Living life in one of the greatest cities the world has to offer is something we take for granted far too often. It can also be argued however that us busy Londoners don’t take the time to explore the amazing countryside that the UK has to offer. Exploring the great British outdoors has been on the Y&Y agenda for a while now, and we took the opportunity to tick it off (to an extent) when Premier Inn asked us to explore the Lincolnshire countryside and offer one of our lucky readers the chance to win a weekend getaway for two. Read on to see the amazing weekend Adam and Derek had when they packed their bags and escaped the city.
Too often we become trapped in our comfort zone of the city, claustrophobic with urban surroundings and breathing air thick with pollution. An escape is necessary once in a while, even for those like ourselves who live and breathe the London life. A weekend getaway to the mixed bag (but always fantastic) Europe, or a couple of weeks in a Caribbean island infested with palm trees, we all agree it’s needed. But how many of you consider a short train journey to explore what beauty and fun the British countryside has to offer?
Sights of the vast green open space and the variety of colours of an early Spring woodland certainly were a welcome change to the grey concrete that surrounds us each and every day. On more occasions than we first thought, we would stand and stare to soak it all in. Cameras down and no one else in sight, the peacefulness was almost tranquillising. It really is such a difference to the hustle of the city that we are used to, and a welcome change to appreciate what the British outdoors has to offer.
Adam: I’ve been wanting to get out of the city for a weekend for a while now. Yeah, it’s not a break in a hot European city or anything, but it certainly was a welcome change to the daily routine and sometimes wasteful weekends (I try to keep those to a minimum) I fall in to in London. Growing up, the city was always somewhere I felt so at home. Trips up town with my family became adventures with a camera and an iPod by myself as I grew up. Yes, I became a loner, but also I fell in love with exploring the city and capturing sights that made me feel a certain way. I would see a moment or something that looks interesting and place it inside my visual frame before taking out my camera and snapping. I haven’t had much chance to do so in the great outdoors, and this escape certainly let that happen. It was a pleasant change to soak in the fresh air and open space in some awesome weather. I’ll always be a city lover, but it’s always nice to escape once in a while.
After a particularly exhausting week on the corporate treadmill, we watched as the grey sprawl of the city gave way to green pastures whilst our East Midlands train sped past quaint villages, patchwork hills, and endless meadows on our 3-hour journey to Lincoln.
On our arrival, the train spilled out its exhausted occupants and we were ejected into the heart of the small town that would be our playground for the next 48 hours. Thankfully, our conveniently placed hotel saved us the burden of navigating Lincoln’s unfamiliar streets before checking in using the Hotel’s self-service reception, double checking our itinerary and hitting the sheets. After an early rise followed by a continental breakfast (with copious amounts of croissants), the hotel receptionist was kind enough to arrange a cab to the neighbouring town of Grantham where our exploration of the ‘Great Outdoors’ would begin…
As we weaved through narrow streets in our cab, Lincoln could not resist the chance to reveal its 2000 years of rich history sharing glimpses of its Roman settlements and former WW1 military bases. Our first destination was Belton Woods; the surrounding area was littered with golf courses, lodge houses and couples speeding past of silent segways. We pulled into the on-site activity centre and whilst using all our will power to ignore the temptation of the inviting quad bikes, we saddled our muddied mountain bikes and set off into 475 acres of woodland.
After several disappointing detours and briefly becoming the subject of attention for a curious Yorkshire terrier, we made our way deeper into the forest navigating over rabbit holes, crossing bridges and climbing the occasional fence. After 4 hours of trekking into the depths, we ended our woodland tour by clambering into an open field to be immediately enveloped in an emerald vacuum…perfect for a dose of mediation and some dope photography. We re-traced our steps (and cycle tracks) back to the clubhouse before we were engulfed by the approaching dark skies (stuck in a dark forest is not our idea of fun).
On the second day of our City Escape, we were blessed with glorious weather, perfect for the picturesque lakes and nature reserve of Whisby Park we had set our imaginary compasses to. Driven by our nomadic pursuits for idyllic scenery void of other humans, we decided ignore the suggested nature walks and explore the path ‘less worn’. Whisby Nature Reserve lacked the towering canopies of Belfont Woods meaning the flatlands and lakes were illuminated by the clear skies and we were awarded unobstructed views of the still water, only disturbed by the occasional feisty seagull. We marched along the dry gravel terrain in the direction of beckoning railway tracks that we had spotted on a map. Luckily for us, before we could attempt a risky (but well worth it) money shot, an oncoming train speeding in our direction signaled the end of a long day. We navigated the maze of lakes and streams back to the comfort of Premier Inn to rest our weary city feet.
Derek: ‘Chart your course’, the title of last month’s Monocle magazine has been a ticking reminder that as city dwellers, we often become unknowingly initiated into the cult of the ‘eternally busy’. We yearn for a temporary escape from our hectic lifestyles and omnipresent gaze of the city’s skyscrapers. What we conveniently forget is that an ‘escape’ is not limited to bi-annual retreats overseas and that beyond the confines of the concrete jungle; the great outdoors is the perfect setting for a change in pace and scenery. Take a leaf out of the book of two caffeinated eager explorers from the suburbs and ‘Escape the City’ #thankuslater
We had an awesome weekend exploring the Lincolnshire countryside. Getting out to adventure in the British outdoors is something we will make more of an effort with, and we loved it so much we want you to have the same experience.
The generous people at Premier Inn are offering a lucky reader of this feature the chance to win an adventurous weekend away for two worth £500 to the great British outdoors. There are multiple ways to enter with some having a higher chance of winning! Here’s how:
Entries must be made through Rafflecopter
Using the following methods:
1. Follow @PremierInn on Twitter (worth 1 entry)
2. Tweet about the Giveaway (worth 2 entries)
3. Like and comment on your favourite #GreatBritishStories animation on the Premier Inn Youtube channel (worth 3 entries).
4. Tweet your favourite #GreatBritishStories film (worth 4 entries)
5. Tweet your favourite #GreatBritishStories page (worth 5 entries)
6. Write a blog post about your favourite of the #GreatBritishStories (worth 10 entries)
Our competition runs from 14 March until 28 March 2014, with our winner being announced on 31 March 2014.