I wasn’t going to write this post but a few people have asked me for more photos of our recent UK holiday, so I’ve put together a small travelogue. I say “small”, but I had many, many photographs to choose from and I tried to be careful not to include any that I’ve already used, so here it is: a whistlestop guide to our UK sojourn.
The first stop on our visit to the South-West was Bath, which, of course, we loved. We accidentally stumbled upon the Sally Lunn shop and the Lunn buns are something that we will always savour (and will probably stay on my hips forever!)
I’ve already written a bit about the fashion museum in Bath, but I didn’t show any photos of me in a poke bonnet, or a funny hat. Yes, there is an area in the museum where one can try on the clothes from different eras. How could I resist?
The Royal Circle takes your breath away with its grandeur, beauty and proportions.
Of course no visit to Bath is complete without a visit to the Roman Baths, so off we went. One of the things we noticed about travelling towards the end of the year is that many of the buildings were undergoing restoration work and a lot of my photographs have scaffolding all over them.
Bath is a beautiful city by any measure, but I think it’s even more special with the autumn colours reflected in the river.
As we moved on from Bath we began to see magnificent countryside, which is a massive contrast with the scenery we find in Australia, but equally as beautiful. This is the view over Monkton Combe.
Mark had a bucket list of all the things he wanted to see and it included: quaint villages, thatched cottages, market crosses, black and white buildings, and the English seaside. As I had travelled around most of England with my parents as a young girl, I felt I knew it fairly well, but it turned out that I must have had my nose in a book the whole way as it was as much a revelation to me as to him!
Everywhere we went was an absolute delight. Bradford-on-Avon had a surprising amount to offer for a small place. Quaint tea rooms abound in England
And we were thrilled to find this Saxon church. What a treasure!
We saw several fine examples of market crosses, including this one at Shepton Mallet
And we visited a lot of tea rooms. The Abbey Tea Rooms in Glastonbury (yes, of festival fame) was fabulous. We had home made crumpets, and the inevitable cream tea.
Glastonbury is a funny blend of the very old and the very, er, modern. It has an interesting population, some of whom obviously visited the festival and never left. Mark and I scuttled through town, avoiding the pervading scent of incense, and were pleased to find the very traditional tearooms. When we came out we looked over the road and I could see some ruins, which we had to explore. It turned out to be the Glastonbury Abbey, which was a complete delight.
I was amazed to come across this sign marking the graves of King Arthur and Guinevere. Their bodies were moved by the monks but the tomb into which they were put only survived until the dissolution of the Abbey in 1539.
From Glastonbury we meandered our way to the coast and finished up in Bude, which is such a pretty place. The hotel is probably its most notable landmark.
However I really liked the Bude Light 2000, built to celebrate the work of Sir Goldsworth Gurney, who was a pretty remarkable man. He built a castle on a raft of concrete on the sand at Bude and created illumination by injecting a stream of oxygen into an oil flame, which was reflected throughout the castle by mirrors. These Bude Lights were installed into the House of Commons, replacing candles, and were used for sixty years until the arrival of electricity. He also adapted the lights for lighthouses. This sculpture has fibre optic star patterns built into it.
Bude is a pretty place and well worth a visit. From there we went to Port Isaac, which is better known as Port Wenn in the Doc Martin series. Mark and I had to watch a few episodes so we could identify all the sights. This scene is quite common on the programme and we noticed that there is even a Jeep down there that looks like the police car. We walked past a group of giggling girls and I swear they are just like the ones in the program who sneer at passers-by.
Apart from Doc Martin fame, this is one pretty place. The building second from the right is Martin’s surgery.
One of the things we loved about the whole trip was the narrow, winding streets with buildings leaning on each other rather drunkenly.
We bought some jam in Port Isaac and it came with a fridge magnet with the tag line “A drinking village with a fishing problem”. Says it all I think. A last photo showing the hotel on the hill, which is actually the school in the tv series.
I just discovered that Port Isaac is also where the series Poldark is set. I haven’t watched the series, although I read the books. I shall have to watch the series. We stayed in Plymouth, which is another town that we loved. Full of history, of course, as this is where Drake famously played bowls whilst he waited for the tide to change before setting sail to take on the Spanish Armada. This photo below shows the Tin Lido, a set of swimming baths built in the 1920s. They are a beautiful example of the Art Deco style.
I took this photo in Crumplehorn. I love the lichen covered roofs and the gorgeous colours on the tree. This was a pretty place with a stream running in front of the houses, meaning that each house has its own little stone bridge.
We saw all the touristy things as well
And marvelled at some of the engineering. This wall can be closed to stop the sea going in or out of the harbour. Polperro is one of the most picturesque of the villages, and was a centre for smuggling back in the day.
We visited Dartmoor and enjoyed the horses roaming around. I did try to break into Dartmoor prison, but that is a story for another day!
Continuing our trip around the coast, we really enjoyed Poole/Bournemouth, and in particular the sunset.
We really wanted to visit the New Forest and it didn’t disappoint. I loved this shop in Burley, and we also found the most amazing chocolate studio in Beaulieu, which contributed to my downfall.
Lymington proved to be a delight with this cobbled street and bowed windows.
I loved looking at buildings which served an industrial purpose. This is the mill at Beaulieu. How beautiful is it?
Salisbury Cathedral was wonderful and we saw the Magna Carta. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that one of the originals is at Parliament House in Canberra. I’ve even been there and not seen it.
Stonehenge was wonderful and was the first day where we experienced any bad weather. We skulked in the museum until most of the storm had passed over. We still got a bit damp and my red raincoat did a brilliant job of keeping me dry. However, I think the best part of the visit was this double rainbow. I love the fact that the blue of the sky is different inside and outside.
Along the way we stayed in interesting bed and breakfasts, most of which were old farmhouses offering magnificent breakfasts.
However, I did accidentally book us into a B&B that I suspect was a house of ill repute in disguise. Enough said on that one!
We meandered back to London via Bristol and my sister’s house, having ticked all the boxes on Mark’s wish list. I was pleased to show Mark these Green Cabbie Huts. Some are in the middle of busy roads, and they have parking for the London cabs, and provide shelter and food for cabbies. They were built in Victorian times and many are being restored. Non-taxi drivers can also receive refreshments here, but they are not allowed to sit inside.
We paid a visit to the Royal Albert Hall, which is a must.
We attended the Salvation Army carol singing, which was marvellous.
These four young men sang The Last Post, which brought me to tears. The audience got to sing the carols too, which I loved.
Whilst in London we visited Notting Hill and Portobello Road – typical tourists!
the Christmas decorations were pretty spectacular, but all I could think about was the drudgery of taking them down again!
We visited the National History Museum, which is another must. Here I am ascending into the maws of a volcano
This is a remarkable building, with an equally remarkable dinosaur skeleton
I did manage a bit of knitting on the journey, making a pair of gloves that proved to be too big for me, so Mark scored them.
We had the most wonderful trip, met fabulous people, and this is just a small sample of the many photographs that I took. I need to get this posted as we are already on our next holiday.