London to Edinburgh via hidden England

Cotswolds. Preposterously photogenic, dotted with a string of picture-book villages, many of them built by wealthy cloth merchants between 14C & 16C. A hikers haven would be Winchcombe, or opt for a foodie hub at Kingham.

Yorkshire.York is a favourite but worth spending time at Harrogate which owes its landscaped appearance to the discovery of ferrous springs which was to turn the town into one of the country’s leading spas. A must is a stop for afternoon tea at Betty’s, a Yorkshire institution, and has a uniquely old-fashioned air with baking that harks back to the past.

Lake District. Sixteen major lakes in an area of a mere 30 miles across squeezed between the country’s highest mountains, a landscape of glistening water, dramatic valleys and picturesque stone-built villages. You would need a week to cover them all.

View across the lake of a white house in the Lake District

The Borders of Scotland. The area between the English border and Edinburgh sometimes gets overlooked, which is a shame, as offers ruined abbeys from 12C, a series of stately homes  including Floors Castle and Mellerstain House set in weather-beaten heathery hills.

11/06/15. Floors Castle, Roxburghe estate, Kelso in Roxburghshire, south-east Scotland, seat of the Duke of Roxburghe.