What to do with the longest day of the year?
I hate to exclude people from things but today, southern hemisphere, this isn’t for you. Sorry.
Northern hemisphere, hello, how are you, how lovely to see you, are you excited about the summer solstice? I am and I have big plans.
The longest day of the year is almost upon us and I for one intend on using every minute of it. Every moment of the 16 hours, 38 minutes and 17 seconds available in fact.
I’ll be in England this weekend and my plan is to wake up before the sun rises and be at the front door ready to go at 4.43am when it peeks over the horizon. My mission is to be back home before the sun sets at 9.22pm. Henry is coming with me although I had to bribe him with a sports massage.
So… out the door at 4.43am and on our bikes at 4.44am. We’re cycling to Waterloo Station to jump on a train to Crawley for an hour. Then a short ride to Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa in the nearby Sussex countryside for a quick breakfast, sports massage for Henry and a classic Swedish massage for me.
After filling our stomachs, and placating Henry, it’s back on the bikes for a 45 minute ride to Gatwick Airport for the short flight to Guernsey (don’t worry about the bikes, they’re Bromptons, so fold into a bag nice and easy). By my calculations we’ll be there in time for a late lunch at the restored 12th century manor Bella Luce Hotel, Restaurant and Spa. We’ll be eating at the award winning Courtyard restaurant before retiring upstairs to their Garden View room for a well earned snooze. We’ll have plenty of time for a glass of wine before making our way to the airport for the hour flight back to London. With a bit of luck we’ll be back inside our flat before the clock strikes 9.23pm. Phew. Now that is making full use of daylight hours I’m sure you’ll agree!
I admit it’s a pretty full on schedule. Not everyone is going to want to cram in quite so much so here are a couple of slightly more serene suggestions for you.
1. Find all the Davids in Florence.
Many make the mistake of thinking the real David is in the Piazza Signoria and many who know the real one is in the Galleria Dell’ Accademia make the mistake of being content with just seeing that one. Florence is littered with Davids and finding them all could fill the longest of days (it’s actually 15 hours and 27 minutes of daylight in Florence). You will need to eat of course and with three SLH hotels in central Florence; Hotel Lungarno, Hotel Regency and J.K. Place Firenze, you can tick off breakfast, lunch and supper in three sensational settings. Just make sure you’re at the top of the Duomo as the sun sets.
2. Drive the California Coast.
According to Google maps it’ll take you 6 hours and 21 minutes to drive from Santa Rosa to Los Angeles. Which leaves plenty of the 15 hours and 6 minutes of daylight on offer in California, to play with. I’d recommend a Segway around Santa Barbara and plenty of dips in the sea. You can top and tail the day with stays at Southbridge Napa Valley to enjoy some wine and the Art Deco masterpiece Shangri-La Hotel in LA.
Henry’s idea, by the way, was to stay in bed till midday and then have a very, very long lunch in a pub garden. Perhaps he’s right. Does that sound more appealing to you? How do you plan to spend the summer solstice?