“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” – Samuel Johnson
Indeed. After travelling to more than 15 countries in Europe, I’m still convinced that London is the most spectacular capital of all. While I’m intrigued by every single bit of London, I’m recently obsessed with the English countryside.
Seven Sisters Country Park
At around 60 miles south of London, Seven Sisters Country Park is famed for her 280 hectares of white chalk cliffs. White cliffs are mostly found in the south-eastern coastlines of England, and Seven Sisters Country Park is one of the prominent region to enjoy panoramic views.
A hike along the white cliffs from Cuckmere Haven to Birling Gap is ideal for a sunny day-out, with numerous farms surrounding the trail. The slopes might be steep at some point, but the hike in general was enjoyable and relaxing. With sea breezes (though gusty at times) and the splendid view of the British Channel as well as the white cliffs in sight, the Country Park is also a perfect location for a family picnic.
One should bear in mind that the chalk cliffs, like chalks we use in schools, are instable and easily shattered. Every year there are instances of rock cascades in the chalk cliffs, so even an Instagram post of you standing/sitting next to the cliff edge is tempting, please refrain from doing so. Do keep a safe distance from the cliff edge when you are on the cliff or on the seashore below.
England is no stranger to medieval houses and cities, but speaking of the English countryside, the charms of typical villages in the Cotswolds are irresistible.
As the “little Venice” of Cotswolds and one of the most popular villages, Bourton-on-the-Water is a must-go, especially if you are interested in a stroll along the river side or a traditional English afternoon tea right in the middle of a medieval town.
Around 20 minutes away from Bourton-on-the-Water lies Bibury, famed as the “most beautiful village in England” and well known for her honey coloured stone cottages.
Preferably getting there by car, Peak District is less than an hour away from the regional hub of Manchester or Sheffield.
England lacks hills, and even though it’s named Peak District, the highest peak stands at only 636 metres above sea level. A visit to the Peak District therefore shows the unique landscapes not found anywhere in the middle and southern parts of England.
The region is way to large to explore solely on foot, so it is always advisable to drive. For ones who desire a casual walk, the Monsal Trail is recommended where the whole route involves almost no ascent and descent. Originally a railway route, the Monsal Trail includes a few railway tunnels, which are spectacular for cycling or simply walking.
The Winnats Pass, Castleton
If you are into valleys and secluded landscapes, the Mam Tor and Castleton region would not disappoint. With numerous natural or artificial caverns near Castleton, one could explore the caves or understand life of miners. The hill of Mam Tor also offers a dramatic circular walk, which rewards hikers with great views over the valleys and farmlands below.
Jonathan Chan, a law graduate from the University of Hong Kong, is obsessed with everything British. Because of his adventurous and peculiar way of exploring cliché and sometimes off the beaten path locales, his journeys almost always end chaotically.