A New year, a new you

Posted on: 26 December 2017 by 50connect editorial

As we wave goodbye to turkey-guzzling and bubbly poppin’, it’s a time to recharge and de-sin before new adventures begin.

VisitEngland round ups the ways in which we can stick to those New Year’s resolutions, as the year ahead shines bright and fresh.

Cheddar Gorge

Find courage and conquer your greatest fear

Can’t think of anything worse than falling face-down deep inside a cave? Turn that fear into thrills by signing up to the Black Cat Free Fall at Cheddar Gorge & Caves, which opened earlier this year and is the first of its kind in any UK cave (Adults £22, Children £20). New for 2018, The Bear Grylls Adventure at Birmingham NEC is a great way to channel your inner strength with a series of adventure activities designed to test self-belief and physical and mental agility. Challenges will include conquering small spaces, indoor skydiving and the highest free-roam high ropes in Europe. Those who prefer feet safely on the ground, meet some fluffy friends at Longleat (Wiltshire) for its animal experiences, as rangers arrange a personal introduction where you can hold a tarantula, or let a snake slither across your shoulders (free with a valid Day Ticket or Annual pass).

Enjoy more ‘you time’

Indulge yourself with a spa break at HarSPA, the newly opened Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa. From a crystal steam room to hydrotherapy pool and massages, the new spa offers all the facilities for a perfect moment of relaxation. After a busy day, enjoy a facial massage or a hot stone back massage (treatment prices start at £45). Or, head to Cornwall for the Clearing Spa which offers a range of relaxation, beauty, health and treatment options in both a tranquil indoor and outdoor environment, set on a backdrop of 43 acres of natural parkland in St Austell. If you need some fizz in your life, embark on the Fizz and Fells tour with Happy Days, which takes you through some of the most beautiful country lanes and lake side roads in The Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks (£75 per person).

Salisbury Plain

Get spiritualised 

With meditating emojis taking over our digital lives, find your zen in the real world with health and wellbeing retreats at Chilston Park Hotel in Kent. From New Beginnings and Restoring You courses to Couple’s Mindfulness, free your mind from the stresses of 2017 (£375 per person double/twin occupancy and £450 per person single occupancy). Or get back in the saddle as horse riding has been billed as the latest fitness trend to aid mindfulness. The new Salisbury Plain Horse Back Safaris take in the dramatic landscapes and picturesque villages surrounding Stonehenge and the Plain, as well as Europe’s largest chalk grassland while on horseback (£75).

Create your own sunshine and get eco-friendly

THE PIG in Hampshire introduced in November a Forest Hut, a ‘little brother’ to the eco-friendly and totally individual Bert’s Box which is nestled among the trees near the hotel’s garden cottage. Alongside all the clever eco features, the unit has its own state of the art AV and lighting system as well as its own hot water and heating supply (until March 2018, a room midweek costs £255 per night and weekends £290 per room per night at weekends). Or, have a Tiny Homes Holiday where the concept is to downsizing your space as an ethical way to take a break. The development utilises many eco-friendly measures – including solar power, composting toilets, wood burning stoves and water recycling. Also on site is The Studio, a multi-purpose hub with free Wi-Fi and a lively programme of talks, experiences and workshops, from yoga and pilates to bread-making and clothing upcycling. Prices for a three night stay around the weekend start at £290.

Let your creativity flow and learn a new skill

The hills are alive on the Isle of Wight and the sounds of your song can run through them, learn to hit those high notes with the Joy of Singing Weekend (16-18 Feb, £90). Free your voice, increase your confidence, enjoy self-expression and ignite your creativity. If your voice is best kept for the shower, stimulate your mind with a programme of short art courses, workshops and life drawing classes with St Ives School of Painting, held in atmospheric Cornish studios looking out over the Atlantic Ocean (Prices range from £165-£465). If in London, the V&A Museum also offers a range of various artistic workshops from gouache portraits to polaroid photography techniques. Participants will be able to explore and develop new skills and learn from experts in a creative environment (Prices range from £18-£400).


Get your heart racing and feet running 

What better way to burn off those Christmas calories than in the great outdoors across glorious National Trust routes. Longshaw will be hosting a Night Run event (3 Feb) with 3/7km options – just don’t forget your head torch! (Adventurer £14, Explorer £7). Or, take on Clumber Park’s Night Run challenge in Nottinghamshire (27 Jan) where you can explore parkland and woods where dukes and duchesses once roamed – not to mention the legendary Robin Hood (Adventurer £14, Explorer £7). Boasting magnificent views over the city of Bath, the six-mile Bath Skyline route is like wandering through history, passing an Iron Age hill fort and an 18th-century folly (free event but requires registration beforehand).

Work off those mince pies

Get in shape with a two-night electric-bike sightseeing package on the Isle of Wight, offering a great way to get exercise in the fresh air but the extra help from the electric motor (from £139 per person, includes accommodation and breakfast). Yoga classes on the water are a great way to challenge your body’s balance and restore inner peace. For “Yogis” looking for a challenge, why not perfect your balance whilst practising your downwards dog at with a paddle board yoga session in Bristol. SUP Bristol offers introductory and intermediate sessions from £35 per person.

For more information, head to Visit England 

*Images provided by Visit Britain

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