I was lucky enough to go to some very nice places last year. First Northumberland, which may be the best place, like ever, then the Cairngorms, which is also pretty peachy, and then the Isle of Wight which, while I may have been known to be rude about for comedic purposes, is actually very pretty.
My favourite part of the Isle of Wight is the bit around Brading and Bembridge, in particular the RSPB reserve and the bit of wetland by the harbour and around The Duver. It’s proper birdtastic, mate. I saw a spotted redshank and I liked it.
The Cairngorms in May are perfect for keeping parents and young children happy. You need a car, probably, because everything is spread out and behind mountains and that, but if that isn’t a problem you might want to give it a try. What’s it like? Very nice. Maybe google it or something for the details but… loads of deer, birds, mountains, trees, lochs, more birds, more trees, the nicest theme park in the world, a few more trees, a really nice cafe, some more birds, a day trip up the coast to see dolphins swimming in the sea. That sort of thing.
We went to Northumberland in February, which was great for me and the geese but perhaps not ideal for a five-year-old. It was very cold and lots of places were closed for the winter. We ended up heading into a few towns to keep Emily entertained. It’s the best place in the world though, Northumberland, all big and wild and empty.
The other amazing place I went to last year was, well, home. One of the best decisions Jo and I ever made was moving from South Manchester to North Manchester. Not that I didn’t love Didsbury (I did, I do, and I still miss the cheese shop, of course I do) but where we live now (Littleborough) balances being twenty minutes from Manchester on the train with being on the edge of the Pennines splendidly. A short walk from my doorstep and I’m on the moors. It’s not better, just different, and better.
Anyway, as a way to illustrate how beautiful it is where I live, while at the same time being careful not to persuade too many of you to move here, here is a photo I took on one of my walks.