The UK’s Best Sand Dunes

sand dune

The UK coastline contains many more delights than soft white sand and beautiful blue seas. The sand dunes that often play backdrop to the coastline are most impressive in stature, rising high above the sea line and containing some fantastic wildlife and plantations. Due to this, it is widely known and accepted that the special habitats of the sand dunes of the UK must be fiercely protected.

For example, Braunton Burrows in Devon is an absolute haven for wild flowers. The huge site is home to over 400 species of flowers, so it’s little surprise that Braunton Burrows has been listed as a UNESCO biosphere site; ranked as important and significant for wildlife and the surrounding ecosystem as Mount Vesuvius! However, the fragility of the area does not mean that it cannot be enjoyed by the public. The land is open to all comers and many activities take place on Braunton Burrows, including orienteering and bird watching. A level of respect for the dunes is naturally expected by those who look after the site. It is this continued level of respect that allows visitors to enjoy the spectacular beauty of the sand dunes in this area, often rising to as high as 20 metres above the ground. This and other sites around the UK are perfect for a family day out; a stroll amongst the sand dunes can be an eye opening and educating experience, perfectly followed and complimented by a relaxing day on a nearby beach.

The UK is littered with beautiful sand dune terrain, perfect for exploration and relaxation. Forested sand dunes are particularly pleasant, with the forest of Roseisle, near Elgin in Scotland, being a specific example. A beautifully clean forest floor is covered only with a scattering of pine needles from the fragrant trees above. A stroll amongst the sand dunes in the serene pine forest, with only the fantastic scent of pine to accompany you, is a hugely refreshing experience, which can also be experienced in many others parts of the UK.

Sand dunes are also a superb place to spot some of the UK’s rarest wildlife. Amongst any set of dunes in the UK you are guaranteed to see a wide variety of birds, from Skylarks to Ringed Plovers. If you are lucky, you may even see a Kestrel, or in the dunes of Scotland, a Red Kite hovering in the sky above! Also, the varied plantations and habitats make a perfect home for a variety of animals of the dune floor; many sand dune areas in the UK contain Sand Lizards and even some snakes!

Next time you plan your coastal holiday, don’t just head straight for the obvious sandy beach. Why not take into account the fantastic sand dunes that accompany many of Britain’s beaches? Take the time to explore and immerse yourself in the peace of the dunes. Furthermore, take the opportunity to appreciate some of the finest and rarest wildlife that the UK has to offer, often exclusively found in the special habitat of these sand dunes.

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Alternative London – Top 10 odd places to visit in the UK capital

There’s much more to London than Big Ben, the Eye and red telephone booths. When you visit this historic city, you don’t have to stick to the tourist path – instead, you can have a unique experience filled with activities that actually interest you. Most tourists overlook the following ten secret spots when they visit London, but you don’t have to be one of them. Get out, explore and make your London experience so much more than a sightseeing yawn.

The Experimental Cocktail Club

 This chic cocktail bar is located right in the middle of the tourist bustle on Gerard Street, but most tourists overlook it. Once you enter, you are treated to plush décor that incorporates antique ornaments and modern sophistication. These guys are cocktail experts, and you will not be disappointed with the concoctions they serve you.

Eltham Palace

The perfect place to relax

 After a night of cocktails and partying, you’ll want to relax and recover, and there is no better place to do this than at Eltham Palace. Situated in South London, Eltham is a good alternative to the busy parks of central London. If you are fortunate enough to visit in the summer, you will be treated to a mesmeric display of colourful flowers.

Grant Museum of Zoology

Amazing animal specimens

Founded in 1828, Grant Museum has accumulated around 67,000 animal specimens, including various extinct creatures like the quagga and the dodo. It is London’s only university zoological museum, and you will be hard-pressed to find a more impressive collection of animal artefacts anywhere in the world.

Courtauld Gallery

It’s remarkable how quiet this museum is given that it is home to paintings by Botticelli, Monet and Goya. When you visit this museum, you will normally share the galleries with students who are enrolled at the French, Italian and Spanish courses London schools offer. Today, students seem to be the only people interested in the lesser-known museums of London.

Pizza Express Jazz Club

Great live gigs

If you’re into intimate acoustic gigs, then this is the place for you. This small basement venue hosts the brightest talents in jazz and folk, and it has provided some great exposure for lesser-known artists like Jennifer Moore and Jack Savoretti. Be sure to book your tickets well in advance, because they sell out quickly.

The Women’s Library

The women’s library was established in 1926, and today it houses a broad collection of literature contributed by women around the world. This museum isn’t about feminism as much as it is about celebrating the difference that women have made to the way we think.

Secret Cinema

When you buy a ticket for the Secret Cinema, you will have no idea what you’re paying for, because the content of the show is kept secret. Before the event you will be emailed as if you are a character in the film, and the producers will encourage you to dress in theme. Secret Cinema has reinvented cinema to make it an interactive experience that straddles the thin line between reality and fiction.

Charles Dickens Museum

The townhouse where Dickens lived from 1837-1839 is easy to miss, because there isn’t much that distinguishes it from the neighbouring homes. If you do manage to find this little time-capsule, you will be treated to a four-storey home decorated as it would have been when Dickens lived there. Literary aficionados will find this place particularly intriguing, because some rare editions of Dickens’ work are stored there.

Hunterian Museum

The Hunterian Museum contains a collection of medical specimens ranging from Winston Churchill’s dentures to the pickled organs of soldiers who fought in the Battle of Waterloo. Don’t worry if you’re squeamish, because this isn’t a gross-out museum – it’s a stylish establishment for curious minds.

Language Schools

If you’ve enjoyed your time in London and you want to stay for a while longer, then you should consider studying a language in the city. You don’t have to study English – there is a broad range of foreign languages offered at the schools throughout the UK. According to the language school UIC French in London is always a popular option, because of the UK’s close proximity to France. The longer you stay, the more you’ll be able to explore the unknown parts of London.

Uncover London’s Lesser Known Travel Gems

Courtauld Gallery
Courtauld Gallery

London is undoubtedly one of the most famous tourist cities in the world. With famous attractions such as Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, renowned London hotels such as The Dorchester and The Savoy and world-celebrated restaurants such as Le Gavroche and The Ivy, the city is home to some of the most iconic tourist venues around today.

While these things are all recognised symbols of London, there are other lesser-known alternatives which are no less enthralling however.

Here, we look at 5 London attractions that perhaps aren’t held in the same esteem as some of the more notorious tourist London venues. Whilst they may not be as well-known, anyone visiting London for their 2011 holidays should be sure to check them out.

Courtauld Gallery

The Courtauld Gallery in the Strand is located in the 18th century Somerset House and its permanent collection offers visitors the chance to see a wide range of paintings.

With works dating from the early renaissance right through to the 20th century on display, a trip here could allow you to see pieces by master artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

There are also a number of temporary exhibitions, as well as lectures and other one-off events, so there is always bound to be something new for you to take in with each visit.

The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Arts

If you’re keen to see pieces by contemporary – rather than classic- Italian artists you may want to take a trip to north London.

The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art is the only museum in the UK that is entirely devoted to modern Italian art, so a trip here means you can see iconic pieces by Milanese painters Carlo Carra and Umberto Boccioni.

Giorgio de Chirico and Amedeo Modigliani are also among the artists whose work is on display at the Estorick Collection.

After you’ve had your fill of the exhibits, stop by the cafe for a drink and bite to eat, before purchasing some souvenirs in the gift shop.

If you plan on visiting the museum which is open every day between Wednesdays and Sundays, by tube you will need to get off at the Highbury and Islington stop on the Victoria Line.

Geffrye Museum

For an insight into British culture, you may wish to visit Shoreditch. This part of London is home to the Geffrye Museum, which focuses on the development of interior design from the 1600s right through to modern day.

Located in an 18th century almshouse, the museum contains a number of period rooms which have been decorated to replicate design trends popular among the middle classes through various stages of history.

While entrance to the period rooms and gardens is free, you will need to pay for admission into the museum’s special exhibitions.

Gordon’s Wine Bar

Visiting London’s numerous museums can lead to working up quite a thirst. If that is the case, an option to quench that thirst is Gordon’s Wine Bar.

The Villiers Street establishment, close to the Embankment tube station, is thought to be oldest in London, so a trip here you could provide an illuminating insight into the city’s past.

While the bar itself was established in 1890, the building’s history dates back even further. In the 1680s it was the home of naval administrator Samuel Pepys.

Old Truman Brewery

Shopaholics will not be short of places to splash their cash in London, but if you’re looking for unique designer clothing head to the Old Truman Brewery near Brick Lane.

Each Sunday it hosts UpMarket, where fashion, crafts and a wide range of other goods are sold across 140 stalls. You can also buy handmade jewellery, often directly from the person who has made it!

There are also a number of market food stalls which sell a range of cuisines from across the world, ranging from paella to sushi.

London is home to so many hidden hotspots, you are sure to have fun uncovering everything that the capital has to offer.

3 Most Notable People from Liverpool

Liverpool
Image by Friar's Balsam

Liverpool is one of the top tourist attractions in the UK. It is also a city of inventions and innovation, it’s a fact. From top music hits to revolutionary docking systems people from the city have envisaged many of the most innovative things in the world. I often wonder if there is something in the air here in Liverpool that makes people so creative and inventive but naturally, I have no answer to that. What’s certain is that this city has given us some of the most notable people in the world and I would like to present my personal top 3.

John Lennon – the famous founding member of the Beatles, one of the most popular rock bands in the world. John was born in the Oxford Street Maternity Hospital during the famous air raids on Liverpool on the 9th of October 1940. Certainly growing up in a disfunctional family, without a father, and with a mother who often couldn’t handle raising a son he was eventually handed over to be raised by his aunt, an event that most certainly put a mark on his emotional development, which was also mirrored in many of his songs and actions. Together with Paul McCartney he formed one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of the 20th century, his political actions become a symbol for many people fighting for their rights, his anti war activism became an example for many and his songs were used as protest songs during the Vietnam War protests in America. John Lennon was murdered in 1980 as he was walking out of his New York apartment. In 2002 he was posthumously voted eight in the ranking of 100 most influential Britons.

Frank Hornby – a famous bookkeeper turned kids toys inventor and producer. Visionary in toy development, Hornby is most known for his line of Meccano and Hornby Trains. Strangely enough, prior to creating his inventions, Hornby had no previous engineering experience at all. He started creating toys for his sons from 1899 which led to his famous Meccano patent for interchangeable parts for toys. This single invention made him a millionaire. Eventually he moved on to politics and become a Conservative MP, an office he held until 1935.

Tom Baker – an eccentric actor who portrayed Dr. Who from 1974 to 1981. Baker left school at the age of 15 to become a Roman Catholic Monk and left the order 6 years later after losing his faith and did his National Service in the Medical Corps while taking up acting as a hobby. His most famous role is that of Dr. Who which he took over from John Pertwee. Baker remained in the show for the next 7 years.

There are thousands more Liverpudlians who made their mark on this world and one thing is for sure, Liverpool is a magical city that everyone should visit, even if only to discover why there are so many great people originating from the city.

Thomas is a writer, traveler and a mad Beatles fan. He works for apartments in Liverpool provider and writer manically about his city, its culture and heritage.

Charting a Course Through London’s Maritime History

Sources indicate that Sir Walter Raleigh, speaking at the Court of Queen Elizabeth I, exclaimed “There are two things scarce matched in the Universe – the sun in heaven and the Thames on earth!” This is as true now as it was in the 16th Century, as the Thames continues to play a pivotal role in the history of the Capital. From its early days providing water to irrigate crops through to its current iconic status as a busy shipping route, tourist attraction and symbol of the nation’s impressive past and thriving present, the Thames is fundamental to every aspect of the City’s rich maritime history.

London_Maritime museum

Flanking the Thames on either side are many famous buildings and impressive landmarks, which together give a colourful picture of city life through the ages. Buildings such as the Palace of Westminster are clearly visible from the water. A gentle stroll beside the water, followed by a traditional English afternoon tea at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill makes a relaxing and pleasant itinerary. Alternatively, most hotels in London will be able to recommend a suitable boat tour or mini-cruise along the Thames, during which the knowledgeable crew give a highly informative and entertaining commentary.

Recognition of many of the UK’s finest naval achievements is recorded by the Thames; Nelson’s column was raised to commemorate the death of Britain’s arguably most famous naval commander. Today, Admiralty Arch marks the location of the Royal Navy headquarters. The Royal Maritime Museum at Greenwich offers a fascinating insight into the rich maritime tradition of the nation. Currently exhibiting there is an entertaining presentation of naval caricature during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, entitled “Broadsides”.

If you want to find out more about nautical trade, then there is a wealth of attractions on offer. The Cutty Sark, moored at Greenwich, is a beautifully restored tea clipper, which completed several hazardous voyages from London round the Cape of Good Hope to China, before racing home, endeavouring to arrive back faster than its competitors in order to secure the highest price for its cargo of tea. The East End of the City was an area which for centuries was the Capital’s key location for ship yards and docks. The Museum of London Docklands charts this history in compelling detail, bringing to life the triumphs and tragedies of one of London’s most notorious areas.

Consideration of maritime history would not be complete without a look at the “bad guys” of nautical bygone times; pirates were a continuous and worrying problem for merchant shipping and the nation devoted significant resources to ensuring their capture, trial and execution if found guilty. It is still possible to visit Execution Dock, on the north bank of the Thames at Wapping, where infamous pirates such as Captain Kidd and James Lowry met their grisly end. Ironically, today, the Marine Policing Unit (MPU), responsible for policing the Thames, is located at Wapping police station, within sight of Execution Dock.

The Capital’s diverse and thrilling maritime history provides a spectacular backdrop to life in England through time. People of all ages will be amazed and enthralled by the events which have shaped a nation, all connected to its shipping. The dazzling flotilla which sailed down the Thames in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 bears testament to the importance of marine activity to what has always been a splendid seafaring country.

Visiting Beautiful Cornwall this Summer?

Cornwall is one of the most beautiful locations in Europe and one of the most popular U.K holiday destinations, due namely to its coastal towns and relationship with the sea. Statistically the retention rates (people who return to Cornwall, year on year) are high, so why do these visitors, our guests return year on year? What keeps them coming back for more?

Living in Cornwall most of my childhood, moving away for several years and returning during my twenties, I’ve experienced the best and worst of Cornwall – the ups and the downs of rural living in comparison to urban lifestyles.

Cornwall travel
Image by jungle mama

In my opinion people keep coming back here to Cornwall for these core reasons:

Rural lifestyle

A chance to kick back from city dwelling, the hustle and bustle of city life – Cornwall too me is a place that will hopefully not change anytime soon.

Increased investment in infrastructure

It is worth mentioning that over time I’ve noticed that there has been an investment into tourism through local government and European funding. All of this has meant a substantial move towards better infrastructure such as a County airport in Newquay and a dual carriageway most of the way through Cornwall (still no motorway though). So while it’s not as connected as well as most cities, it is connected well enough not to be in the dark ages.

High standards

Standards of accommodation and attractions have kept high, with many properties and land converted into amenities for holiday makers, there are so many properties in Cornwall that cater now for literally every pocket from campsite accommodations including lodges, tents and campervans to self-catering boutique cottages to fancy hotels, the choice is yours. Personally I’ve had all of these types of holidays and the best times have been camping and caravanning around Cornwall in some of the most remote parts of Cornwall. High quality unique attractions have sprung up, left, right and centre which brings people here on their own merit just one example is the Eden Project in the St Austell direction.

Friendly people

The Cornish people are so inviting and welcome visitors with open arms; it’s friendlier than many urban lifestyles. Not to say that a friendship can’t be gained in a city – more that they are initially friendlier. Probably as life is just generally more relaxed down in this quaint part of the South West?

Weather

Being the most southerly county in the United Kingdom has its benefits, in that Cornwall typically gets better weather conditions than most of the UK. Combining the good weather conditions with proximity to the sea and great sandy beaches and i think you will agree you have the makings of a great seaside holiday.

This guest article was written by Isaac Bullen who writes for a number of Cornish business including Campers in Cornwall a business who provide VW Campervan Hire Cornwall, for your next holiday why not look at Campervan Hire in Cornwall?

Active Pursuits to Undertake in London

It might be one of the biggest cities in the world, but there’s far more to London than high tea at Harrods and the London Eye, and the city offers plenty of opportunity to get into the great outdoors and get some exercise too. See the city from a different angle with our favourite active pursuits to undertake in London.

Active Pursuits to Undertake in London
Active Pursuits to Undertake in LondonsunnyUK / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Walk

London is the cultural heart of the UK and just getting to and from the myriad art galleries and historic buildings can be an event in itself. You could always hop on one of the city’s famous double-decker buses, but letting your feet take you there is great fun and can save you money too. You can pick up a self-guided walking map to take you from Westminster Abbey to St. Paul’s Cathedral and the various palaces or check out one of the many walking tours available. For a more alternative view of the city try the Harry Potter, Beatles or Jack the Ripper walks as well as London pub walks.

Dance

You’re never far away from a great club in London and they play everything from Indian Bhangra to indie rock. Get down to some of London’s hottest clubs and work up a sweat as you dance the night away. Even ballroom dancing can burn more than 200 calories an hour! Check out the city guides available at your hotel for more information.

Bicycle

London is a huge city, and if you don’t fancy seeing it all on foot then bikes are a great alternative. You could rent one and plan your own tour or join the London Bicycle Tour Company for night tours, West-End tours of famous sites such as Big Ben and Hyde Park, and an Olympics tour covering the 2012 sporting venues. Experience life as an ‘urban cyclist’ and join the locals at one of their regular “critical mass” events where cyclists gather to demonstrate their strength in numbers.

Olympic Park

2012 saw the UK go wild for the London Olympics and since then its sporting scene has enjoyed a real boost. The venues that once hosted some of the world’s greatest athletes and sports stars are now largely open to the public for viewing and sports events. There are also plenty of exhibitions and chances to take part in amateur events, whatever sport you’re interested in. Rent a vehicle to get there if you can’t face the public transport.

Rollerblading in Battersea Park

Offering beautiful views of the Thames, an art gallery by the lake and a children’s zoo, Battersea Park is a fascinating place. But instead of seeing it all on foot or bike, get your skates on and try an eight-wheeled view instead. There’s a free group skate every dry Saturday at 10.30am, starting at the Japanese Peace Pagoda. With no hills or traffic, it’s suitable for children and beginners.

Whale and Dolphin Watching Around Britain

The waters around the UK are not the first places people think of when whale watching is mentioned, but many visitors to England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales miss out on the wonderful wildlife experiences that are available in and around the British Isles. There are actually some wonderful places to see dolphins, whales, seals, and spectacular basking sharks. Blue Whales have even been spotted in the Irish Sea.

Dolphin Watching
Image by i am a mermaid princess (http://www.flickr.com/photos/hanah_an/)

Wales is home to green hills, craggy mountains, and a spectacular coastline. The Pembrokeshire coast was one of the first places in Britain to be recognised and protected as a National Park, and it’s worth it. The seabirds flock in incredible numbers and dolphins can often be seen just off St David’s Head. Walk the Pembrokeshire Coast path in summer and you might even see fin whales. A little further in Cardigan Bay, you’ll find some of the best surfing in Britain and a resident population of more than 120 inquisitive, playful bottlenose dolphins.

Dorset and Cornwall are in the south-west, a few hours from London, Bristol, and the big cities of southern England. They have the what may be the bluest seas anywhere around the UK, some of the most spectacular sea-cliffs, and offer what must be one of the best chances of seeing large marine animals in Western Europe. Common dolphins can often be seen from the shore, and so can basking sharks (not at all dangerous, but up to 40ft long), minke whales, pilot whales, and even killer whales.

You can either wander the cliff-top paths and the beaches or take a special whale and dolphin spotting boat cruise. They is no shortage of tours so you won’t have trouble finding a boat to take you out, and the locals will know just where the animals are likely to be. Alternatively, you can take the ferry out to the Isles of Scilly or Bilbao in Spain. Travellers often get to see whales and dolphins on these routes.

Scotland holds the wildest and most untouched places in Britain. The Shetland Islands and the Isle of Mull are particularly good for whale watching. Minke whales and killer whales are the most common, and the Isles are certainly the place to go if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of London, Manchester, and Edinburgh. For solitude, sea, and wildlife they are unrivalled.

Whether you live in the UK or just visit from time to time, it’s worth taking a few days and getting to know marine life that lives around the country. Most first time whale and dolphin spotters are shocked to find such well-kept secrets dotted around our coast.

Jess Spate lives in Cardiff on the southern coast of Wales. She works as a travel writer and for Timeshare Attorney, a group of lawyers and paralegal professionals who specialise in timeshare sales.

Staying Busy in Beautiful Bournemouth

Bournemouth Balloon
Bournemouth Balloon

Historically one of the United Kingdom’s most important seaside town, Bournemouth is an enchanting resort that has experienced a recent revival. In the past, the city has been touted as ‘a Mediterranean resort on the English Channel’. Well, Bournemouth doesn’t have the climate or the turquoise waters to match a Mediterranean coast township, but it does have a nice sandy shoreline and a relaxed atmosphere.

Bournemouth originated as a spa resort in 1885, with many residents of southern England flocking to the coastal town for its healthy sea water, clean air and laid-back ambience. Today, hundreds of thousands of travellers visit this magnificent city, especially during the warmth of summer. Surfers and students alike have turned this ‘retirement settlement’ into more of a bohemian culture paradise.

There is an international airport serving the city, but flying to Bournemouth is only one of the many ways tourists can conveniently travel to this southern English town. From London, take the M27 to the southwestern region of England and then follow the signs to Bournemouth, if driving. The summer months see the operation of many train routes to the city, including direct trains from London Waterloo.

Getting around the city is best done on foot, although taxis are a viable means of transport for travellers who plan to stay centrally. The centre of the city is known as the Square, from where the main landmarks can be explored on foot.

Accommodation is abundant in the city. However, it is best to make reservations for a Bournemouth hotel before holidaying here. The town developed as a tourist settlement in the 19th century, which is why so many hotels can be found here. Some of these establishments may seem a little outdated, but there are modern accommodation options, too.

The city has a variety of options to keep visitors entertained while holidaying here. Undoubtedly, the number one feature of Bournemouth is its seven miles of beaches. Visitors can head straight to the pier that sits in the middle of Bournemouth’s beaches or hit the shoreline for bathing or sun-baking. The pier has a number of diversions, including retail shops and an arcade.

The Bournemouth Oceanarium is a must-visit, while the Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum boasts a tremendous array of Japanese-influenced exhibitions and artwork. Don’t forget to take an hour to explore St Peter’s Church, which is where famous author Mary Shelly is buried.

When it comes to activities, there are plenty of them on offer in Bournemouth. See the sites of the city all at once from a bird’s eye view by visiting the Bournemouth Eye. This tethered balloon feature is popular among tourists. Every August, the Bournemouth Air Festival takes place, and the Bourne Free gay and lesbian pride parade in early July attracts thousands of participants and spectators alike each year.

There are interesting places to go for a drink after the sun goes down in Bournemouth. However, don’t be surprised when a drinking session with friends is interrupted by a stag or hen party, with these parties having become frequent occurrences in the city over the last decade. If running into such groups doesn’t sound appealing, avoid Boscombe High Street after dark and check your hotel’s policy on accommodating these party-goers.

John is a travel writer and runs Bournemouth Hotels Online and Holidays in the UK

Hiking the South Downs

Hiking the South Downs
Hiking the South Downs

Stretching from Winchester to Eastbourne, the South Downs Way is 160km long, clearly signposted, and offers the opportunity to see some beautiful unspoilt countryside without having to travel too far from major cities or access points. Popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders, it is an easily accessible route, ideal for either long hikes or short walks.

If you are planning to hike the length of the South Downs, you will need to plan carefully. It is important to have the right clothing and footwear for the time of year, and it is an extremely good idea to pre-book accommodation en-route. You should also make sure that you have sufficient food, water, and other essentials with you. A map would be useful, but the route is well signposted.

A reasonably fit person should be able to walk the whole length of the South Downs Way in 6-9 days. You will need to walk a little extra each day off the trail to reach your accommodation, so allow for a few km extra each day when you are planning your trip.

Planning the trip

Once you’ve worked out how long you think you’ll take to walk the South Downs Way, you need to decide when to go. The best months are May, June and September. The weather is usually reasonable, with the caveat that British weather can be unpredictable, and it isn’t too busy.

There are number of leaflets and books available to download for free, or to order – It is definitely worth reading some of the guides before you start your trip.

Accommodation should be pre-booked, especially during the school holidays and at weekends. There is a variety of accommodation types available, including hotels, B&Bs and campsites.

If you do not want to plan everything yourself there are a number of companies who offer walking holidays which include the South Downs. These would typically include accommodation, breakfast, and occasionally other meals. They would also transport any luggage between hotels. This can be a great alternative if you are on your own and would like to walk with other people.

What to see

From the historic city of Winchester to the chalk cliffs of Beachy Head, passing through downland and past quaint villages, this route is a haven for wildlife, both animal and plant life. It is worth getting a trail guide so you know what to look for.

If you want to spend time walking in unspoilt countryside, and see some of the best open countryside that England has to offer, then taking time out from a busy life to walk the South Downs Way is definitely worthwhile.

Jane is a travel writer and blogger. She also writes about small businesses and personal finance covering everything from credit cards to umbrella companies .