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Holidays all too often have the negative connotations of putting on weight through tasting all the great local produce and delicacies or being inactive, but this can be far from the case when taking an English country cottage break in our beautiful countryside or along our awe-inspiring coastline.

Especially in such naturally rich areas as Cornwall, Dorset, Hampshire and the Cotswolds, being active on holiday is not just easy; it’s actually enjoyable. Here we list some of the best activities that can help you be fit on holiday and really make the most of your time off.


Cycling is one of the best activities to enjoy on holiday in England. Not only does it give you a great way of seeing the local area and getting to the local shops or pub, it also helps keep you fit. Especially on cottage holidays in the New Forest and other such areas of dense woodland, cycling is hugely encouraged by local authorities and it is also a great means of experiencing the stunning landscape that surrounds you.

Your packing space might be limited when going on a cottage holiday and you want to ensure your car is as light and roomy as possible, so a full mountain bike or similar does not exactly help your situation. While, of course, you can hire bicycles – see this previous article for information on cycle hire in the New Forest – you might prefer to take your own.

Brompton is a bike company that helps you avoid the difficult packing issue whilst being able to take your own cycle. As designers and makers of some of the highest quality folding bikes on the market, Brompton offers the perfect solution for getting to the nearby shops in style – whilst still being able to leave the cumbersome bike rack at home!


Prefer a slower pace of life? Well, on holiday who could blame you? If this is you, hiking is a great activity to enjoy in the great British countryside whilst maintaining fitness.

Whether a mountain or a coast path is your preference, hiking is a great way of staying fit whilst exploring the local area. Whether it be new or familiar to you, who knows what you might discover? Not only could you see some beautiful sights and get some good holiday snaps along the way, for the average UK adult (at 167 lbs) you could burn up to 600 calories over a route covering hills and/or mountains, as well as improving your cardio-respiratory fitness, muscular fitness and lowering your risk of heart disease, among other health and fitness benefits.

Before setting off on a challenging hike you must make sure you have the right equipment, and what’s the most important bit of kit? A solid pair of hiking boots. Mountain sports brand Ellis Brigham not only has a great selection of walking boots to choose from, but their buying guide has everything you need to know to make an informed decision. The Salomon Women’s Comet walking boots, pictured below, offer complete comfort whilst being lightweight and are tuned to give the perfect balance of stability and freedom of movement.


For the keen climber, Britain’s landscape offers a playground on a huge scale. The health benefits of rock climbing are limitless, with the exercise working both the upper and lower body. Whether you are experienced in the practice or a complete novice looking to start a BMC course, having the right equipment is a must here too.

Again, Ellis Brigham have everything you might need, including the Scarpa Vapour V climbing shoes, pictured below, and the Black Diamond Primrose harness. They ensure they have all the best brands so you know that you are getting equipment that you can trust.


While yoga isn’t exercise in the strictest sense as the exercises listed above, its health and fitness benefits are numerous. Great for developing a toned and strong physique, it is also a great way of connecting with nature when on holiday in some of England’s most beautiful natural landscapes.

Lululemon is the famed yoga and fitness brand that makes fitness clothing that you really want to wear. Their newly developed Om Finder smartphone app means that iPhone users can now find a local yoga class wherever they are, so you can be fit even when on holiday and try new classes in new and exciting locations.

Wild swimming

Wild Swimming is an activity that is taking off in Britain in a big way and one that is best practised when on holiday, exploring a new, beautiful coastline or waterway. After television presenter Dr Alice Robert’s BBC programme Wild Swimming, the public has been searching the country for new and great places to practice the activity.

Online community and advice website Wild Swimming features everything wild swimming, from where to try on holiday to local events. The Wild Swimming book by publisher Wild Things Publishing explores Britain’s lakes, rivers and waterfalls, where author Daniel Start gives his view on the country’s best swimming holes. Just be sure to take local safety advice prior to swimming.

Wild running

Also by the same publisher, Wild Running explores the best locations for the sport, listing 150 hand-picked runs, each embracing the two main criteria of simple navigation and sensational beauty. Written by wild running experts Jen and Sim Benson, the book is illustrated with stunning imagery depicting the landscape and history of each run.

Got a favourite way of being fit on holiday? Share your favourite holiday exercise regimes with us on the Hideaways Facebook and Twitter pages.

Image Credit: Maria Ly ( Brompton, Ellis Brigham, Wild Things Publishing