From Iceland travel advice to finding insurance firms with coronavirus cover, we can help

From Iceland travel advice to finding insurance firms with coronavirus cover, we can help: The Holiday Guru answers traveller queries

The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.

This week issues tackled include Iceland’s travel rules and restrictions, which holiday firms will have future cover for COVID-19 and how to get a refund on a cancelled cruise.

Q. In March, I purchased a Staysure insurance policy for £1,377.98 to cover a 65-night cruise to South America in January 2021. As the voyage called at three Brazilian ports, our cruise company said we could transfer to another trip. Now we intend to go on a later journey over a much shorter period, so we do not need the insurance. I phoned Staysure to ask for a refund, but it will only offer a credit. Do you have any advice?

Mrs Sue Nunn, via email.

A reader asks the Guru how they can get a refund on travel insurance now they have cancelled their 65-night cruise to South America

A. Before the pandemic, usual practice was for insurers to allow a ‘cooling off’ period of up to two weeks. Now, however, the industry is shifting tack. The Association of British Insurers says many firms will now offer either a full or a partial refund to customers in your position.

Yet Staysure is not doing this, instead offering to move the existing policy up to 18 months ahead, or issue credit vouchers for use in the next 36 months. If you remain dissatisfied, make a formal complaint to the underwriter, rather than the broker. If you are unhappy with their response, or they don’t make one, you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (financial-ombudsman.org.uk).

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all sea-going cruise trips at present, but this could change (gov.uk).

Q. We are waiting for a refund for a cancelled Princess Cruises trip booked through Tui for March and costing more than £10,000. First, we called the firm but, after holding for three hours, were cut off. I was contacted on June 18 and told I would be refunded within 28 days. After 30 days, I went into a Tui shop and was told that it was 28 working days. Then I emailed the executive team, without reply. Can you help?

Beverly Demirhan, via email.

A. The delay may have been caused by the fact that the trip was with a third party: Princess Cruises, not Tui. But this is no excuse. Your refund has now been put through. The Package Travel Regulations say refunds for cancellations must be paid in 14 days. A Tui spokesperson, says: ‘We apologise for the delay.’

Q. We have a holiday in Iceland booked for September 6. What restrictions and rules are in place?

Iain Gentles, via email. 

Another reader wants to know what travel restrictions and rules are in place in Iceland

Another reader wants to know what travel restrictions and rules are in place in Iceland 

A. You must either take a Covid test on arrival or quarantine for 14 days. Covid tests cost £51 and can be booked in advance via covid.is/categories/tourists-travelling-to-iceland. A free second test four to six days after arrival is also required if you intend to stay for longer than ten days. There is no return quarantine. See gov.uk for more information.

Q. How can I find out which holiday firms will have future cover for Covid?

Bernie Maxwell, via email.

A. Consumer champions which.co.uk have a list. Click on ‘Coronavirus latest advice’, then ‘The travel companies you can trust with your holiday’.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP

If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Please email them to [email protected] — and include your contact details.

Northern France is the perfect short break – and it’s just a simple ferry ride or Eurotunnel away

Sometimes the best things in life are right under your nose.

And that’s the case with Northern France, that bit Britons normally fly over or zoom past on the Eurostar on their way to Paris or Provence. Here Jane Knight uncovers the very best that the region has to offer, from brilliant beaches to delightful towns and eye-popping cathedrals.

Bayeux and the D-Day beaches

Honfleur is ‘particularly charming’, writes The Mail on Sunday’s Jane Knight. Pictured is a shop in the old town 

The Bayeux Tapestry might be coming to England in 2022 – for the first time in 950 years – but why wait, when you can see it in the cobbled half-timbered town of the same name that is sprinkled with appealing wine cellar/bistros such as Le Volet Qui Penche? Tick off the embroidered 230ft story of William the Conqueror’s invasion of England in 1066 then visit his birthplace in the Chateau de Falaise and his tomb in the Abbaye aux Hommes in Caen.

Bayeux’s Musee Memorial de la Bataille de Normandie is a good place to start understanding a different invasion – the Allied offensive along Normandy’s beaches to liberate France, which started on June 6, 1944.

The price that was paid can be seen at Bayeux’s Commonwealth cemetery and at Omaha Beach, where the American cemetery is home to 9,400 white marble crosses.

The beaches of Omaha, Utah, Sword, Gold and Juno are now the haunts of sunseekers, although the marks of war are still visible. At Arromanches-les-Bains you can see the huge concrete blocks remaining from the Mulberry harbours which were towed across from Britain ahead of the invasion.

For coastal chic, head east of Caen to Deauville to see its boardwalk and beach huts bearing the names of Hollywood A-listers. Honfleur, with its much-painted colourful harbour, is particularly charming.

Don’t miss: This is calvados country, with plenty of local producers to visit. See the distillation process in the 16th Century Chateau du Breuil, where the cider passes in a long overland pipe into two huge alembics (stills). Breuil is near Pont-l’Eveque, of cheese fame.

Stay: In Bayeux, Hotel Particulier Poppa has four simple but pleasant rooms and a private garden, with B&B doubles from €90 a night (hotel-poppa.com). On the coast, Chateau la Cheneviere is set in exquisite gardens, with doubles from €286 a night (lacheneviere.com). In Honfleur, try the immaculate Relais & Chateau La Ferme Saint Simeon, in a restored 17th Century inn, with doubles from €250 a night (fermesaintsimeon.fr).

Saint-Malo and Mont-Saint-Michel

Spectacular citadel: The imposing Mont-Saint-Michel with its massive ramparts

Spectacular citadel: The imposing Mont-Saint-Michel with its massive ramparts

Of all the Channel ferry ports, Saint-Malo is THE one to linger in. Its ramparts, built to fend off pirates and invaders, make a scenic walk, it has a maze of medieval streets and beautiful sandy beaches. Don’t forget the crepes and oysters you can feast on everywhere, washed down with cider.

In the bay, the pretty islands of Petit Be and Grand Be can be reached at low tide. Take the ferry across the estuary to the elegant seaside resort of Dinard.

Thirty minutes south lies Dinan, with cobbled streets and half-timbered houses. It is also the base for Le Boat if you want to take a three-night break on the water (leboat.co.uk). The big hitter in the bay is Mont-Saint-Michel, with a 350-step climb to reach the abbey. Refuel at La Mere Poulard, which specialises in fluffy omelettes made in a copper pan, or return to the mainland to La Ferme St Michel for lamb pre-sale – a dish made from lambs raised on the salty grass around the bay.

Don’t miss: The oyster capital of Cancale has a daily market plus great views of the bay. At Cherrueix you can take the Train Marin on a two-hour tour to see mussel farmers at work.

Stay: Hotel du Colombier, built by a manager of the East India Company, makes a great base, in peaceful countryside just ten minutes from St Malo. Its double rooms are from €172 a night (saintmalohotelcolombier.com). Alternatively, the 18th Century Chateau de Chantore has views of Mont-Saint-Michel from its gardens and B&B doubles from €180 a night (chateaudechantore.com).

Countryside and Camembert in the Orne

The giant Percheron horses, which you can see at the national equestrian stud of Haras du Pin

The giant Percheron horses, which you can see at the national equestrian stud of Haras du Pin

About 90 minutes from Caen is the heart of the Perche regional park, an area full of green spaces for hiking, biking and riding as well as interesting antique shops (try Belleme for some good finds).

There are plenty of foodie forays in the area, too, starting with pretty Mortagne-au-Perche, home of boudin noir – the French take on black pudding. At Hotel du Tribunal they serve it in a crumble with cranberries and cassis. Or drive north to the Orne and the village of Camembert. In nearby Vimoutiers, a museum recounts the story of Marie Harel, who developed the famous cheese with the help of a priest she sheltered from Brie during the revolution. You can tuck into roast camembert in Le Soleil D’Or on the square.

Don’t miss: The Perche is horse country, home to the massive Percheron breed, which you can see at the national equestrian stud of Haras du Pin. Every Thursday in summer there is an outdoor show of horses to music, or you can explore the grounds on an e-bike.

Stay: In the heart of the Perche, the nature reserve of Domaine des Butineuses has three bubble tents on the edge of a group of ponds. B&B doubles cost from €150 a night (domainedesbutineuses.fr). Or in Mortagne-au-Perche, Maison Maleyrand is a charming B&B with Louis XV period features, wood-panelled rooms and the old city ramparts running through its garden. B&B doubles from €135 a night (maisonmaleyrand.com).

History and sealife near Calais

A child pictured inside Boulogne-sur-Mer’s Nausicaa aquarium, which is a must-visit attraction

A child pictured inside Boulogne-sur-Mer’s Nausicaa aquarium, which is a must-visit attraction 

There are plenty of sandy stretches along the coast, of which chic Le Touquet, with its enormous villas in pine forests, is probably the best known

There are plenty of sandy stretches along the coast, of which chic Le Touquet, with its enormous villas in pine forests, is probably the best known

Beyond the concrete and Carrefours of Calais lies possibly France’s most under-rated area, bursting with history, seaside resorts and even a marshland nature reserve.

Start at Azincourt (Agincourt), site of the famous battle in 1415, where the French lost dramatically to the English army, and where they graciously explain why, at the excellent museum.

More recently, Eperlecques’s menacing concrete blockhaus is the base from which Hitler planned to launch deadly V2 rockets. After it was bombed, operations moved to La Coupole just outside St Omer If you can see only one, Eperlecques is better.

Don’t forget the beach: there are plenty of sandy stretches along the coast, of which Le Touquet, with its enormous villas in pine forests, is probably the best known. My pick, though, is Wimereux, with its blue-and-white beach huts and rock pools that are ideal for shrimping.

It’s close to Boulogne-sur-Mer, with its Nausicaa sea aquarium and superb Philippe Olivier cheese shop, and not too far from the quaint fishing village of Audresselles, which has delicious fresh seafood restaurants – on the square, try Retour des Flobards.

Don’t miss: Explore by boat the 430 miles (700km) of waterways in St Omer’s cultivated Audomarois marshland. Spot some of the 200 bird species as you wend your way through what is the country’s cauliflower garden.

Stay: Montreuil-sur-Mer is home to a 16th Century citadel, cobbled streets that inspired Victor Hugo to write Les Miserables and the Chateau de Montreuil (chateaudemontreuil.com), with gourmet restaurant and rooms from €248 (£224) a night. At Wimereux, the Hotel Atlantic has a seafood restaurant and modern seaview rooms with doubles from €140 a night (atlantic-delpierre.com).   

You can’t visit Roscoff without seeing the museum dedicated to the ‘Onion Johnnies’

You can’t visit Roscoff without seeing the museum dedicated to the ‘Onion Johnnies’

Onions and islands near Roscoff

You can’t visit Roscoff without seeing the museum dedicated to the ‘Onion Johnnies’ – the bicycle riding, beret wearing Frenchmen who started crossing the Channel in the 19th Century to sell their wares to British households.

Pictures of them are on show at the excellent Creperie de la Poste, which makes a good pit stop, or try the pretty harbour for fresh seafood.

From here, it’s a 15-minute ferry ride to Ile de Batz where you can stroll from the port village to the Georges Delaselle subtropical gardens and the white-sand beaches in the north.

The fortress Chateau du Taureau near Ile Louet can also be visited by boat – keep an eye open for puffins and terns as some islets are part of an ornithology reserve.

Swing west to Plouescat, with its beaches, dunes and granite blocks, or go east across the Bay of Morlaix to the Pink Granite Coast. Visit Carentec at low tide so you can walk to the island of Callot.

Don’t miss: The Cairn de Barnenez just outside Morlaix is Europe’s biggest megalithic burial ground and predates Egypt’s pyramids. The 250ft mound has 11 tombs.

Stay: In Roscoff, the Hotel le Brittany & Spa has a Michelin-starred restaurant as well as a swish spa which has therapies using local seaweed. Doubles in August cost €143 a night (hotel-brittany.com)

Bucketloads of bubbles in Champagne

Magnificent: Pictured is Reims cathedral, where 33 kings of France have been crowned

Magnificent: Pictured is Reims cathedral, where 33 kings of France have been crowned 

It’s worth the two-and-a-half hour drive from the Channel Tunnel to the heart of champagne country around Reims and Epernay for a truly decadent break.

Start with a snifter of history in the magnificent Reims cathedral, where 33 kings of France have been crowned, before focusing on the fizz.

Among the big champagne houses with amazing cellar galleries are Pommery, with massive underground chalk reliefs, and Mumm, with 14 miles of cellars.

Soak up the alcohol with steak and chips at Bistro des Anges near Reims cathedral.

There are plenty of picturesque villages in the area, including Hautvillers, where Dom Perignon is buried in the abbey in which he worked as the cellarer. Here, the restaurant/shop Au 36 not only serves lunches of local specialities but also sells champagne at the price you would pay if you bought it directly from the producer.

Don’t miss: In Epernay, with its famous Avenue de Champagne, one of the most innovative champagne houses is Leclerc Briant. Some of its bottles are taken to a secret offshore location and left in the sea for 15 months to give the flavour an added depth.

Stay: For a luxury stay, you can’t do better than Royal Champagne, in rolling vineyards just outside Epernay. B&B doubles are from £454 a night (royalchampagne.com). Or family-run Voirin Jumel in Cramant has pleasant (albeit small) B&B rooms from €54 a night (champagne-voirin-jumel.com).

  • Prices are the cheapest rate available in August/September.

Campervans sold out? Use your OWN CAR to gear up for an adventure! 

Campervans all booked up, too expensive or too unwieldy? Then why not try this summer’s DIY roadtrip alternative: campercars.

Who needs to drive around in a pricey, thirsty converted van when it’s quite possible to sleep in your normal car using the latest accessories and digital apps?

It’s a chance for many of us to relive pre-health-and-safety childhood memories of sleeping in the boot of the family hatchback on holiday trips.

Park and go: Simon Heptinstall and his dog, Nellie, try a spot of car camping

Now we’re grown-up, of course, there’s a limit to what’s possible. Today’s family of six might struggle to enjoy a holiday while crammed like sardines in a Mini Cooper, for example. 

But a couple could easily have an adventurous escape in an average car, and a bigger family could use an estate, SUV or people-carrier as their road-trip holiday hub.

Cars offer a perfect portable bubble to explore less crowded seaside and countryside spots. You have more flexibility around moving sites, and if it rains or turns chilly, you’ll be grateful you’re not in a tent.

Turning a humble hatchback into a holiday home does take a bit of planning, however — especially if you want to be comfortable. You may want to consider buying such campercar essentials as inflatable car beds and pillows, electric blankets and low-voltage lighting run from your car’s cigarette lighter.

Simon asks: 'Who needs to drive around in a pricey, thirsty converted van when it’s quite possible to sleep in your normal car using the latest accessories and digital apps?'

Simon asks: ‘Who needs to drive around in a pricey, thirsty converted van when it’s quite possible to sleep in your normal car using the latest accessories and digital apps?’ 

And there’s an increasingly wide selection of roof and tailgate tents, plus awnings and tarpaulin sheets to temporarily expand your living space. Cheap car sunblinds, meanwhile, provide night-time privacy — or you can simply peg towels over the windows.

The most important tip is to ignore neighbours’ weird looks and try lying down in your car at home before you set off. Experiment with reclining and sliding seats, removing headrests or taking out seats altogether. Try using airbeds, mattress toppers or duvets to smooth bumps.

Smaller children can sleep across a back seat with special sideways mattresses that cost only a few pounds. For couples, full car mattresses are about £20 online.

True campercar champions first make flat areas using plastic storage boxes (for spare clothes, shoes and food), then put mattresses on top. And here’s a tip: when I experimented in my old banger I started off in my reclined driver’s seat — however, after a lot of awkward fidgeting I discovered it’s far better to sleep the other way round, with pillows on folded back seats and feet in the boot.

Cars offer a perfect portable bubble to explore less crowded seaside and countryside spots, writes Simon

Cars offer a perfect portable bubble to explore less crowded seaside and countryside spots, writes Simon 

Simon's most important tip for first-timers? Take your trousers off outside the car

Simon’s most important tip for first-timers? Take your trousers off outside the car

Rear wheel-arches are the car’s narrowest part and, unless you’re a very weird shape, your legs are your narrowest part, too.

Next you need to work out where you can park for a spot of safe, legal and uninterrupted sleep. There are dozens of smartphone apps that flag up potential locations. Try Park4night, a free app with user reviews of sites, or motorhomestopover.co.uk, where a £15 annual subscription allows you access to details of hundreds of pubs offering overnight parking if you buy a nightcap or two at the bar.

Usually in England and Wales you need a landowner’s permission, but Scotland’s right-to-roam rules make a campercar enthusiast’s search for pretty wilderness and coastal overnight spots easier.

Wherever you go, try simply asking politely. A farm shop, pub or cafe may allow you to stay if you eat there or pay a small fee. And, unless you’re after a truly wild experience, most campers need cafes, toilets and washing facilities, so it’s usually worth it.

I wake at sunrise in an airless, steamed-up car and make a mental note to leave the windows open a crack the next night. But for the sake of noise, fumes, fuel and your battery, you shouldn’t run the engine, heater or electrical accessories while sleeping.

After suffering a series of contortions worthy of an Olympic gymnast, my most important tip to first-timers is: take your trousers off outside the car. 

Great British boltholes: A review of Tickton Grange Country House Hotel, Yorkshire

Great British boltholes: Tickton Grange Country House Hotel has Yorkshire hospitality… down to a tea

  • Tickton Grange, near Beverley, was lavishly restored by the Whymant family
  • It is now a country house hotel with 20 acres of gardens and a wedding venue
  • Afternoon tea is served on the hotel’s own design Royal Derby china

Step inside Tickton Grange and you’ll spot a framed local newspaper cutting from 1981, the day it opened as a country house hotel. 

The article tells the story of how this handsome but derelict Georgian house with four acres, in Tickton, near Beverley, was lavishly restored by the Whymant family.

Today, siblings Paul, Helen and Maggy are at the helm, steering ‘our home’ through these tricky times. 

Pictured is the grand library which has a bar and David Hockney paintings on the wall

Still, the purchase of an adjacent farm now affords guests 20 acres of gardens, woodland and wild meadows, while the farm buildings converted last year into a wedding venue were in full celebratory swing on a warm Saturday in July.

The vibe is relaxed but the decor alludes to its grand past – Edward VII played cards here (now Room Four). Guests are welcomed from ‘sunrise to sunset’ with clever menus, whether a cafetiere with fennel biscuits taken in the gardens, a two-course lunch in Hide restaurant (£25) or House Aperos – delicious hot and cold bites served in the evening with an Aperol spritz (£25).

Stroll in the lavender-filled gardens where Paul’s son Sam has created wildflower meadows and discover the summer pavilion where couples exchange vows.

The real jewel is the library with a bar, all stuffed velvets and rosy colours enhanced by David Hockneys on the wall (try to spot the fakes, if you can tear yourself away from the macaroons). Afternoon tea is the crowd-pleaser here, served on their own design Royal Derby china.

A few hours later and Hide restaurant was hushed with date-night locals and celebration diners, relaxing at the large tables and gazing out of the Palladian windows.

Afternoon tea is a 'crowd-pleaser' and is served on the hotel's own design Royal Derby china

Afternoon tea is a ‘crowd-pleaser’ and is served on the hotel’s own design Royal Derby china

TRAVEL FACTS

Tickton Grange Country House Hotel, Beverley, East Yorkshire. B&B doubles from £140 a night. For more information visit ticktongrange.co.uk

In 2019, Beverley was voted one of the best places to live in the UK, having outgrown its reputation as a ‘miniature York’. It ticks every box for a bustling market town and has an imposing Minster.

If you only need one reason to check in here, make it for the full Yorkshire breakfast.

It is immaculate and piping hot – from taut little vine tomatoes to the local sausage, fried bread and black pudding, washed down with the best cup ever of Yorkshire tea. I ask Paul how simple ingredients can taste so good, and he shrugs with a smile: ‘It’s just what we do.’

Rooms: There are 21 ranging from intimate (compact) to elegant (bigger) and two suites plus four rooms in the Granary (great for families). Expect richly textured fabrics and modern traditional furnishings.

USP: Family attentiveness.

Food: Whether a prettily dainty afternoon tea, pork belly, Lincolnshire prawn, coconut & pea – one of seven courses on the tasting dinner menu, or breakfast, there is a serious kitchen here. 

Lap up the UK’s finest hotel pools, from underground baths to wild clifftop ponds

There is one thing these hotels all have in common – they have gone to great lengths to provide guests with a spectacular swimming pool.

Whether you’re looking for somewhere to clock up the laps or the perfect spot to unwind, dive head first into our round-up of the UK’s finest hotel pools.

The Scarlet, Cornwall

To infinity and beyond: The stunning pool at The Scarlet in Cornwall

Close to Newquay, The Scarlet’s 43ft pool, with floor-to-ceiling windows affording views across the Atlantic, is a stunner; a kind of indoor infinity pool. But this Cornish luxury spot outdoes itself with its own reed filtered cold water swimming pond high on the clifftops. It’s best to enjoy an invigorating dip late in the day, as the sun slips into the sea. If it gets a tad too chilly, there’s a hot tub for warming up afterwards. 

Rooms from £210 a night (scarlethotel.co.uk)

Burley Manor, New Forest

In the heart of Hampshire’s beautiful New Forest, the Manor’s Grade II listed facade and 40 luxurious bedrooms are enough to entice anyone looking for a country escape. Its seasonal outdoor pool, however, makes it exceptional. Open until September, it provides a frog’s eye view of the adjacent deer park and surrounding woodland, with birds singing while guests plough out a slow breaststroke. Grab a sun lounger, order a cocktail and enjoy a quintessentially English summer break.

B&B from £139 a night (burleymanor.com)

The Club at Cotton Mill, Hertfordshire

Lounging by the waters at The Club at Cotton Mill, St Albans

Lounging by the waters at The Club at Cotton Mill, St Albans

A short hop north of London in St Albans, The Club at Cotton Mill makes for the ideal, post-lockdown breather. Part of Sopwell House Hotel, there’s exclusive access for those staying in the property’s Mews Suites. Its standout feature is an indoor/outdoor massaging hydrotherapy pool. Slip in for a quick dip and then stay submerged while working out stressful kinks. Ideal for anyone who’s been working at a makeshift desk for the past three months. Be sure to indulge in a spa treatment for maximum relaxation.

B&B from £199 a night (sopwellhouse.co.uk)

Beaverbrook, Surrey

Surrounded by 470 acres of landscaped gardens and wild woodland in Leatherhead, Beaverbrook reopened this summer with just 35 rooms spread across its vast estate. That means there will be ample space for guests at its gorgeous outdoor pool, too. In the shadow of the main house, it’s perfect for those who love to get in an early morning stretch and complete a few laps before breakfast. The vibe is more leisurely as the day passes, with the chance to take a seat poolside and read between dips.

Rooms from £385 a night (beaverbrook.co.uk)

The Balmoral, Edinburgh

Blue lagoon: The indoor pool at The Balmoral in Edinburgh

Blue lagoon: The indoor pool at The Balmoral in Edinburgh

Found at No1 Princes Street, The Balmoral is one of Edinburgh’s swankiest hotels. Its lap pool offers the perfect escape for when the weather turns, with soothing blue tiles and day beds on hand for lounging after a long swim. The in-house Turkish steam room and Finnish sauna make this the perfect place to relax between tours of the Scottish capital.

Rooms from £255 a night (roccofortehotels.com)

Rectory Hotel, Cotswolds

This stunning Malmsbury bolthole, once home to a rector and his 14 children, is the ideal location for some post-lockdown R&R. There’s no swimming in the ancient Baptism pool at the front, but there’s a lush outdoor pool, all the better at the height of summer when this part of England is at its bucolic best. It pays to swim before settling down to the hotel’s indulgent afternoon tea. There’s no comfortable way of taking a dip after all those scones.

B&B from £120 a night (therectoryhotel.com)

South Lodge, West Sussex

While it’s tempting to dive into the indoor pool at this Horsham hotel, swimming here is all about the 60ft outdoor pond. Long enough for anyone who wants to practice their front crawl, it’s also ideal for a leisurely, cooling plunge after time spent in the on-site spa.

The poolside deck is the place to be for those who can handle the cold and prefer to take multiple swims. A dreamy way to pass a summer afternoon.

B&B from £335 a night (exclusive.co.uk)

Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland

The pool at Slieve Donard gives swimmers views out across the bay, with the moody Mountains of Mourne glowering high above

The pool at Slieve Donard gives swimmers views out across the bay, with the moody Mountains of Mourne glowering high above

Rising above the shores of Newcastle Bay, the hotel’s pool brings the best of outdoor swimming inside. Its vast floor-to-ceiling windows give swimmers views out across the bay, with the moody Mountains of Mourne glowering high above. At 65ft it’s long enough for muscle-burning workouts, while the adjacent vitality pool, with submerged seating, is the place to relax afterwards, with Northern Ireland’s finest scenery on show.

B&B from £65 per person per night (hastingshotels.com)

Walwick Hall hotel, Hexham, Northumberland

Right on Hadrian’s Wall, Walwick Hall makes for an indulgent stop for hikers covering the famous cross-country route or those looking to escape the city in some of England’s most underrated countryside. The pavilion pool overlooks the beautiful Tyne Valley and is the perfect spot for soothing aches and pains after a day’s walking, or just easing yourself into the evening before a cocktail in front of the drawing room fire.

B&B from £230 a night (walwickhall.com)

St Moritz, Cornwall

For guests who don’t fancy braving the busy beach, the gorgeous pool at St Moritz, Cornwall, is the ideal alternative

For guests who don’t fancy braving the busy beach, the gorgeous pool at St Moritz, Cornwall, is the ideal alternative

A stone’s throw from Polzeath, St Moritz’s self-catering cottages make for a brilliant British escape this summer. And for guests who don’t fancy braving the busy beach, its gorgeous pool is the ideal alternative. The views along the cliffs and out to sea from this high vantage point are wonderful.

The loungers arranged poolside are tempting, but it’s the hammocks that most visitors love – perfect for a snooze under the sun after a few lengths.

Rooms from £130 a night (stmoritzhotel.co.uk)