All I want for Christmas is...


Posted by Sarah on 23rd September 2019

All I want for Christmas

Dear Santa opener

I know I’ve not written for a while and I appreciate you’re probably very busy deciphering the hand-written requests of billions of children, but I wonder if I could make a few small requests this year?

For the most part, I’ve been very good - OK I’ll admit to many evenings spent slovenly gorging on chocolate in my pyjamas whilst binge-watching trash TV. And I know I’m not great at picking my towel off the bathroom floor...

But I call my parents regularly, I’m kind to animals and I work hard. Quite frankly Santa I’m a little burnt out and in need of some indulgence. Why is it all these nice and naughty children can send you their long and complicated wish lists, yet us overgrown kids don’t get a look in?

I implore you to take a little time out of your toy building, mince pie scoffing and reindeer-grooming schedule and humour me a little. I’m not asking for much… well, nothing tangible that requires all that faffy wrapping and a big red bow. Just consider sending me on a few experiences to feed my soul and expand my mind… the gift of time travel.

Sorry, no wait, that IS a big ask… unless you’ve got a spare TARDIS, I mean the gift of time and travel

I'd really like to dive the shipwrecks of Lundy Island

Lundy Island

I’ve heard that the tiny island of Lundy, which sits off the North Devon coast is one of the most significant wildlife reserves in the country: a pioneering marine conservation for over 40 years, in 1986 it became the first Marine Nature Reserve in the UK – impressive huh? At first glance the island might appear barren, offering a sedate landscape made up of grassy fields with only a couple ancient farmhouses and a single tourists’ pub clinging to the rock’s surface, but dip below the waters and I’ve been told to expect the astonishing.

In the depths of the wild Atlantic swell there are ten divable shipwrecks that have inadvertently become artificial reefs; home to bib trigger fish, conger eel, on the surface of the ships lie animals such as plumose and jewel anemone. With Lundy Island home to over 200 Atlantic grey seals, I’d relish the opportunity to come face-to-face with them and perhaps take a photo or two…

Whilst there I could do with a cosy place to lay my head. I’m keen on taking a close friend on the adventure with me and so have sourced a few ideas for two. Dog-friendly or with luxurious touches and on the North Devon coast: we’re fairly easy-going! I found the elegant Boathouse Cottage in the historic town of Bideford, the secluded Tarka View that's also in Bideford (and has a hot tub!) and nautical-themed Courtyard Cottage in the seaside village of Appledore. Please get me the chance to travel to any of these pretty cottages.

... and I wish I could journey to The Cairngorms to see the northern lights

Northern Lights Scotland

This appears on many bucket lists, yet very few have actually done it. And I appreciate there’s good reason for that, it’s such a rare phenomenon that to see the aurora is a once-in-a-lifetime sight. I’ve heard that if you travel during the depths of winter, when nights are longer, it’s incredible to watch as the northern lights illuminate the sky. 

It would be amazing to be one of the few to see the magical northern lights dance across the sky. I have even bookmarked some tips on how to spot the northern lights in the Cairngorms National Park - just in case.

Where to stay? Well, if you could get me a couple of nights in one of these beautiful retreats it would make my Christmas! I'd love a chance to stay at the rustic Loch Earn Milestone Lodge in Perth and Kinross, with its fantastic lake views and hot tub! Or a chance to spend a few days at this cosy cottage: 1 Priory Court in Inverness. Or even a stay at Brandy Burn Cottage in Angus where there's room for four people to stay and a hot tub at this luxury cottage. A holiday in any one of these beautiful holiday homes would be an amazing Christmas present. 

... please give me the chance to explore the Lake District

Lake District

Life gets busy and one of the compromises my partner and I are continually making is time together. Quality time. We’d really like to break from routine and spend a couple nights away holed up in a cosy cottage; the perfect base for exploring a spectacular destination. And the Lake District I’m told offers just that. Incredible scenery, the scope for adventure in the great outdoors and plenty of places to retire to for an evening in front of a crackling fire. I have two 'must-dos' on my Lake District hit-list.

The first item on my Lake District hit-list is to go sailing on one of the lakes. Rent a speedboat, yacht, rowboat, canoe or raft and set off across the water; this is how we’d like to see the Lake District. Apparently, it’s possible to sail the length of the longest and best-known lake in the region, Windermere, or the deepest, Wastwater. And the oldest steam yacht in the North of England, the Steam Yacht Gondola, takes visitors out onto Coniston Water, a famed beauty spot.

Loch Earn
I want to lounge in the hot tub at Loch Earn Milestone Cottage this Christmas...

The second is something I've wanted to do for a long time: climb a waterfall. Perhaps a less conventional way to see this remarkable region, but I’d like to go ghyll scrambling; which is the sport of climbing waterfalls and canyoning, then abseiling back down the waterfalls. Sure to be an incredible outdoor experience, Church Ghyll leads down to Coniston Water and is a great location for the experienced and novices, whilst the biggest, Esk Gorge, is perfect for adrenaline-junkies.

For a relaxing stay in spectacular surroundings, I have a few suggestions on where you could send us. The stylish Summer Hill House – Apartment 5 at Spark Bridge would be a perfect place for us to stay, while contemporary cottage, Somewhere in Coniston, is a wonderful place where I'd enjoy evenings in the hot tub and days walking the lakes. Otherwise, I have a third option: the 200-hundred-year-old Wheelhouse Cottage in Cartmel. It has a hot tub and sleeps four so would suit me perfectly! Please get me the gift of a holiday to the Lake District.

So, there you have it Santa, my grown-up wish list...

You see, I realise as I get older that it’s not about the things we acquire, but the experiences we have that makes life richer. Please consider sending a little travel magic my way this festive season.

I’ll get packing in preparation!

Love Iona


Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.