Summer Solstice Days Out
Published on: 03/06/22
The sun’s up, the days are long and the evenings warm and sultry, it’s midsummer. From the ancient British Pagans through to us today, it’s a natural time of gathering, celebration, revelry with time to relax and enjoy with family and friends.
A great time for watching wildlife, with many majestic birds and summer visitors to Britain from ospreys to cuckoos busy hunting to feed their young, will you take their lead and be busy exploring from dawn to dusk? Or do you prefer to slow it down under the warm dappled sunlight, strolling a clifftop, paddling in a river, or relaxing on the beach? Whatever floats your boat, we’ve got some great ideas how to spend the solstice’s long, leisurely days out.
Durlston Country Park and Nature Reserve, Dorset
It’s just as well the days are at their longest, as Durlston Country Park National Nature Reserve is your gateway to 320 acres of wildflower meadows, sea cliffs, woodland, superb coastal walking and spectacular views. The perfect place to start exploring Dorset’s spectacular and historic Jurassic coast, a ranger is always on hand to help you get the most out of your day.
Grade II listed in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, it was awarded Gold in the National Visit England Awards for Excellence. The perfect place for wildlife spotting, picnicking, getting down to the sea for a paddle, or just sitting and soaking up the views and fresh air, it also features Durlston Castle, with gallery exhibitions, the Seventhwave Café, and visitor’s shop, so you can enjoy nature while reassured you’re never far from a well-deserved ice cream!
Cornish Wave Surf School & Adventure Activities, Newquay
Can you imagine a better way to experience the Summer Solstice then on the Beach in Newquay, Cornwall. Enjoy long summer days from dawn to dusk, discovering the joys of surfing the waves at the home of British Surfing with Cornish Wave. Whether you are a beginner who wants to give surfing a go for the first time, or looking to improve their surfing ability, friendly instructors offer a variety of lessons from group to individual courses, with all the equipment and clothing you need provided.
With miles of gently sloping sandy beach set in a natural amphitheatre of headlands, there’s plenty to enchant everyone at this stunning, friendly beach. So when it’s time to hit the shore, join spectators and marvel at experts catching the big waves, or enjoy paddling, swimming, or just kicking back, catching some rays, or closing your eyes over a good book! With seabirds flying over and bobbing on the waves, there’s wildlife watching opportunities, plus a variety of businesses including cafés, restaurants, retail outlets and surf hire. So however long the summer days- you’re sorted!
“The Natural Playground of the East Midlands”, with a perimeter of 23 miles, Rutland Water is the largest man-made lake in England, one of the largest in Europe, and considered one of the best designed and most beautiful wildlife havens. Set in over 4,000 acres of rolling countryside, there are plenty of activities to explore and enjoy around and on the water. The park offers everything from walking and cycling to fishing and watersports, and includes a fantastic nature reserve, managed by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.
Home to the Rutland Osprey Project, over a dozen pairs of these huge birds of prey migrate here from Africa to breed, and summer is the perfect time to see them, perhaps even swooping to pluck a fish from the lake to feed their chicks, if you’re lucky. Stay into the long summer evenings for picnics as the bats and owls swoop in. With four car parks, everything you need to make the most of your visit is right here, including cycle hire, expert tuition on boat handling, and of course a choice of places to enjoy a cuppa or bite to eat.
We couldn’t let the solstice pass without a bow to Stonehenge, the world’s most famous “astral clock” and synonymous with midsummer mysticism and ritual. Druids, revellers, worshippers, astronomers and the curious will be up before dawn on the solstice to catch the sun rising over the Heel Stone and its first rays shine into the heart of the circle, but you can take in the unforgettable atmosphere of this World Heritage Site every day of the week. Managed by English Heritage, start in the world-class exhibition centre to uncover the story of Stonehenge, discover how its builders worked, and walk amongst the Neolithic houses to experience how they lived.
Then take a walk out onto Salisbury Plain and marvel in the towering majesty of the monoliths under the summer sun. With friendly, knowledgeable staff and volunteers on hand to answer questions about the stones, try and restore your sense of perspective with a snack from the onsite café, while enjoying the best view in the world! For something really special, you can book in advance on a Stone Circle Experience: an unforgettable chance to step inside the monument itself.