EVERYONE is hoping to getaway at some point this year, so why not stay in the UK and relax at a B&B?
Here, we explore alpacas and ghostly tales in Scotland as well as nature in Norfolk.
Nithbank Country Estate, Dumfries and Galloway
Celebrity Writer Molly Reynolds found alpacas and ghostly tales in Scotland.
This charming and secluded five-star B&B celebrates Scottish heritage at its finest, with period features throughout and locally sourced food for brekky.
You’ll find super-king beds with Mulberry fabrics, and views of the five acres that surround the estate – think winding rivers and valleys.
Later, soak in the free-standing tub in your marble en-suite, then after a night’s kip order haggis and scrambled eggs with apple juice.
There are also Clipper teas, local shortbreads and a Nespresso machine in your room.
As the nights draw in, join Mostly Ghostly tours for epic tales about the spirits that fill the corridors of old estates including Closeburn Castle, six minutes’ drive from Nithbank.
Tickets cost £20. For something a little fluffier, Nith Valley Alpacas offers fun afternoons walking their residents, with views of the Lowther and Kier Hills, £20 for an hour (Nithvalleyalpacas.com).
Meanwhile, JM Barrie’s magical Peter Pan was inspired by Moat Brae House and Garden in Dumfries, so stroll around this enchanting spot where the author played as a child.
Tickets cost £6.50 (Peterpanmoatbrae.org).
Alternatively, visit breathtaking Galloway Forest Park (Forestryandland.gov.scot).
Glencaple’s The Boathouse, 15 minutes’ drive from Dumfries, is a gorgeous glass-walled and fairy-light-filled eatery beside the quay.
Expect treats like seared scallops with butternut squash, bacon and lentils, £12.50, and Scottish beef fillet covered in truffle mushrooms, £26.95.
Wash it down with a local Solway gin with elderflower and rose pressé, £6.50 (Theboathouseglencaple.com).
At lunchtime, grab a picnic table at Loch Arthur Farm Shop in Beeswing for homemade pies and cheese platters. It’s run by the local community, including people with learning disabilities, and they serve cracking cakes, too. Meals cost around £7 (Locharthur.org.uk).
Meanwhile, The Moniaive Chocolatiers is a female-led choccy shop in Thornhill offering sweet treats filled with everything from elderflower to Baileys.
A box of 18 chocolates costs £20, or join a chocolate-making class and take home your own creations. Classes cost £60 per person for two hours (Tartanchocolate.co.uk).
Nithbank’s stargazing hamper includes torches, blankets, hot chocolate/hot toddy and a sharing board of meats and cheeses, £25 per person, so you can admire the unpolluted night sky.
B&B costs from £175 per night (Nithbank.co.uk).
You can plan your trip at Visitscotland.com.
Fritton Lake, Norfolk
Writer Laura Bond, husband Nick and kids Rosa, six, and Eddie, four, went back to nature on the Somerleyton Estate.
Surrounded by ancient woodland on the Norfolk-Suffolk border and set within the private grounds of a thousand-acre estate, Fritton Lake is home to a B&B, as well as cottages and cabins.
Our gorgeous, airy two-bed, two-bathroom Scandinavian-inspired Shed Room came decked out in designer furniture and a palette of muted greys and soft pinks.
Large glass doors lead out on to a south-facing deck with its wood-fired hot tub and you can spot dragonflies, butterflies and songbirds as you soak in the bubbles.
It’s a short walk to the Fritton Arms, AKA the clubhouse, which serves breakfast for £7.95 a person, but be sure to book in advance.
There’s also a heated outdoor pool, an incredible treetop adventure play area the kids will love, tennis courts and, of course, the centrepiece: the lake.
Make a beeline for the jaw-dropping two-mile-long lake to try wild swimming, paddle boarding or rowing.
We took out two canoes, at no extra cost, and bobbed about with not a soul around. On the other side of the estate, a 10-minute drive away, you’ll find Somerleyton Hall, a spectacular 19th-century house with 12 acres of sprawling gardens.
Currently open Thursdays and Sundays, entry costs £7.95 for adults and £5.25 for children (Somerleyton.co.uk).
Cattle, wild ponies and deer roam the grounds and there’s an almost-200-year-old maze in which to lose yourself (or the kids!).
You’re also close to The Norfolk Broads, so hire a boat or head to Hickling Broad Nature Reserve, where the children loved pond dipping.
Entry costs £4.50 for adults, kids go free (Norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk).
The Fritton Arms, once a traditional pub, is now only open to guests and members of the estate.
Think open fires, mismatched sofas and a wisteria-filled terrace, where we tucked into lobster with fries and slaw, £20, while the kids scoffed tomato pasta, £6.50. Booking is essential (Frittonarms.co.uk).
Just around the corner is The Duke’s Head, where locally sourced food is served Friday to Sunday.
Book in advance to try the tasty roasted courgette risotto, £14, or the mighty 38oz tomahawk pork chop, £42 (Somerleyton.co.uk/the-dukes-head).
Somerleyton Hall’s sun-filled tearoom currently serves takeaway drinks and snacks – a picnic spread beneath the enormous cedar trees in the grounds is a delight.
The estate is being rewilded, so hop on a boat for a fascinating guided water safari, £30 a person.
Four-night breaks at Fritton Lake cost from £486, sleeping up to six (Frittonlake.co.uk).
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