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The UK’s best destinations for a fishing trip from Winchester to Herne Bay

IT is difficult hard to think of a more socially distanced pastime than fishing.

Solitude and peace are essential requirements if you are to stand a chance of landing your own catch of the day in our rivers, streams and lakes.

The sport has become even more popular lately thanks to Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer’s TV show Gone Fishing.

Here, Rob Crossan picks out six great angling breaks . . . and suggests nearby things to keep fishing widows happy, as well as places to stay.

Remember, you will need a rod-fishing licence for anyone over the age of 16.

Youngsters aged 13 to 16 require a free junior licence.

What can I catch? Trout, sea trout and salmon all thrive in the Hodder, where you will think you stepped into a BBC period drama – blooming hedgerows, narrow lanes and majestic hills recognised as an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Things to do for fishing widow: Visit the historic market town of Clitheroe for shopping.

The subject of paintings by LS Lowry, it has many quirky independent shops, including wine merchant D Byrne & Co with its seemingly endless rooms of rare tipples, and Bowland Food Hall for fabulous Lancashire produce.

Stay the night: The Inn At Whitewell is an endearing 14th- century coaching inn, featured in Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan’s TV series The Trip.

Fishing on the Hodder is available to guests for £35 a day until the end of August and the inn can also provide you with a ghillie – an expert guide on where best to fish.

Doubles from £35. See innatwhitewell.com.

What can I catch? Sea trout, chalk-stream salmon and wild brown trout all pass through this corner of Hampshire.

The historic village of Sparsholt is the very essence of English rural gentility and the city of Winchester is just three and a half miles away.

Things to do for fishing widow: The Bombay Sapphire distillery is close by, offering cocktail masterclasses and tours of the still house . . . including a complimentary G&T, of course.

Stay the night: Lainston House, a 17th-century country-house hotel just outside Winchester, offers cooking schools and falconry classes.

Set among 63 acres of sun-dappled grounds, it is a blissful escape from the modern world – from its elegant rooms and roaring fires, to the bar carved from a single cedar tree and the walled Victorian kitchen garden.

Doubles rooms are from £166 per night. See exclusive.co.uk/lainston-house.

What can I catch? Sole, plaice and school bass are all potential hauls from one of the finest sea-fishing spots in England. Cast your rod from the end of the pier.

Things to do for fishing widow: Stroll in Reculver Country Park, a beautifully expanse of grassland and cliffs featuring the haunting remains of a medieval church.

Whitstable is just five miles away and is still a working fishing town, noted for its outstanding oysters. You can spot the clapboard huts used by the hardy folk who trawl for the bivalves and Harbour Street is a cute-as-a-button, pastel-painted promenade full of quirky shops.

Stay the night: Five minutes’ walk from Whitstable Castle, The Marine Hotel has some chic touches and is owned by local brewer Shepherd Neame.

The rooms feature wrought-iron beds and timbered walls, while the restaurant does a mean crab-and-crayfish linguine.

Double rooms from £140. See marinewhitstable.co.uk.

What can I catch? Brown and rainbow trout call this immense expanse of water home and a day’s permit to fish here is £28.

Created in 1975, Rutland Water is the country’s largest reservoir and offers click-and-collect bikes to hire, and sailing trips on the rustic Rutland Belle vessel.

Things to do for fishing widow: Stately homes are scattered around the area.

Althorp House (spencerofalthorp.com) has been the Spencer family home since 1508 and was where the late Princess Diana lived before her marriage to Charles.

Stay the night: With a Michelin- starred restaurant and set in sumptuous grounds over­looking the water, Hambleton Hall is a stunning hotel.

The rooms beg you to luxuriate in the deep baths, boasting Penhaligon toiletries, and to recline on the vast beds with the complimentary trays of homemade biscuits.

Double rooms are from £325. See ­hambletonhall.com.

What can I catch? Salmon, grayling and sea trout are the star attractions in the river that famously divides Devon from neighbouring Cornwall.

Things to do for fishing widow: Tavistock is a soothing, effortlessly pretty town, well worth an afternoon stroll.

Visit the historic Pannier market, the 14th-century church and one of the best food halls outside London in the form of Creber’s. Full of gourmet cheeses, it even has its own brand of champagne.

Stay the night: Owned by designer Olga Polizzi, Hotel Endsleigh is an ultra-refined fishing lodge dating back to the Regency era.

It is set among 100 acres of gardens, with rose arches, grottos and glades – and the River Tamar runs through its grounds.

Free fishing tackle and a ghillie are provided by the hotel if you want to spend a lazy day on the riverbank.

Double rooms are from £240 See hotelendsleigh.com.

What can I catch? Salmon is king here. This is one of the finest spots in Britain to catch the elusive fish and here they can weigh up to 30lb.

Things to do for fishing widow: The pretty town of Dunkeld is a real charmer, full of quaint teashops and quirky independent stores.

Do not miss a walk across historic ­Dunkeld Bridge, designed by Thomas Telford, and pay a visit to the cathedral which holds the tomb of Andrew Stewart, Earl of Buchan, who was known as “the Wolf of Badenoch” on account of his murderous rampages.

Stay the night: Just a mile away from the town, The Dunkeld House Hotel is striking, from the moment you spot the huge ornamental stag statue by the entrance.

There is more than a touch of sexy glamour to the dark interior and, as you would expect, the bar has a superlative collection of single malts.

Double rooms from £94. See dunkeldhousehotel.co.uk,

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