Another Place - Lake District

It’s time to embrace the latest trend that’s all about making your weekend break work even harder by fitting in a memorable, adventurous experience. Here are some ideas from Mr & Mrs Smith

Over half of us plan to take more weekend breaks in 2019, and with psychologists finding that quick breaks make us happier overall, who can blame us? Finding adventure needn’t mean travelling miles from home. Whether it’s a breathtaking whale-watching cruise or making neon artwork alongside a famous artist, these incredible experiences are all just a short drive from the UK’s biggest cities, making them easy to fit around your 9 to 5.

Here, we asked the travel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith for their favourite adventure filled getaways you won’t regret booking…

1. Pasta-making with the pros

Dining Room of Beaverbrook Hotel in Surrey

Where? Beaverbrook hotel, Surrey

How far? 1-hour drive or 40-minute train journey from London

Adventure score: 7/1

Always wanted to try a farm-to-table cookery course? The School of Cookery, based in the gorgeous Garden House at Beaverbrook hotel, is luxuriously intimate and you can choose from masterclasses on pasta to sushi-making, led by the resident chefs. Part of the adventure is learning about the hotel’s locally sourced food, which is just yards from the kitchens.

2. Master the art of SUP-ing at the lakes

Woman Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Lake District

Where? Another Place, Lake District

How far? 1 hour 50-minute drive or 2-hour train journey from Manchester

Adventure score: 9/10

This family hotel is made for days spent out on the water. Wild swimming? Try the Swim Club spa, which offers expert sessions on perfecting your stroke in the open water. Kayaking? The hotel is right on the shores of the inky Ullswater (the second-largest lake in the Lake District). Or perhaps stand up-paddle boarding (SUP)? Have a go at the latest water-sports trend with your own private instructor.

3. Get creative with modern neon art

Dining Area of Artist Residence Hotel in Brighton

Where? Artist Residence hotel, Brighton

How far? 1 hour 40-minute drive or 50-minute train journey from London

Adventure score: 7/10

If you’re looking to get crafty, this quirky boutique hotel is hosting neon workshops with local artist Andy Doig. Learn how to create your piece of neon art with one of the best in the industry and continue the adventure by stepping out into the nearby historic Lanes for vintage clothes and rare vinyl-hunting.

4. Take a private fly-fishing lesson (then eat your catch for supper)

Patio and room of Lime Wood hotel in Hampshire

Where? Lime Wood hotel, Hampshire

How far? 25-minute drive from Southampton or 40-minute drive from Bournemouth

Adventure score: 8/10

No longer an archaic country pursuit, fishing can be fun for anyone. Just a short cast away from the rivers Test, Itchen and Avon, at Lime Wood you can try exclusive fly-fishing lessons with expert Howard Taylor. Then venture back to your riverside room for a bath on your balcony.

5. Lose yourself in Irish abbeys and castles

 Bellinter House bedroom

Where? Bellinter House, Navan

How far? 45-minute drive from Dublin

Adventure score: 9/10

Want to try your hand at a range of outdoor activities? This hotel can set up everything from clay-pigeon shooting to visits to amazing equestrian centres. Plus, it’s well placed for spending hours navigating the historical sites along the Boyne Valley, including Mellifont Abbey and Trim Castle – the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. Adventure found.

6. Take bracing seaside walks (with local food)

Aberaeron Harbour at sunset

Where? Harbourmaster Hotel, Aberaeron

How far? 2-hour drive from Cardiff

Adventure score: 7/10

Cardigan Bay is one of the most beautiful spots in the UK, and this fishing village also has a vibrant seaside scene to explore. Go rock-pooling just yards from the front door of the Harbourmaster Hotel, or tick off Welsh culinary favourites – from Snowdonia cheddar to fresh Cardigan Bay crab.

7. Take a marine cruise to see whales and dolphins

Pool House in Wester Ross

Where? Pool House, Wester Ross

How far? 4-hour drive from Aberdeen

Adventure score: 10/10

When you’re booking into this stunning Highland hotel, ask for a guided marine cruise from Gairloch and you won’t regret it. Minke whales, dolphins, porpoise and seals all call the loch home, or try your hand at catching lobster or langoustines on a local fishing boat for the ultimate sense of accomplishment.

8. Go riding in the wild moors

Horseback riding on Liberty Trails in Dartmoor

 Where? Bovey Castle, Devon

How far? 40-minute drive from Exeter

Adventure score: 9/10

Dartmoor National Park is the ultimate place for a hilltop hack and this castle hotel has links with some of the best riding schools to get you there. There’s also a deer park and special outdoor survival classes, including campfire and shelter-building, to bring out your wild side.

9.Take in cliff-side (and pool-side) views in the sunshine

Pool and sunloungers at North House in Cowes

Where? North House, Cowes

How far? 1-hour ferry from Southampton

Adventure score: 7/10

The Isle of Wight averages 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, so there’s a good chance of sun even during the colder months. Hike to Sandown Beach for rewarding views of the white limestone cliffs up the coast, before taking the adventure back to North House’s heated pool for a few lengths and a poolside drink.

Don’t forget that Vitality members can benefit from up to 25% off Mr & Mrs Smith hotel bookings. Visit the Member Zone to book your trip.

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