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Things we love about the last days of summer

It’s not over yet, as we cling onto the last days of summer, we have some great ideas for escapes to wring every last second out of the season.

Watch waders in Norfolk

Wading bird

Late summer and early autumn are among the finest times of year to spot waders and seabirds in Norfolk. To the east of Wells-next-the-Sea, the Norfolk Coast Path runs parallel to a large area of saltmarsh and mudflats. Marshes all around the Norfolk coast host of a variety of wading birds. At high tide in late summer and early autumn red knots and other shorebirds can be spotted as well as a huge range of waders, waterfowl, gulls and terns.

You could even take part in a Bird Migration Walk at Holkham Nature Reserve and go in search of our feathered friends who pass through the North Norfolk coast on the way to their winter homes.

While bird-spotting, stay at YHA Sheringham.

Walk among the heather in the Peak District National Park

Field of heather in the Peak District

Late summer in the Derbyshire Peaks is a stunning spectacle when the heather is in full bloom creating a carpet effect of colour. Head to the hills in the last weeks of August and beginning of September to see the bell heather, which has dark pink or purple bell-shaped flowers and the common purple ling heather.

Hathersage Moor is a must stop spot with views over the Hope Valley and the Dark Peak. The moorland below Stanage Edge is another perfect place to pitch up as the sun is setting over the heather covered moors, with views towards Kinder Scout.

Get your head down at one of our hostels in the Peak District.

Admire beautiful butterflies in the South Downs

Blue butterfly outdoors

The South Downs is the grassland of the butterfly world – lots of butterflies breed or feed on the flowers found there. Keep an eye out for Adonis and Chalkhill blues as they fly across the gentle slopes.

There are lots of suitable nectar rich plants available for butterflies to feast on that will continue flowering through until September. So pack up a picnic and head to Surrey Hills, the North Downs or the South Downs for some super butterflying.

Book a room for butterfly spotting at YHA Holmbury St Mary Surrey Hills, YHA Tanners Hatch Surrey Hills, YHA South Downs or YHA Truleigh Hill.

Forage for late summer fruits in Yorkshire

Summer berries in Yorkshire

We are very lucky that the UK has an abundance of food to forage. It’s a great way to appreciate seasonal changes, connect with nature and cook up some tasty recipes. In late summer, woodlands, forests and the countryside are a great place to start your foray into foraging for delicious fruits, especially in Yorkshire. Look out for elderberries and blackberries that can be transformed into jams and jellies or a yummy crumble. Just be sure to leave enough berries for the wildlife.

Our very own YHA Boggle Hole is a great place for picking blackberries as the road down to the beach is lined with blackberry bushes. Or grab a basket and visit a ‘Pick Your Own’ farm called The Balloon Tree in Helmsley while staying at YHA Helmsley.

You can choose from lots of hostels in Yorkshire.

The last of the sunny swims in the Lakes

Lake Buttermere view

Make a splash in the last warmth of the sunshine before the autumn months arrive at Wastwater, in the Lake District. Surrounded by Red Pike, Kirk Fell, Great Gable and Scafell Pike it’s a firm favourite for wild swimming. There are little beaches and flat rocks on the road up to Wasdale Head, where you can enter the water easily. Afterwards, warm up at nearby YHA Wasdale Hall or one of our Lakes hostels for a delicious cuppa and a cake.

Try out one of our hostels in the Lake District.

Kayaking along the Thames

Kayaking on a lake at sunset

Float along the River Thames by kayak like Ratty from The Wind in the Willows when you stay at YHA Streatley-on-Thames. It’s a great base for rowing the Thames at Wallingford, Pangbourne, Henley or Windsor.

Make sure you put down your oars in Henley-on-Thames and dip into the River and Rowing Museum where visitors young and old will enjoy the café, shop, gallery and special interactive The Wind in the Willows exhibition. What a perfectly delightful way to spend an afternoon – simply messing about in boats.

Stay at the oar-some YHA Streatley-on-Thames.

We have more great getaways, discover our late summer availability.

Written by Jo Avery

Jo works in YHA's communications team, writing about travel and adventures for all. She loves curling up with a good book and a large mug of tea, ambling through wheat fields in Derbyshire with her family and dog and holidaying beside the seaside.

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DestinationsThings we love about the last days of summer