“I’ve been all over the world and I always end up comparing places to Britain,” says Countryfile’s Helen Skelton. “I think we’ve got everything here. The great thing about British people is that they don’t care about the weather… it can be blowing a gale and sideways rain and people think it’s a great day to go outside.”
The former Blue Peter presenter has travelled the length and breadth of the UK while working on the hit rural show, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. Skelton believes there are few terrains as diverse as those in Blighty. “We’ve got cliffs, we’ve got beaches with long stretches of sand, the kind of thing that people travel to the other side of the world for, we’ve got dramatic coastlines and cliffs, vast moorlands and mountain ranges… and because of the weather you get great contrasts.” Skelton reveals her top five idyllic spots in her home nation…
1. Keswick, Lake District, Cumbria
“The lake is gorgeous, the people are really friendly and the scenery is stunning,” explains Skelton. “I grew up 10 minutes from here; we came here all the time as kids. We used to go and have fish and chips by the lake, and when we had visitors we always used to take them here. I lived in a house, until I was 23, that didn’t have any neighbours. You could hit a golf ball off the front or back step and not hit anything or anyone.”
2. St Agnes, Cornwall
“I learned to surf here, the people are amazing,” says Skelton. “We came here for a week’s holiday and ended up staying with people, because they were so nice. It has a really nice little beach and it’s really sheltered.”
3. Inverness, Scotland
The area is known for the famous Loch Ness, and the fabled monster living in the lake, yet further north there’s more to see, explains Skelton. “There’s some stunning coastline up there,” she says.
4. Glenshee and Glen Coe, Scotland
“Scotland’s got stunning scenery, there’s also some great skiing up there,” explains Skelton. “Although you can’t rely on the snow, you’ll be guaranteed a warm welcome and a party. There’s a great atmosphere.”
5. Barrow, South Lakes, Cumbria
“The South Lake’s coastline is brilliant, but people ignore the South Lakes and they go to Windermere,” says Skelton. “Don’t go to Windermere, it’s so oversubscribed. There are some lovely places in the South Lakes. Kirkby Lonsdale is a lovely little town and you can go kite surfing in Barrow, which people would never think.”
Countryfile: A Celebration of the Seasons is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.