Great Days Out

Beach sunset somewhere in Normandy

An unbeatable location

Having visited and stayed in many Normandy Gites to rent  across the region, we chose Calvados because of its warm, temperate climate, its unbeatable attractions, convenient location, and because we believe that few other areas offers so much to see and do for all ages and interests.

Hill Crest Normandy Gite is near to some lovely sandy beaches and numerous popular tourist attractions including Mont Saint Michel, the Normandy Landing Beaches, Swiss Normandy and Bayeux Cathedral/Tapestry to name but a few.

Closer to our self catering Normandy Gite to rent you’ll find Lake Dathee for fishing, sailing, windsurfing and a quality golf course plus the magnificent St Sever Forest a magnate for mountain bikers, walkers and nature lovers is just over ten minutes away. Also nearby are the rugged gorges, rivers and adventure sports of the Swiss Normandy region.  In addition, zoos, adventure parks and some of the best fishing, walking and cycle paths are right on our doorstep. The attractive, bustling market town of Vire is a short 10 minute drive away and boasts one of the best water parks in the district.

We’ve highlighted below some of our favourite places and activities and where possible provided links so you can find out more about them. There are also some very good local area tourism websites that you may want to take a look at too:

www.calvados-tourisme.com/en

www.manchetourisme.com

Kayaking on Lake DatheeCyclists
Wonderful cycling – We have free to use bikes and Kayaks/life jackets


On Our Door Step

As well as the very local attractions detailed below, Hill Crest Gite is surrounded by glorious Normandy countryside with wonderful walks and well-maintained long-distance cycle tracks right outside the gate. We have bikes, kayaks and windsurfer available for you to use free of charge and are happy to give you help and advice on the best places to visit so you get the most out of your holiday.

Trout Fishery

We have a fantastic 3 lake trout fishery literally 500m down the road where you can hire rods/bait if you don’t have your own. There are two conventional lakes where you pay by half day/day plus a children’s lake where you are guaranteed to catch some fat, tasty trout as they almost jump onto your hook! You pay by the kilo for the fish you catch in this lake.

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Lake Dathee

Just a 10 minute drive or half hour cycle from the farmhouse, this was one of the key reasons for choosing this area. It’s a lovely large lake (7km around) with its safe sandy beach for swimming,  sailing and windsurfing lessons/hire in the summer plus some fantastic fishing, cycle trails, walks, and picnic areas.

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St Sever Forest

About 15 minutes in the car lies St Sever Forest – hundreds and hundreds of acres of glorious broadleaf  forest with a large lake, historic ruins, miles of well marked walking paths and some of the best off road mountain biking around. NEW for this year is a fantastic tree top ‘go-ape’ style adventure course for all different ability levels – the great thing is you pay once and then can have as many goes as you like

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Golf at Dathee

Golf de Vire Normandy

We’re afraid we’re not golfers but golfing visitors tell us that the 18 hole golf course at Lake Dathee is one of the best around and the reason they chose us over all the other Normandy gites to rent.

It overlooks the lake, has a quality club house and welcomes visitors throughout the season.

Go to Golf de Vire website


Vire and Aquavire

Creperie, Normandy

Vire is our nearest town, about a 10 minute drive from the gite, and as the capital of Calvados it has a good range of shops plus a nice Sunday morning market and a gourmet market on Fridays.

There’s also an impressive water park – Aquavire, which is well worth a visit at Parc de l’Europe, 14500 Vire.

Go to Aquavire website


Further afield

If you want to go further afield, you’re really spoilt for choice for things to see and do in this part of Normandy, but here, in no particular order, are our recommendations based on our own experience and those of friends and visitors. Most attractions are within an hour’s easy drive from here. Click on the links provided for more information and photographs.


Mont Saint Michel

Mont Saint Michel

It’s a truly breathtaking place to visit and my number one choice for a memorable day out – be sure to pay extra to visit the lofty monastery at the top, check the tide tables and get there early during the summer holidays. You can combine a trip to Mont St Michel with a trip to the sandy beaches detailed below and Granville as they are very close to each other or even a trip to Alligator Bay attraction which is about 4 km from MSM.

Go to Mont Saint Michel website

Be sure to watch the short video.


Sandy beaches and Granville

beach

If you want safe, sandy beaches with good facilities, head for Carolles and Julloville just south of Granville with great views of Mont Saint Michel. Its wonderful at low tide too when you can join the locals catching shrimps and searching for rock oysters and mussels on the rocks – its brilliant for rock-pooling so bring a net or two!

If you have time after the beach, then head up to the delightful old town, chic marinas, shops and harbours of Granville which are well worth the visit.

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Go to the Jullouville website


Swiss Normandy

swiss normandy kayaking

This is a beautiful and spectacular area about a 30-minute drive from Hill Crest Gite with lots to see and do that owes its name to the canyons and lush valleys that have been carved by the rivers flowing through it.

Head for Pont D’Ouilly  for walking, kayak hire and cycling and take a drive along La Route des Cretes to experience the best of the area. We spent a couple of days kayaking up from Clecy – an amazing experience – just like film ‘Deliverance’ but without the bad guys!


Gorge de Souleuvre

Under half and hour’s drive. Most visitors say it’s the best day out ever! Walk out on the amazing viaduct hundreds of feet above the valley floor and watch the bungee jumpers and maybe have a go yourself? Then walk down to the valley below to watch the jumpers from below and where you’ll find toilets, play park, restaurant and you can even hurtle down the gorge in the amazing luge cars. It’s free to visit and watch, you only pay for the any of the activities you use.

bridge-souleuvre luge-eef-en-freek

Vire Gorges


Jurques Zoo

Jurques zoo

One of the best zoos we’ve ever visited with lots of animals, keeper talks and interaction – you even get to feed the giraffes and have a snake around your neck if you like that sort of thing.

It’s about a half hour drive from the gite and has all the animals you could hope for including two rare white lions, all set in about 45 acres of parkland.

Go to Jurques Zoo website


The D-Day Normandy Beaches

D-Day beaches Normandy

The D-Day landings changed the course of World War II and without them, life for us may now be very different. The landing beaches are well preserved and tell the amazing story of what happened and the bravery and courage of the troops who took part. The beaches are about an hour and a bit drive and well worth the trip, especially if you combine it with a visit to the stunning cathedral and tapestry at nearby Bayeux.

Go to D-Day website

D-Day beaches, Normandy


Bayeux Tapestry and Cathedral

Bayeux tapestry detail

Created over 900 years ago, this world-famous 280 foot long tapestry tells the story of the Battle of Hastings in 1066 during the Norman invasion of England. This, together with the Museum, the British Cemetery, beautiful cathedral and interesting town makes a trip to Bayeux well worthwhile, especially if you combine it with a trip to the D-Day Beaches.

Tapestry website

Cathedral website


Dinan

Dinan

Our most favourite town! I’m cheating here a bit as it will take about an hour and twenty minutes to get to Dinan but the roads are easy, there’s plenty of parking, and when you get there it really is worth the effort.

Built on the beautiful River Rance, Dinan is without doubt one of the most attractive and best preserved small towns in Brittany. With its 1.8 mile (3km)-long ramparts, half-timbered houses, attractive riverside port and cobbled streets filled with art galleries and craft shops, it’s worth a day of anyone’s time.

Go to Dinan website

The above are some of our own favourite places to visit and things to do based on our and our visitors experiences. There are dozens of other zoos, animal parks, adventure/play parks, castles, historic towns and villages and even a biscuit factory within an easy drive. We are always on hand to offer help and advice on things to do and places to visit so do please ask.