As well as being enjoyable, it’s not so expensive to enjoy the local and very local area for holidays.
Inflation. Rising interest rates. Energy prices. The cost of the weekly shop. And so on. It’s no secret that pretty well all of us are feeling some pain in our pockets. Prices rises are everywhere, hitting pretty well everything. That reality set me thinking about holidays.
Holidays are … enjoyable. A welcome change. A much-needed break. And so on. But given how expensive they can be too, it’s perhaps a good time to think about more locally-based holidays – including the very local.
(Incidentally, other than any financial aspect, of course holidaying locally is very, very likely to be far more climate-friendly than travelling miles.)
As someone who’s lived in either Oxford or Caversham for decades, one thing that continues to surprise me is how little people explore their local area – whether on foot or otherwise. After all, there’s as much to be discovered and enjoyed nearby as there is in some far-off location.
So, what’s local to Caversham? I think perhaps it’s worthwhile to think in terms of two broad groups. Group one, anywhere that’s within a reasonable walking distance from somewhere in Caversham. Group two, somewhere that’s an easy drive from Caversham – let’s say roughly between Caversham and Oxford, within borders defined by the A404/M40 to the east and the A34 to the west.
The Very Local
For ideas for ‘group one’ walks, the simplest way to find somewhere to stroll is to make use of the – free – Open Street maps facility.
To get the most of a local walk, in my experience you might need to add in a dash of your own curiosity. And you might, too, need to refresh not what you’re looking at but how you’re looking. By that I mean I sometimes need to remind myself to slow down, stand back and actually see what is in front of me, rather than just look at it. It’s very easy to pass something by time and time again, without ever really seeing it.
This photo gallery, in the Caversham sister site, RG4, is an attempt at illustrating this:
Of course, that’s just what one pair of eyes decides to see – you might have your focus on something entirely different. There’s no right or wrong to this. And you can experiment as much as want to – there’s no cost involved. You might find adventure, mysteries – and who knows what else!
For ‘group two’ destinations, that’s a little bit trickier – but only because there’s so much choice! Within the geographic area I’ve outlined, there are any number of walks, places to visit, things to see and so on. And, naturally, where ever you are, the variety gets all the richer if you see rather than just look! Fine, but what to actually go and see?
I think Experience Oxfordshire is perhaps the best option for ideas, even if it covers more than the ‘group two’ area, and the Visit Southern Oxfordshire site isn’t bad either:
Note that for the second site, below the map that’s towards the top of the page there are a range of links to sites that in turn offer a decent range of options.
Yes, you will need to budget for fuel and sometimes parking too. And you might want to include food and/or drink out too. But it’s almost guaranteed to be cheaper than what you’d spend on a holiday away.
In addition to the information and suggestions above, for more inspiration I strongly recommend Caversham’s bookshop, Fourbears. They’re stocking a really good range of books (big and small) dealing with a wide range of things local and beyond.
Finally for this item, I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you have to go to some exotic far-off place to have a ‘great’ holiday. For a different approach, purely by chance I came across this (slightly longer) read on The Guardian site. It focuses on reawakening our sense of wonder – enchantment with the world that’s immediately surrounding you. And that seems a worthwhile thing to do. Refreshing your life can only be a good thing.