It is yet another Bank Holiday weekend, hurrah! Don’t you just love it when you have something exciting to look forward to? This is the perfect time to take some time to completely relax and escape the office.
Here in the UK, we have what are called Bank Holidays. I didn’t get it at first either. What on earth are BANK HOLIDAYS?
I initially found the concept almost ludicrous as this apparently differs from public holidays, so I did some digging. These 4 days in the year were pioneered by an aristocrat baron- the eccentric Sir John Lubbock in 1871. He wasn’t only just a baron, he was also a scientific writer, banker and politician who is fabled to have studied ants and tried to teach his poodle how to read. He drafted the bill to allow all banks and financial institutions to close, but over the years this became almost a free for all and now the government, schools, and shops all jumped on the bandwagon.
It becomes confusing, as even though the UK is meant to be one entity, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England have different dates for these same bank holidays.
In any case, although I thank Sir Lubbock for these extra days to explore and galavant, I almost think he uncannily planned these to be on the likeliest days to rain for centuries to come.
However, rain or shine, Bank Holidays are always welcome. I completely relish taking time out to re-energize, so on heading back to a mountain of admin, grumbling clients, and missed deadlines, I am ready to muscle through it all humming happily to Bob Marley’s “Don’t worry about a thing”.
But what to do? There are usually loads of things to do, but I will help you to think of something different this time around – dig in and enjoy these suggestions.
Goodwood Flying School - Go Fly A Plane
Goodwood in West Sussex is one of those destinations on a Bank Holiday that will not disappoint the most sceptical or belligerent and unwilling-to- leave-the- downy-comfort-of-the-bed member of your family.
You may have to spend some time convincing them that they truly will not be bored, whilst they slump grumpily in the backseat on the ride there.
I’m not lying when I say it makes a great day out as there are activities available to suit the whims of almost everyone. The estate is lovingly kept with a glamourous English Country house on site which houses an amazing art collection and serves wonderful teas.
The three-day bank holiday weekend is usually an event on the racecourse calendar with a jam-packed itinerary.
There is golf, clay shooting, motorsport, and cycling.
The Goodwood motor circuit is also the only classic race track in the world to remain entirely in its original form. This may impress the motorheads.
For adrenaline junkies or thrill-seekers with the constant urge to feel their bellies dropping to the floor, flying here will not disappoint.
You can try to tame a Cessna, or attempt to relive the World War in a fighter plane, fly a helicopter, or do the equivalent of Bronco riding in the sky – doing maneuvers.
Play Hide and Seek in Blenheim Palace Marlborough Maze
Spending your Bank Holiday getting lost in a maze is so much fun! Escape to your childhood, running around without any cares of the world. Such an exhilarating way to escape the office!
Blenheim Palace is breathtakingly beautiful, and you can spend an entire day here without getting to see everything. I recommend you get the Annual Pass for this reason.
To make the most of your visit, hire one of the very knowledgeable guides, see an exhibit, and get the miniature train to take you to the walled gardens where you will be introduced to the gardening feat – The Maze- two miles of sheer fun.
When you are through frolicking, you can replenish your lost energy in the orangery, nibbling on scones or indulge in sumptuous afternoon tea. You can stroll along the lakeside walk, visit the Butterfly House or the Lavender Gardens.
Take a Luxury British Trainride
By the time it gets to the Bank Holiday, you may feel frazzled. One of the best ways to rejuvenate is to embark on luxury travel at its best – delving in a world beyond First Class.
Only a handful of private luxury trains remain in the world, and the Northern belle is one of them. This is a celebration of vintage luxury at its best, with lovingly restored exquisitely decorated carriages.
There are journeys for every conceivable event or celebration along scenic routes, coastal towns or cities.
It is popular, so be sure to book early.
Warner Bros Studio Tour
All Harry Potter fans and their minions rejoice! This is the perfect Bank Holiday day out to stoke fires of cultlike adoration and mania instilled by JK Rollings.
Give yourself a minimum of four hours to immerse yourself in an authentic behind the scenes experience of all the 8 films in the Harry Potter Series.
Explore Hogwart’s Great Hall, The Forbidden Forest, Gringotts and of course wander down Daigon Alley.
There is a halfway stop at the giftshop which, for the kids, would be akin to open-jawed marvelling at Hamley’s. Hold your wallet close.
Hot Air Balloon in the early morning
This pursuit is very weather dependent, so fervently pray to Zeus for his favour on this notoriously unpredictable Bank Holiday weekend.
There is a certain feeling of freedom and power being able to glide across the sky, absorbing nature as the sun rises or sets. You are at peace, totally weightless, above it all.
Flying season is from Mid-March to end of October and is perfect for spontaneous spirits as you are kept on standby until only a few hours prior to flight to ensure there are no high winds. Pilots recommend early Spring or Autumn mornings for breath-taking views.
Be sure to dress appropriately in country attire as you will be in the skies for about an hour.
Take A Boozy Day-Out To An English Vineyard With Wine Tasting
Yes, I too am pining for the vineyards of Bordeaux, Tuscany, and further afield. But one has to stay put and make the most of what is available.
Don’t be despondent, now is the time to discover the local vineyards producing award winning luscious wines. Don’t be fooled into thinking that good grapes cannot be harvested in the damp, cold, and grey climate we must endure.
There are approximately 250 working vineyards in the UK welcoming visitors, and Summer is ideal to attend winemaker led tours or self-guided walks.
There are gems aplenty locally, but I suggest finding one which is near a train station or a local hotel.
If you want to experience English wine at its best, The Terlingham Vineyard is perfect for a two-hour session. It is run by a South African family producing wines very similar to those from France’s Champagne Region due to the chalky soil they have access to.
It is only a 10minute taxi ride away from Folkestone station so take the opportunity to indulgently taste away.
Do A Photoshoot In A Lavender Field
Visit Mayfield Lavender Farm and you could be forgiven for dreaming that you are in Provence. No, this is the UK.
This family run 25-acre expanse of lavender is open to the public during blooming season from June to the August Bank Holiday Weekend of the 31st.
Breathe in the heady scent of three different varieties of lavender gently wafting through the crisp air. It makes for scenic characterful photos, either by your lonesome, or with your brood.
Be sure to stop in the shops and stock up on essential oils to help you drift off to sleep after those hectic workdays, and buy a plant or two to give your home an injection of nature.
Visit LeadenHall Market
Here’s another gem for the Harry Potter fans! Fear not though if you cannot fathom wand-wielding angsty wizards as you will not be besieged.
Leadenhall is one of the oldest markets in London and one of the first places where women were allowed to work.
It is a gorgeous place, and remains testament to very Victorian architecture, with an elegant painted glass roof and cobbled floors. Enjoy a sedate day mooching around in this beautiful, covered space, buying fresh produce, specialty cheese, cigars, perfumes, and flowers. You will not find traditional stalls here.
It is in the City of London, within the wealthiest square mile in the world. In the vicinity are the plushest hotels in Europe and the finest restaurants
If you are going to be wandering around a market on Bank Holiday, make it count. Enjoy the scenery from a wine bar and people watch.
Go Punting In a University Town- (Either Oxford or Cambridge)
Summer sunny days are the best to laze about in a punt, taking in the scenery.
A Bank Holiday can be the perfect time to while away a few hours as tours are not weather dependent.
If you take a chauffeured tour, you are bound to enjoy the anecdotes and tall tales being bandied about by the university students.
You can opt to have a picnic aboard or champagne.
How you decide to spend the hour is entirely your choice.
This reminds me of those picturesque movies with the aristocrats in top hats and their finery sipping tea leisurely along river banks no?
So there you have it! I promised this wasn’t going to be boring. But if you want to consider some debauchery to let your hair down, just let me know. There are unexplored bars, Burlesque, and private clubs to discover.
Do me a favor, will you? If you like this post please do share it and please leave me a comment below.