Thursday, May 22, 2014

Soaking up the Delights of Devon and Cornwall in sunny May


We took a jaunty four-day car trip, kicking off on Tuesday May 13th to delightful Devon and quaint Cornwall with my sister-in-law Christine visiting from Australia. We were blessed with the most glorious Goldilocks conditions (not too hot, not too cold) with dazzling blue skies and gentle sunshine and a crisp breeze (to combat any risk of overheating us mature-aged ladies!) Who says England does not have beautiful weather?

First stop was Stonehenge in Wiltshire. The ancient monument is classed as one of the wonders of the world and the English Heritage has just completed an impressive new Visitor Centre and audio tour that we were lucky enough to experience crowd-free mid-week.

With Andrew at the wheel we drove on to the charming fishing village of Ilfracombe that sits right on the cliff facing the Atlantic Ocean. We were stunned to see the new addition of Verity, a dramatic 66-foot bronze statue of a beautiful pregnant woman representing truth and justice, created by sculptor Damien Hirst. She is simply breathtaking and inspiring!

That night we stayed at The Towers with charming and friendly hostess Tricia, which really added to the pleasure of our stay. I totally recommend this charming guesthouse with such lovely d├ęcor and mesmerising views overlooking the ocean.

Tricia suggested we call in on the delightful village of Boscastle near Bude for Devonshire tea, which was an excellent idea as the indulgent morning tea/early lunch was yummy and we wandered along the tinkling stream that flows through the historic shops and homes.

We drove to the enchanting Port Isaac, made extra special by being the setting for the popular BBC series Doc Martin. As we are all keen fans of endearing show we were thrilled to walk the narrow cobblestone streets of the village and see the Doc’s cottage, the familiar harbour and climb the grassy cliffs to capture the magnificent coastal views and swirl in Julie Andrews-style singing a hearty rendition of the Sound of Music under the vivid blue skies!

That night we dined at the sumptuous Camelot Castle  in Tintagel, the birthplace of King Arthur, and we were unexpectedly entertained by a couple from Liverpool at the nearby table. Amateur comedian Ross regaled us with stories of his travels and celebrity encounters and we laughed until our full tummies ached!



Our final destination was the captivating Cornish coastal village of St Ives, where Andrew and Christine’s mother spent many happy childhood holidays. It was a nostalgic and emotional visit for them seeing where their mum played as a child on the sandy beach, the colourful fishing boats and lazy pier, the cobblestone streets and pretty shops and cafes, still buzzing with seaside visitors.The Wallen family would ride the train from Crewe in Cheshire for some fun in the sun in the 1930s.

We stayed at the grand Treloyhan Manor Hotel set amid tranquil gardens and a short drive to bustling St Ives. I confess we indulged in chunky Cornish pasties on the beach!

That evening we took glorious sunset photos of the harbour and as a special treat for me we ate at the superb gourmet vegetarian restaurant, Spinacios. Even the meat-eaters agreed that the super healthy plant-based meals were divinely delicious! Even so, Andrew insisted
on an after-dinner ice cream cone and a cheeky seagull swooped over his shoulder knocked the glob of icecream to the ground and swallowed it in one gulp!

Andrew was keen to head straight for home on Friday so we drove seven hours straight, with a brief stop for lunch at Stonehenge, back to Ashford Kent in time to pick up Honey from the kennels. And a jolly good trip it was!