Both genteel and wild, there’s nothing quite like the English countryside for rural escapes with its patchwork hills, dramatic dales, ancient woodlands and winding country roads. All well and good, but what is there to do in England’s countryside exactly? Quite a lot, actually. Admire the grand interiors of a stately home before catching a play in the surrounding gardens, travel back in time with visits to ancient stone circles and crumbling castles, or step into a chocolate box of quaint villages and market towns and live like a local, trying farmhouse cheeses, cream teas and real ales along the way.
Take a walk around Steel Rigg and Crag Lough to see how the Romans used the natural landscape to maximise the strength of the Empire's frontier.
Location: Steel Rigg, Northumberland
Discover why notorious romantic poet Lord Byron was 'mad, bad and dangerous to know', with a sumptuous stay at his former home.
Location: Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
Come and see 'Trenwith', the Poldark family home, actually 'played' by Chavenage House in Tetbury and you may spot Aiden Turner as Ross Poldark!
Location: Tetbury, Gloucestershire
Get treated like royalty at Thornbury Castle, where its opulent bedchambers, award-winning food and picturesque gardens will bring out your regal side.
Location: Thornbury, South Gloucestershire
Setting off from Kidderminster, dine in style on a steam-hauled restaurant car train, along 16 miles of Shropshire’s beautiful Severn Valley.
Location: Kidderminster, Worcestershire
Venture into the Buckinghamshire chalk caves that held the notorious Hellfire Club, founded by Sir Francis Dashwood in the 18th century.
Location: West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
Spend the day exploring the magical area in Cheshire’s Alderley Edge where Merlin and King Arthur are reputedly sleeping in enchanted repose.
Location: Alderley Edge, Cheshire
Delightful villages, dramatic views and gentle country walks – do it all by train on a ride through the delightful Esk Valley, near Whitby.
Location: Whitby, Yorkshire
A spectacular feature in the North York Moors, the Hole of Horcum near Pickering is a huge natural amphitheatre 400 feet deep and half a mile across.
Location: North York Moors, North Yorkshire
See where the author of ‘Daffodils’ was inspired to write most of his work and take a guided tour of Dove Cottage, his home.
Location: Grasmere, Cumbria