It’s English Tourism Week over the next few days, aimed at highlighting the very best that England has to offer tourists. How fabulous, then, to put together a collection of ‘England’s Best Views’ – after all, as caravanners, we’re fortunate enough to see so many.
But, oh my goodness! It’s not until you start trying to decide what England’s ‘best’ view is – and what, sacrilegiously, is left out – that you realise how amazing England’s landscape is. It’s so diverse. Do you choose a seascape or interior countryside? The view from the highest hilltop looking down or the view from a valley floor gazing up? How can you compare like-for-like when England has such a wealth of National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, or historic towns and cities of immense architectural beauty? I’ve seen so many on my caravan holidays, I really am spoilt for choice.
And to their detriment, I can’t believe I’ve unfairly left out the South Downs, Exmoor, Devon, the Norfolk Broads, beautiful Somerset, peaceful Shropshire, the Malverns or the view of a steaming Cornish pasty… It’s just not right! Well, I did say it’s difficult to choose! Which is why I’ve had to split it into categories. What’s your favourite? And perhaps, in the process, we’ve provided you with a wealth of ideas for your next tour.
Best hilltop view – Malham Cove (North Yorkshire)
Step on to the limestone pavement at the top of Malham Cove and it’s as if you can see all of Yorkshire and much of Lancashire. Actually what you see mostly is the beauty of Malhamdale below with its trickling beck, but the view of the karst landscape alone is quite something. The campsite in Malham doesn’t accept caravans, so Hurries Farm Caravan Club CL (01729 830291) is the closest you’ll get.
Best village view – Eastleach (The Cotswolds)
While coachloads of visitors step down to snap pictures of the famous Arlington Row in neighbouring Arlington and Bibury, Eastleach remains delightfully restful – and quite stunning. It’s actually two villages combined – Eastleach Martin and Eastleach Turville. And the pretty River Leach runs amongst the oh-so-pretty Cotswold cottages. Wysdom Touring Park (01993 823207) in nearby Burford is a useful site for exploring these most easterly fringes of the Cotswolds.
Best town view – Berwick-upon-Tweed (Northumberland)
Catch the sun on the buildings and the Royal Border Bridge that joins Berwick and Tweedmouth, and the colours will lift your soul. All but touching the Scottish border, this coastal town was much enjoyed by the matchstick-men painter L.S. Lowry when regularly holidaying here – and you can understand why. Ord House Country Park, on the edge of town, is a popular site amongst caravanners, and comes highly recommended as it features in our Top 100 Sites Guide 2016!
Best campsite view – Tristram (Cornwall)
Best views from a campsite or best sited campsite? I think Tristram in Cornwall wins them both, sited just above the gorgeous beach in surfers’ paradise, Polzeath. Pick your pitch right and you’re in sight of the beach, as well as Pentire Point and the rugged coastline.
Best sea view – Durdle Door (Dorset)
How hard is this category? I’ve opted for Durdle Door in Dorset, because of the natural beauty of this rocky favourite and its neighbour, Lulworth Cove. But to be honest, I’d say the whole stretch of the Jurassic Coast, incorporating Chesil Beach, is a world-beater. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site at any rate. Stay at Durdle Door Holiday Park and you can enjoy the views without stepping out of your van.
Best river view – Dedham Vale (Essex)
Landscape painter John Constable thought this pretty river valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so picturesque that he painted it time and time again. If it’s good enough for him… On the Essex/Suffolk border, Dedham Vale is a beautiful spot for a country stroll – or you can hire a little rowing boat and go for a paddle. You can stop over at Rushbanks Farm, in the Vale, but you’ll have to wait until 1 April, when the site opens for the season.
Best heritage view – Grosmont Railway Station (North Yorkshire)
With England’s mountainous list of heritage attractions, picking the best is a very hard call. But Grosmont Railway Station in the North York Moors National Park is right up there. The pretty village station, with a backdrop of dramatic hills, is kept immaculately vintage and, with the arrival of one of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway steam engines, it really is a picture. Nearby Lound House Farm (01947 810383) was in the running for the campsite with the best view, as it overlooks the Yorkshire coast and the beautiful town of Whitby.
Best spring view – The Weir Garden (Herefordshire)
A sea of yellow is what you’ll wander through in springtime at The Weir Garden. The National Trust-owned garden, five miles west of Hereford, is smothered with acres of daffodils like thick-pile carpet. Pretty enough, one might say, but the garden is also on the banks of the River Wye, one of the most picturesque rivers in England. Cuckoo’s Corner Campsite is just up the road in Moreton-on-Lugg.
Best National Park view – Lake Windermere (Lake District)
Pick one. Any one. The entire Lake District is filled with fabulous views, from every corner and every angle, from mountain high and river low. Indeed, it was the view of Wastwater, in the west of this national park, that became ‘Britain’s Best View’ in a national competition a few years back. I’ve plumped for the view across Lake Windermere towards the Furness Fells, simply because it’s easy for anyone to see. But put your boots on and step up onto the fells and you’ll find plenty more ‘best views’. Despite the winter floods, Cumbria is open for business and Park Cliffe, a finalist in our Top 100 Sites Guide 2016, will welcome you with open arms.
Best city view – Liverpool (Merseyside)
Liverpool’s historic waterfront is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the Three Graces – the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building – taking centre stage. You can get a glimpse of these maritime greats by taking a trip on the famous Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey. Indeed you’ll need to take the ferry to reach Liverpool when you stay at the Wirral Country Park Caravan Club Site on the other side of the river.
I’d say the whole stretch of the Jurassic Coast, incorporating Chesil Beach, is a world-beater