I ran out of steam (and time) part way through writing seven quick takes yesterday, so I'm doing a belated Friday 5 instead. Here are the hottest five places I can think of within ten miles of home.
1. Whipsnade Zoo
The country branch of London Zoo, which has been a favourite with all three girls. Gerald Durrell (author of My Family and Other Animals) learned his trade as a zoo keeper here.
2. Woburn Abbey and Safari Park
Despite its name, Woburn Abbey is the home of the Dukes of Bedford - where an earlier Duchess of Bedford was credited with inventing the tradition of afternoon tea. Back in my childhood days part of the Woburn estate was turned into a safari park where you can drive round and see the animals close up in a natural habitat (natural-ish - clearly they can't quite manage to turn a piece of Bedfordshire into southern Africa!)
3. Grand Union Canal
One of the major links in England's nineteenth century canal network, that connected London to the Midlands. These days the canal is used for leisure rather than trade, with narrow boats available for holiday rental, scenic canalside pubs, and the towpath for walking and cycling.
4. Stockgrove Country Park
Another family favourite, with an ornamental lake (from the days when much of the park formed the grounds of a country house), ancient woodland, a children's play area, and Cherub's favourite, a stone sundial - which she has decided is the perfect place to play her version of hopscotch.
The major entertainment venue in a nearby town - sixteen screen cinema, indoor ski slope, climbing wall, bowling, restaurants, clubs and so on.