Championed by The Prince's Countryside Fund, National Countryside Week (22-28 July) aims to raise awareness of the importance of the countryside to the UK, as well as recognise those individuals who work tirelessly to maintain and promote rural Britain. In celebration, Country Homes & Interiors share 6 of the best views from around the UK; whether it be a family picnic, bike ride or leisurely amble, be inspired to head outdoors this week and make the most of our treasured scenic surroundings...
The Sound of Iona may only be a mile from the tip of Mull, but it feels like a world away. It's illuminated year round by the most magical light, which comes down in shafts on the translucent Mediterranean-blue waters. ‘Iona is a deeply moving and spiritual place with an incredible history'; says author and Coast presenter Tessa Dunlop, ‘in summer there are some amazing walks in the south of the island, around St Columba's Bay'.
Surrounded by woods in the Sussex Weald, this Jacobean house provided a sanctuary for favourite children's author Rudyard Kipling. Chef and writer Silvena Rowe loves the view from his book-lined study: ‘I can imagine him sitting at his desk, gazing out over the stunning countryside that so inspired him. The view from here into the gardens is really special, probably at its best in spring when the first blooms start to break through the winter landscape'.
Artist Michael Angove's designs are inspired by views of Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire: ‘my studio is a painted log cabin with a vaulted ceiling. Having the doors stretched open in summer with this scene beyond is heavenly. Seeing the sun move across the sky makes me feel more connected to the day's work'.
‘The Pool House in Wester Ross is the last and most remote location my husband James and I visited on our search for hotels', says Co-founder of the Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Guide Tamara Heber-Percy; ‘it stands on the shores of Loch Ewe, which opens to the blue North Atlantic. It's beautiful and so still – there are herons, sea otters and porpoises, too.'
Restaurateur and seafood champion Mitch Tonks loves walking his dog at Berry Head in Devon. ‘The view west towards Dartmouth and Steer Point is stunning. On clear days I can also see east to Portland, Lyme Bay and Torquay. Sometimes on my walks I try to keep my mind empty, and just take in the wonderful sights and smells. Life is hectic and I'm always surrounded by people, which I thoroughly enjoy, but that little moment of peace and beauty that starts off the day – I feel that's all mine.'
Plant-hunter and horticulturalist Tom Hart Dyke is passionate about Lullingstone Castle in Kent. ‘I grew up there with my parents and sister. My grandmother was an amazing gardener and instilled in me a passion for plants. I live in the 1497 brick gatehouse now, which is framed by the entry pillars and surrounded by one of the finest rare orchid collections. The sense of pride in seeing something thrive is just incredible. I feel so priviledged to be entrusted with the gardens and am passionate about keeping them going for future generations to see'.
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