Mini Golf and Fish & Chips in Padstow, Cornwall

Mini Golf and Fish & Chips in Padstow, Cornwall

Whilst staying at the Trethorne Hotel and Golf Club in Launceston back in February, Nathan and I visited one of our favourite Cornish towns – Padstow. I’ve been here many times now over the last few years but it never fails to impress me. The beautiful harbour with bustling shops and views out to sea always brings a smile to my face.

Padstow, Cornwall

Mini Golf Time

We decided to try the new mini golf course at the newly renovated Greens of Padstow. The chic restaurant is located high above Padstow harbour and offers amazing panoramic views over Padstow. We visited Greens of Padstow a couple of years ago during our first year of dating. It was the height of summer, very hot and very busy. I remembered we played mini golf and how Nathan managed to win despite the horrendous cold he was suffering (I’m sure it was only by a few points too!).

Padstow Crazy Golf, Cornwall

We were excited when we heard how Greens of Padstow was getting a makeover and would be revamping the mini golf course. As fans of mini golf we just had to make sure we got a game in when we went in February. It was nice and quiet (again it was February!) but the weather was so sunny meaning we got quite a competitive sweat on!

Padstow Crazy Golf, Cornwall

The course has 18 holes built into the hill side and has a good range of obstacles to tackle on the different holes. We enjoyed the game and somehow Nathan won again! Prices for golf are £5 for children and £6 for adults – we luckily only paid half price as the season hadn’t really started yet.

Padstow Crazy Golf, Cornwall

Fish and Chippies Time

Nathan’s victory meant I was responsible for buying our lunch – it was only February and so not quite appropriate to bet for ice creams this time round! We went to one of the fish and chip shops and ate our lunch right on the harbour with perfect view of the boats floating in and the tourists wandering by.

We popped into my favourite shop – Whistlefish to look at their lovely artwork. I have both a framed print and painted canvas from them which I love! I actually have a voucher to spend in Whistlefish from my parents which reminds me – I best get spending it! I managed to use my will power to not visit the many fudge shops – I know I would have been too tempted!

Final Thoughts

As always, we enjoyed our visit to Padstow. It has such a lovely Cornish charm about it and I hope will always be a place I enjoy visiting. We enjoyed our game of mini golf at Greens of Padstow and really recommend checking them out if you’re in the area and fancy a game of golf or somewhere lovely to have a spot of food.

Sunny Days at Crackington Haven Beach, Cornwall

Sunny Days at Crackington Haven Beach, Cornwall

Whilst having a random hotel break at the Trethorne Hotel & Golf Club in Launceston back in February, Nathan and I visited the stunning Crackington Haven Beach. Neither of us had ever been to Crackington Haven before so this was a lovely new beach for us to explore together.

Crackington Haven Beach, Cornwall

Crackington Haven Beach, Cornwall

Crackington Haven Beach, Cornwall

Crackington Haven Beach, Cornwall

Sunshine Relaxing

We couldn’t believe how beautiful the views were and enjoyed sitting on the cliff top overlooking the beach for ages! It was so peaceful and relaxing and we said hello to many walkers walking the South West Coast Path.

Crackington Haven Beach, Cornwall

Crackington Haven Beach, Cornwall

Crackington Haven Beach, Cornwall

Crackington Haven Beach, Cornwall

The weather was amazing, so sunny and bright. Pretty magical considering it was only February and normally raining this time of year! It was definitely sunnies weather!

Crackington Haven Beach, Cornwall

Crackington Haven Beach, Cornwall

Lunch Al Fresco

We were even lucky enough to enjoy lunch al fresco at the Haven Cafe which is right on the beach front. We sat outside in the sunshine and enjoyed a tasty lunch and some cold drinks. The place had a really nice atmosphere and the staff were super friendly. I would certainly recommend them for a spot to eat if you’re visiting the beach.

Crackington Haven Beach, Cornwall

Crackington Haven Beach, Cornwall

Another Cornish beach ticked off the Cornwall Beach Beach Challenge list and what a stunner it was! Crackington Haven, we love you!

Crackington Haven Beach, Cornwall

Review of Trethorne Hotel & Golf Club in Launceston, Cornwall

Review of Trethorne Hotel & Golf Club in Launceston, Cornwall

Trethorne Hotel and Golf Club is situated near Launceston in Cornwall. The hotel has 30 rooms and is situated on the golf course. There is a restaurant and bar on site too and it’s also right next to Trethorne Leisure Park – perfect for families. Nathan and I visited back in February after buying a voucher on local radio station Pirate FM’s voucher shop. The voucher cost £100 and entitled us to a two-night stay with breakfast – not bad really considering Trethorne charges £90-£99 a night for a double room normally.

The Room

Our room was a double which was a good size and had an ensuite with shower. Whilst the room was nicely decorated and had a very modern feel to it we were a little disappointed at how dusty everything was! The windows were pretty dirty and everything just seemed to have a thick layer of dust on – it was like the room hadn’t been used for months! Maybe given the time of year it hadn’t! Luckily the bathroom and bed were clean though so it didn’t disrupt our stay too much. We enjoyed looking out over the golf course too and seeing golfers practising on the driving range.

The TV in the room was huge and we enjoyed watching TV in bed in the evenings. The compliments tray was good and included all the usual drinks and biscuits. The shower has hot and the water plentiful. Towels were provided and clean. Unfortunately, I noticed that the bathroom bin had obviously not been emptied and judging from the smell of the used sanitary products in it, it hadn’t been emptied in a while! Sorry, slightly too much information there possibly but it wasn’t really acceptable!

The Facilities

Given the time of year we visited and the fact it was a Sunday to Tuesday break, the hotel and golf course were relatively quiet. We did enjoy dinner at the onsite restaurant which was comfy and had TVs for sport. The menu offered a range of pub grub food and we enjoyed what we had. It was well priced too and the barman was very friendly.

Breakfast in the morning was tasty and plentiful and we enjoyed a full English to set us up for the days ahead.

Whilst in the Launceston area of Cornwall we decided to visit the beautiful Crackington Haven Beach which was stunning. This was a near beach for Nathan and me to explore and with the winter sun shining we enjoyed a lovely chill on the beach and lunch al fresco. It was so sunny Nathan even got a little sunburnt which we found hilarious given it was only February!

Trethorne is in a great location for places to explore in Cornwall including the leisure farm next door, Launceston market town and the Eden project which is located a 30-minute drive away.

Final Thoughts

We enjoyed our stay at the Trethorne Hotel & Golf Club. It was clean (mostly), comfy and quiet. It was a great location for visiting the stunning Crackington Haven and we enjoyed our meal at the onsite restaurant. The slight downsides were the dust in the room and unemptied bin in the bathroom but I don’t think this would be enough to put us off returning, especially if another Pirate FM voucher deal appears!

What do you look for in a hotel when you go away? What’s most important to you? Let me know in the comments below!

Medieval Fun at Powderham Castle, Exeter

Medieval Fun at Powderham Castle, Exeter

During May half term, we were lucky enough to be invited to the Medieval Madness event taking place at the beautiful Powderham Castle near Exeter, Devon. This was an exciting event based on Medieval times and included lots of medieval-themed activities.  Nathan and I visited on bank holiday Monday and enjoyed a relaxing and fun-filled day at the castle and grounds.

So Many Roses

Well signposted, Powderham Castle is easy to reach and isn’t far from Exeter city centre. We arrived by car and found parking super easy and free. Entry to the castle grounds was easy too and we were warmly welcomed by the staff who helped us pre-book onto the castle tours. First, we decided to head to the beautiful rose gardens which are situated on the castle’s east-facing terrace and offer some incredible views over the deer park and down to the River Exe.

I loved admiring all the stunning roses and loved the range of colours on display. The gardens have such a lovely view that we stopped and sat on one of the many benches placed around the garden for a good 15 minutes. I couldn’t help but photograph all the roses – they were just too pretty not to!

We made sure to pop into the chapel too which was super cute and quaint.

Touring the Castle

Next, it was time to check out the castle! We opted for the open house viewing which is when the castle is open to visitors to wander around freely. This happens daily at 13.15-14.00 and there are plenty of guides situated in the rooms who are more than happy to tell you further information about the state rooms or the history of the castle.

No photographs are allowed inside so apologies for the lack of photos. I can, however, tell you that the inside of the castle and the state rooms are stunning! You will just have to go and visit yourself if you want to see inside! There’s grand dining rooms, posh living rooms and a lovely conservatory room overlooking the beautiful rose garden. There are lots of family photos of the Courtenay family too and as usual when Nathan and visit somewhere grand such as Powderham Castle we couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like if we lived here! We particularly loved the secret bookshelf doors and spotting all the medieval figures dotted around the rooms for us to find.

We also took the Upstairs Tour of the house which offers visitors a chance to explore never-seen-before family bedrooms and see a more personal side of the Courtenay family home. The guide was super friendly and very knowledgeable. The tour lasted about 45 minutes I recall and is included in the entry price which is great.

Medieval Madness

We enjoyed the half term ‘Medieval Madness’ event being put on at the castle. Unfortunately, we were a few days too early to enjoy the Knights of Royal England’s premiere jousting displays. I can imagine these displays would have been really atmospheric and interesting to see and I bet they kept children and adults entertained during their half term visits.

We did, however, get to see a fun and interactive show hosted by the Pocketwatch Theatre Company. Here we got involved in the medieval madness and saw lots of children thoroughly enjoying themselves all dressed up and armed with medieval swords!

There was also a tent full of crafty activities for children to get stuck in with, including medieval shield painting – something I know I would have enjoyed as a kid!

Making New Friends

As well as having a stunning castle and beautiful gardens, Powderham Castle offers visitors the opportunity to meet lots of animals too which we were expecting. We took a walk through the gardens to the Victorian Walled Garden which is home to the garden play area and pets corner. Here we found ourselves in a world of roaming birds and even a huge tortoise. There were lots of different animals to see including rodents, birds, pigs, guinea pigs and even a horse and donkey. It was a cute area where children (and Nathan!) could get up close and personal with the animals and make some new friends.

There’s a fun looking children’s play area too complete with tractor trailers and the Courtenay Fort – oh to be 7 again! You can also grab a drink from the Snack Shack which has a vending machine featuring all sorts of yummy naughtiness!

We took a walk down to the Forge too and saw the blacksmith at work.

Belvedere Safari

The highlight of our visit for me has to be the Belvedere Safari Tour we went on. This tour gave us the chance to ride on the tractor-trailer and be driven through the gorgeous deer park to the grand Belvedere Tower.

We loved riding through the deer park and I was amazed at how many deer there were – apparently over 450! Our driver told us many of them were due to give birth to hundreds more deer – incredible! The slow-moving and quiet tractor enabled us to cross the park and get pretty close to the deer before they would slowly move away. I love deer, I think they are really beautiful animals with such pretty faces. It was great to see them up close and in such a stunning environment.

After moving through the deer park our driver took us to the stunning Belvedere Tower, which I thought was super striking. Here we stopped for ten minutes to admire the wonderful, far-reaching views over the Exe Estuary and Topsham.

The sun came out for us and we walked around the tower taking photos and peering into the structures inside.

After our pit stop, we took the leisurely ride back through the deer park, passing many more deer and saw some great views of the back of the castle and the rose garden. Apparently, this was the first Belvedere Safari that had been run and it took about an hour. The tour was £3.50 each and so worth it!

Deer Park Safari tours are also available and run a few times throughout the day. These are also £3.50 and enable visitors to ride for an enjoyable 45 minutes through the deer park. There are some stunning trees and lake views to admire too.

Courtenay Cafe

If you fancy a bite to eat whilst visiting the castle then the Courtenay Café has all you need! They serve lunches, cream teas, and ice cream too! We saw plenty of places to sit both inside and outside in the castle courtyard.

There’s also a cute little gift shop too where you can find some lovely gifts and all your usual souvenir bits. There’s also lots of information and models to look at which help you learn more about the castle and the Courtenay family as well.

Visitor Information

For more information about visiting Powderham Castle, be sure to check out their website and check their Facebook page for the latest events – it looks like there’s a lot of cool events coming up over the summer months. Entry to the castle costs £10.95 for children (ages 4-16 years), £12.95 for adults and £39.95 for a family of 4. Tickets are valid for a return visit within 7 days – perfect for those on holiday wanting to return and explore some more.

Final Thoughts

We enjoyed our day at Powderham Castle, especially the Belvedere Safari Tour which I would say is a must to really add to your visit. The gardens were beautiful, the house majestic and the medieval madness event a bit of extra fun! Something for all the family I think and a lovely day out.

*** Our entry to Powderham Castle was gifted to us in return for this review. All thoughts, pictures, and opinions are my own. ***

 

Adventures in Dartmoor National Park, Devon

Adventures in Dartmoor National Park, Devon

Beautiful, rugged and natural Dartmoor – surely one of Devon’s most wonderful and exciting places to visit. I fell in love with it the first time and visited and enjoy it more and more each time I visit. It’s natural beauty, wild landscapes and stunning animals keep plenty of visitors returning year after year.

Back in October last year Nathan and I had a wonderful day exploring Dartmoor and all it has to offer. We kicked off the day by visiting the family-friendly Minature Pony Centre and enjoyed meeting all the super cute miniature Shetland ponies! If you’re interested and want to see more cute pony pics you can read all about our experience here.

After leaving the Miniature Pony Centre in Dartmoor, Nathan and I parked up at the Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre and walked up to Bellever Tor.

It was a lovely, easy walk through Bellever Forest, amid the tall trees and wild landscapes. There were some lovely views along the way too. We didn’t quite make it up to the top of Bellever Tor but enjoyed the views from the bottom of it and all the wild mushrooms we encountered on the way too.

On returning to the car park we popped into the Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre – a great place for local information, maps for walks and lots of other Dartmoor souvenirs. We enjoyed reading all about Dartmoor and it’s wildlife.

After a quick rest and a cup of tea, we decided to pop to Postbridge where there is a real Dartmoor beauty spot to explore. Just a short hop from the main road and you are greeted with the bubbling river and famous Clapper Bridge  – the perfect spot for a picnic! We sat by the river eating some snacks and enjoyed watching visitors of all ages enjoying the natural beauty of the area and paddling their feet in the water. This is certainly a very Instagram-able spot in Devon – one of many that is!

Driving home we passed through the centre of the National Park and were amazed to stumble across all the wild animals on the side of the road. We saw hundreds of lazy sheep chilling in the sun and saw lots of gorgeous horses and Shetland ponies grazing in the long grasses.

Best of all we witness a herd of highland cows crossing the road in front of our car and later blocking the entrance to the parking area in which we had stopped to have a cheeky hot chocolate! They were so beautiful and I could have stayed watching them all day – especially with their cute calves.

Final Thoughts

We had the best day out exploring Dartmoor! It started with fun at the Miniature Pony Centre before we enjoyed a hike across Bellever Tor and earned a relaxing sit down by the river at Postbridge. We finished the day by driving through the heart of the Dartmoor National Park and experienced the wild cows, sheep and ponies that roam the moor. What a lovely day exploring the county in which I am lucky enough to live. Take me back any day!