I totally fell in love with the English south-west coast. We were also very lucky with the weather. Unfortunately, we only had four days so everything was quite rushed. It would have been great to see a bit more. Here is my diary describing what we DID managed to squeeze in. Monday 1 August 2005
Arrived about 3pm at London Heathrow, where we were picked up by good 'old' friend Lis and her husband Steve. How fun they are to be with! Lucky they had a big station wagon so we could fit in all our luggage!
At 1/4 past 4pm I saw Stonehedge
in a distance. We didn't stop there because Lis had booked Shamen House
) in picturesque Lyme Regis,
for the night and we wanted to get there before dark. Lyme Regis is built on a steep-sided hill above a small harbour and shingle beach. Arriving at Lyme Regis we parked the car by the water front and went over to the pub for a long desired pint of local beer. Then we took a walk out on the famous pier (from the movie "The French Woman") to have a look at
picnic on the moor
Lis and Steve's dive boat in the harbour. This is one of the places they come to for their deep wreck diving. Cute boat! After a nice dinner we were all in bed by 23:30. FACT: Around 20,000 divers use Cornwall waters every year. Over 100 wrecks are regularly explored by divers off the coast of Cornwall. Hundreds of wrecks remain unexplored in deeper water. Over 70 species of fish can be spotted in Cornwall waters.) Tuesday 2 August 2005
After a big bacon ‘n’ egg brekkie we were on the road again. Stopped to stretch out legs at a cute village and bought several local cheeses and a barrel of cider for a picnic lunch in Dartmoor
among wildflowers, sheep and ponies.
Next stop was at Falmouth, having
traveled through more pretty little cities and hamlets. We all wanted to visit the National Maritime Museum
here. At this fantastic museum with all its electronic gadgets, they also have a natural underwater viewing room where you can see the sea floor and the tide going up and down - if you stay long enough. We all had an ice cream and a pint of
the local beer in the harbour afterwards. By the way, Falmouth's natural harbour is the third deepest in the world
On the road again and arrived to gorgeous St Ives
at 6pm. The name St Ives has been given to a style of pottery established there by Bernard Leach in 1920 as the town emerged as an artist colony, and it continues to be a centre for art. And that's also why I wanted to come here.
Lis had booked us in at the very best B&B in town for two nights on Wharf Road right on the beach front with the best view ever. After the “settling in” drink on the balcony, we took a stroll on the strand and finished the day off with a sumptuous dinner at the Lighthouse Restaurant
. I had scallops in garlic and dill sauce plus Cornish Mackerel. Yam!
Wednesday 3 August 2005
Wake-up call by seagulls at 5am. Sunrise by 6am and the tide was in, with all the small boats in the bay floating for a change. After a sumptuous breakfast, consisting of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, we wandered up and down the hilly
streets, visiting as many shops and galleries we could possibly manage - and there are MORE galleries! At the craft market we talked to a character who makes little steam engines.
The Tate Gallery
was a bit of a disappointment I thought because they only had one painting of the famous local artist Alfred Wallis. The St Ives Museum
was of better value. We also visited Barbara Hepworth
sculpture garden. That was cool. Lunch was had sitting on the beach wall munching Cornish pastries. The seagulls like them more than I did. One took it right out of Kerry's hand as he was eating it.
More gallery visits and some great local ales in cute pubs. We booked a dinner table at the Hobblers
where we had a great time and view over the bay. Back at our hotel balcony we had a night cap, watching the street night life.
Thursday 4 August 2005
Up and out by 8am for a photo session, checking out the fishermen coming back and hauling up their catch on to the pier in low tide. Back for another wonderful brekkie - this time I tried almost everything
DEVONSHIRE CREAM TEA
A traditional Devonshire Clotted Cream Tea at Mill End Hotel, Sandy Park, Devon
on the menu - including the blueberry pancakes with syrup. It was all included in the B&B price.
More chasing up and down the streets checking out galleries and having another look at the favourite paintings to make a purchase decision. I ended up with a cheap solution by buying a panorama photograph of the bay. After a last drop of the golden ale Speckled Hen
at our favourite pub, Slope Inn
, we were on the road again by midday. We were on a mission:
To find a "proper" place for a "real" Devonshire cream tea
with clotted cream
before we left Devon. At 3pm the mission was accomplished. We found Mill End Hotel and Restaurant at Sandy Park
- and that was more by luck than directions. We really had almost given up after searching so many places and not finding anything suitable. This was a really fancy establishment fit for Lords and Duchesses. FACT:
DEVONSHIRE CREAM TEA. This traditional county dish may be copied all over the world but it is only authentic if thoroughly home-made in Devon from locally produced ingredients. The search for the perfect Devonshire cream tea must start with
a firm resolution neither to count calories nor to measure cholesterol; clotted cream, which is central to the whole experience, is the richest of all creams containing 55% butter fat.
We didn't arrive in Bath
(our next overnight place) until 6.30pm and it was raining. After a quick “settling in” drink and a shower at the Braemar Guest House B&B
we run down the hill to city centre to check out the famous Roman Bath
. Then we wandered around the seemingly empty town to find a nice place for dinner and settled for one of the many pubs where we had an excellent meal with excellent beer (Smiley's
). I had a typical English dish (so said my friends) called Chicken Tikki Marsala. Yam!! After that we were so lucky to find another pub that specialized in serving only real ale so we finished off the evening there. Unfortunately, they closed at 11pm so we didn't get enough time to taste all the different ales. Friday 5 August 2005
Left the B&B after a nice brekkie and drove in to Bath again for a quick walk to check out the only bridge in Europe with shops on it. It was still raining. By 10.30am we were on the road again with destination Heathrow airport to catch the plane to Stockholm early afternoon.
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