When I had my children though, the trips abroad stopped - partly because it was too expensive and but also because it was just too dauntingly difficult. When O was very small, and C a toddler, we went on our first holiday as a family, to stay in a small cottage on a farm on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall. It was possibly the most memorable holiday I have ever had. We spent our days sitting on near-empty sandy beaches, or walking along paths with breathtaking views over the sea. We ate delicious local food; pasties, scones with jam and clotted cream, cider, bacon and eggs from the farm and blackberries form the hedgerow. Each night we all fell into deep, endless sleeps - exhausted from a surfeit of fresh air, exercise and good food.
When we came back home I was embarrassed that I had not really known that such beautiful, restful places existed in my own country. I felt as though I had spent too much time looking for the perfect tropical beach abroad, and missed all the treasures that were right under my nose.
In a couple of days time, we are heading off with our tent to North Yorkshire for this year's summer holiday. So today's list is all the places I love to visit the most in my own country.
- Pembrokeshire - rugged cliffs, brilliant blue seas and empty beaches. The perfect place to clear your head.
- The western part of the Yorkshire Dales - beautiful caves and delicious cheese.
- The north Norfolk coast - windswept and wild - just the right side of bleak. Best for long walks out of season.
- Falmouth in Cornwall - feels like another country. Black and white Kernow flags hung from every available building and beautiful boats to admire in the harbour.
- Snowdonia - the best walks I have found have been here. The mountains are a shock if you normally live somewhere unremarkably flat like London.
- The Vale of Pickering in North Yorkshire - very pretty chocolate-box villages, the North York Moors National Park and the best pies I have ever eaten.
- The Cotswolds - there are good reasons why the Cotswolds are such a well-known destination; if you focus on the pubs rather than the tea rooms you will forget that other people are visiting as well. Some villages still feel more medieval that 21st Century.
There are still so many places I want to visit in my own country; there are no destinations in Scotland or Ireland on my list as I haven't been to either of those places as an adult. For now, Britain has more than enough to keep me happy.