I’m Chris and I work for Visit England in the Editorial Department. We were asked to imagine our own Great British Day Out for the fantastic National Trust competition where you can win your own dream day out with a value of up to £2000. It was a lot of fun to write about. I just wish I could actually do it now… Anyway, here’s mine.
So… up at 8.00 and go for an energising run passed the brightly painted barges along a stretch of the Lea Valley Canal in Hackney before getting home and showering then staring into space and wondering why I designed my own Great Day Out with such an early start. Leave the house, buy a paper and walk to a café on Kingsland Road for a Full English breakfast (I got dressed first obviously).
After an hour or so I amble back toward my house and check that I’ve got everything packed. It’s my day, so I have. The taxi beeps outside and I’m off to Victoria Railway Station.
I board the Orient-Express British Pullman. I wave the waiter away while I close my eyes and sit at my dining table in silence for a few seconds. My intense expression draws the stares of passengers as I am seized by the raptures of my own smugness. Opening my eyes I beckon the waiter over and order an Earl Grey. When the waiter informs me that we will be served Brunch with Bellini another wave of smugness overcomes me and I slowly turn to the window, almost with a shudder, and mutter, “Very good,” as the train pulls out of the station.
When the train joins the preserved Swanage Railway line I enjoy six miles of picturesque countryside as we roll through to the Isle of Purbeck and onto the coast. I thank the conductor as we arrive in Swanage and inform him that I will not be joining them for the return leg as I have other business. He bows.
I set off to have a look around the quaint old fishing town of Swanage and admire the gently sloping white sandy beach and the glistening old granite houses hued from the local quarries. Can’t stay too long because I now have to go and get changed into a wetsuit.
Rock&Sun offers guided coasteering trips at any level. Mine is, of course, advanced and there follows 3 hours of daring aqua-acrobatics as I scale cliff faces and plunge into the bright blue waters below.
When I’ve dried off its time to go to The Corner Restaurant and order a pint of ice-cold lager followed by a delicious meal of locally sourced seafood.
As the sun begins to set, my privately chartered boat arrives and I wave back to the quayside crowd that has assembled to bid me farewell with my gin and tonic in the other hand. The final leg of my journey comes when we pull into port on the Isle of Wight and I am met by a taxi which takes me up to Robin Hill Country Park and the Bestival site.
As stars begin to light the clear skies I meet my friends at our luxury yurt accommodation. They ask me why only now, what with this being my dream day, they have just been included. There is no time to answer because Roots Manuva has just started to play and I have to get to my spot backstage.
What about you? What would be your Great British Dream Day? Visit the National Trust’s Facebook page and click on the ‘Great British Day Out’ tab at the top to enter. You could win your own Great British Day Out up to a value of £2000!