Britain’s Most Beautiful Poetic Places – National Poetry Day


The rich landscape and diverse history of Britain has fuelled the imaginations of the world’s greatest poets for centuries. Whether it’s the Romantics and their pastoral celebrations of nature and the countryside, Chaucer’s ribald celebration of the road to Canterbury or Robert Burns, whose verses have become forever entwined with the cultural identity of Scotland – the importance of poetry to the nation is certainly something to champion.

This is why National Poetry Day is such an important celebration – not only of the nation’s poets and poetry, but of the very landscape that has played such an important part in inspiring countless classic verses. We’re going to take a look at some of our favourite poets, poems and the locations that inspired them.

William Wordsworth: The Lake District, Cumbria

Dove Cottage

Daffodils is perhaps the quintessential English poem, and undoubtedly one of the most popular. It was inspired by a walk Wordsworth took alongside the banks of Ullswater on a stormy day with his sister. Despite the famous opening line, it’s not too easy to wander lonely as a cloud in the Lake District today.

Thanks to the heritage of Wordsworth and the Romantic poets – not to mention the wonderful lakes and landforms, the Lake District is something of a holiday hotspot. Though, if you take yourself away from the tourists, it is entirely possible to find your own corner of this Cumbrian paradise to contemplate the beauty of nature and find your own inspiration.

Robert Burns: Dumfries and Ayrshire, Scotland

Burns Cottage

My Heart’s in the Highlands is a beautifully vivid celebration of the iconic landscape and native wildlife of Scotland. With this, and many other works, often set to music, Burn’s is equally celebrated as a songwriter as he is a poet. Ayrshire is the place to visit to begin your appreciation of the ‘Scottish Bard’. The village of Alloway hosts the Burns Cottage Museum, the home Robert’s father built and where the poet lived until he was seven years of age.

The Robert Burns House in Dumries is where he spent his later years, creating some of his most beloved works in the study. It is a key pilgrimage site for many Burns admirers, with Wordsworth, Coleridge and Keats amongst others visiting over the years.

Dylan Thomas: Laugharne, Wales

As Robert Burns is to Scotland so too is Dylan Thomas to Wales: a national treasure and cultural icon whose work captures a wonderful sense of place. Thomas’s life in the Carmarthenshire town of Laugharne was a constant inspiration to the writer with his famous radio play Under Milk Wood capturing several of the characters he encountered there (though the setting more closely resembled New Quay).

Poem In October is a more fitting example that displays the region’s beauty. Written after a birthday walk from his home The Boathouse up to the shoulder of Sir John’s hill, the poem provides a perfect accompaniment whilst you enjoy the ‘Dylan Thomas Birthday Walk’ around the area.

The Brontës: Haworth, Yorkshire


Charlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother Patrick (aka Branwell) were home schooled in the delightful Yorkshire Dales village of Haworth. The siblings’ father was parson at the church and it was in the Haworth Parsonage where they developed their literary talents, developing stories of increasing complexity. After receiving lukewarm feedback from one of her poetry idols, Charlotte and her sisters eventually decided to try and get published together – using the more masculine pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Whilst their first book of poetry only sold three copies, the sisters continued to produce work in secret and their legacy was secured in the following years.

The Brontë Parsonage Museum is undoubtedly the best place to visit for an appreciation of the Brontës and the surroundings that inspired them. Alongside a packed calendar of events you will find much to admire in the surrounding area.

Geoffrey Chaucer: Canterbury, Kent.

Chaucer is regarded as ‘the Father of English Literature’ due to his work helping to popularise Middle English over the more frequently used Latin, Italian and French. The collected Canterbury Tales was his magnum opus, a work that many claim he never completed but still comprises 24 stories over 17,000 lines of text. The Canterbury Tales themselves are often bawdy stories told by a large cast of pilgrims on their way to Canterbury Cathedral in Kent. While the tales themselves offer a fine sense of place, they also offer a wonderful window into a time of great change in Britain, with references to social upheaval, the invention of paper, the written word and political clashes.

The cathedral today offers a wonderfully preserved experience to visitors.  One of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England, there’s much to admire and, if you’re feeling inspired, write home about.

Rudyard Kipling: Burwash, Sussex


Kipling is also known for his short stories and novels alongside poems such as IF-, a beloved ode to stoicism and often voted the UK’s most popular poem. Whilst he dwelled in some of the UK’s most scenic and vibrant locations, it was his time in Burwash, Sussex that proved the most creatively fruitful. Here, amongst many other works, he was inspired to create Puck of Pook’s Hill, a collection of short stories and poetry narrated to two children living near Burwash. The work itself is considered a seminal work of fantasy that incorporates classic English literature and history.                       

Burwash is the perfect place to celebrate and explore Kipling’s life. The author spent over 30 years there at Bateman’s, a stunning Jacobean mansion that is now open to the public through National Trust stewardship. Inside you will find it as Kipling left it when he passed away in 1936, with a book lined study and many South Asian artefacts.

The Best October Events in the UK

October events

  • Ghost Fest, various dates, Oxford Castle. The season of fright begins with events all through October at Oxford Castle. ‘Enjoy’ ghost tours and talks, paranormal events, pumpkin carving, trick or treat and more – including a brand new escape room.
  • Horse of the Year Show, Birmingham 5-9th October. Britain’s largest indoor equestrian showcase with hundreds of events taking place inside Birmingham’s NEC.
  • Dylan Thomas Festival, Swansea 27 October – 09 November. 2016 is the centenary of the Welsh writer’s work, so the 17th festival looks set to be very special indeed and includes the opening of the eagerly awaited ‘Love The Words’ Dylan Thomas exhibition
  • The Canterbury Festival, 15th October – 5th November. One of the UK’s longest-running arts festivals offers a varied schedule of literature, fine and performing arts, pop culture and comedy events. Different prices for performances and many free events, including plenty for the family to enjoy.
  • Stratford on Avon music festival, 14th-22nd October.  Shakespeare’s home town in the year of what would be his 400th birthday seems like the perfect place for a celebration! Top performers from the world of jazz, classical and world music perform in a stunning setting!!booking/colm
  • Shocktober Fest at Tulleys Farm, West Sussex. 1-31 October. 8 haunted attractions, live music, great food and no shortage of scares at one of the UK’s most acclaimed (and terrifying!) scare experiences. One for the brave!
  • Gwledd Conwy Feast, 22 – 23 October. Food, music, art and more in the gorgeous medieval town of Conwy. Opening on the Friday with a stunning firework display, this year’s even looks set to be the best yet.
  • Manchester Food and Drink Festival. 29 September until 11 October. A huge urban food and drink festival with indoor and outdoor events, activities, competitions and plenty of food
  • Falmouth Oyster festival, 13-16 October.  Celebrating 20 years in 2016, the Oyster Festival marks the beginning of the oyster season and celebrates the diversity and quality of Cornish seafood. Enjoy food and wine with music, marquees and children’s activities too!
  • Cowalfest, Argyll, Scotland 7th – 16th October. This 10 day walking festival takes in some of Scotland’s most stunning scenery. Choose from more than 60 walks led by experts.
  • Autumn Countryside Show 8th – 9th October, Weald & Downland Open Air Museum. West Sussex. This popular seasonal show features traditional working demonstrations, including heavy horses and vintage tractors ploughing, steam-powered threshing, plus a Horticultural Show, woodland and rural craft demonstrations, displays and competitions!

Photographer of the Year: Summer Edition – The Winners!



First place: ‘In the Eye of the Beholder’ by Matthew Hoser. Matthew says: “The cupola of Florence’s Duomo, reflected in the eye of a traveller.” Our judge says: “I love the creative and unique composition of this image. Even though the eye fills the frame, the focus is the beautiful building in the reflection.”

Second place 'night glow balloons' by Raymond Watson. Raymond says: "This was taken at Strathaven balloon festival." Our judge says: "The contrast between light and dark brings this photo to life and I really like that you get the scale of these enormous hot air balloons."

Second place ‘night glow balloons’ by Raymond Watson. Raymond says: “This was taken at Strathaven balloon festival.” Our judge says: “The contrast between light and dark brings this photo to life and I really like that you get the scale of these enormous hot air balloons.”

Third place: 'Holiday Love' by Mahala Harvey. Mahala says: "This is my son on holiday in Northern Ireland, my husband's birthplace. He's just so happy and asked if we could live here." Our judge says: "When choosing the winners I kept coming back to this one. It really stands out to me because of the emotion it captures! This chap is so happy to be on holiday with his family. I love that and really get it from this picture."

Third place: ‘Holiday Love’ by Mahala Harvey. Mahala says: “This is my son on holiday in Northern Ireland, my husband’s birthplace. He’s just so happy and asked if we could live here.” Our judge says: “When choosing the winners I kept coming back to this one. It really stands out to me because of the emotion it captures! This chap is so happy to be on holiday with his family. I love that and really get it from this picture.”

Places to See Red Squirrels in the UK – Red Squirrel Week

Red squirrel

Despite being one of the nation’s most beloved native species, red squirrels are still rare to see in the wild. However, large conservation efforts are helping to revive red squirrel numbers – aided by awareness events such as Red Squirrel Week in late September.

Autumn is the best time to spot red squirrels – with fewer leaves on the trees to obstruct your view as they begin to stockpile food from the woodland floor for the long winter.

There are also numerous sites around the country where you can appreciate ‘sciurus vulgaris’, many of which are surrounded by green ‘buffer zones’ to keep the large population of grey squirrels at bay. So if you’re after the perfect place for an autumn walk with some wonderful wildlife, take a look at the best places to spot red squirrels in the UK.

Brownsea Island, Dorset

red squirrel feeding

The coastal waters of Dorset provide a great defence against grey squirrels, allowing a large native population of red squirrels to thrive in the wild environment of this National Trust protected island.

Approximately 250 red squirrels live on Brownsea, which makes it one of the most densely populated red squirrel habitations in the UK. And its short distance from the Dorset shore in Poole harbour, makes it one of the most scenic and spectacular too!

Dalbeattie Forest, Dumfries and Galloway

red squirrel eating

Scotland’s preservation scheme has seen the red squirrel population thrive, with approximately 75% of the UK’s total native species now living north of the border in Dumfries and Galloway.

There are many stunning locations to spot red squirrels in Scotland, but the first official trail in southern Scotland at Dalbeattie is undoubtedly one of the most scenic. Here you will find one of the 7stanes mountain biking centres, offering a perfect selection of trails for an active exploration of the red squirrel population.

For a more sedate experience, wander the 90,000 acre Queensberry Estate and grand Victorian Gardens at Drumlanrig Castle and Country Estate.

Plas Newydd, Anglesey


Views over the Menai Strait and Snowdonia provide the perfect scenic accompaniment to your admiration of the local red squirrel population at the beautiful Plas Newydd country house and gardens in Anglesey.

The property and grounds offer plenty of places to walk through the woods and parkland, with benches located throughout. Originally six squirrels were introduced to Plas Newydd in 2008, but that figure now stands at over 100. They have even crossed the Menai Strait! (Reds are known to be very good swimmers – which might explain why).

The Isle of Wight


Similar to Brownsea Island, the coastal barrier of the Isle of Wight has ensured a beautiful haven for red squirrels to thrive and multiply. What’s more, a visit to the beautiful Isle allows you to appreciate the reds in stunning natural surroundings.

The Isle’s old railway lines were converted into the Red Squirrel Trail in 2003. The trail runs from Cowes in the north through Newport, Shanklin and Sandown taking in woodlands, wetlands and plenty more in-between.

The Alverstone Mead Nature Reserve is one of the best places to catch sight of red squirrels along the route. Located mid-way down the Isle, it offers a hide so you can appreciate the native red squirrels as they go about their business.

Other Locations:

The Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail in the Yorkshire Dales offers a viewing area in the Widdale Red Squirrel Reserve.

Both Whinlatter Forest Park in Keswick and Aira Force offer lovely surrounds for viewing the resident red squirrels in Cumbria.

Kielder Water & Forest Park in Northumberland offers a safe haven for ospreys and salmon as well as red squirrels. The Castle Visitor Centre has a red squirrel room and a red squirrel hide nearby too.

A few words about cottage grading… grading

Whether you’re looking for a cosy romantic retreat, a fun-filled family getaway, or somewhere large, lavish and filled with luxury, you’ll find a fantastic selection in over 19,000 holiday properties listed with

All properties listed with are visited, inspected and assessed by a team of regional managers.  Properties in England and Scotland are graded using VisitEngland and Visit Scotland’s official criteria.  Properties in Ireland, Wales, France are also graded using comparable standards.


We don’t accept any new properties that fall under the 3 star grade, so when you book with, you’re booking a property that is recommended by holiday industry experts.

Properties are also reviewed by holidaymakers who’ve stayed in them.  Unedited customer feedback is gathered and presented for us through an independent response company called Reevoo.

Their scoring and reviews can be seen alongside properties on the website search result and property listing pages.  We’re incredibly proud that the scores and reviews we display are clear, honest and reflect the comprehensive opinions of people who have genuinely holidayed at the accommodation

When a property receives enough very positive feedback it gains Customers’ Choice status, which means an exceptional experience is in store for holidaymakers who book a stay there.

All this activity helps us maintain a 98% customer satisfaction rate (based on Reevoo feedback from tens of thousands of customers), so your holiday couldn’t be in safer hands.

The Best British Dishes (and where to enjoy them!)


Fish and Chips

fish and chips

A seaside staple; no visit to the seaside is complete without a trip to the chippie to enjoy what Winston Churchill described as ‘the good companions’.

Fried fish may seem like a traditional British dish, but the idea originated come from Spanish and Portugese refugees who introduced it to the UK. The advent of the railways and trawl fishing meant that fish could be transported easily throughout the country and a trend was born!

Fish and chips are an early example of fusion food with one of the first mentions of chips coming from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities in 1859. So important are fish and chips to people of the UK that they were one of the few foods never rationed in both World Wars.

Where to enjoy: Many say you get the best fish where you can see the sea. We’d have to agree; there’s nothing like fish and chips at the seaside. Visit Devon for the best regional fish and chips – according to the 2016 National Fish & Chip Awards.

Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire puddings

A mainstay of the roast dinner, Yorkshire puddings were invented in the 18th century and originally named ‘dripping puddings’ after the fat that dropped into the pan from roasting meat.

Yorkshire puddings were a lighter variation and originally served as a first course, where diners would fill up on it so they would eat less of the more expensive meat course that followed. Today, only the most devout fan of the ‘Yorkie’ would eat one without an accompaniment of meat, potatoes and gravy – though ‘toad in the hole’ with sausages is an acceptable alternative!

The annual Grassington Festival in the Dales hosts a Yorkshire Pudding World Championships followed by a Grand Yorkshire Pudding Relay Race. If you’re after tips then the Royal Society of Chemistry attempted to define the perfect pudding when they suggested that “a Yorkshire pudding isn’t a Yorkshire pudding if it is less than four inches tall.”

Where to enjoy: The Yorkshire Dales of course!

Cornish pasty

Cornish pasty

While you can enjoy a Yorkshire pudding anywhere in the UK, today if you’re looking to enjoy a traditional Cornish pasty you need to either visit Cornwall or find one that was made there.

In 2011, Cornish pasties were awarded ‘Protected Geographical Indication’ (PGI) status by the European Union. This means that only Cornish pasties shaped like the letter ‘D’, with ingredients of beef, swede, potato and onion and prepared in Cornwall could be sold as such.

This means they can be baked elsewhere, but if you see a Cornish pasty sold in the wild outside of Cornwall it means it will have been made in the far South West corner of England. For the true authentic taste, not to mention a great reason to visit one of the UK’s most stunning locations, we’d recommend visiting Cornwall to enjoy one for yourself.

Where to enjoy: Cornwall of course!

Chicken Tikka Masala

tikka masala

Perhaps a surprising addition, but this delicious delicacy is claimed to have originated in 1970s Glasgow by chef and proprietor of the Shish Mahal restaurant Ali Ahmed Aslam.

According to a tale told to the Hairy Bikers, a Glaswegian bus driver returned his chicken curry saying it was too dry. The chef, on a diet of tomato soup due to a stomach ulcer, added some to the dish, a classic was born and the driver and his friends came back so many times that they put it on the menu!

It’s a long journey from a Glasgow curry house to Westminster, but in 2001 Robin Cook, the British Foreign Secretary, declared that chicken tikka masala is “a true British national dish, not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!

Where to enjoy: Visit Glasgow for the unlikely home of this classic curry.



Britons have the invention of baking powder to thank for the creation of the delicious  scone. One of the most refined eating experiences one could wish to enjoy, before baking powder was added scones were flat, wide as plates and baked on a griddle from unleavened oats.

Once scones could rise they were baked in the oven and the scones we know and love (and eat!) today were born. Sweet scones with cream and jam are a firm favourite, but it’s safe to say that scones are as versatile as they are delicious! Savoury, cheese and many more variations are all available for enjoying.

Where to enjoy: Scones with Devon cream in Devon are to die for!

Pork Pies

Pork Pies

The humble pie can be traced back to Egyptian times, with very basic pies being baked on hot coals. The Greeks then built upon this with the addition of pastry and meat, and this was then taken by the Romans – with the pastry ‘cover’ often thrown away instead of being eaten.

Once pies reached medieval Europe they started to resemble the pies we eat today. The pastry was baked until it was almost inedible (rumoured to have been used by the gentry to feed their servants!) but the filling was normally bird, more specifically, magpie. Hence the name!

Melton Mowbray pork pies gained popularity amongst fox hunters in the late 1700s. The crusts are hand shaped and the pies are baked free-standing, which gives them their unique shape. So unique are Melton Mowbray’s pies that they gained ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ status from the European Union. Only pies made with the specified technique and within a designated area can be labelled Melton Mowbray.

Where to enjoy: Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire is the only place to enjoy pork pie perfection.

Victoria Sponge

Victoria sponge

Rumoured to have been invented in Spain in the mid-16th Century, the common sponge was one of Queen Victoria’s favourite desserts, but with the addition of jam, cream and a light dusting of sugar on top it became the classic we know and love today.

The Victoria sponge is also cooked with extra fat, to ensure an incredibly indulgent dessert. Though the recipe is relatively straightforward, as Marry Berry will doubtless tell you, it’s all about timing and temperature to ensure a good rise and consistency. For that reason many oven manufacturers use the cake recipe to test their products!

Other British recipes named after famous people include peach melba, invented at the Savoy in London in honour of Australian opera singer Nellie Melba (the same chef also invented Melba toast – obviously a bit of a fan!). Beef Wellington was named after the Duke of Wellington, and the common sandwich was named after John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich – who reputedly demanded meat tucked between two pieces of bread from his valet, and thus, a culinary institution was born!

Where to enjoy: Queen Victoria was a great fan of the remote beauty of the Isle of Wight, so enjoying a Victoria sponge amongst the glorious green countryside and gorgeous seascapes seems like a perfect celebration of this classic cake.

Photographer of the Year: Summer Edition – The Finalists!