Travel: Drive your senses wild in the UK and Ireland

Get back to nature and awaken body and soul with these soulful trips

Saturday, 8th May 2021, 7:00 am
Little Sugar Loaf in the Wicklow Moutains.

One of the key Covid symptoms is loss of taste and smell, but lockdown has arguably deadened all our senses, by detaching us from the outside world.

So, as we unfurl from our sofas and prepare to venture outside, it’s no surprise sensory experiences are likely to direct travel plans.

From coast to countryside, the UK and Ireland is a sonic, visual and audio wonderland. Here are a few more of the visceral experiences we’re eager to enjoy this summer.

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Smell of sea air

So salty it can make your nostrils sting, the scent of the sea is an instant ticket to a refreshing break. Some of the most invigorating coastal trails can be found in Northumberland, including a seven-mile barefoot walk at low tide across the causeway to the tidal Holy Island of Lindisfarne.

Crabtree & Crabtree, who have holiday cottages in the region, bring the journey to life with a guide regaling tales of local legends.

The walk is best enjoyed from April to September, when grey seals gather on the exposed sandbanks. Prices from £25pp for a private walk. Visit crabtreeandcrabtree.com.

Or inhale fresh maritime air by walking a section of the England Coast Path, a new National Trail which hopes to have all stretches approved and works underway this year.

Once complete, it will be the longest coastal walking route in the world at 2,700 miles.

Sight of great horizons

If your window on the world has been obstructed by concrete towers and never-ending rooftops, great views will be a priority once lockdowns end.

Although not vastly mountainous, the UK and Ireland do have their high points – one being the fabulous Wicklow Mountains, south of Dublin. Wilderness Ireland include the national park on a guided tour visiting three of Ireland’s most scenic areas known for walking and mountains. Hikers will summit Carrauntoohil, the highest mountain of Ireland, as well as the highest peak in each corner of the country. A six-night trip costs from €1,710 per person (two sharing), departing September 18. Visit wildernessireland.com.

Taste of coast and country

Foraging forges a connection with nature, allowing us to literally savour our immediate environments. As an island, the UK offers up a bounty of goods from both coast and countryside.

In Dorset, Fore/Adventure offer a half-day Coastal Foraging Course, based on the beach in Studland. Search for sea vegetables, sea weeds, crabs and cockles, and learn how to prepare wild foods. From £50 per person.

For something more decadent, head to Mersea Island in Essex, where oysters have been grown in creeks since Roman times.

Lady Grace Boat Trips offer a two-hour Picnic Trip along Salcot Creek, where you’ll hear curlew calling and find egrets wading along the shoreline. Pre-order a picnic platter from the West Mersea Oyster Bar. From £100 per trip (up to six people).

Both excursions can be booked through englandscoast.com/en.