A magical visit to the unique village of Clovelly – 03.02.17

A magical visit to the unique village of Clovelly – 03.02.17

What an amazing village Clovelly is! I loved it – so magical and interesting, full of history and beautiful cobbled streets. After staying the night at Woodford Bridge Country Club it was about a 20 minute drive through the windy North Devon roads to reach the village of Clovelly – even on the drive I encountered some lovely country views and could just tell Clovelly was going to be a good destination to visit!

Park Up and Get Walking

When you arrive at Clovelly you are greeted with a large car park – there were certainly plenty of spaces on this cold, windy Saturday in February. After parking up I made my way into the visitor centre and was warmly greeted by the man behind the till. He warned me it was quite a steep descent through the village and because it was wet the cobbles were likely to be slippery and so he advised me to be careful.

Clovelly is a privately owned village meaning you have to pay an entrance fee if you wish to visit. This might seem like an odd thing to have to do but I think it helps preserve the uniqueness of the place and keep it special. The entrance fee includes parking charges, entrance to Clovelly Court Gardens, admission to two museums and the chance to watch the 20 minute film about the history of the village. Not bad for £8.25 I didn’t think!

Heading Down the Cobbles

After walking through the visitor centre, which is full of souvenirs and all sorts of gifts, I watched the video display of village life. The video was interesting, if a little outdated, and gave me a good sense of the village and what to expect when I entered. No cars are allowed into the village which gives it such a safe, quiet and special feel – a bit like stepping back in time!

I made way out of the visitor centre and started the descent down into the village. On the way I stopped off at the Donkey Stables to say hello to some furry friends who apparently are often used in the summer to transport little children through the village on donkey rides. I also had a peek into a few of the studios there – apparently pottery, craft and art workshops are often offered in the peak seasons and I bet these would be good fun. Sadly none of the studios or outlets were open when I visited but this probably saved me from spending too much money!

As I continued on the main path down I passed National Trust’s Mount Pleasant. This is apparently a popular picnic stop as you can get some fantastic views across Bideford Bay. There’s also a memorial dedicated to Clovelly residents who died in World War One. What a beautiful place to have such a striking and important memorial. s

Cobbled Streets and Coloured Houses

As I made my way further down towards the heart of the village I couldn’t help but stop to take many photos of the amazing views. I had to be careful though as the path certainly was sleep and the cobbles were pretty slippery from all the rain – I wouldn’t want to rushing down them! It was so nice and quiet with barely anyone else looking around – I really felt like I was exploring this beautiful village all on my own. There were quite a few of what I assume were locals and people that lived in the village – they appeared to be going about their everyday life and this was a special experience to witness.

The houses were simply stunning – lots of little coloured cottages, some with lovely hanging baskets or decorations outside. I visited a small gallery full of lovely hand painted pictures and popped into the church too. Inside the quaint little church there was a video player set up with 6 videos you could choose to watch. I took a pew and watched a couple – they gave me even more insight into the village and the way of live there. One of the stained glass windows was really simple but caught my eye for some reason – I thought it was lovely!

There’s a couple of small museums you can visit, one of which is the Fisherman’s Cottage. This details lots of information about fishing in Clovelly – the main occupation here for centuries and you can see how a Clovelly fisherman would have lived in the 1930’s. You can also visit the Kingsley Museum which is focused on the writer and social reformer Charles Kingsley. Charles wrote the famous book ‘The Water Babies’ and also ‘Westward Ho!’. Charles lived and grew up in the village and so this small museum is dedicated to him, his work and his life. Within the museum you can read about Charles Kingsley and his work and see a model display of him sitting at his desk writing a letter to his fiancee – you can listen to this being read through an audio display. There’s also an old fashioned sweet shop here too which I decided not to go into as I knew I would be too tempted by all the sweets and homemade fudge to leave empty handed!

Down to the Harbour

I continued my descent down through the village, heading for the harbour. I stopped to take a lot of photos on the way – just such pretty scenery to photograph! When walking down a sharp corner I met a postman coming back up the other way. He was quite puffed out which made me think about what it would be like to deliver the post to the village everyday and walk through this steep village. It also made me worry a tad about the coming back up!

Clovelly harbour did not disappoint! What a stunning little harbour with boats and views to admire. I walked around for ages taking photos and spent time looking back up to the village I had just passed through – stunning! There’s a little waterfall you can see on the shore area and there’s also a lifeboat station. Unfortunately this wasn’t open to visitors given the time of year.

Spot of Lunch at the Red Lion

All this walking around and exploring meant I had built up quite the appetite. The Red Lion Hotel is situated at the edge of the harbour –  a prefect location for a spot of lunch. I settled on a basket of bread, oil and olives and a lemonade. I sat and enjoyed the food whilst looking out over the beautiful harbour. I reckon this would be such a lovely place to stay – although I’m not sure about having to keep walking up and down the path to get in and out of the village – I wonder if cars were allowed down to there via an alternative route?

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After lunch and a rest I needed to brave walking back up to the top of the village. This wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be – I made sure to stop and take more photos so I didn’t get too puffed out! It’s such a beautiful place to wander around that you can take your time and enjoy every part of it.

Clovelly Memories

I think Clovelly is a really special place to visit – there’s lots of opportunities for shopping, history and beautiful scenery. I thought it was a magical place to explore and loved how it was very tourist free and quiet – I felt like I was stepping back in time, especially as no cars are allowed! One of my favourite memories of visiting Clovelly was seeing all the houses with the sledges outside which the locals use to carry items down through the village to their houses. When I was at the top of the village I saw a Sainsbury’s delivery van off loading shopping to a mother and her son who were putting the items onto baskets stuck onto to a sledge. It made me laugh to think that this must be a normal way of live for them and I was amused even more when the lady hooked the sledge up to their large dog and the dog pulled it down the cobbled slopes – not something you see everyday!

Have you ever been to Clovelly? Let me know your thoughts below!

 

 

Lanhydrock at Christmas – 17.12.17

Lanhydrock at Christmas – 17.12.17

A Trip to Lanhydrock

 

A weekend trip to Cornwall wouldn’t be complete without a Nathan and Rachel trip to a National Trust property and this weekend was no different!

We decided to visit Lanhydrock in Bodmin again – we previously visited in the summer which you can read about here if you’re interested! We parked up and walked down to the house. It was quite busy and there were plenty of people out walking and making trips to the house.

As we walked through houses entrance gate we noticed the gardens had been decorated with different coloured baubles – they looked so much like flowers from a distance and we thought they were super clever and festive.

A Victorian Christmas

Lanhydrock house had been decorated all ready for Victorian Christmas and it really took you back in time. The various rooms and displays were all set up as if it was Christmas Day in 1887 and Lord and Lady Robarte were hosting Christmas lunch. Written displays dotted around the house told you who would be attending the grand Christmas dinner and what they would be eating.

There were plenty of decorations to admire and the dining room display was beautifully set with menus reflecting food that would have been offered within the Victorian era.

Subsequently within the kitchens there were lots of food displays to look at and some children were enjoying giving making mince pies ago and watching a bread making demonstration.

We were quite short on time (a bit like last time we visited!) and so didn’t have a chance to go for a longer walk around the gardens or visit the chapel but we left knowing we would return again soon for sure and felt a lot more festive for visiting!

 

Festive Afternoon Tea at the Headland – 16.12.17

Festive Afternoon Tea at the Headland – 16.12.17

Time for Tea

After exploring National Trust’s Trerice my friend Emily and I made our way to Newquay to the Headland Hotel. Here we were booked to try their Festive Afternoon Tea and we couldn’t wait! It was super wet and windy on the coast and so it was definitely time for tea (and mulled wine!)

Festive Afternoon Tea

We were seated in the restaurant at a lovely table in the corner which overlooked Fistral Beach – it was nice to watch the few brave surfers battling the waves and see the rain crashing onto the sea below. It wasn’t too busy in the restaurant which meant it was quite quiet and the service was good. We were able to have a right old natter too!

We were given the choice of hot drinks – I had tea and Emily had a coffee and we both had a warm glass of mulled wine which was delicious. There were Christmas crackers on the table and which added a bit more festive sparkle.

When the tier of plates which the festive treats arrived we both let out an “oooooh”. It all looked super yummy and we didn’t watch ay time digging into the sandwiches and Cornish scones.

Christmassy Treats

After devouring the sandwiches and scones and with the mulled wine going down nicely we moved on to try the delightful festive treats on the top tier of the afternoon tea stand. There was some stollen cake, a mince pie, a snowman macaroon and orange flavoured posset in a glass adorned with a christmasy candy cane plus some other tasty delights. It was all super yummy and we were stuffed by the end – not too bad for £18.50 each I don’t think.

Concluding Thoughts

Whilst I have had quite a few afternoon teas in the last few years I really enjoyed this one at the Headland and the festive spin they put on it – it made it something a bit more special and different from others I have been too.

I also think the hotel was decorated beautifully for Christmas and it felt really warm, cosy and traditional. I would have loved to have stayed here over the festive season. Maybe I’ll be back next year!

You can find out more about the Headland Hotel, Newquay here.

Trerice at Christmas – 16.12.17

Trerice at Christmas – 16.12.17

Trerice’s Magic

When my friend Emily and I were arranging a Christmas meet up we knew as we were both National Trust Members a trip to an NT property would feature. We decided on Trerice, which is in Cornwall, and met on a rather wet December day.

The car park was surprisingly busy and there was lots of people bustling around and enjoying the property. Trerice had laid on some festive workshops which included wreath making and painting Christmas tree decorations. We didn’t partake in these but I’m sure they were great and I can imagine lots of children would enjoy the decoration painting. There was also the option to make a visit to Father Christmas, which again, for obvious age reasons, Emily and I didn’t partake in!

Christmasses Gone By

This year Trerice had been decorated to represent a Christmas gone by from the 1950’s. In the North Chamber you could see how a Christmas at the Elton family would have looked and there were plenty of children’s toys and games that were from the past. Emily and I enjoyed looking at some of the old fashioned games and imaging what life would have been like for us if we had lived a couple of generations ago and what toys we would have been opening on Christmas morning.

A Bite to Eat

After exploring we decided we needed a little bite to eat. We visited the Barn Restaurant and treated ourselves to a savoury pastry and drink. I had a spinach and feat filo parcel and a wild elderflower bubbly drink. I enjoyed the drink but less so the filo parcel – it was a little greasy and would have been nicer if it had been served warm.

There’s a tradition at Trerice that has been going since 2014 in which gold painted plaster stars have been hung in the ceiling of the Barn Restaurant. Apparently the stars now feature during the festive period at Trerice and look nice and pretty hanging from above. Stupidly I don’t appear have taken any pictures of them though!

Just as we were getting ready to head out and explore Trerice’s gardens an orchestra started to play Christmas songs and carols and added to the festive feeling amongst all the visitors.

We spent a little time walking around the gardens outside of the front of the Elizabethan manor but there wasn’t too much to see given the time of year.

Next stop we were off to the Headland Hotel in Newquay for a Festive Afternoon Tea!!

 

 

Autumn Walks at Cardinham Woods – 05.11.17

Autumn Walks at Cardinham Woods – 05.11.17

Lets go Down in the Woods Today

Cardinham Woods are located two miles from the Cornish town of Bodmin and is an area full of beautiful nature. There are walking and cycling trails to be enjoyed and lots of trees and woodland to admire and explore. The woods are managed by the Forestry Commission.  You have to pay and display for parking and on the Sunday we went it was quite busy with cars. We saw lots of families enjoying the Gruffalo Spotting trail, along with couples walking their dogs and cycling groups out for a Sunday cycle.

The woods are also home to the Woods Cafe which looked nice and busy when we were there but we didn’t have time to stop off ourselves – maybe next time!

A Sunday Stroll

We were a bit pressed for time here so weren’t able to complete any of the suggested trails or walks but we enjoyed spending some time walking through the trees and getting immersed in nature and the feelings of Autumn.

I would recommend Cardinham Woods for a Sunday stroll and some fresh air and hope to return soon to complete one of the designated walking or cycling routes.

Ever been to Cardinham Woods? Where’s your favourite place for a Sunday stroll?

 

Back to P-Town for the Porthtowan Fireworks – 29.10.17

Back to P-Town for the Porthtowan Fireworks – 29.10.17

I lived in Porthtowan, minutes from the beach, for over two and half years however never got to see their annual fireworks display for November 5th. The first year I lived there I went home to Kent the weekend they were on as it was my little sister’s 18th birthday party so I missed them. The second year I lived there I had to go to Nathan’s Gran’s birthday meal so missed them again!

This year, despite leaving Porthtowan back in September I was determined to go back and finally see their fireworks. I’m so glad we made the effort to go – they were awesome and even better they were free!

Heading Back to P-Town!

The display was on Sunday 29th October which did seem a bit early for fireworks but I guess it was only a week before the 5th November and it did mean I could go to a second fireworks show at Exeter WestPoint. Everyone was in the fireworks spirit and was wrapped up in their winter clothes and wooly hats.

It did get quite busy, and parking looked like it was a bit of a nightmare with the road in and out being blocked. Luckily we had the foresight to get there early and parked up near where I used to live (this also gave us the chance to have a little nose around to see who had moved into my old place!)

Dinner at the Beach Cafe

As we were early we stopped by the Porthtowan Beach Cafe for some food. There were no tables left inside and had to wait quite a while to order at the counter as they were so busy. We both chose to have a beef burger and chips, along with a hot chocolate. In total the bill came to £20 and was, in my eyes, a bit of a rip off! I know the cafe was busy but the burger wasn’t that special and the chips were rather lacking in flavour and quantity –  they didn’t match the high price tag unfortunately and I did end up leaving quite a bit of it all. A bit disappointing really.

The fireworks certainly made up for the food though. My good friend Nel arrived just in time for us to have a quick catch up before walking down watch the show outside the Blue Bar (who put on the show). The fireworks lasted quite a while, and considering they were free, I thought they were excellent! I’m such a big kid when watching them though – I couldn’t help but ooh and ahh throughout!!

Sadly I didn’t take any pictures of the fireworks so this post looks a little bare! However I can assure you they were awesome!

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