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8 of England’s best-kept secret tourist attractions

It’s English Tourism Week and to celebrate, we’ve gone off the beaten track to bring you some of the less famous (and much the better for it) tourist attractions near to our Forest Holidays locations.

Deerpark delight

Cornwall is so full of fabulous days out and attractions it’s difficult to narrow down to one or two recommendations. But in the spirit of searching out treasures that you might otherwise miss, we have eschewed the Eden Project and the not-so-Lost Gardens of Heligan and suggest instead the   Hidden Valley Discovery Park at Launceston. This gem of a family day out, about an hour’s drive from Deerpark, is based around solving clues on various treasure trails. It’s the sort of day out that you think you are going on for the kids’ benefit and then find yourself completely wrapped up in the adventure.

Hidden Hampshire

Meanwhile, over in Winchester near to Blackwood Forest, you can while away a fascinating morning at the Ghurkha Museum, which tells the moving story of Ghurkha service to Britain over the last 200 years. One of many military museums in Winchester, the Ghurkha museum is notable for its detailed miniature battle scenes and immaculately kept displays. Even if you have only a passing interest you will find yourself caught up in the story of this fearless and generous regiment.

Suffolk surprises

Are you staying at our newest location, Thorpe Forest, this summer? A diverting trip to St. George’s Distillery -England’s only whisky distillery- is well worth an afternoon of your time. A craft operation using local ingredients, could it take on the Scots at their own game? We’ll let you decide.

For fun, education and nostalgia all wrapped up in one pleasurable package, don’t miss the Dad’s Army Museum at Thetford. It’s a lovely little museum, free to enter and with lots of props from the original series which was filmed in the area.

Forest of Dean favourite

Our Forest of Dean guests love Puzzlewood. It’s exactly as you would picture a fairy tale wood, with mossy rocks, twisted yews and little wooden bridges across steep gullies. Reputedly, JRR Tolkien took his inspiration for the fabled forests of Middle Earth from Puzzlewood, and it's easy to see why. This magical landscape will delight everyone.

Sherwood’s secret

Up country to Sherwood Forest and if you can drag yourself away from all things Robin Hood, head northwest on the Worksop Road to Creswell Crags. This honeycomb of caves is home to Britain’s oldest art gallery. Here, Britain’s only known Ice Age rock art gives a fascinating insight into the lives of our most ancient ancestors. Explore the caves, vales and gorges and discover more in the museum and visitor centre.

Cropton & Keldy curios

Our most northerly English locations are of course, Cropton and Keldy in North Yorkshire. Both are near to the pretty market town of Pickering and our tip off here is the Beck Isle Museum. With 27 themed rooms depicting local life through the ages it’s one of those treasure troves of a museum that can be overshadowed by more well-known attractions and yet offers a thoroughly captivating experience.

There’s something of an authentic, unspoilt theme in our pick of attractions, with a thread of nostalgia woven through, and our final suggestion is no exception. The Scarborough Fair Collection is a whirlwind of Wurlitzer organs, old fashioned carousels and fairground attractions, with a jaw-dropping collection of working steam engines thrown in for good measure. It’s another of those attractions that draws everyone in to its magic, whatever their age or temperament. Give it a whirl!

You’ll find many more suggestions for days out and attractions near to our Forest Holiday locations on our main website. In the meantime, what do you think about our eclectic selection of English tourist attractions? Have you visited any of them? Have you any suggestions of your own for an overlooked yet wonderful little gem? Head over to our Facebook page and let us in on your secret.