With us spending an average of more than eight hours online a day, taking a digital detox holiday is going to leave you with a lot of spare time. That’s an intimidating void that may initially seem impossible to fill. This is why a countryside cottage holiday is ideal when you’re trying to spend some time unplugged.
Getting out and about in the great British countryside is the perfect antidote to a digital addiction. Not only will you not have enough signal to connect in most places (not even 3G!), there’s so much to do and see that the only reason you’ll want your device in the first place is to try and capture some of the beautiful sights you’ll see.
The sheer scale of the countryside will sometimes take you aback, especially if you’re a city dweller used to a horizon filled with apartments and office blocks. From the wild expanses of Exmoor to the imposing Lake District fells that dominate the sky, there is a world out there that will take your breath away. The UK has 15 National Parks and 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (covering nearly 20% of the UK) – that’s a lot of scenery to be seen. And we can guarantee it’s breathtaking in a way that Instagram, with all its filters, could never capture.
Take the tranquil peace of the Norfolk Broads, or the golden Cornish coastline, the outstanding views of the Kent Wolds or the lush green valleys of the Yorkshire Dales that seem to stretch forever. A cottage holiday in one of these locations is the ideal way to discover everything the countryside has to offer. Long walks or days spent exploring are always better when you know you’ve got somewhere cosy to return to
The physical and mental benefits of a countryside holiday have been well documented. Scientific studies show time and time again that being in the great outdoors can cut recovery times from illness, boost your mood and reduce stress levels considerably. Being away from traffic fumes and constant white noise is also beneficial to your health and the general slower pace of life will reduce tension and high blood pressure.
Of course, the countryside is also nature’s playground. While many people shell out a small fortune in gym fees every year, there’s nothing better than leaving the four walls behind and getting your exercise outside.
Running is one of the most popular sports in the country, but if you’re one of the thousands of people pounding the traffic-choked streets every week, you’ll definitely appreciate the difference between an urban and rural route. Take a run across places like the Yorkshire moors or through the Kielder Forest in Northumberland and you’ll find it a transformational experience. The softer ground means less impact on your joints, the fresher air allows you to breathe easier and the constant pull of wanting to see what’s over the next hill or around the next corner will see you doing distances you’d never considered before.
If you’re more into two wheels then have a cycling holiday in the countryside. Either load up the roof rack or hire when you get there and enjoy the ride of your life. Road racers will love the quiet rural roads that allow you to eat up the miles without having to continuously play dodge-the-traffic. The gently rolling countryside of Suffolk is great if you want nice easy rides or just to cover a lot of distance. Whereas anyone looking for a hard-core challenge should head to somewhere like Cumbria or Devon where the thigh-burning gradients will really test your lung-power.
Of course, off-roaders will already know that the countryside is the only place to go mountain biking. Wales especially has plenty of tracks to enjoy, from gentle greens for the novice to brake-burning blacks suitable for the hard-core rider.
And that’s just scratching the surface of being active outside. How about horse riding, geocaching, rock climbing, pot-holing, hang-gliding, or coasteering?
There’s so much for you to do on a countryside cottage holiday that the idea of sitting around idly jabbing at your phone for hours will never seem so pointless.