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The Fur Feather & Fin Guide to Summer

Britain has been sunning itself in the warm weather in recent weeks, and we are predicted a lot more sunshine over the summer months. This gives us plenty of opportunities to head outdoors, doing all sorts of activities and heading on any number of adventures! If you are feeling overwhelmed by what you can do, we have put together a guide for everything you need to know about the season.

Sunflower in Britain

When Does Summer Start?

The summer solstice, or midsummer, signals the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, which this year falls on June 21st.

What to Do in Summer?

Lawn mover in British garden

The warm, sunny weather and long daylight hours gives us lots of time to do things, from country walks to picnics in the park. On cooler days, a walk or hike in the local countryside, or a location further afield is a great place to start. Take a look a the best hikes to do in Britain this summer; from the highlands of Scotland to the south west of England and update your wardrobe with the best country clothing for heading outdoors.

If you have a love of country sports and pursuits or are looking to start a new outdoor hobby, summer is the best time for it! Our guide on the best country pursuits for the summer can give you some ideas on where to start, such as horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and fly fishing.

The warm weather has no doubt made your garden spring into action, with flowers in bloom and everything growing extra fast and there are loads of things to do in the garden during the summer. First up is watering; a lack of rain means it's your job to keep the plants healthy and happy, especially if you want to continue seeing the flowers! Give the garden a big watering a few times a week, and containers and hanging baskets every day.

Next up is mowing the lawn. The grass grows quicker in summer, so a quick buzz once a week is best. Along with mowing the lawn is tackling any pests. Greenfly, aphids, caterpillars and other insects love the summer, so keep them at bay from plants you want to thrive. You also shouldn’t leave feeding the birds to winter; carry on leaving out a variety of bird feed, and even get a bird bath, so they have a place to cool down on hot summer days.

When the garden is looking tidy, why not host a garden party or picnic to show off how good it looks to family and friends? A garden party is more formal, and you can make it into an event. However, if you want something a little more low key, a picnic is easy enough to prepare, and you can make it portable with the help of our picnic accessories so you can dine al fresco wherever you want! Have a look at our recipes for some ideas on what to cook up!

What Wildlife to See in Summer?

Tortoiseshell butterfly

Summer doesn’t just bring us out of our house; the warm weather is perfect for animals, birds and insects too. Fields, meadows and hedgerows are buzzing with insect life such as beetles, dragonflies, grasshoppers and butterflies. Your garden is likely to get several insect visitors too, especially if you have a pond.

In early summer, you may spot fledgeling birds, as they look different from their parents, often being a little fluffier and with different markings. For example, young robins haven’t yet developed the red breast; instead, it is brown and speckled, and on lakes and rivers you are likely to see ducklings, goslings and cygnets.

If you are taking a trip to the coast this summer, you could see lots of seabirds, and if you are lucky, dolphins and porpoise out at sea! In many coastal locations, you can take boat rides along the coast, giving you a chance to see sea life up close.

Nature reserves around Britain are the perfect places to see a fantastic variety of wildlife and are often free to visit! Have a look on the RSPB or your local Wildlife Trust websites to see where the nearest reserve to you is, and take a look at where the top nature reserves to visit in the summer are.

What Events Take Place in Summer?

people on a summer hikeThe summer sun provides the perfect conditions for outdoor events, from walking festival, music festivals, craft festivals, regattas and much more. Some of our summer events highlights are listed below:

DogFest, which takes place at three different locations in June and July: 16th – 17th June at Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire; 23rd – 24th June at Ashton Court, Bristol and 7th – 8th July at Knebworth House and Gardens, Hertfordshire. DogFest has everything to make you, and your dog have an amazing time with accessories, toys, advise and much more.

Moray Walking and Outdoor Festival takes place in Scotland from 15th to 24th June and includes a range of activities including walking, cycling, frisbee golf, white water rafting and wild swimming. Other walking festivals in the summer include Herefordshire Walking Festival 16th – 24th June, East Peak Outdoors Festival 23rd – 1st July, Quantock Hills Walking Festival 30th June – 1st July, North Pennines Walking Festival 30th June - 15th July and Dartmoor Walking Festival 25th August – 2nd September.

The Wilderness Festival, taking place on 2nd to 5th August in Oxfordshire, is a great one for families, encouraging you to explore the British landscape, with workshops, talks, activities, music, arts and food and drink.

Summer also brings the start of the shooting season, beginning with the Glorious Twelfth. However, the 12th August falls on a Sunday so that this year will be pushed back to the 13th.

What Foods to Forage in Summer?

wild strawberriesWith so many plants thriving in the summer, it is the ideal time to go foraging. Foraging is sustainable and free, and you can guarantee the food you collect is organic! Just remember foraged foods need extra washing before eating.

Blueberry – blueberries are a delicious summer fruit and can be used in a variety of dishes and raw. Look for low shrubby plants of heaths and moors. They appear as early as July, but August and into September are the best months for them.

Strawberry – alpine or wild strawberries are an exciting find when foraging, and the tiny fruits are full of flavour, more so than those you find on the market. Look for them in deciduous woods and along hedgerows between June and August.

Elderberry – later in the summer you will find elderberry trees in woodland and hedgerows dripping with the dark berries. Packed with vitamins, they are commonly used for cordials, pies, crumbles and jams.

Chickweed – an underrated weed, chickweed can be found in gardens, and it’s widespread throughout the summer. Look out for the delicate white flowers, which can be used as a salad garnish, and the leaves can go in salads, or blended into a homemade pesto.

What are your plans for the summer? We would love to hear about the things you get up to – let us know via social media!