My Spain 2017 trip

Follow me on my trip ‘Spain 2017’ at https://www.polarsteps.com/MandiPhillips/941527-spain-2017

If my blog posts are a bit too long and involved then take a quick look at the summary of our trip to Spain last year! A summary of the UK part of the trip will follow and from November you’ll be able to follow us live as we head off too Spain again, via France, for a few months ☺

Don’t forget you can always look at the relevant blog post if something catches your interest and I’ve very nearly finished all the campsite reviews now!

I hope thus gives you some ideas xx

Related Posts:

1. Our 1st 3 Months Away

2.. Welcome to Spain

3. What we learned about Spain in 2017

4. What we learned about Portugal in 2017

5. Spain and Portugal in Pictures

 

 

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UK Campsite Reviews

A brief review of all campsites that we have stayed on in the UK (please bear with me, this is a work in progress! I’m starting with the most recent and working backwards. Eventually I will cover all campsites that we have stayed on over the years 🙂 )
We often use Camping & Caravanning Club certificated sites and occasionally Caravan Club. We also use PitchUp and UKCampsites online to help us find where to stay, if we’re struggling.
Unless we’re trying to cover school holidays (which we’ve now decided we probably don’t need to worry about) we choose our next site a couple of days before moving on!
Just click on the link to see my review for the campsites that we’ve stayed on:-

East Sussex & Kent:

The Cock Inn, Peasmarsh, East Sussex                                –   Near Rye (about 10 miles from Hastings)

Eagles Garth, Beckley, East Sussex                                       –    (1-2 miles down the road from The Cock Inn)

Bearstead Caravan Club Site                                                 –    Near Maidstone (handy for Leeds Castle)

Hampton Bay Park, Herne Bay, North Kent                      –    Herne Bay – handy for Whitstable

Kelseys Camping, Sidcup, Kent                                             –    Sidcup  – we used it for visiting Chatham and Rochester.  Also very handy for visiting London 🙂

East Anglia

D’Arcy Equestrian, Tolleshunt D’Arcy, Maldon, Essex    –     Maldon – handy for visiting Mersea Island, Tiptree and even Colchester

Fishers Field, Theberton, Suffolk                                        –     Nr Aldeburgh.  Handy for visiting Thorpeness, Orford, Framlingham.  Even Southwold!

Lower Wood Farm, Mautby, Norfolk                                –    Caister on Sea.  Handy for Great Yarmouth and for visiting Norwich and the Norfolk Broads

Woodlands Caravan Park, Sheringham (North Norfolk)  –  Sheringham.  Handy for Cromer, Holkham, Wells next the Sea

Highfield Farm Touring, Comberton, Cambridge              –  Cambridge.  Also handy for visiting Ely

King’s Forest Caravan Park, West Stow, Nr. Bury St Edmonds – Bury St Edmonds.  Also handy for Newmarket, Thetford, Lakenheath and Lavenham

Northants, Rutland & Lincolnshire

British Grand Prix, Whittlebury Park, Silverstone            –  Whittlebury.  Handy for the British Grand Prix!!

Top Farm, Ryhal, Stamford for Rutland Water                 –  Stamford.  Handy for Rutland Water and Burghly House

Fulbeck Waters, Fulbeck, Lincs                                            – Fulbeck.  Handy for Lincoln, Grantham & Newark

Canal Farm, Austen Fen nr Louth, Lincs                            –  Louth.  Handy for Cleethorpes, Mablethorpe (and numerous other amazing sandy beaches)

Yorkshire & Northumberland (& 2 random sites in Cornwall)

Wold Farm, Flamborough Head – right on the cliffs 🙂    –   Flamborough.  Handy for Bridlington, Filey & perhaps Pickering for the North Yorks Railway

Trewiston Farm, Rock, Cornwall                                         – Rock.  Handy for Padstow, Daymer Bay, Port Isaac, Tintagel (I could go on…. – North Cornwall basically!)

Tregline Farm, nr Polzeath, Cornwall                                – A couple of miles from Trewiston (if that) so handy for the same places

Teversal Camping & Caravanning, nr Sheffield              –  Teversal.  Handy for the Peak District, Sheffield, Chesterfield and Bolsover Castle

Grantchester Caravan and Camping                                – Nr York.  Also handy for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Old Mother Shipton’s Cave)

Streets Head Caravan Site, nr Aysgarth                          – Aysgarth.  Also handy for West Burton, Hawes, Leyburn, Richmond and the Yorkshire Dales in general 🙂

Fletchers Farm, Great Ayton, North Yorkshire             – Great Ayton.  Handy for the North York Moors in general (so much to do and see 🙂 )

Wellhouse Farm, Stocksfield nr Hexham and Corbridge – nr Corbridge.  Handy for Hexham and Hadrian’s wall attractions

Potland Farm, nr Morpeth                                                – Ashington nr Morpeth. This is where we stayed when we visited Cragside.

Brock Mill Farm, nr Lindisfarne                                  – Beal on the road to Holy Island (Lindisfarne).  Also handy for Berwick on Tweed.

Scotland

Dunbar Camping and Caravanning                             – Dunbar.  Also handy for Edinburgh.

Thirlestane Castle, Lauder                                            – Handy for Jedburgh, Selkirk and Kelso (Floors Castle)

Lake District

Hill of Oaks, Bowness-on-Windermere                     – Bowness on Windermere.  The Lake District 🙂

Blackpool

Bluebell Cottage, Knott End, nr Blackpool               – Knott End.  Handy for Blackpool & Fleetwood

Our Favourite Beaches and Seaside Resorts in the UK

That the UK has some stunning countryside is accepted by all, but our beaches? Many people aren’t aware of just how beautiful many of our beaches really are – a friend who has just visited Devon & Cornwall commented that you wouldn’t expect to see the beaches that they’d found in the UK! Read this to discover some of the must see beaches and resorts in the UK.

I think we all have a favourite beach, but that doesn’t, of course, mean that this is the best beach in the country!  We can’t all visit them all can we?  So this is my selection of our favourite beaches that we have visited in the UK – so far 🙂

Note, these are OUR favourites, and therefore I feel it’s only fair to fess up to the fact that I’m not a fan of pebbly beaches.  So, even though some pebbly beaches are stunning  they’re unlikely to feature in our favourites as I would aim for a sandy beach over a pebbly one any day of the week 🙂  Maybe I’ll do a separate list for pebbly beaches one day!!

My favourite features are beach huts (the quirkier the better), a good old fashioned pier, a nice promenade and beautiful clean sand and water.  These are to be found in abundance all around the coast here in the UK.  (Note: not having a blue flag designation does not mean a beach and it’s water aren’t clean…)

I have missed out so many beaches (there are numerous lovely examples in Norfolk – from Mundsley to California, Lincolnshire – from Cleethorpes to Skegness, Yorkshire – Saltburn to Robin Hoods Bay, Northumberland – Newbiggin to Spittal, Dorset – Bournemouth to Swanage, Cornwall – too many to mention! and not to forget Devon where my childhood memories are of Blackpool Sands, Dartmouth, and where I first swam without armbands in Bigbury Bay (where the beach scenes in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang were filmed).  Or Wales where all the beaches I’ve ever visited are stunning (Tenby (see no. 10 below), Saundersfoot, Pendine, those on the Gower peninsula and North Wales too), and, of course, the Isle of Wight (right on our doorstep).  I’m look forward to visiting Liverpool and the Wirral in a few weeks to see what they have to offer us on the North East Coast 🙂

Also I am able to say that we have actually visited all the beaches featured on the following pages – so again I am quite sure there are others that you might include – please feel free to share!

 

Before you look through my choices I have to say that a couple of other beaches deserve a special mention (I decided to stick with a Top 10 but can’t resist these):-

Filey, East Yorkshire – good old fashioned seaside resort with a surprising amount of history

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Filey Beach

Southwold, Suffolk – what a surprisingly lovely resort.  A unique pier, no amusement arcades – just a lovely promenade along the seafront and a charming little town with a rather lovely fish and chip shop! The Little Fish & Chip Shop   No wonder it topped a poll of the UK’s favourite seaside resorts!

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View from the end of the pier at Southwold

Scarborough, East Yorkshire – Specifically the quieter North Bay, overlooked by the castle high up on the hill that divides the 2 bays.

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Overlooking Scarborough beach and harbour

Weymouth, Dorset – the sand may well be imported but this is a lovely south coast resort with a permanent sand art display on the beach.

And, finally, the main picture was taken, believe it or not, on the outskirts of Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire!  We were NOT expecting this 🙂

Now, read on for images and comments on our top 10 favourite beaches 🙂

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Return to the Dales with a trip to Malham

That’s me.  Sitting on the very edge of the Malham pavement looking back down the valley towards the village….

No it’s not!  Well it is me (of course), but I’m not actually sitting on the very edge.  I’m not that brave (or stupid..)

If you’ve not heard of it the Malham Pavement is made up of a series of ‘Clints’ (blocks of limestone) and ‘Grykes’ (the gaps in between the blocks) and covers a large area at the top of the cliff at Malham Cove.  Interestingly, both the Cove and the pavement are featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (only interesting, granted, if you are into Harry Potter.  If you are look for my post on Goathland, whose train station doubles as Hogwarts).

Malham itself sits in the south-west of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.  At the end of our trip around the UK we already knew that we would return to this area, but in the end chose to do so as a daytrip from the perfect little campsite that we had found in Knott End, just north of Blackpool (Bluebell Cottage – click for more details).  It is about 50 miles away but the roads are good and it doesn’t actually take too long to drive it.  We visited The Ribblehead Viaduct on our way home as well.

So, first stop Malham  itself, a pretty little village popular with walkers and tourists, Continue reading “Return to the Dales with a trip to Malham”

Cycle ride to Portchester Castle

This is the 1st time we have actually cycled to Portchester Castle (despite the fact that we only live a couple of miles away…)

And what a beautiful day we chose to do it!  We headed off down the hill and took the road towards the water.  We first visited Wicor Marine from where you can access the Salt Café, sitting directly on the shores of Fareham Creek and well worth a visit for a cuppa and a slice of cake (or perhaps even a glass of wine 🙂 ).

(There is actually a lovely walk around Fareham Creek that can be started from the café (or the castle itself), that takes you around the golf course at Cams Hall (covering much of the Fareham park run route).  Click here for details.

Having stopped by Calv’s sister’s for a cuppa and some oil for Calv’s bike chain we took the path along the shoreline as far as Hospital Lane where we emerged into the heart of old Portchester.  The path was good (although there is a bit with steep drops on either side, 1 down to the shingle beach, the other a grassy ditch, so if you’re not very confident on your bike you would probably get off and walk here!)  The views are just lovely, particularly on a beautiful sunny day (which we are experiencing so many of at the moment 🙂 )

 

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View from our ride along the shore of Fareham Creek towards Portchester Castle

At the end of the path you can continue straight to the castle along the shore – although a short section is on the beach so it’s not really suitable for cycling.  Therefore when you get to the end of the fence separating the shore from the lane down to Turret House, turn left to go up Hospital Lane, where you will found a couple of lovely old houses.  The view of Castle Street when you get to the top is lovely 🙂  (I didn’t take a picture as on a sunny Sunday afternoon the cars have sort of taken over!)

From here it’s just a short hop to the castle (about 20 seconds on bikes, maybe 2 mins if you’re on foot.  Continue reading “Cycle ride to Portchester Castle”

What we learned about the UK in 2017 – Part 2

A much shorter post to mop up the things that I forgot to put in my 1st!

  • In East Sussex in April we found that the birds sang all through the night – bizarre!
  • There are numerous red kites – we saw them everywhere 🙂
  • Most beaches along the East Coast (once you’re in East Anglia and beyond) are sandy.
    • And most of them are absolutely spectacular
  • Some people are incredibly – shall we say daft?  Watching parents standing right on the edge of cliffs with their young children…. just so they can get a selfie, was quite distressing
  • We learned more about the civil war of the 17th Century, and Oliver Cromwell; mainly through our visit to Ely where we found a house that Cromwell and his family had lived in for some time.
  • We learned that Hull is definitely worth a visit; as is Newcastle
  • We found numerous cliff railways and funiculars, including one that is still powered by water at Saltburn by the Sea.  Scarborough had 5, 2 of which are still in operation

  • There are so many heritage railways in operation – mostly operated by volunteers.  Even the prices don’t put people off riding them… The North Yorks Moors steam railway is really rather expensive, but all the trains we saw were packed.  This may have something to do with the fact that Goathland, the 2nd stop on the line, is otherwise known as Hogwarts Station, or even Aidensfield 🙂
  • Attractions are well visited.  People are definitely getting out and about enjoying what this country has to offer
  • It seems that it’s never too early to get your kids starting to trek up mountains; when we went up to Roseberry Topping we encountered a couple with a 1 year old in a back pack!
  • If you look up when encountering sheer hills or mountainsides it’s possible you’ll see a few specks up there – climbers!
  • The Angel of the North is huge.  And really rather impressive
  • Angel of the North 22.9 (12)
  • There were very few towns that we were disappointed to have wasted our time visiting, but there were dozens that we absolutely loved and several that we will definitely return to.  I will deal with all of this in a separate ‘favourites’ post.
  • There are some amazing unsung heroes from recent history who saved much of interest for the public, or simply created areas, buildings or follies that are still of interest today – John Clayton who ensured that Hadrian’s Wall was not dismantled any further; William Armstrong who was an prolific inventor, who built Cragside in Northumberland, the 1st house in the country to be powered by hydro-electricity; ‘Mad Jack’ Fuller who built the Brightling Follies and also bought Bodiam Castle to save it from destruction.
  • Seals bark like dogs – we discovered this when visiting Lindisfarne.  We could hear the noise and found out it was a colony of seals on the other side of an offshore islet
  • The weather at home (on the South Coast) is generally better than what is being experienced further north…
    • However, this doesn’t actually mean that the weather further north is unpleasant.  We had some really lovely days.  It was just generally at least 5 degrees (centigrade) warmer at home!!
  • It is possible to camp at a reasonable price just a short train ride from the centre of London (Kelseys, Sidcup)
  • The coastline is constantly changing.  Various towns are disappearing at varying rates and Spurn Head changes yearly – the road here has been pretty much given up on!
  • And finally, we discovered how much we love travelling and that we will, at some point, pick up where we left off in the UK – with everything else we want to do though this trip may be a few years away 🙂

What we learnt about the UK in 2017 – Part 1

We spent less time travelling around the UK than originally expected, and didn’t get anywhere near as far around the country as we thought we would.

We set off at the beginning of April and the weather finally beat us at the end of October.  We arrived home on 23rd October, a few weeks before we were hoping.

Instead of making our way around the whole of the UK and spending a couple of months in Scotland, we explored the east coast fully, and just made it into Scotland (the furthest north we got was Dunbar, just east of Edinburgh) before we started making our way home via the Lake District and Blackpool.  In this time we also had a week in Ibiza for a family wedding (and what a wonderful week it was too!),  and a couple of weeks, in total, staying near home to catch up with family and friends.  Meaning that our actual time on the road in the UK was 25 weeks (including a diversion to Cornwall).

Obviously we already knew rather more about the UK than about France, Spain or Portugal, but we did learn new things on our way around the country 🙂

So here goes! Continue reading “What we learnt about the UK in 2017 – Part 1”