Get your highlighters at the ready because your 2021 calendar is about to look positively more colourful. If lockdown is eating away at you inner adventurer or your thirst for culture, it is time to beef up your diary. So much pleasure comes from anticipation and being excited about the future – be it Sunday lunch with friends, a day trip somewhere new, or a holiday. It is fundamental to our happiness. And while the present is pretty tedious, arranging these things now, will help get you through January and February, and build up positive expectations.
Instead of grand plans for a post-lockdown blow out, we’re planning a more discreet and tactical departure from isolation. More like a tiptoe. We can’t wait for this all to be over, but having experienced the highs and lows of three lockdowns now, it means we’ll be approaching our reemergence with a lot more caution this time around.
Rather than blowing our annual holiday on a trip riddled with uncertainty, we’ll be setting an experience-filled agenda for the next six months. From March through to August here’s what you can plan, that has a good chance of becoming reality.
Our current release date, or so we hope.
By March, we can hope to ease our way back to some – albeit limited – forms of socialising. Booking a Sunday lunch or four for a smallish group i.e one other family, another couple or a group of four friends is a good place to start. As with Lockdown 1.0 and 2.0 we can presume that certain restrictions will still apply. Keep the in mind now to avoid disappointment later. We’ll be starting with a booking a table for six at The Marksman, Hackney – you have to book weeks in advance anyway. Remember that rule of six? Who knew we’d be willing it back so eagerly.
See our other picks for Sunday lunch spots, here.
The weather is so unpredictable in April but there are always glorious days – often so hot you can bask sans-sleeves in the sunshine. Last year we were having socially distant pavement parties, this year, day trips are on the agenda. Some of our favourite spots within a reasonable drive from London are Whitstable Beach in Kent (park at Gorrell Tank Car Park, Westgate Terrace), where you can watch the sun setting on the shingle shores with a poke of chips. And, the Witterings near Chichester. Here, you can lose yourself on the endless sandy beaches, or among the dunes and marram grass. Park at far end of beach car park and aim for East Head. For something a little wilder, Cuckmere Haven, at Seaford allows you to enjoy the shores eastwards, all the way to the Birling Gap.
Things should really be starting to look and feel a lot more optimistic by May and a staycation is not an unrealistic goal. Besides, if you’re worried most hotels are offering refunds or date-exchanges. The Newt in Somerset is top of our list for a memorable rural retreat. The resplendent Georgian country home, the hotel is also part of a working farm and prides itself in food which takes influence from the land – every plate features something from the estate and gardens. Sip cocktail by the Croquet lawns, sample the local Cyder, and – with any luck – spend a few hours luxuriating in the spa. You deserve it. www.thenewtinsomerset.com
This is prime holiday time. The weather in the UK is favourable, the schools haven’t broken up yet so the prices aren’t eye-watering and the tourist hot-spots should still be free of the bustling crowds.
Take a gamble on ambling further afield. Head down to Devon and Cornwall or Up to Norfolk for some vitamin-sea and sunshine. Go self-catering for a week, at the likes of The Coastguards Cottage, situated near the aptly named Hope Cove and explore all Devon’s riviera has to offer. Or head to the upcoming Southwold straight where quintessential country cottages are available to rent via Durrants, or you can book one of The Swan’s beautifully renovated rooms and sample their world class cuisine.
While everyone else is packing up for their summer escapes, this is a beautiful time to enjoy the sun-soaked capital. You might have grown sick of pounding the same grey pavements throughout January and February but come July, the city should be full of life once again.
Take in the new Lewis Carroll exhibition Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser at The Victoria & Albert Museum which runs from March until December. Or embrace the season of hope via the David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, exhibition at the Royal Academy. This runs from March until August.
Enjoy al fresco dining at The Garden at The Berkeley apres-culture fix, or head to Borough Market for an indoor/ outdoor foodie experience.
Surely it’s time to fly?! While tripping through the misty forests of the Amazon, or following Costa Rica’s surf along the coast might be on hold, there are some more secluded spots closer to home which will still feel a million miles away. Take Cavallo for example. It’s quietly earned its name as the Mustique of the Med. It’s a private island owned by a syndicate of property owners, and it lies in the Lavezzi archipelago between Corsica and Sardinia. There are a select number of properties available to rent or you can Stay at Hôtel & Spa Des Pêcheurs. Spend your days exploring the stunning coves and wild beaches while taking in the island’s serenity. This is escapism at its best.