Your Next Big Day Out

If you’re anything like me, you spend Monday to Friday willing the weekend to arrive so you can get outside and do something other than listen to Karen in HR complain about her ailments. But what to do when Saturday actually comes around? Summer's here, so block out a full day in your Google Calendar and leave the city for a mini adventure.

Rutland Water


Yeah you could get your biking thrills pedalling up and down the new A38 blue route. But save that for the commute and head to the East Mids nature reserve and reservoir at Rutland Water for some serious cycling. The route has ‘grammable views of Normanton church as it appears to float on the water, and isn’t too hilly if you’re not yet at your yellow jersey best. The full lap is 23 miles but there are shorter trails if you’d rather a more leisurely trip. Hire bikes from Rutland Cycling's two stores on the route.

Morton Hall Gardens


Top of the list of things you don't expect to find in Redditch is probably seven acres of manicured garden and parkland, designed into outdoor "rooms" that follow a circular journey. Morton Hall Gardens is a stunning privately owned garden and it's about 20 miles from B'ham city centre. In the Japanese-inspired Stroll Garden (pictured), there's a tiny waterfall and giant stepping stones take you across the two ponds between it. Sculptures around the garden include a modern Monopteros and a wooden sculpture made from a felled giant sequoia. The gardens are open on selected days until September 30, so check before you visit.

Hathersage Lido


An open air, 30m heated pool in a town with fewer than 2,000 people? That seems like the kind of indulgence I can get onboard with. Near to climbing spot Stanage Edge and set amongst the Peak District's surrounding hills, Hathersage’s lido was originally built in the 30s and was only open during the summer, but these days the water is heated to a pleasant 28 degrees all year round, meaning you could even splash around in winter, if you fancied it. You won’t be seeing me there in January. But see you at the weekend? Check the website for swimming times during high season.

Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail


Head south to Gloucestershire for a walk around woodland with a difference. The Forest of Dean’s sculpture trail is about 4 miles long and will take 1.5 hours to walk around (not counting the time it’ll take to enjoy that Anderson & Hill worthy picnic you've packed). The trail has loads of larger than life sculptures interpreting the forest environment and its history. The artwork ‘Cathedral’ is a 15ft high stained glass window suspended from the tree canopy. ‘Threshold’ is a red cave-like structure that you can walk between. And absolutely best of all? It’s totally free and open every day of the year.