Outdoors

Best Garden Events of 2017

With Spring peeking its head around the corner, it’s time to find inspiration for your garden. Here at Hatchbag, we’ve put together a list of our top garden events for 2017. So whether you’re an avid horticulturist or just starting to get green fingers, there’s sure to be a show to encourage your creative side.

Chelsea Flower Show 23rd-27th May

One of the UK’s leading flower and garden shows returns this year, with a host of displays and collaborations. From artisan and show gardens created and produced by top designers to gardens with ‘out of the box’ ideas for smaller spaces.

Experience floral-inspired delicacies, sip on champagne or eat your way through three courses featuring ‘The Best of British’ products. The Chelsea Flower Show incorporates beautiful gardens with high-class food.

Visit the website here: RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Gardening Scotland 2nd-4th June

Discover the latest gardening trends, purchase new tools and track down plants to make your garden space at home unique to you. With over 400 exhibitors and 35,000 people in attendance, the Royal Highland Centre is a stunning celebration of gardening.

Schools and gardening groups will be able to take part in creating their very own mini pallet gardens. Children and parents can also learn how they can make their outside spaces more eco-friendly.

Enthusiastic gardeners will be able to enjoy speaking to experts from the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society who will be on-hand to answer questions and give advice.

Visit the website here: Gardening Scotland

pexels-photo-89796

Spring Festival 20th-21st May

The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Spring Festival is back again this year. With a range of activities, workshops and displays that celebrate the best of rural life, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The Gardening Hall will have exhibitors from all over the UK displaying plants & flowers, holding competitions and activities; from creating a hedgehog feeding station, to finding that perfect bulb to plant in shaded areas.

Visit the website here: Royal Welsh Spring Festival

Southport Flower Show 17th-20th August

With previous celebrity guests such as David Dormoney and Ainsley Harriott, the Southport Flower Show is not to be missed in 2017!

Last year the Southport Flower Show also hosted a food festival, a British flower display, an edible garden and Spanish dancing horses. This year’s event has the theme of ‘The Curious Garden’ and is inspired by mystery, wonder and curiosity. We’re looking forward to another embellished show this year.

Visit the website here: Southport Flower Show

Whichever event you happen to attend, be sure to take your Hatchbag boot-liner to protect your boot from any soil spillages or fallen pollen. Also, we’d love to see pictures from the event. Send us your snaps in on social to @HatchbagCompany for Twitter, @thehatchbagcompany on Instagram & The Hatchbag Company on Facebook.

The best UK festivals of 2017

It might not feel like it at the moment with the colder days looming, but it won’t be long before the festival season is upon us once more.  With literally hundreds of festivals to choose from, the team at Hatchbag have shortlisted four which are definitely worth considering.

Festival No.6

A stunning art and music festival held every year in the heart of Portmeirion, Wales, Festival No.6 presents a wide range of eclectic music genres including; rock and roll, folk, house, techno and dance music.

Festival No.6 is renowned for more than just the music. Think arts & culture shows, amazing food and drink to indulge in and fantastic activities, such as yoga, paddle boarding and swimming.

Find out more here.

FESTIVAL-NO.6

Green Man Festival

With a tradition for championing great music and even better causes, the Brecon Beacons has become one of the best UK summer festivals going, drawing in crowds from all over the UK.

Undoubtedly Wales’s biggest music event, Green Man is a non-corporate and ethically minded festival that combines great music and echoes the swinging 60’s spirit.

Find out more here.

The Good Life Festival

We love this newcomer to the UK festival offering. Part-curated by Cerys Matthews, this festival is a  combination of fantastic folk music, amazing foods to try and activities to partake in, such as pottery classes.

Welsh Sweetheart, Cerys Matthews from Catatonia, curates the event, along with the owners of Hawarden Farm Shop where the festival is held.

If ever there was an event that begged you to switch off and relax, this is it.

Find out more here.

Bestival

Originally set up by radio DJ, Rob Da Bank, Bestival is based at Robin Hill Country Park on the Isle of Wight and plays host to some of the biggest names in music.

Year after year, Bestival showcases some of the most amazing musical acts, such as Elton John, The Chemical Brothers and Missy Elliot. Your eyes are also in for a treat as the festival replicates a magical fairytale, with fancy dress and fairground rides to enjoy.

More information can be found here.

Whichever festival you attend this summer, be sure to take your Hatchbag boot-liner to protect your boot from muddy wellies and tents.

For more information about our range, visit the website here.

5 outdoor activities that will inspire a fitter & happier you in 2017

The UK is home to beautiful scenery. So, with some of the best activities and adventures at your fingertips, it’s time to pack your Hatchbag boot-liner and embrace the great outdoors this 2017.

 Zorbing

pexels-photo-97804 (1)

There are some things in life you have to try at least once and Zorbing is definitely one of those things.

If you’re not familiar with Zorbing, it’s basically where you’re strapped inside a giant inflatable ball with an equally unhinged partner. You’re then let loose down a hill and the ball will naturally roll and bounce at speeds of up to 30mph. You’ll be laughing and shouting with excitement all the way to the bottom!

There are numerous companies up and down the country such as Go Zorbing which have a great reputation.

Bungee jumping

If you’re looking for an adrenaline-fueled activity that is sure to leave you feeling hyped up for the rest of the week, it’s time you gave bungee jumping a try.

There’s not much else that will excite you more than a bungee jump from 160ft. If you’re feeling really adventurous then you could even try the highest bungee jump in the UK at 300ft. Surely that’s the ultimate experience for a thrill seeker?

With tandem or solo bungees available at numerous locations across the UK, start your bungee experience here.

Climbing

Climbing outdoors can be one of the most exhilarating and satisfying forms of exercise, merging the gymnastics of indoor climbing with the wild and beautiful elements of the outdoors.

Climbing has numerous facets such as bouldering, sport climbing and traditional climbing to name a few. With so many styles to choose from, it’s not hard to see why so many people fall in love with the sport every year.

You can start your climbing journey by joining a local climbing club or taking a course.

SAMSUNG CSC

Walk the Offa’s Dyke

Following the English & Welsh border for over 177 miles alongside the 8th Century Offa’s Dyke trail, this stunning national trail takes you through changing landscapes, picturesque scenery and remote woodlands, allowing you to catch a view of Britain’s finest wildlife.

Walkers usually split this 177 -mile route up, with the three most popular sections being:

The Wye Valley

16 miles

Pandy to Hay-on-Wye

18 miles

Llangollen to Prestatyn

34 miles

Cycling

Whether you want to get fit, start racing or you’d just like to feel the benefits of getting from A – B powered by your own steam, cycling is the sport to try.

Whether you’re cycling solo, with friends or with the family, there are so many reasons to love being on two wheels.

Of course, the first step to take is getting hold of a bike. Once you have one, you can hit the open road with your helmet and Hi-Viz whenever you like.

For top tips, check out the Go Sky Ride website.

bike-trip-friends-cycling-163305

Whatever outdoor activity you decide to try next year, make sure you pack up your Hatchbag boot-liner to avoid any nasty spills or rips in your car boot.

Also, let us know what you guys get up to by sending some snaps into our social. Check out @thehatchbagcompany on Instagram or @HatchbagCompany on Twitter.

Where to watch the New Year's Eve fireworks

When the Christmas festivities are over, it’s time to look forward to bringing in the New Year with the ones you love.

If you haven’t decided what to do yet, then why not see one of the UK’s best firework displays? We’ve made life easier for you by shortlisting the ones we think sound the best.

Manchester

The city of Manchester is always lively on New Year’s Eve, with the city acting as a magnet to residents and visitors from the local area, who are attracted to the bright lights on Oxford Street or the buzzing nightlife down Canal Street.

The Manchester New Year fireworks display never disappoints, with a spectacular display on Oxford Street. Make sure you catch these fireworks for yourself, or, if you’re not close enough you can watch the display live here.

London

Over the years, the popularity of London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display has rocketed, and for good reason too.

Thousands of spectators will line the Thames to watch an incredible fireworks display as well as viewers across the UK. Each year the London New Year fireworks display is broadcasted via most major UK news sites to officially bring the New Year in.

The last chance to get tickets for this year’s event is Friday, December 2nd costing £10 per person. If you don’t fancy paying, there will be five viewing areas along the Thames, Waterloo Bridge and Westminster Bridge too.

Edinburgh

Why welcome in the New Year with just one firework display when you can enjoy four spectacular displays in one night.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is Scotland’s world-famous New Year festival featuring a three-day line of up of spectacular events, fantastic live acts and of course, incredible firework displays.

Check out the full line-up: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

Birmingham

Taking place at Centenary Square, it will be all eyes to the sky for residents in Birmingham this New Year’s Eve as the city promises to host a dazzling fireworks display.

Taking place just around the corner from Birmingham’s vibrant Broad Sheet, you can find a list of fantastic venues to watch the display here.

The Hatchbag team wish each and every one of you a Happy New Year and the best of wishes for 2017. We do kindly ask that you make sure any pets are kept indoors this New Year to avoid them being scared by the fireworks.

4 of the best Christmas walks to work off those festive feasts

The UK is a stomping ground for beautiful walks. So, what better time to take in what nature has to offer than after you’ve filled up on a spectacular Christmas dinner?

Forest of Dean, Symonds Yat

With stunning views across the River Wye and beyond, Symonds Yat is a site to behold, especially on a crisp winters day.

This beautiful loop will allow you to not only take in the lovely views but also witness the stunning hidden waterfalls across the River Wye. Adding to that, the route is so long that afterwards you will feel as though you deserve a second helping of Christmas pudding when you return home.

Visit Forestry Commission England for more information.

Delamere Forest, Blakemere Trail

Delamere is a beautiful place to go walking, with dry sandstone paths, lots of mature trees to take shelter should it rain or snow and Blakemere Moss; the ideal spot if you like bird watching.

With its gentle roads, Delemere Forest is the perfect choice to go walking, especially if you’re with members of the family that struggle with incline or you’re after a route that’s child-friendly.

Visit the Visit Cheshire website for more information.

Tenby beach stroll

Coastal walking is always a good choice, especially after Christmas as chances are you’ll have the beach to yourself. Tenby South Beach never disappoints with gorgeous sea views and pretty coastal buildings to admire.

Also, if you venture out on Boxing Day then you’re in for a treat, as you’ll get to witness the annual Tenby Boxing Day swim, where hundreds of crazy bathers take to the shores to raise money for charity by swimming in freezing conditions.

If you’re planning to visit, check out the National Trust site here.

Plan your 2017 diary with these amazing outdoor challenges

With a new year fast approaching, why not get some early planning in by signing up to one of these fantastic outdoor fitness challenges. Any one of these are sure to set you up for a great 2017.

Rough it in the wilderness

Take a leaf out of Bear Grylls’ book and spend a night in the wilderness after taking part in an epic survival course. Designed by the man himself, the Bear Grylls Survival Academy runs hands-on courses to equip those who attend with the skills needed to rough it in the wild.

Whether you opt to spend just one night in the British countryside or a 5-day master class in Zimbabwe, you’re sure to make memories that last a life time.

Scotland Coast– to–Coast

Not one for the faint-hearted, the Rat Race Coast-to-Coast consists of 105 miles of running, cycling and kayaking across the Scottish Highlands.

The route of this two-day (or one day if you’re an über athlete) challenge takes in some of the most mysterious and wild locations in Scotland.

With stunning sights such as Cawdor Castle, Loch Ness, Glen Nevis and Glen Coe, why not sign-up today?

Run the Snowdonia marathon

Swap marathon running in the city and head for the hills to take part in the toughest 42km race in Britain.

Again, certainly not one for the faint-hearted, this demanding and spectacular race involves encircling Snowdon – the highest peak in both Wales & England.

Enter this only if you’re confident that the full level of training can be done pre-race. Revel in the sense of achievement you’d get knowing you’ve completed one of the toughest courses in the UK.

Full details can be found here.

Learn how to surf

Although it doesn’t look like the most difficult sport in the world, the reality is that when you start out surfing, you’ll spend most of your time in the water- either waiting out the big waves or trying to get back on your board.

Persevere, however, and surfing can be one of the most fun and adrenaline boosting sports going.

Why not begin your surfing journey by booking on to a course at the world’s first artificial inland surfing lagoon? It consistently churns out perfect rides that run for up to 150 metres.

Visit the Surf Snowdonia website for more information.

Cycle Land’s End to John O’Groats

Otherwise known as LEJOG for the more amateur cyclists, cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats is certainly one of the most challenging endurance bike rides there is in the UK.

Participants of the LEJOG cycle the whole length of the Great British Isles which comes to a mighty total of 847 miles.

For the most part, this will take between 10 to 14 days to complete. The current record holder cycled this route in just 9 days, but if you’re not a super, super fast cyclist then you may not want to go chasing that title.

There’s nothing stopping you from going the distance unsupported, however, it might be in your interest to join a group. Just make sure you get those training miles in.

Whatever challenge you decide to do, make sure you arrive prepared by packing up your Hatchbag boot-liner to avoid mud stains in your boot.

We’d love to hear where you and your 2017 challenge take you - make sure you tweet us @hatchbagcompany with updates and achievement news.

Where to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks

When the Christmas festivities are over, it’s time to look forward to bringing in the New Year with the ones you love.

If you haven’t decided what to do yet, then why not see one of the UK’s best firework displays? We’ve made life easier for you by shortlisting the ones we think sound the best.

Manchester 

The city of Manchester is always lively on New Year’s Eve, with the city acting as a magnet to residents and visitors from the local area, who are attracted to the bright lights on Oxford Street or the buzzing nightlife down Canal Street.

The Manchester New Year fireworks display never disappoints, with a spectacular display on Oxford Street. Make sure you catch these fireworks for yourself, or, if you’re not close enough you can watch the display live here.

London

Over the years, the popularity of London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display has rocketed, and for good reason too.

Thousands of spectators will line the Thames to watch an incredible fireworks display as well as viewers across the UK. Each year the London New Year fireworks display is broadcasted via most major UK news sites to officially bring the New Year in.

The last chance to get tickets for this year’s event is Friday, December 2nd costing £10 per person. If you don’t fancy paying, there will be five viewing areas along the Thames, Waterloo Bridge and Westminster Bridge too.

skyline of london

Edinburgh

Why welcome in the New Year with just one firework display when you can enjoy four spectacular displays in one night.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is Scotland’s world-famous New Year festival featuring a three-day line of up of spectacular events, fantastic live acts and of course, incredible firework displays.

Check out the full line-up: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

Birmingham

Taking place at Centenary Square, it will be all eyes to the sky for residents in Birmingham this New Year’s Eve as the city promises to host a dazzling fireworks display.

Taking place just around the corner from Birmingham’s vibrant Broad Sheet, you can find a list of fantastic venues to watch the display here.

The Hatchbag team wish each and every one of you a Happy New Year and the best of wishes for 2017. We do kindly ask that you make sure any pets are kept indoors this New Year to avoid them being scared by the fireworks.

The Hatchbag shortlist of the UK's best destinations to go sledging

On the rare occasion that the UK is covered under a blanket of snow, what else better is there to do than head to the hills and test out your sledging skills?

With winter fast approaching, we’re getting prepared for that snowy forecast. Here at Hatchbag, we have compiled a list of the UK’s best sledging destinations for cost-free winter thrills!

Cold Fell, Cumbria

Cumbria is blessed with several hills, making it an ideal location for sledging in wintry conditions. The slope located on the road between Ennerdale Bridge and Calder Bridge is a well-known hotspot for sledging fanatics. It’s a good long slope and is even steep enough for you thrill seekers to pick up some speed but not too steep to walk back up. And don’t worry you’re in for clear run without any hedges or dry stone walls obstructing your way.

Alexandra Palace, North London

This is the perfect sledging spot for families this winter. With a varying degree of slopes, there is something to suit all ages and abilities. There are smaller more gentle runs for the younger members of the family as well as more challenging slopes for the adrenaline junkies. An added extra to the winter fun is the fantastic view from the top. Before hurtling back down the slopes, you can take in the views of famous landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral and the Olympic Stadium.

When your fingers and toes are numb and it’s time to call it a day, head to the Phoenix Pub in the palace complex at the top of the hill and treat yourself and the kids to a hot chocolate to warm up!

Urra Moor, North York Moores National Park

Urra Moor has to be one of the ultimate sledging destinations in the UK. With designated areas for different abilities and chosen modes of transport, there is something for everyone! It seems that this place was made for sledging. So, next time the UK is blessed with snowfall, head to Urra Moor and test out your sledging skills.

snowy mountains

Capel Curig, Snowdonia

This sledging hotspot lies in the heart of Snowdonia. Not only is this area a picturesque delight, but, it’s sloping hills provide a perfect surface to sledge in snowy scenes. As you fly across the snow and down the hills you will have a great view of the Snowdon Horseshoe and the surrounding lakes.

Aviemore, Highland

In Aviemore in Scotland, they take sledging to the next level. Leave your plastic sledge behind because here, they give you a real sledging experience. Situated at the foot of the Cairngorm Mountain Range is The Cairngorm Sleddog Centre. The centre offers a range of activities for families including Sleddog Trips and Safaris. They teach you how to sledge, look after the rig and the dogs, giving you the ultimate sledging experience.

Visit sled-dogs.co.uk for more information and prices.

Amongst all the excitement, don’t forget to take your Hatchbag boot-liner to protect your boot from those snowy sledges and wellies!

Britain's Best Autumn Walks

Autumn is that magical time of year when the natural world bursts into a kaleidoscope of colour. One of the best ways to experience the wonder of autumn is to explore the British countryside, parks and woodlands.

To help you along, we’ve put together a list of the best British walks for autumn highlights.

HafodLlan, Snowdonia

This four-mile walk will take you on a tour of some of the most beautiful scenery in Wales. You’ll be able to take in the Welsh countryside as you pass by stone walls, woodlands and Welsh mountain sheep. There are also three rivers along this route: Afon Cwm Llan, Afon Merch and Afon Gorsen which flows over a spectacular waterfall tumbling down the mountain and stone clapper bridge.

For more information visit the national trust website.

Epping Forest, Essex

This ancient woodland is tucked away within London’s eastern limits and even many Londoners haven’t come across the 6,000 acres of forest. Epping Forest earnt its place in Visit England’s top ten autumn walks, described as "a hidden woodland world, fiery and bright with autumn colours at this time of year, and crisscrossed with trails for you to amble happily along."

To find out more info visit England.

Stourhead, Wiltshire

Stourhead is a 2,650-acre National Trust estate. It is home to some of the best 18th Century landscaped gardens in the world.  In autumn, Stourhead is the perfect fall scene as the oaks and beeches are alight with burning reds, yellows and golds. The ancient woodland that also forms part of the estate offers a contrast to the perfectly kept gardens. If the autumnal weather’s a bit too cold for you then head into the Palladian mansion on site. If you want a day of adventure, then you can spend your day exploring its classical follies or you can relax by its aesthetic lake.

If you want to know more, visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead/

Grizedale, Cumbria

With great walking trails, family picnic areas and an adventure playground, Grizedale Forest Park offers the ultimate family day out. Your children will have endless amounts of fun as they can get active on the 18 metre Go Ape platform and fly 200 metres across the top of Grizedale Beck. Autumn is the best time to explore Grizedale Forest as the changing colours of the seasons give a burst of colour and new life to the forest.

For more information, go to-http://www.forestry.gov.uk/

Catbells, Lake District

Catbells autumn walk is spectacular. If you’re looking for something a little more strenuous than a leisurely stroll, then this route is for you! According to Visit England the walk is “a little more effort than the average stroll, but suitable for families and well worth that smidgen of extra energy”. If you make the gradual climb, then you will be greeted with some of the best views to Skiddaw directly across Derwent Water.

To find out more visit England

Edzell, Angus, Scotland

This charming Scottish village holds some fantastic woodland walks. The village of Edzell’s most popular walk ‘The Rocks of Solitude’ is known to be a local favourite. Autumn is the best time to explore this trail as the rustic colours of autumn bring this picturesque village to life. Follow the River North Esk upstream through a wooded gorge and look out for the salmon leaping over the waterfalls to spawn upstream.

Visit Scotland to find out more

Whichever walks you and your family decide to tackle this autumn, be sure to take your Hatchbag boot-liner with you to protect your boot from your muddy walking shoes.

We’d love to hear where you and your autumn adventures take you and your family, make sure you tweet us @hatchbagcompany.

Hatchbag's top walks for you and your furry pooch this autumn

Dogs are wonderful creatures, they’re loyal, they’re cute and all they ask for in return is a little love. So, what better way to show it to them than with a walk? Here at Hatchbag, our work-experience student, Harry has been searching around the country to find the best places for you, the family and your four-legged friends to enjoy this autumn.

Sheffield Park

If you’re living in the South East then why not pay a visit to the Gardens at Sheffield Park. This National Trust location fully welcomes dog walkers and offers an excellent experience for all the family, with autumn being one of the best times of year for you to visit these lovely grounds. Here your dogs can jump through the streams or play in the 250 acres of beautiful woods and grassland.

Dartmoor National Park

If, however, you are based in the South West of England then there are no shortage of lovely walks and parks. However, one that definitely stands out is the Dartmoor National Park. This stunning location is the perfect place to take your dog out for a whole day of fun and enjoyment. And if you want to do more than just take a walk, then why not participate in one of the many activities on offer such as cycling, horse riding, climbing, canoeing, and letterboxing etc. So, whatever takes your fancy you will be sure to find something for you and the whole family to enjoy.

Lyme Park

Perhaps you are looking for a day out in the North of England. And one of the most stunning parks, full of natural beauty with a magnificent house and gardens is Lyme Park. There are over 1400 acres to explore in this beautiful park, offering you an array of different walks to take in the best views at Lyme. And whilst you’re rambling through the magnificent views, keep an eye out for the deer, who are sure to make a spectacular appearance.

Northumberland National Park

Or, if, you are venturing or based even more northern then why not check out Northumberland National Park or one of the most beautiful places in the country, the Lake District. Not only can you take in the vast beauty available at Northumberland National Park, but, why not download the Poems in the Air app and as you explore the park, you will be able to hear selected spoken poems at unique locations throughout the park. And when it comes to the Lake District there is an abundance of scenic routes and trails along with gorgeous views to take you and your family’s breath away. Whether you fancy walking, hiking, running, swimming or cycling, there is something available for the whole family.

Wales

Snowdonia National Park, the Brecon Beacons, and the Pembrokeshire coast are but a few of the possible locations for dog walkers in Wales. There is no end to the rolling hills, ancient woods, and gorgeous streams, perfect for you and your four-legged friend to enjoy. So, put on your walking boots and click on one of the above potential places for more information.

For those of you living in Scotland, the list of locations for days out with your pooch is endless. You could travel to Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park or the Cairngorms National Park. All of these have incredible scenery and are a sight to behold. Cross wide open fields or witness spectacular waterfalls all in the company of your adoring pet. What is for certain, is that you and your furry friend are not going to be bored of finding spectacular scenic walks for you both to enjoy.

Hatchbag Boot-Liners

As usual in this country, the weather will probably take a turn for the worse at some point. And as for us dog owners, however, we know that no amount of effort will stop our dogs from jumping in every puddle, every stream, and every muddy patch that they find. And although there may be nothing we can do about the weather or keeping our dogs clean, we can prevent your car boot from turning into a bog, with one of our Hatchbag boot liners.  All of our liners are expertly handcrafted by a team of dedicated people and are available for over 400 car models. They can be customised with a multitude of extras such as bumper flaps, tailgate covers etc. to make sure that your boot has as much protection as possible.

And don’t forget to share with us all your autumn activity photos on our Facebook Page, Instagram Page @thehatchbagcompany or on Twitter with the #HatchbagAutumnAdventures and we will re-post, re-gram and retweet them all.

If you also have any other recommendations of where you and your four-legged friend like to explore then please share them with us, as well. And you never know, we could be recommending your favourite haunt in our next blog.