Our Holiday Destination of the Year shortlist, nominated by travel writer Dixe Wills
1. SUFFOLK, ENGLAND
Photo credit: Visit Suffolk
For quirky creativity and amazing artisanal provender, head for Suffolk’s quiet revolution, led by raw food producers, micro-breweries and 2015 Great Taste award-winners such as Pump Street Bakery, Hillfarm Oils and Alder Tree ice creams. Don’t miss Halesworth’s Herring Festival, Tim Hunkin’s Under the Pier Show and the Alde Valley Spring Festival’s pop-up meals in local farmhouses.
2. SNOWDONIA, WALES
This year, Wales’ highest mountain region has become Britain’s extreme sports capital. With the brand new inland surfing centre Surf Snowdonia, the longest zip-wire in Europe (and another inside a slate mine), and the National White Water Centre offering canyoning, kayaking and rafting, it’s the place to go to get the adrenalin flowing.
3. DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY, SCOTLAND
Photo credit: iStock
An overlooked corner whose time has come. Castle Douglas is its gastronomic centre, Kirkcudbright its artistic beating heart, bookish Wigtown a worthy rival to Hay-on-Wye, while Galloway Forest contains the UK’s original Dark Sky Park. The jewel in the crown is Moniaive, whose diverse music festivals have seen it proclaimed “Britain’s coolest village”.
4. PEMBROKESHIRE, WALES
Boasting Britain’s only coastal national park, the so-called Little England Beyond Wales is a place of achingly beautiful villages, pleasingly obscure castles and, in tiny St David’s, Britain’s smallest city. Throw in a smattering of old-school seaside resorts and some coasteering (the sport was invented here) and you’ve got a great holiday.
5. CAUSEWAY COAST AND GLENS, NORTHERN IRELAND
Try the coast road and take in the astonishing newly opened Gobbins Cliff Path and the beautiful Nine Glens of Antrim. Head over to Rathlin to explore Northern Ireland’s only inhabited off-shore island, or grab your hiking boots for the Walk the Glens Festival and the Castlerock Walkfest. Oh, and there’s a little thing called the Giant’s Causeway…