Tavistock – Ancient Stannary Town and Birthplace of Sir Francis Drake. Absolutely charming!

What’s a stannary town? Read on to find out! Tavistock is absolutely charming and has the added benefit of being on the route of the N27 cycling route

We have moved on from Cornwall; not far though, just as far as Tavistock on the western edge of Dartmoor.

There’s an awful lot to say about Tavistock. First of all, it’s absolutely charming with many of the Abbey ruins dotted around the town. The 10th century Benedictine Abbey must have been huge as the ruins are so well spaced out – some in the grounds of the church, and then the Still Tower (where medicines were made) still standing alongside the river, as well as the gates. The museum is housed in one of these gates, but was unfortunately closed during our visit.

The Still Tower by the Riverside

The town was granted it’s market charter in 1105 and a market has been held there continuously since then. Nowadays this is mostly held in the purpose build (1860) Pannier Market with many regular stalls. We were drawn in by 2 of these stalls and bought a few gifts (a couple of which were for us!) Around the outside of the market building there are many cafes serving local produce (including, of course, pasties and cream teas).

Tavistock Pannier Market

Speaking of cream teas, Tavistock is apparently the home of the Devon cream tea (cream with jam on top – of course!) The story goes that a group of workers making repairs after a Viking attack in 997AD were rewarded with bread, clotted cream and strawberry preserves – the rest, as they say, is history 🙂

Devon Cream Tea (at Badgers Rest, Dartmeet)

Tavistock’s most famous son is Sir Francis Drake, and there are many nods to this around the town – from street names, shop names and statues to the cycle path winding through the town.

Statue of Sir Francis Drake

The N27 cycle path goes through Tavistock on it’s way from Ilfracombe to Plymouth. The section from Tavistock to Plymouth is known as ‘Drake’s Trail’. We used it to cycle from our campsite in Peter Tavy (Harford Bridge) and were really impressed (this was 1 of 2, mainly off road, cycle routes into town – and the easiest of the 2 we used). There is ample cycle parking near the town hall (opposite the Abbey Church).

On arriving in town Calv continued cycling along the N27 with me desperately trying to rein him in – ‘You’re on your way to Plymouth’ finally worked! The park alongside the river (which contains tennis courts, a BMX track and, of course, a bowling green) is rather lovely and brings you back, if you walk along by the river, to the wharf and the start of the canal, some of which is underground.

We ate lunch in the EastGate Bistro, again alongside the river, enjoying local produce, including beer and wine 🙂 Very nice too!

We returned the next day to make our purchases in the Pannier Market (we wouldn’t have been able to carry them home on our bikes). We parked up on the top road near the road up to the hospital (and the town steps) where it was free. On the way back we took the long route – completely unintentionally, especially considering we didn’t just have our purchases to carry, but those of fellow campers who were on their bikes! This resulting in a steep climb up the town steps and a steep descent down them back to the car – Calv wasn’t impressed with me…

By the way, I promised an explanation of what Stannary Town meant. Stannary means this was where mined metal (tin and later copper) was weighed, stamped and assessed for duty. Click here for more detailed information.

All in all I would definitely recommend a visit, or 2, to Tavistock. We will very likely return 🙂

A New Discovery in North Cornwall – Porthcothan Bay :)

Cornwall – the most beautiful place in the world – especially North Cornwall 🙂
A new campsite found (to which we will return), and meeting with old friends.
This was a very special part of our trip 🙂

It’s been a few years since our last trip to Cornwall, but, considering it’s my favourite place in the world, it won’t be our last!

This trip in particular was a bit special. Not only was it wonderful to be out and about in the van again, but we were meeting up with friends who we hadn’t seen for nearly a year. AND we got to watch England beat Germany in the Euros together. What more could you want??

We discovered a site (Old MacDonalds Farm) that not only gave a wonderful first impression, but managed to build on that as our stay progressed – if we hadn’t had other bookings (due to worrying about being able to get in anywhere if we didn’t!) we would have stayed longer without a doubt.

We had 5 nights here and crammed a far bit in – here’s a summary:-

Looking out at the Petting Zoo (and the Alpacas) from the bar

Day 1 – Arrived (via a typical Cornish lane – meeting a tractor coming the other way!) We drove down (we were tired) to the Bay (it is walkable, but probably about 3/4 mile and quite a trek back up the hill!) There is a bus though 🙂

The beach is beautiful. The tide was out and we just walked out to the surf’s edge, exploring all the little caves and coves along the way.

We also noticed that all the beaches in this area have ‘litter picking’ stations, which is a wonderful idea. If we had been staying longer Calv would most definitely have got involved 🙂

Day 2 – It rained all night and didn’t stop all day, so we pulled on our wet gear and walking boots and headed out to get some fuel for the little car at St Merryn. Calv said the shop was amazing! So any camping needs should be filled here 🙂 We then took the road opposite the garage (and past the chippie) down towards Harlyn Bay and Trevone Head.

Initially we kept going straight on taking us past the golf course and driving range, before turning round and taking a left down towards the 2 holiday parks. There are 2 national trust car parks down here to take in the views or visit the bays. At the end of the road is the Trevone lighthouse – but the road goes no further!

We came back to the 1st car park and walked, in the rain, down to the delightfully named Booby’s Bay, which links up to Constantine Bay. I scrambled down to the beach via some rocks only to walk around the corner and find some wooden steps! Beautiful golden sands and patrolled by lifeguards, this was a lovely find.

Then we got a call from our friends to say they were waiting for us at our van! So we headed back and had a lovely afternoon catching up before they carried on to their holiday home in Padstow (normally rented out – #seaviewpadstow).

Day 3 – We headed slightly south to Bedruthen Steps, from where we walked to Mawgan Porth and back, a total of 5 miles. We didn’t know we were going to walk quite so far, and on leaving Mawgan Porth we decided to try to avoid the diversion on the cliff path (they’re putting in steps) by walking up the hill on the road (next to the Pitch and Putt). We thought this had worked, but the path ended up taking us back down to the beach anyway!! Massive fail…

An evening at #seaviewpadstow (our friend’s holiday cottage in Padstow) finished off the day. A taxi back to the campsite cost just £15 (although the taxi driver was pretty miserable!!)

Day 4 – Steve and Denise bought our little car back and then we took them back to Padstow, via Padstow Farm Shop (very disappointing) and Tesco’s. They later joined us at the campsite to watch THE match of the Euros so far (England v Germany in case you’re wondering) in the bar. The evening rounded off with a buffet meal outside the van and a few games of boules.

Day 5 – Our last day on site. We had a lovely sunny day so lathered on the suncream and took the kayak down to the bay. Great fun, especially surfing the waves back into the beach and even though Calv then tipped me out into the shallows – bless him….

Our last hurrah was to go back to Padstow for a wander before collecting Marie and Steve to come to pick up their car from the night before. They had all been on a Boat Safari during the day – seeing lots of dolphins 🙂

This part of the country is simply amazing – beautiful beaches, country lanes and stunning landscapes. A new view around every corner (and a tractor of course!)

We Stayed:Old MacDonalds Farm, Pothcothan

Next Stop: – Peter Tavy, nr Tavistock (Harford Bridge Camping)

Walking and Kayaking in Symonds Yat

I’m always surprised how many people HAVEN’T heard of Symonds Yat! Yes, I have childhood memories of trips here, but it is such a beautiful spot it should be on everybody’s UK bucket list (IMHO) 🙂

After our time in Lynmouth we headed north again for the stunning Wye Valley. We stayed at Greenacres nr. Coleford, which gave us the perfect excuse to walk 12 miles to take in Symonds Yat 🙂

We arrived mid-afternoon to find that our booking hadn’t been updated from the previous Saturday – oh no! Mild panic ensued, but we waited patiently until we got the good news that there was a pitch for us – phew 🙂

Once pitched up we headed off toward Monmouth to get in a few supplies for a bbq as my sister and her husband were joining us for a couple of nights. We were very confused on entering Lidls. I kept nudging Calv.. ‘They’re not very mask compliant here are they?!’ Then we realised that we were in Wales where (at that point in COVID history) they weren’t required to wear masks… We took ours off, and then found it didn’t feel right and put them back on again! (Who would have thought it?!!)

Back in England my sister arrived, we enjoyed our bbq and evening and in the morning we checked the route we needed to take for Symonds Yat. The footpath starts in the campsite and, although I’m pretty sure we took a few wrong turns, it was a lovely walk and we eventually made it to the river and the sanctuary of the ancient Saracen’s Head Inn, situated in front of the old hand-pulled chain ferry across the river (sadly not open at all during our visits). Here we navigated all the new rules and found a seat on the terrace for a drink and a spot of lunch.

Debs and I set off up the hill to the viewpoint before the boys. Luckily I had forgotten what a hard trek this is uphill!! But it is sooo worth it as the views are truly spectacular 🙂

It was a very tired group of 4 that arrived back at the van late on, so we decided to eat out. We investigated many local pubs, finding most were either booked up or we didn’t fancy what was on offer. In the end we chose to head into the nearest town, Coleford, and see what we could find.

We found the town of an evening to be not particularly, shall we say, inviting… Lots of people milling around, drinks in hand, outside the pubs.. Anyway we found a little Indian Restaurant that had a few tables, Cinnamons, and decided to give it a go. Very pleasant it was too 🙂

I must say that Calv and I had visited Coleford before and did note one place of interest, which was just off the main car park, being the GWR Railway Museum. (Every town has something to offer 🙂 )

Having extended our stay at Greenacres by a couple of nights (we had to move all our bookings around suddenly when Greater Manchester and the surrounding areas had new restrictions put in place – meaning we decided to cancel our stay up in Ingleton), we didn’t need to rush off in the morning. This meant that Debbie and Paul were able to come back down to Symonds Yat with us (this time in the car) as we had missed Biblins Bridge the day before. This is a rope bridge across the river.

It’s a couple of miles back upriver from the car park, so was a decent walk. There is a tearoom on the other riverbank, which we took advantage of, as well as a campsite for tents and small camper vans (which looked absolutely idyllic – Biblins Youth Campsite). Obviously there was another visit to The Saracen’s Head involved as well…

I need to just mention that the roads in this area are narrow and steep in places with some very tight bends – careful driving is required!!

Debbie and Paul headed off home on Sunday afternoon, and I’m pretty sure we just relaxed in the sun.

Monday was set aside for a spot of kayaking on the river, having discovered that we could launch from the carpark for just £2 (on top of the £4 per day parking fee).

Another beautiful day dawned, and we made our way down river, ‘beached’ for a short time (when Calv managed to drop his phone in the water – but don’t worry; he eventually found out that it’s waterproof (after a couple of days panicking), and he’s stopped telling everybody he meets now….!)

Once we’d landed and put the kayak away we headed back (yep, you’ve guessed it) to The Saracen’s Head – it would have been rude not to!

All in all another wonderful visit to the area, and we are certain that we will return again, and would highly recommend both the area and the campsite to others 🙂

Next up: A short visit to Shrewsbury and Oswestry

Where we stayed: Greenacres Campsite, nr Coleford

Related Posts: Walking in Lynmouth

Walking Lynmouth to Watersmeet

Around the UK: A Photo Diary #2 – East Anglia

I’ve decided now to just put some photos up!  Again they’re all from our 2017 trip and I’ve given links to relevant posts should you want any more detail of the areas shown.

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Maldon

Campsite – D’Arcy Equestrian

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Framlingham

 Dunwich (& Southwold)

Aldeburgh (& Thorpeness)

Orford

Campsite – Fishers Field

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Norwich 

Broads

Norfolk Broads

Campsite – Lower Wood Farm

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Langham

Cromer

Campsite – Woodlands, Sheringham

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Cambridge

Campsite – Highfield Touring Park

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Lavenham 

Campsite – Kings Forest Caravan Park, West Stow 

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Castle Rising

Holkham Bay

Sandringham

Campsites – Whitehall Farm, Burnham-Thorpe

Manor Park, Hunstanton

Other potential posts of interest:

Our time in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire

Around the UK: a Photo Diary #1 Kent, The Garden of England

 

We used the Rough Guide to Norfolk & Suffolk to help decide places to visit and walks to take.  Very useful as ever 🙂

My next gallery post will cover Lincolnshire, Rutland and Northamptonshire (for the British Grand Prix).

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy an item after clicking on one of these links we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you choose to buy anything it’s very much appreciated, thank you.

My CoronaVirus Distancing in Numbers – Days 15 & 16

2nd Instalment of my own lockdown journal.
Are you on your own, even if only for part of the day, during this lockdown? How are you coping? Are you managing to fill your time?

A continuation of my lockdown ‘journal’…   Click here for the 1st instalment & 2nd instalment

A * denotes that there has been a change to the total number 🙂

Today is Friday (aka Day 17)

Date:

Friday 3rd April 2020

Current Day of Social Distancing (following government guidelines):

17, but I’m writing about 15 & 16 (as it’s still before 8am on Friday, day 17)

Days spent on my own while Calv works (as an HGV driver)

10

Les Mills workouts completed

7* (well 5 1/4 as Body Balance really isn’t my thing…)

  • 3 x sh’bam
  • 2* x Body Combat – the proper workout this time.  #69, 30 mins as advised by my younger sister during our video call this morning.  Loved it – seriously!  Even though I still don’t really know what’s going on that 30 mins just flew by (or maybe that’s because I don’t know what I’m doing!!)
  • 1* x step.  I have my own step at home, but always forget just how unco-ordinated I am!
  • 1/4 x body balance – I’ve given up trying… 😦

Bring Sally Up (Sally Squat’s)

7* – it’s starting to get easier now as I am far more used to it 🙂 (Progress!)

Planks

7* – I’m still managing to add 5 seconds each day (I’m now up to 50 seconds and , frankly, gobsmacked!!)

Runs

2* – I went back out yesterday (Thursday) and suffered no problems from my calves this time.  I managed to run a whole mile before stopping for a little rest, and then another 1/4 mile.  Tomorrow (Saturday – aka Day 18) I’ll try to go a full mile and a half before any rests (further if possible).  And it’s starting to warm up, which always helps 🙂

Walks

11*

Wednesday (day 15) saw a walk, the long way round, to the station and back home via Linden Lea.  I was hoping that this route would help to avoid the same sort of numbers of people I encountered whilst walking on Tuesday (day 14), and it did!

The main photo shows the footpath up to Portchester Common – I want to walk this but it’s too narrow to be able to practice social distancing properly 😦

I think that going a little earlier (about 1pm) helped as well.  The train station was devoid of life (although a train was due in), but I did see a bus with a passenger on it!

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I also saw dozens and dozens of window displays featuring rainbows – all clearly created by children (far better than anything I could ever produce!)  I even saw 1 made from lego 🙂  (See below for a tiny selection of those I saw on my travels today)

No walk on Thursday (day 16) as my outdoor exercise for the day was my run 🙂

Wii-Fit

3 –

Trips to the van ‘larder’

So far I have visited most days and had to procure the following:-  (a * denotes a change from my previous post)

  • 2 bottles squash
  • 2 packs of teabags – the small packs you get in big boxes
  • 1 box green teabags
  • 6* tins baked beans (Branston)
  • 3 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tins butter beans
  • 1 tin haricot beans
  • 1 jar of pesto
  • 1 jar of Ragu
  • 1 jar of jam
  • 1 packet of caster sugar (very important)
  • Garam Masala
  • Several bottles/cans of beer and cider
  • 1 bottle of wine
  • 1 jar of coffee
  • 1 box of pasta
  • 2 packs of Mexican style rice
  • 4* x toilet rolls

Also now:

  • 4 tins of tuna
  • Jar ground coriander
  • 1 tin of custard
  • Several stock pots
  • Crisps
  • 1 box jaffa cakes

Conversations on HouseParty/other video calls

6 so far on HouseParty / 10* on FB or WhatsApp / 1 Google hang-out with work colleagues

Ben had to call me from the shop about what butter to get as he was making cakes!

On our family FB messenger group we’ve taken to telling each other what we’ve had/are having for dinner – with photos if we remember.  I never remember – too busy eating!!

I also took my dad round a little easter egg this morning, as I’d had to go shopping.  So I took a picure so that everyone could see that he’s fine, and popped that on the group chat as well 🙂

Watching Homes under the Hammer

Having spotted the end of my obsession I’ve taken to putting it on again in the background!

Watching TV in general during the day

Mostly news updates.  Although I’m still looking for Neighbours…

I’ve still not found Neighbours, but will try again today.  Also, I’ve taken to turning the news off for the most part and trying to only watch it once a day.

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to think that the daily updates should only be conducted a couple of times each week, as nothing much changes in 24hrs, so they might have something different to say/report if it was every few days.

Is it just me? (I’m also getting pretty fed up with some of the ridiculous, point scoring questions being asked…)

Calv will definitely be home with me from Tuesday next week, so we’re going to get working on the last bit of the garden that needs doing, which is to level the lawn area up.  I don’t think I’m going to need my exercise videos next week (but will keep doing them anyway – if I’m capable…)

I’ve also order a number of perennials online (72 to be exact) which are due to be delivered by the end of April.  I wasn’t going to order anything online but seeing on the news how much will be destroyed changed my mind (and I want to try to get the garden looking nice)

I hope you’re all finding plenty to do to occupy your time.

Above all, stay home, stay safe and call someone if you’re struggling (that includes me if you know me xx)

Until the next time xx

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Coronavirus and Travel Plans – To Go or Not To Go…..?

So here we are at the end of February with a planned date to leave for Europe of 5th March… Our plans? Head down through France to Italy, take in Rome and Venice on our way through Italy to visit Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany and Belgium.
Hmm – little spanner in the works now called CoronaVirus means our plans are up in the air – what to do?

Do you ever get that feeling that you should be more excited for your upcoming plans than you are?  And then something happens that suggests you were right not to be excited – you’re pshycic – you knew all along that this might happen (or not, as the case may be).  Ever been there?

Well, I suspect that we’re not the only people in this position currently.  Only perhaps we are slightly more fortunate in that we have nothing booked and we can just do what we want, when we want – to a certain degreee anyway.

What am I talking about?  Well our plans for our next trip were well underway – in sofaras we ever plan.  This time the plan was catch a ferry, possibly on 5th March (we haven’t booked it yet), pootle down through France, finally crossing the Millau Viaduct on the way; head into Italy and down Continue reading “Coronavirus and Travel Plans – To Go or Not To Go…..?”

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

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”

Beamish Museum and the Angel of the North

First off, my apologies for most of the photos appearing here at the start – I’m having a spot of bother again getting them where I want them!

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Apart from visiting Hadrian’s Wall sites when in inland Northumberland we also went a little further afield, visiting the Angel of the North, Beamish Museum and a Sunday afternoon in Newcastle.

Beamish museum was somewhere that I was aware of and keen to visit.  I love ‘living’ museums like this where the exhibits represent how we used to live, often with buildings saved from different areas and rebuilt in the museum.  Similar museums around the country include the Weald and Downland near Chichester, St Fagans Folk Museum in Cardiff, Blists Hill Victorian Town near Telford and the Black Country Museum in Dudley.  I have been to each of these museums (except the Black Country Museum) at least twice, and as a result often shout excitedly at the telly when I see a location I recognise (as they’re often used for filming!)

We actually visited Beamish twice.  There were 2 reasons for this, the 1st being that they are one of these, really pretty annoying, attractions where your entry fee allows you to visit for a full year.  This is all very well if you live in the area and are likely to visit more than once – but how about a cheaper price for those of us who are just visiting?  We missed out on Leeds Castle because of this policy (and saw many others turning round and leaving), and need to visit Chatham Docks again before May in order to use our tickets again before they run out…

Anyway, the main reason we had to return was that a couple of days after our first visit there was a big classic car show being held.  So that was reason enough to go back….

Beamish is a living history museum located in the village of Beamish, near to Consett.  There is an awful lot of walking available as you make your way around the site, between the pit village (and a quick tour down a real pit shaft – not far but very interesting), the town, the hall and the farm.

Don’t despair however there are plenty of transport options; old trams and buses run frequently and there is no extra charge for these.  There are several houses that have been rebuilt and dressed in the style of the day, both in the pit village, the town and also the hall.  Don’t miss the tower as you exit the hall – this is the most interesting part of the building!

Over the 2 visits that we made we managed to see every part of the museum and were suitably impressed (at £19 each though that’s a good thing!)

On the way to the museum we had visited the Angel of the North  , the iconic sculpture designed by Anthony Gormley which you cannot miss as you drive by!  There is free parking and an information board at the bottom of the hill that the angel is sited on, and she is really an awesome sight!

We returned to the van via Consett as we needed to get fuel.

After our 2nd visit on the Sunday we headed in to Newcastle to have a look.  We ended up having some lunch – I found out that Weatherspoons now operate a system where you’re able to order online, including your drinks!  Brilliant!  (However, I also think this is old news, just like when I got all excited about the automatic ordering in McDonalds…)

After lunch we headed off to have a look around Newcastle.  I’m not sure how far we walked, but it was a far way.  We were impressed with the city – it wasn’t what we were expecting at all.  Added to the grand old buildings there was a definite vibe about the place even on a Sunday afternoon in September.

Finally in this area, on the Saturday between these 2 visits to the museum we decided to have a lazy day but ended up heading out for a drive, visiting Heddon on the Wall and then Prudhoe Castle.  We also found where the British Masters was being held (we’d seen signs for parking as we’d been driving around the area for the previous week) at Close House, which was busy preparing for the tournament that was being held the following week.

Prudhoe Castle is an English Heritage property, but whilst a pleasant enough way to spend, maybe, half an hour, it wasn’t one of the better properties we’d visited.  Put it this way, it’s one of the properties that we would have been fed up to have paid out £12 between us if we hadn’t been members….  However, if you do go make sure to visit the room above the gatehouse 🙂

 

So our time in Hadrian’s Wall country came to an end, but not our time in Northumberland.  We had 11 more nights and 2 more sites on the coast to visit before moving on to Scotland!

Keep travelling 🙂