In his new series on Channel 4, architect George Clarke explores some of the UK’s many impressive homes and properties in the care of the National Trust. George also takes his dog Loki along on some of the Trust’s most spectacular walks as the two of them relish being out and about together in the amazing British countryside.
If you’re inspired to tread in George – and Loki’s – footsteps, many of the National Trust gardens, grounds and countryside sites that feature in the series have now re-opened. We also have some great suggestions for walks around or close to several of the properties that George visits.
Visits to National Trust gardens and grounds currently do need to be pre-booked, please check the National Trust property’s website for latest information.
Studland Bay and Old Harry Rocks
In the first episode, George and Loki embark on one of the UK’s most stunning and geologically exciting walks, in a landscape that’s constantly at the mercy of the climate, so looks different on every visit.
Studland Bay and Old Harry Rocks is a favourite of ours. Everything that’s great about England’s Jurassic Coast wrapped up in one circular walk – glorious countryside, stunning views, incredible beaches and iconic landmarks.
You’ll find everything you need for a day at the beach in the National Trust’s Knoll Beach Shop.
In episode 4, George takes a hike up to Golden Cap – the highest point on England’s southern coast, surrounded by 2,000 acres of National Trust land including the largest area of lowland wildflower meadow in the charity’s holding. We explored this beautiful hill and cliff top in Julia Bradbury’s ITV series Best Walks With A View.
Find out more here: theoutdoorguide.co.uk/walks/julia-bradbury-walks/dorset-golden-cap-walk
Corfe Castle, also in episode 4, is one of England’s greatest buildings and well worth a visit. Partially demolished during the English Civil War, this battle-scarred 1,000 year old royal castle stands aloft Dorset’s natural Isle of Purbeck, with peaceful countryside all around.
You will need to book your visit in advance by 3pm the day before you visit.
Find out more: theoutdoorguide.co.uk/product/national-trust-corfe-castle
For more walks in Dorset see: theoutdoorguide.co.uk/walks/walks-by-location/dorset-walks
In episode 3 of the Channel 4 series, George returns to his North East roots when he revisits his all-time favourite National Trust property. Cragside, close to the town of Rothbury and 25 miles from Newcastle, is an extraordinary Victorian house, garden and woodland.
Truly the wonder of its age, the house was the first in the world to be lit by hydro-electricity. It is surrounded by wonderful woodland with gardens and water courses that can be explored along miles of footpaths that crisscross the rugged hillside.
Cragside gardens and grounds are open for walks, and dogs on leads are welcome. There is timed entry and you will need to book ahead before visiting.
Find out more: theoutdoorguide.co.uk/product/national-trust-cragside
Built to impress in the 18th century by the Bowes family, Gibside really has wow factor as George discovers in episode 5. The 600-acre estate and landscaped park is home to grand tree boulevards, stunning views and majestic Georgian architecture. It’s easy to get close to nature here and there’s plenty of space to run wild.
The gardens and woodlands at Gibside are open, you will need to book your visit in advance though the National Trust Gibside website.
In episode 3, George takes in this stunning 6-mile walk around the hills and woodlands above Bath, enjoying the magical views across one of England’s most historic cityscapes.
Bath is the UK’s original wellbeing destination and is a World Heritage Site. It is surrounded on all sides by some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside, 500 acres of which is in the care of the National Trust.
Bath has always been associated with health. Along with taking its spa waters, Georgian doctors also prescribed walks and drives out into the city’s surrounding countryside.
The whole of the beautiful National Trust Bath Skyline Walk can be completed at a comfortable pace in around 4 hours.
LONDON AND THE HOME COUNTIES
Cliveden’s glorious woodlands and gardens overlooking the River Thames are also currently open for visitors who book in advance. Check the National Trust Cliveden website for details.
Set high above the Thames with far-reaching views, Cliveden’s impressive gardens and majestic woodlands capture the grandeur of a by-gone age, as George discovers in episode 3 of his series. The formal gardens give way to secluded glades, tree-lined avenues and picturesque riverside with miles of woodland walks to discover.
Our Cliveden Views Walk is a great one for all the family and is wheels friendly.
Ham House, Surrey
George is impressed by the unapologetic ostentation of Ham House when he visits in episode 6. Built in 1610, just 10 miles from Central London and sitting pretty on the banks of the Thames near Richmond, Ham House was designed to impress and is surrounded by 13 acres of magnificent formal and restored gardens.
These include an incredibly intricate parterre garden, a productive kitchen garden, the maze-like ‘wilderness’ designed for intimate walks, and many beautiful spots perfect for a picnic.
You will need to book your visit in advance: theoutdoorguide.co.uk/product/national-trust-ham-house-and-garden
George then visits a house built by a man with the midas touch. 2 Willow Road in Hampstead is the iconic house designed and built by influential Modernist architect Ernő Goldfinger, who, it’s said, author Ian Fleming named his infamous Bond villain after.
2 Willow Road is closed at the moment but London is always one of the UK’s most rewarding walking destinations. With its many beautiful parks, magnificent buildings, historic streets and riverside views, there are endless opportunities to stretch the legs while marvelling at one of the world’s greatest city’s impressive and ever-changing landscape.
The Jubilee Walkway, a 14-mile route linking a number of highlights and landmarks in the capital, is a great place to start: theoutdoorguide.co.uk/walks/commonwealth-walkway-walks/jubilee-walkway
For some inspiration for walking to improve fitness check out this video: