The government’s announcement that those who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to quarantine upon return from amber list destinations marks the return of more frequent and stable international travel. With this new policy from 19 July, many holidaymakers are looking for excitement in their first holiday overseas since the turn of the pandemic. LOTUS has rounded up some of the most weird and wonderful holidays to spice up your life for that first and welcome trip abroad.
Bogshoeing in Estonia
One-fifth of the Estonian landscape is covered by bogs, the most ancient of which date back over 10,000 years. These bogs have cemented themselves as part of Estonian culture and folklore, where they are hailed as places of peace and mystery. Completely uninhabited, the landscapes are only populated by those who visit them, preserving their mystifying character. Donning specially-designed bogshoes – racket-shaped footwear – head out into the bog at either sunrise or sunset when the low light adds to the bogs enchanting feel. Estonian folklore is full of stories regarding bogs – such as the lighting phenomenon called virvatuled, also known as fairy lights.
K-Pop private dance class & archery in Jeju Island, South Korea
What better way to try something completely outside-the-box than to learn how to dance K-Pop style on an island in South Korea? On Jeju island, guide HeaKyeu will organise a private dance lesson with a professional choreographer where you’ll be able to put your K-Pop moves to the test. If that wasn’t adventurous enough then you can even throw in a half-day archery experience. South Koreans have learned to master archery having won multiple Olympic gold medals and now you can try your own hand at this age-old art.
Take a mud plunge in the Region of Murcia
The Mud Baths in San Pedro del Pinatar, Region of Murcia, are well known in this corner of Spain for their healing properties. The mud baths are located in the Salinas y Arenales Natural Park, a protected wetland known for its rich biodiversity and large bird population where flamingos can be spotted. Part of Mar Menor, a large 170 square kilometre saltwater lagoon, an area renowned for its shallow depths, high salinity, and healing mud. Visitors can enter the mud baths by special wooden stations positioned along the water, entering the pit, and coating themselves in this famous natural resource. Once covered in the mud, the idea is to exit and allow the mud to dry in order to gain its healing benefits before dipping back into the lagoon to wash it off.
Access to the Mud Buds in the beach of ´La Mota’ in San Pedro del Pinatar is free, and there is parking available nearby. www.murciaturistica.es/en
Go mushing in Andorra
During the summer season, Andorra’s world-class ski resorts are not left dormant and instead become mega adventure parks. Even activities that are normally reserved for winter can go ahead in summer. Mushing – dog-sledding-, for example, is normally an activity that is reserved for winter however the Vallnord Mountain Park offers visitors the chance to go mushing aboard a sled with wheels, admiring the lush green landscapes. Other adrenaline-fueled activities include zip lines, archery, downhill karting, and pony rides. Just across the valley, Mont Magic Family Park in Canilo is home to Andorra’s longest zip-line measuring 550 metres long and gives adults the chance to take in the rugged mountain landscape as they hurtle through it at speed. For younger children their mountain experience can be fulfilled with Acrojump, tubing or go-karting. Just across the valley, Vallnord Mountain Park also offers a space for fun with zip-lines, archery, downhill karting, and pony rides.
FOR THOSE NOT READY TO VENTURE OVERSEAS:
If you aren’t ready to travel abroad, then there are still plenty of weird and wonderful experiences in the British Isles to spice up your summer staycation:
Night in a Water Tower in Warwickshire
The Water Tower at Long Meadow Farm sits on the edge of an orchard and has spectacular views across Kenilworth. The property, which was built in the 1930s, is surrounded by the Warwickshire countryside and is home to beehives just 100 metres on the other side of the orchard from the tower. The Water Tower has been converted into comfortable accommodation sleeping four in two bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. All the original components of the Water Tower have been preserved, the living area is in the tank on the top floor, with an open plan kitchen diner lounge, containing many features from the original building.
Follow the Lincoln Imp Trail
A trail of 30 colourful and mischievous imp sculptures have arrived in Lincoln this summer and in situ across the city centre until 8 September. Local and national artists have designed each sculpture, highlighting the city’s rich cultural and artistic heritage. The imp is the mascot for Lincoln City FC (it appears on the club badge) and can be spotted immortalised in stone within the upper reaches of Lincoln Cathedral, now nearly 1,000 years old. Legend has it that young imps were once let loose in the city’s stunning cathedral, causing havoc. To put a stop to any further chaos, an angel appeared and commanded ‘wicked imp, be turned to stone’. The self-guided sculpture trail allows visitors to explore the key sites of the heritage city, including The Cornhill Quarter, which offers new leisure and dining experiences in the heart of Lincoln. The imps will gather together for their goodbye event at Lincoln Castle before being auctioned to raise money for St Barnabas Lincolnshire Hospice on 1st October 2021 at Lincoln Cathedral.
The Lincoln Imp Trail App is free to download and shows the location of all the imps. When finding an imp, input the four-digit code to discover the history of Lincoln along the way. iOS users can download the app here and android users here. www.visitlincoln.com/whats-on/lincoln-imp-trail
Find Guernsey’s Golden Goats
The Channel Island of Guernsey is home to a rare breed of golden dairy goat that have been known to roam the island for more than two hundred years. Now in an innovative scheme to showcase the length and breadth of Guernsey, 52 statues of Guernsey’s Golden Goats have been placed across the island until mid-August 2021. Walk, cycle, or hop on buses to find all 52 of the Golden Goats in a variety of locations including local businesses, schools, local attractions and places of interest, churches, restaurants, and local landmarks. The Goat Trail app can be downloaded along with a route map which assists with finding the goats, tracking the route, and taking selfies that can be posted on social media to win an iPad.
The statues will remain in place until mid-August 2021. The app with the route is free to download but a small donation is requested to independent charity Autism Guernsey.