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Trip List by ColAndSand186298

Travel experiences in Britain

11 Oct 2011  We have visited most of the places listed several times and know them well.
4.5 of 5 stars based on 1 vote

Mainly about holiday and leisure trips we have made as a couple in recent years.

  • 1. Lynton
    Lynton, Exmoor National Park

    Lynton is very attractively situated on top of the cliffs above Lynmouth, and on the edge of Exmoor where it meets the sea. The two towns are linked with a fascinating water powered cliff railway, essential unless you are feeling really energetic to walk up or down the very steep paths. There are fantastic walks such as the Valley of the Rocks with its wild goats and ponies, which also roam on the paths high above the sea. There are also some very good B&B's in Lynton.

    The downsides are the limited number of eating and drinking places, a few of which are good but rather too many are not. The choice is even more limited in the evenings and out of the high season because they do not bother to open. The selection of shops can only be described as poor, with one summing up the general attitude towards visitors by the notice in its window actually saying they only open when it suits them, not the customer. This take it or leave it feeling is amplified, especially at night, by gangs of pre-teens and teens roaming around the streets. However there is a 24/7 Lloyds TSB cash dispenser available which is very useful, especially as Lynmouth down below only has those which charge you for wanting to get at your own money. So take note - you have been warned!! You do need to plan your cash requirements carefully here.

    So all in all, it's a bit of a mixed place and you have to take what's on offer without bothering too much about what's not if you want to enjoy the place.

  • 2. Lynmouth
    Lynmouth, Exmoor National Park

    Lynmouth is very attractively situated at the base of the cliffs below Lynton, and on the edge of Exmoor where it meets the sea. The two towns are linked with a fascinating water powered cliff railway, essential unless you are feeling really energetic to walk up or down the very steep paths. The seaside itself and beach is not much to write home about if you have small children who want to build sand castles, because there isn't any sand. Instead it has a rugged charm more for adults. There are fantastic walks such as that going inland alongside the river towards Watersmeet on Exmoor. There are also some good B&B's in Lynmouth.

    There is a good selection of eating and drinking places with very good beer available at some pubs The shops can only be described as a bit touristy and tacky, but fun if you like that sort of thing. However, beware that (in 2011) there was no cash dispenser which did not charge you for accessing your own money. That was only available up the hill in Lynton where there is a 24/7 Lloyds TSB dispenser available. So take note - you have been warned!! You do need to plan your cash requirements carefully here.

    Lynmouth seems to have nicer feel about it than Lynton, which is a bit take it or leave it (see our other review of Lynton). But the pair of them together are a good place to spend a few days now and then provided the weather is good. But in winter, especially in icy conditions, it is almost impossible to get in or out of Lynnmouth by road on account of the steep hills in all directions. These can be dangerous at the best of times but particularly in winter.

  • 3. Padstow
    Padstow, Cornwall

    Padstow seems to be one of those places people either love or hate. We are in the former category. It's on Cornwall's rugged north coast which is wonderful in its own right, with Rock just across the river estuary and accessible by a delightful ferry. From either place you can walk for miles along the estuary until it meets the sea, and then miles further until you drop. Then the whole area is soaked in John Betjeman's poetry, and if you like that, at almost every turn you find something which recalls a few lines from one or other of his poems. Besides Padstow and Rock, there's Trebetherick, St Enodoc with its church, Daymer Bay, Polzeath, Pentire - it's all there and more besides, and easily accessible to a keen walker from Padstow itself. Wonderful and evocative places.

    To some, another rather overbearing presence seems to be the prevalence of Rick Stein's eateries. We like them but it's obvious others do not, and he has put them off the place. One undeniable advantage is that they offer quality whereas some other places definitely do not, especially at peak times. Another downside of Padstow is its impossible traffic situation. Even away from the peak season, such as into September and October, you are lucky if you can find a parking space after mid-morning. It's worth trying to find a (free) gap in the approach roads such as Dennis Road as you drive towards the town centre car parks, but beware the attitude of the locals who obviously don't like their residential streets being choked with cars. So a sensible option is to consider buses such as the 555 (this runs into Padstow from Bodmin and Wadebridge) if you are staying in a hotel or B&B close to this route. But beware, the last one home is at 2030 in the evening (2011)!! Taxis are OK though if you don't mind spending a bit more.

    Which brings us onto B&B's of which there is a huge range, many of which are of superb quality. We prefer to stay a mile or two outside the town from where you can walk in and out if you don't want to use buses or taxis - check this with the owners before booking if this is as important to you as it is to us.

  • 4. Lizard Peninsula
    The Lizard, Cornwall

    The Lizard Peninsula is probably one of the best protected areas in Britain in that it has scarcely changed in 45 years or more. Since first visiting it in 1967, repeated return visits have confirmed this - the same roads, pubs, villages and beaches. Obviously there has been some development but it does not seem to have overtaken the general character of the place. The Lizard itself is the most southerly point in England, though to best appreciate it you have to get out of your car and walk extensively around it, especially the coast and cliffs. The lighthouse, though stunningly positioned, is but one of the sights to see.

    Other places include St Keverne, called "the city" by locals presumably because it is that bit bigger than many of the other villages. Go through this and try the Five Pilchards pub right on the beach at Porthallow (called "Pralla"). Or in another direction off the square to Porthoustock if you want a good view of the ship-destroying Manacles together with a somewhat bleaker general appearance, not at all touristy.

    Then there is pretty little Coverack, again with a nice pub at the end of the harbour. And lots of other similar places, some with the most gorgeous beaches such as Kennack Sands. If you have children who just want to play with bucket and spade you will have difficulty getting them off here at tea time. So take a picnic!

    Try Ruan Major (smaller than Ruan Minor!) for a real time-warpy feel in the ruined buildings (no pun intended) - almost spooky in the autumn with the crows cawing in the trees moaning against the wind as daylight fades. You usually have the place to yourself at times like that.

    There's so much more, including the larger town of Helston if you want something a bit more conventional to end the day in a restaurant, or to take the kids to Flambards holiday park (a bit expensive though, but aren't they all). And for the more technically inclined there is the satellite station at Goonhilly Downs where the very first transatlantic TV tranmission via the Telstar satellite took place in 1962.

    If you haven't been to the peninsula yet, you have yet to experience something quite different not only from the rest of Britain but the rest of Cornwall as well. But one thing you must do is to turn your wing mirrors in if you don't want to lose them on the winding, narrow and twisty roads! There are some real maniac drivers about down there.