Claire Balding, Fred Sirieix and AJ Odudu have been out filming across the country to help inspire Brits to take an autumn break, from fishing in Southwold and biking in Yorkshire to rediscovering our cultural icons in London. Developed as an exclusive ad campaign in partnership with Channel 4, the 30 second films running as a ‘Short Break’ on Channel 4 and All 4, give a flavour of all there is on offer across the country this autumn.
We’ve rounded up some top tips to follow in their footsteps and enjoy their Escape the Everyday highlights.
Eat your way around Southwold with First Dates’ Fred
Suffolk is the perfect autumn destination and for foodies the coastal town of Southwold is a great place to start. Start as you mean to go on with a trip to the Adnams Brewery, which started making beer in 1872 and is still going strong. Choose from a range of experiences – from brewery and distillery tours to the more hands-on gin making and tastings sessions. For those keen to attempt sea angling like Fred, pick up a day fishing permit from the pier (but make sure to return any catch and enjoy excellent Fish and Chips instead from the likes of The Boardwalk Restaurant). Don’t miss the chance to take to the water and immerse yourself in coastal calm on the Walberswick ferry, which runs between Southwold and Walberswick across the harbour. No trip is complete without an ice-cream in front of the colourful beach huts, whatever the weather.
‘Suffolk is such a treat, especially for foodies/gourmands like me. Southwold is so perfectly British. Fish and chips; ice-creams on the pier; the chance to get out on the water to catch your dinner and watch the world go by. Magnifique. And in such beautiful surrounds. You must visit the Adnams Brewery – there’s a distillery; tours and the chance to make your own gin even. And for the best service head to The Swan.” Fred Sirieix
Stay: Follow in Fred’s footsteps and book a night at The Swan, a contemporary hotel with a range of bright and colourful rooms each with a bottle of free Adnams gin on arrival. Or for a cosy gastro experience head to The Crown on the high street, a 14-room hotel combining history and contemporary cool serving up quality food from local ingredients.
Discover London’s icons with some help from Claire Balding
Autumn is a great time to tick off some of the bucket list in central London with the majority of museums and attractions now open again for business. Follow in Claire’s footsteps to the National Gallery – housing over 2,600 paintings spanning the mid-13th century to 1900, exhibiting arts from Monet, Turner, Van Gogh and Cezanne. With timed pre-booked free entry there’s more time to wander and marvel at these truly awe-inspiring works, plus you can enjoy great views from their restaurant overlooking Trafalgar Square. Cycling the city is a fantastic way to see the icons. For biking fans like Claire, hire a Santander Cycle (from £2 for unlimited journeys up to 30 minutes within a 24h period) and pedal your way through central London, ticking off views as you go. Combine history and shopping with a browse through the boutiques of Burlington Arcade, dating back to 1819 and home to over 40 stores. And round off the day with a drink with a view from the heated rooftop of Coq D’Argent overlooking the city skyline.
“Autumn is a wonderful time of year and a great time to get out and about. We have such wonderful countryside, coast and our cities are second to none. London never fails to surprise and delight – great art; shopping and constant views of our icons at every turn.” Claire Balding
Stay: For high-end luxe try The May Fair, a 5-star gem a stone’s throw from Green Park and shopping at Burlington Arcade. Or try Citizen M Tower of London, a great value contemporary hotel within easy reach of the city and London’s riverside attractions.
The magnificent landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales are perfect for autumn exploration and can be enjoyed whether you’re a fitness pro like AJ or after a gentler meander. To cover some ground, hire a bike from Skipton, (Dave Ferguson Cycles offers hire from £25 per day) and take to the roads, bridleways and green lanes that run throughout the area. No trip to the Dales is complete without a magnificent vista and waterfall. Don’t miss Janet’s Foss, a magical waterfall reached via a beautiful woodland walk from Malham village and complete with pool for those keen to brave a wild dip. And for the chance to see one of England’s most spectacular icons, take a hike to Malham Cove, an incredible natural amphitheatre shaped cliff with its limestone pavement atop the cove. Round off the day’s exertions with a cosy drink at The Lister Arms in Malham, voted Yorkshire’s favourite pub in 2019.
‘We have such amazing National Parks here in the UK and the Yorkshire Dales is just awe-inspiring – the perfect place to just get outdoors and breathe. There’s so many ways to explore – biking, walking or just exploring all the villages like Malham and their cosy pubs. Autumn is such a great time to visit, the waterfalls are in full swing and you can always find a pocket of the Dales just for yourself.” AJ Odudu
Stay: For a treat stay , like AJ, at the Coniston Hotel in Skipton, set on a 1400 acre Estate in the heart of the Dales. Their Autumn Affinity offer costs from £99.50 per person (based on two sharing) and including breakfast, dinner and spa session for stays until 30 November. (T&C’s apply). Or cosy up at The Lister Arms where each room is individually designed and perfect for an autumn hideaway (from £105).