8 Extraordinary things to do in the countryside this summer

Summer has arrived, so why not plan a countryside escape to make the most of the warmer weather? There are loads of exciting and unusual things you can do - many of them just an hour or two out of London - whether your interests are food and drink, culture and heritage, or country activities. Coupled with great accommodation in a boutique countryside inn and a hearty breakfast, we have your summer getaway all wrapped up.

Here are eight extraordinary things you can do:


Available Monday to Thursday until the end of October

If you've always fancied yourself as the next William Fox-Pitt or Charlotte Dujardin, or just want to learn the basics so you can enjoy an occasional hack, we can put you in touch with a great instructor at Burley Villa School of Riding in the New Forest. Our 45-minute session (for two people) has been tried and tested by Hello magazine - and they loved it! This lesson is wrapped up with an overnight stay at The Mayflower, in nearby Lymington, with breakfast and dinner included. Other riding options are available, including a private hack through the New Forest, or a group trail ride.


Available seven days a week between March and 31 December

Take to the skies in a Harvard Warbird and marvel at the beautiful countryside of Wiltshire and Dorset from on up high. The Epicurean Club has partnered with Compton Abbas airfield to bring you a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fly in a 1940s World War II plane. After your 20 minute flight, you can enjoy celebratory tea and cake before heading to one of our neighbouring inns - the King John or the Museum - for a night's stay in boutique accommodation accompanied by a delicious dinner and a cooked breakfast the next morning.


Available Monday to Saturday all year round

If you have always wanted to learn to shoot clays, let us book you a lesson at one of the country's finest shooting schools. This is a rare opportunity to learn from the best instructors in the business . The hour-long lesson at the Royal Berkshire Shooting School can be just for one person - you'll get to shoot up to 100 cartridges - or bring a friend or partner and share the lesson with up to 150 cartridges between you. Everything is included to make your experience as rewarding and enjoyable as possible including gun hire, ear defenders and eye protection. This experience comes with a night's accommodation - at your choice of three gorgeous Epicurean countryside inns close by - with dinner and breakfast included.


Available Monday to Saturday until December

Adrenalin rushes don't come much better than this. Cable wakeboarding, with top coach and former British champion Lee Debuse, is a truly invigorating - and addictive - activity. You don't even need to go to the beach to enjoy it. LDB Wakeschool, the UK's leading wakeboard school, is less than an hour from London. After taking to the water, you can then enjoy a delicious dinner and overnight stay (with breakfast included) at one of the Epicurean's traditional Hampshire inns about 45 minutes away.


Available Sunday to Friday until 27 October

For something more sedate, why not go on a special literary getaway. As well as staying in a literary themed pub with rooms - The Anchor Inn in Lower Froyle, Hampshire - we'll provide you with a complimentary copy of one of Jane's landmark novels and tickets for two to visit Jane Austen's House Museum, just a few miles up the road in Chawton, and the neighbouring Chawton House Library, where Jane's brother once resided. This cultural experience includes a delicious evening meal in the Anchor's two rosette restaurant and a cooked breakfast the next morning, so there's really no excuse not to book this lovely trip today. We'll also include details of two Jane Austen walks you can undertake in Chawton if you feel like a leisurely stroll in the summer sunshine.


Available Sunday to Thursday until end of September

You might not immediately associate the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside with crayfishing, but our unique Epicurean Experience combines both. That's because one of our gorgeous 17th century waterside inns - The Trout at Tadpole Bridge - is situated on the banks of the upper reaches of the Thames at Buckland Marsh and we have a licence to catch the introduced species that are threatening UK waterways. In this special package, which combines an overnight stay with dinner and breakfast, you'll catch your own crayfish then cook them for lunch under the expert tutelage of an experienced chef.


Available twice a day Sunday to Thursday

Gin is the drink of the moment. Artisan distilleries are popping up everywhere across the country, but few open their doors to the public. Not so the Cotswolds Distillery in the heart of the Warwickshire countryside. This purpose-built stone distillery produces single malt whisky and a range of small-batch liqueurs, as well as its flagship Cotswolds Dry Gin, which was recently voted "The Best London Dry Gin" in the World Gin Awards 2016. We have partnered with the distillery to offer you a fascinating tour, tasting and complimentary miniatures to take home with you. This gin lover's package also includes an overnight stay for two people, with dinner and breakfast, in a choice of two Cotswolds inns in the Epicurean Collection - the Horse and Groom, Bourton-on-the-hill, or The Seagrave Arms, Weston Subedge.


Available seven days a week during the season, which runs between 14 April and 15 September

England is renowned the world over for its pristine chalkstreams, but getting access to a beat for a day's fishing is nigh on impossible unless you're in the know. We've taken the difficulty out of the process by arranging a guided trip to the Kennet, which includes everything you'll need for a perfect outing. We not only supply the guide, tuition, equipment and a delicious riverside picnic, we also include a night's stay (with dinner and breakfast) at the Dundas Arms, an 18th-century inn by the water. This exclusive experience is suitable for beginners and experienced flyfishers alike and will give you a rare chance to try your luck on the Craven fishery, one of the premium trout fishing beats on the River Kennet.

Photographs: Shutterstock; Compton Abbas; Shooting Times/Paul Quagliana; Cotswolds Distillery; Chawton House Library