yet one of the park’s most celebrated features are its dramatic sea cliffs, sweeping into the Bristol Channel and the highest in England. Exmoor is edged by a spectacular coastline to kayak, walk or windsail and is also home to orchards, cider farms and swathes of ancient woodland, splashed bright in spring with bluebells.  Though the landscape has been shaped by farming over millennia, this quiet park is a wonderful place to feel alone. Apart from the ponies, of course: you’ll always be pleased to see them.

National Trust Cottages

National Trust cottages offer some of the quirkiest and most characterful holidays available in the UK. Whether you want to be lord and lady of the manor and surround yourself in period finery and acres of green gardens; stay in an expansive Mediterranean villa with eye-watering coastal views or reside in the holiday home of one of the world’s greatest novelists, a National Trust cottage allows you to walk in someone else’s shoes for a while before you kick back and relax in complete comfort.

There are dozens of National Trust Cottages currently featured on cottages.com, but to make finding your perfect property a little easier, we’ve picked a handful to showcase below.

1 Strode House, Barrington, nr. Ilminster (ref. NT003026)

Strode House NT

Strode House offers a rich history that perfectly complements the period finery that surrounds you (even the name sounds like something you might settle round the TV to watch on a Sunday evening!). Built in 1674 by William Strode II, as a grand stable to the old manor house (next door), by the 1890s it was in decline, until Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, a founder member of the National Trust, recommended that it be acquired and preserved for the future. In 1920 Colonel Arthur Lyle (of Tate and Lyle), took a 99 year lease and took steps to create a model estate. In 1991 it returned to the National Trust and it can now be enjoyed as a holiday property. Sleeps 6.

Dyffryn Mymbyr Farm House, Capel Curig, nr. Betws-y-Coed (ref. NT008021)

dyffryn

The Dyffryn Mymbyr Farm House sits under the shadow of Snowdonia with incredible views of the Snowdon Horseshoe and Moel Siabod. So stunning is its setting that it featured as a key character in Thomas Firbank’s classic non-fiction novel I Bought a Mountain. First published in 1940, the book recounts the hardship and joy Firbank experiences after purchasing 5,000 acres of Snowdonia.  The farm was donated to the National Trust by Esme Kirby in 1999, an environmental campaigner and Firbank’s former wife, who lived at the farmhouse after they separated.

Greenway Apartment, Galmpton, Devon (ref. NT012044)

greenway

If literary connections are your thing, you will love our next National Trust property. The summer residence of Agatha Christie, Greenway Apartment is a two level holiday property with many of the writer’s items still featured, including furniture and the typewriter she used to write many of her books.  Christie set Five Little Pigs, Dead Man’s Folly and Ordeal by Innocence at the property – perfect light reading if you’re visiting, though you may favour something a little sunnier! Glorious views of the River Dart and a large garden are the perfect antidote.

Egryn, Talybont, nr. Barmouth (ref. NT008019)

Egryn NT

National Trust Cottages specialise in unique, one of a kind properties that you won’t find elsewhere. So we come to a magnificent, historic, Grade ll listed, Welsh medieval hall dating from 1510. The wonderful medieval hall at Egryn is undoubtedly one of the architectural highlights and has been sympathetically restored using traditional building techniques. Don’t worry, the property offers a contemporary level of comfort, and there’s even a Victorian lounge with piano for a little sing-song!

Portland House, Weymouth (NT003042)

Portland

This Mediterranean villa has been built in the Art Deco style with stunning exteriors and interiors and 2 acres of enclosed gardens. Dating from 1935, it boasts a wealth of original features and makes great use of its surroundings to offer a truly unique holiday experience. It’s this fine preservation of heritage and surrounds that makes Portland House a definitive National Trust holiday cottage – though it’s far from a typical holiday home! Guests can enjoy south-facing views and two broad terraces (one above the other) with most rooms enjoying French windows on to them.

Introducing Cottage Concierge…

Cottage Concierge

We’ve just launched a brand new service on cottages.com. By calling our Cottage Concierge team you can book more than one property on the same dates and at the same location and only pay 1 booking fee (saving a minimum of £37 per additional cottage).

The Cottage Concierge service is perfect for friends and family getaways where everyone can celebrate together yet enjoy their own freedom and space.

Call 0345 268 9742 to use our Cottage Concierge service; our dedicated team will help you find your perfect property.

Find more info on cottages.com.

8 excellent days out with ROALD DAHL

roald dahl day

2016 marks 100 years since the birth of one of Britain’s most beloved and eccentric authors. His dark humour, disgusting characters, made up words and heart-warming heroes have made Roald Dahl’s books a hit with kiddles the world over.

But it was Dahl’s home country that inspired stories such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG, so get your gogglers around these gloriumptious places to visit…

Cardiff, Wales        

Cardiff                                                                                                      

Roald Dahl was born in September 1916 in Llandaff, Cardiff to Norwegian parents. He spent his boyhood in the city and displayed a penchant for macabre humour early on. He famously tricked miserable sweet shop owner, Mrs Pratchett, by placing a mouse in her jar of gobstoppers! Today the Llandaff shop is commemorated with a blue plaque. Dahl is also remembered in Cardiff Bay’s modern plaza which has been renamed Roald Dahl Plass (place or square in Norwegian.) The nearby pretty clapboard church where the Dahl family worshipped is now an arts centre and cafe. If you’re feeling fit, cycle or walk The Cardiff Bay 10k Trail over the barrage and past the peaceful wetlands. Alternatively, browse independent boutiques in the Victorian arcades or visit the National Museum and Art Gallery.

Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire

The_Roald_Dahl_Museum_and_Story_Centre_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1264147

Gypsy House in the village of Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire was Roald Dahl’s home for 36 years until his death in 1990. The writing hut at the bottom of his garden, where all his famous children’s stories were imagined, was created by builder Wally Saunders, Dahl’s large-eared model for his Big Friendly Giant. The Great Missenden Trail leads you past petrol pumps from Danny, the Champion of the World, the house that inspired Sophie’s orphanage in The BFG and Dahl’s grave. Explore further into his cherished Chiltern countryside to Angling Spring Wood, keeping your gogglers peeled for Fantastic Mr Fox! The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre has an impressive collection of memorabilia and photos.  Dine on delumptious Bogtrotter chocolate cake at Cafe Twit, but steer clear of the Twits’ Wormy Spaghetti!

Cadbury World, Bourneville, Birmingham

cadbury world

Imagine the thrill of finding a shiny gold ticket like Charlie did in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The 1964 rags-to-riches classic was inspired by Roald’s own experience at Repton School in Derbyshire, where Cadbury would send new types of chocolates to be tested. The young Roald dreamt of inventing a chocolate bar for Mr Cadbury himself! For kids today Cadbury World must feel akin to visiting Willy Wonka’s fantastical factory.  Embark on a 4D chocolate adventure or dip your choice of sweet treat into a pot of warm, gooey chocolate in the chocolate making area. Not to mention losing yourself in the world’s largest Cadbury’s shop…just remember the fate of poor, gluttonous Augustus Gloop.

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Loch Cleat and the Trotternish Ridge

The Isle of Skye, the largest island in the Inner Hebrides abounds with the loveliest and most unusual landscapes. It’s no wonder that legendary film director Steven Spielberg chose this location to film scenes for his new movie of The BFG. Look out for the cone-shaped, undulating magic of the Fairy Glen, the other-worldly landslip landscape of The Quiraing and the incredible, toothy drama of The Storr rocky ridge. There’s a relatively short but exceptionally striking walk up to the Old Man of Storr through one of the world’s most photographed landscapes. After all that exercise, find peace on an isolated beach or sample a golden drop at the Talisker whisky distillery with dramatic views of the Cuillins.

Stonor Park, Oxfordshire

Stonor

The red brick splendour of the house at Stoner Park in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire will be recognisable to film fans as the home of wealthy snob Victor Hazell (played by Robbie Coltrane) in the 1989 film version of Danny, the Champion of the World. Set in 1950s England, the young Danny and his dad (Jeremy Irons) plan a deliciously wicked revenge on Victor which involves a wood full of sleepy pheasants. There are a plethora of walking and cycle routes in the stunning Stoner Valley to explore, or simply stroll through the arboretum and Italianate gardens of the house. Summertime sees outdoor cinema and in autumn, there’s mushroom foraging.

Newquay, Cornwall

Fistral beach Newquay

Those wicked witches! The sight of the grand old hotel perched above Newquay’s surfing paradise still gives kids the shivers after its famous incantation in the darkly comic, 1990 film The Witches, starring Angelica Huston. The action centred around the Headland Hotel; a Grade II listed Victorian building dominating the cliff above golden sands. It feels incongruous with the laid-back surf groove here on Cornwall’s blustery North coast. Only five minutes from the centre of the resort, Fistral is regarded as one of the best surfing beaches in Europe. If surfing’s not your thing, take a coastal horse ride from nearby Trenance, feast on Rick Stein’s celebrity fish and chips or sip a Cornish cider surveying the North Atlantic swell.

Tenby, Wales

Tenby Harbour

In a sunny south east corner of Pembrokeshire sits the pastel-pretty harbour of Tenby. The ancient walled town has been a popular seaside resort for generations. Roald Dahl stayed here at a place called The Cabin, overlooking the harbour every Easter holiday between 1920 and 1936 and later took his own family there. “We had donkey rides on the beach and long walks with the dogs along the top of the cliffs opposite Caldy Island, and there were primroses everywhere,” he reminisced. Tenby continues to delight visitors with sailing, a fort, fishing trips, award-winning beaches and super-fresh mackerel.

Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

Dahl Museum

A trip to the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery is sure to receive a whoopsey-splunkers reaction from any child with the slightest interest in his books! The interactive museum space inside Bucks County museum has won two major awards for education and kids can immerse themselves in the weird and wonderful worlds of Dahl’s words and Quentin Blake’s illustrations. They can magnify mini-beasts in James’ Giant Peach, crawl along Fantastic Mr Fox’s tunnel and feel around for disgusting things in the Twits’ feely holes. Nearby, less eccentric enjoyment can be found in beautiful Wendover Woods and the working steam museum of Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.