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What’s on outdoors (yes, really!)

The time has finally come to put on some real clothes (joggers don't count, sorry) and have some fun in the fresh air - at a social distance, of course.

Going out is the new staying in! Yep, it’s finally time to emerge from your cocoon, put on some actual shoes and head out into the world. Stay safe of course but we think it’s time to get out there and support your local events, stores and experiences.

GARDENS

COTON MANOR

Slap on some sunscreen, don a flowy dress and channel your inner Emma Woodhouse for a sedate walk around the gorgeous country gardens opening up like blousy peonies left, right and centre. National Trust Canons Ashby is open for advance bookings only; one of our absolute faves – guys, they have FLAMINGOS – Coton Manor Garden is open Tues-Sun in the afternoons and the wonderful cafe will be open for takeaways; Kirby Hall and gardens will be open from 4 July to limited number of visitors with advance bookings and the tranquil and delightful Evenley Wood Garden is also open, the perfect spot for a socially distanced meander through the beautiful blooms and woodland glades. Don’t forget to pop into Forge Coffee in Evenley to grab some of the best coffee and cake in the shire. The National Gardens Scheme has also announced that many of it’s gardens are now welcoming visitors with pre-booked, timed tickets for a huge range of gorgeous passion projects to visit including a delightful c17th cottage garden in Finedon.

ADVENTURES

RIVER SPIRIT SUP

The River Nene and its surrounding lakes have become a buzzing hub for water sports and what better way to enjoy some socially distanced adventure? If you fancy giving that core a bit of a workout (err, core? What core?) as you emerge fro three months in lockdown, then Muddy can highly recommend River Spirit SUP, who offer 1 to 1 and small group stand-up paddle boarding lessons from their base at Ringstead. You’ll pootle along the tranquil waters, spotting ducklings as you go and you’ll even have the chance for a lovely swim in a secret spot. If you’d rather sit down and give your arms some exercise you’ll be delighted to know Canoe 2 at Rushen Lakes restart their glorious river trips from 20 June. We can’t of a better way to get active and get together safely with family and friends.

SHOP (AT A SOCIAL DISTANCE)

Shopaholics rejoice! Shopping centres have been given the go-ahead to reopen from 15 Jun which includes Rushden Lakes, which will be opening with a limited capacity, hand sanitiser stations and enhanced cleaning regimes to be as safe as possible. There will also be a one way system in place to queue for some stores.

Designer shopping mecca Bicester Village is also opening (the village looks lovely this time of year with summer flowers, plants and trees) with new regulations. Visitors will have a temperature scan on arrival, plus you can book a virtual queue spot for your favourite boutiques using the app.

centre:MK also has plans to open on 15 Jun with social distancing measures in place. All 18 doors will be open, plus shops will have ‘waiting areas’ to keep capacity at a safe level. Let’s shop!

Heart of the Shires in Weedon is also open once again, so you can grab an Emma Bridgewater bargain at Muddy fave Abraxas Cookshop and trawl the fabulous vintage find at Simply Salvaged.

PYO FRUIT

Harpole Strawberries

I took the mini Muddies to Harpole Strawberries a few days ago and we have been living on strawberries and cream ever since. Northing beats the taste of a freshly picked ripe strawb that’s never been anywhere near a fridge. These guys have got the social distancing all organised, with a one-way system in place and screened serving hatches. They sell delumptious Jersey cream and ice-creams too, so get down there pronto or there’ll be none left to out in your jug of Pimm’s.

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