Summer Camp, Hawarden, Wales

Top Experiences and Activities for an Unforgettable Summer 2023

Whether you’re looking for adventure, culture, or simply a chance to soak up the sun, there’s no shortage of activities and experiences to make your summer one to remember. From rewilding in Loch Ness to inspiring art exhibitions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of the top experiences and activities to consider for an unforgettable summer.

Mutiny in Colour art exhibition, Suffolk

Sandcastle Girl by Banksy (photo West Suffolk Heritage Services)

See street art from Banksy and work from Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin plus other contemporary artists among more than 300 exhibits on show in Suffolk from June to October. The art will be displayed in three venues: at Moyse’s Hall Museum, Bury St Edmunds; the National Horseracing Museum, Newmarket; and Haverhill Arts Centre. It includes Banksy’s Sandcastle Girl, painted on a wall in Lowestoft during his ‘spraycation’ to East Anglia in 2021, and his Hula Hoop Girl, which originally appeared on the wall of a beauty salon in Nottingham.

Dior Spa Royal Scotsman

Dior Spa Royal Scotsman
Dior Spa Royal Scotsman. Image ©pierremouton

It’s already pretty plush on Belmond’s Royal Scotsman. For an even more first-class experience, you can lie back in one of two lacquered treatment rooms and enjoy a tailor-made Dior massage as the train wends its way through mountains and valleys. Also new are adventure-focused trips and a culinary journey with Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin.

Bishop Auckland to Stanhope Railway 

Bishop Auckland to Stanhope Railway
Bishop Auckland to Stanhope Railway 

This one is just the ticket for rail enthusiasts – the 16-mile heritage railway has reopened after extensive restoration during a three-year hiatus. Visitors can ride it from Stanhope on selected summer weekends for a fun day out at Auckland Castle, one of the best-preserved bishop’s palaces in Europe, sitting on 150 acres of parkland.

Dog-friendly flights to Tresco and St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly

Isles of Scilly dog swimming in sea.
Isles of Scilly. Image ©James Darling Photography

Pet lovers can now take their pups on the 15-minute helicopter flight to the Isles of Scilly, where they can sniff their way round the Tresco Abbey Gardens, stay overnight in a Flying Boat cottage on Tresco (during Dog-Friendly February) or at the dog-friendly Hell Bay Hotel on neighbouring Bryher. 

Pets £70 return, humans £289, →

Rewilding Loch Ness, Scotland

Scottish Wildcat
Scottish Wildcat. Image credit SCOTLAND The Big Picture

Learn how rewilding helps golden eagles, red squirrels and wood ants at this free-to-enter centre near Loch Ness in the Highlands. The centre acts as a gateway to the 10,000-acre Dundreggan estate, where Trees for Life is restoring the Caledonian forest and its wildlife. After taking in the tree sculpture of reclaimed metal created by artist Helen Denerley, head into the woods with its accessible trails and child-friendly forest experiences. Displays are in both English and Gaelic, with a storytelling bothy showcasing local history and heritage.

Summer Camp, Hawarden, Wales

Summer Camp, Hawarden, Wales
Summer Camp, Hawarden, Wales

Celebrate the great outdoors and learn how to cook on campfires and where to forage for ingredients during one of the July weekend micro festivals on the Hawarden Estate. Join a sign-writing workshop, enjoy natural wine tasting, paddleboard on the lake or just jump in. Take your own tent or stay in bell tents and huts on-site.

From £330pp in your own tent, →

Exclusive use of Herm Island, The Channel Islands

Arriving at Rosaire Steps, Herm
Arriving at Rosaire Steps, Herm

Fancy the ultimate exclusive-use venue for a wow-factor wedding or special occasion? You can now take over the island of Herm; its 40 hotel rooms and 19 self-catering cottages have space for 201 guests. Only a mile and a half long and half a mile wide, the dinky Channel Island is car free.

From £50,000, →

World of Jumanji, Chessington, Surrey

World of Jumanji
World of Jumanji, Chessington

Race into the World of Jumanji at 42mph on the world’s first Jumanji roller-coaster. Mandrill Mayhem sweeps you up through the treetops, flipping you upside down as you ride it either facing forwards or backwards. Two other rides will also feature in the new park section, along with six Jumanji-themed bedrooms in the hotel.

Salvador Dalí sculptures loaned to Shrewsbury, Shropshire

Surrealist Piano. Image © Emiliano Cribari
Surrealist Piano. Image © Emiliano Cribari

Surrealism comes to Shrewsbury this summer with three Dalí sculptures taking centre stage at the market town’s annual Art Trail. The well-known bronze sculpture Surrealist Piano in which the piano’s legs are fashioned as a dancer’s limbs, will be joined by Dalí’s Homage to Terpsichore and Dalinian Dancer. The eight-week festival is themed on movement this year. It opens at the beginning of July and also features work from artists including Banksy, Damien Hirst, Barbara Hepworth and L S Lowry. Among the exhibitions and events is a children’s treasure trail.

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