01 Feb 2021 • Experiences
Here we explore the amazing hiking routes on our doorstep.
Hiking is one of life’s greatest pleasures, simultaneously an enjoyable, accessible form of exercise and a perfect way to lose yourself in nature. Between the clean air and high-intensity, low-strain physical activity, it’s one of the simplest, yet most effective, ways to live a healthy lifestyle. Hiking also requires little in the way of equipment and is carbon-neutral to boot. Here we explore some of the incredible hiking routes on offer across the Red Carnation Hotels collection.
Few countries are as blessed with beautiful natural hiking routes as South Africa. Just a few hours’ drive from The Oyster Box Hotel, the Drakensberg Mountains are some of the continent’s most stunning peaks. Here, exotic birdlife flocks in abundance, drawn to the trickling streams and cascading waterfalls. Hiking routes range from day-long expeditions to gentle, introductory ambles, and can even incorporate ancient rock art, champagne-coloured pools and mist-filled valleys.
The landscapes surrounding Bushmans Kloof are no less impressive. Painted saffron by the warm South African sun, the Cederberg Mountains are home to breath-taking vantage points as well as rare birds and even zebra. The wilderness reserve has three suggested walking trails that take hikers into the gorgeous wilds, with hiking equipment and energising snacks provided.
In Cape Town, trails range from shallow inclines to longer, steeper climbs that immerse intrepid hikers in the sun-gilded coastal mountains. While those routes surrounding Table Mountain and Lion’s Head are the city’s most famous natural paths, the Cape landscape extends far beyond these ridges. The peaks of Silvermine, Constantia Greenbelt and Rhodes Memorial are subtly laced with extraordinary trails.
Positioned on Cape Town’s rugged coast, The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is a delightful starting point for wild wanders into the flower-dotted coastal surrounds. Our team can also arrange a romantic picnic at one of ten beautiful natural belvederes for guests to enjoy while gazing out over the fairest Cape in all the world.
Ashford Castle is nestled in the emerald woodlands of Ireland’s wild County Mayo. Here, intense grey mountains are cut by glass-blue rivers and lakes, while jade moss and juniper carpet the broad, sweeping hills under a low-hanging dramatic sky.
Hikers are spoiled for choice, with long trails offering an idyllic escape into the fairytale wilds. Connemara National Park is an hour’s drive from the castle, with scenic highland routes circling the midnight blues of Lough Corrib. Nearby, the Killary Harbour offers undisturbed panoramas of the lyrical Galway Fjord; or there’s the Cong Forest trail, scattered with ancient stone grottos and endangered native trees.
Dorset’s famed Jurassic Coast is one of England’s natural treasures and a World Heritage Site. Towering citadel-like cliffs rub shoulders with hidden coves, beaches and undulating coastal fields; meanwhile endangered birdlife can be found roosting throughout the year along the many ridges and inlets. In short, it’s a hiker’s paradise.
Summer Lodge Country House Hotel is in the perfect location to explore the Jurassic Coast’s scenery. The crescent Lulworth Cove is a geological marvel only a 45-minute drive from Summer Lodge, with trails soaring into the cove’s neighbouring cliffs and fields beyond. One trail leads from Lulworth to the fantastical Durdle Door, an epic natural archway carved over millennia by coastal swells. Meanwhile, an hour from the lodge, Studland Bay is a three-mile stretch of morass and beachland, perhaps the best place along the heritage coast to spot spectacular birdlife.
Guernsey’s hikes combine dynamic coastal scenery (the island has one of the largest tidal ranges in the world at 33 feet), with an eclectic set of historical ruins ranging from priories to WWII bunkers. There are over 15 popular trails criss-crossing the small isle, most of them relatively easy to traverse and accessible from either The Old Government House Hotel or The Duke of Richmond.
Those looking for nature should wander towards Lihou Island, a gorgeous bird sanctuary only accessible by a tidal causeway and home to over 150 species. Or, for a truly varied hiking route reflecting Guernsey’s rich history and natural landscape, head to Fort Hommet Headland. This promontory comes with centuries-old fortifications and a nature reserve encompassing dunes, rocks and heathland.
Stay with Red Carnation Hotels to enjoy unique hiking routes and expert hiking advice. Our teams are on hand to provide you with equipment, maps and freshly prepared picnics, perfect for when you find that idyllic spot.
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