Posts Tagged ‘South West England’

  • Beautiful Boscastle and Harbour, Cornwall, South West England

    Date: 2010.09.28 | Category: Been there, Places to go, Review 4 star | Response: 0

    When travelling around Cornwall you can become slightly accustomed to the spectacular views and pretty villages but one place well worth a visit is Boscastle. Situated a few miles from popular tourist attraction, Tintagel, Boscombe lies with in a narrow ravine that has been created by the rivers Jordan and Valency.

    You can drive to Boscastle, reaching the bottom of the ravine via some windy roads.  Conveniently a the bottom is a large car park which has public toilets. From the car park you can walk through the village and alongside the river towards the harbour entrance.  There are paths streching either side of the water that give you some spectacular views and a very pleasant circular walk.

    Not only is Boscastle pretty, it is also has some modern history that makes it a fascinatingplace to visit.  In 2004 Boscastle was devastated by a flash flood which destroyed many of the buildings along the riverside.  If you head in to the cafe on the riverside which has since been rebuilt you can see pictures of the devastation and the rebuilding – which included building the roof at an angle to keep with the original look!  Incidentally, the cafe also does a great cream team which was quite simply delicious while eating near the river.

    When you had back to the car park it is also worth checking out the Tourist Information board that provides lots of information on all the work being done to prevent another flash flood.

    Of course this is Thomas Hardy country and if you are interested in finding out more head to the Old Rectory on the road to St Juliot where you can stay in the authors bedroom and roam its extensive grounds.

    Where to stay?

    * Self catering and cottages in Boscastle, Cornwall, South West England
    * Holiday parks in Cornwall, South West England
    * Lodges in Tintagel, Cornwall, South West England
    * B&B’s in Padstow, Cornwall, South West England
    * Hotels in Padstow, Cornwall, South West England


    Boscastle was an enjoyable afternoon, even the children enjoyed the time exploring the harbour area!

    • Suitable for Family: 4 stars
    • Public facilities (toilets): 3 stars
    • Cafe/food: 4 stars
  • Find some great Family holidays this October half term

    Date: 2010.09.14 | Category: Cottages, Latest News, Places to go, Special offers - time limited | Response: 0

    So the summer holidays are over but that doesn’t mean there are no more chances to get away this year.  For example, why not get away and see the British countryside at its mellow best this October. Whether you are looking for a great family fun Half Term breaks to romantic hideaways for two, there is no better time to get out there and enjoy it. From the quiet calm of the West Country to the dramatic landscapes of Northern England…or anywhere else that takes your fancy…you’re sure to find a self catering family holiday that’s just right for you.

    Devon’s beaches are even more magical for family games or quiet evening strolls when the high-summer crowds have gone home. Or why not head for the Cornwall beaches for some of the best UK surfing weather. Whilst in Yorkshire it’s the perfect season for seeing moors and hills, villages and dales at their most seasonally spectacular, whether you’re with the family or just the two of you.

    Coast and country in South West England

    You can find some great self catering cottages both by the coast and at idyllic country locations this October half term. If you are looking at South West England, there is a great choice of luxury cottages, cottages close to the beach,  accommodation with easy walking close by and self catering with open fires.  Alternatively, you could look at some lodges in the South West of England that range from the luxurious with hot tubs to those that are ideal for the family pet

    Explore the moors in Yorkshire

    You can find some great self catering cottages in Yorkshire this October half term. If you are looking at Yorkshire, there is a great choice of cottages with hot tubs with easy walking close by and self catering with open fires and woodburning stoves.  Alternatively, you could look at some lodges in Yorkshire including the Yorkshire Dales, Yorkshire Moors and Coast.

  • Polzeath Beach, Cornwall, South West England

    Date: 2010.09.13 | Category: Been there, Places to go, Review 4 star | Response: 0

    If you are looking for a good beach to learn to surf, improve your skills or to bodyboard and mess around in the waves then why not try out Polzeath Beach in Cornwall. Situated on the Padstow Bay, Polzeath gets good quality and consistent waves making this one of the best surfing beaches in Cornwall.

    We arrived there on a blustery August day and because we arrived later in the day we managed to get parked at the beaches main car park.  However, there are other car parks close by so if you can not get in to this relatively small car park you will not be too far away.

    The beach itself is wide and sandy andwhen the tide is out it is a long way down to the water – so plenty of room for everyone.  During the summer months there are RNLI Lifeguards on duty making it a safe place to be out on the water for all the family.  There are toilets in the car park area but there is not really much in the way of shower facilities like you find at somewhere like Fistral Beach.

    If you are looking for surfing lessons, with equipment and wetsuits included then head straight to the beach car park, where you will find a couple of good BSA approved surf schools.  We took our own bodyboards and summer wetsuits and boarded for a couple of hours quite happily in the patrolled areas.  We were there on a windy day though and the openess of the beach doesn’t provide a great deal of shelter – even our beach tent was struggling to cope – and in that sort of weather , even with the sun out, it was worth wearing your own wetsuit or hiring one.

    There are a few shops relatively close to the beach in Polzeath – including a Spar mini supermarket, a cafe, some stalls and a pub.  So you can grab the odd thing to eat or drink but if you are mkaing a day of it, it’s worth taking a picnic with you.  There was also an ice cream van on the beach – which saved a walk!

    Within walking distance from Polzeath are some other magnificent places to visit including Rock, Daymer Bay, Pentire Point, St Minver and Trebetherick.  All can be reached by the local coastal paths that offer spectacular views over looking Cornwall‘s rugged coast line and out to the Atlantic Ocean.

    Where to stay?


    • Suitable for Family: 4 stars
    • Beach and surf: 5 stars
    • Beach facilities (toilets/showers): 3 stars
    • Cafe/food: 3 stars
    • Safety: 5 stars (RNLI Lifeguards during season)
  • Dartmouth Food Festival, Devon, South West England, 19-24 October 2010

    Date: 2010.09.09 | Category: Places to go | Response: 0

    The Dartmouth Food Festival will take place between 19th and 24th October, and the town’s picturesque streets will be bursting with exciting events and displays! Historic Dartmouth in Devon will play host to the hugely popular Food Market, where visitors can treat themselves to many of the culinary delights available, and enjoy a wide range of activities for both adults and children.

    Highlights of the Dartmouth Food Festival will include celebrity chef demonstrations to inspire foodies and enthusiasts alike, with guests such as Mitch Tonks, Michael Caines, Mark Hix, Valentine Warner and many more.

    Kingswear is a great base to explore the South West, situated on the banks of the River Dart across from the picturesque town of Dartmouth. Foot and car ferries cross the river frequently ensuring easy access to the many shops, restaurants and river cruises through the beautiful Devon countryside. You can also catch a boat to Torquay and Brixham, taking in the spectacular coastline.

  • Great offers still available for September Cottages, you can save up to £200* at selected holiday properties in beautiful South Devon

    Date: 2010.09.06 | Category: Special offers - time limited | Response: 0

    Whether you are looking for late availability for the coming weeks or a last minute break away in September with family, friends or just for two – there are some stunning holiday properties in beautiful locations in the South Devon coast and countryside.

    If the thought of relaxing on a balcony with spectacular views over a glass of something chilled, dining al fresco on local seafood, exploring the coastal paths, enjoying long beach days or indulging in a cream tea in a stylish holiday property in a wonderful location, appeals to you – then why not book a cottage on the coast or in the country today.

    Leylands, Salcombe

    £100 off the weeks commencing 24th September, 1st October, 8th October and 15th October, now only £415 per week or £375 per week for 4 people or less. This elegant, late Victorian terraced house built for a sea captain sleeps up to 8 people, making it ideal for a family. The property has a garden with a terrace, and is well situated just a few minutes walk from the town centre. This lovely house has been sympathetically renovated retaining many original characteristics. Leylands boasts magnificent views of the harbour towards South Pool Creek, East Portlemouth and Snapes Point. Now £415 per week, under £8 per person, per night, based on 8 sharing (family group only).

    Shipwrights Cottage, Salcombe

    100 off the week commencing 11th September at this charming and tastefully renovated Grade II listed early 19th Century cottage sleeping up to 4 people. The cottage has outstanding estuary views, and is located just a few minutes walk from the quayside, restaurants and cafes. Now just £535 per week, under £20 per person, per night, based on 4 sharing. (Offer not including reduced occupancy discount).

    More special offers

    To find more September special cottage offers in Devon  click here>

    Please note the September Savings and Late Availability Offers highlighted here are with our partners Coast & Country and apply to selected properties and weeks, subject to availability. Not in conjunction with any other offer or promotion. Please seee for further information.
  • Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall, South West England

    Date: 2010.08.24 | Category: Been there, Places to go, Review 5 star | Response: 0

    One word comes to mind when thinking of Fistral Beach in Newquay, Cornwall… surfing.  Fistral Beach is the home of British surfing, with the British Surfing Association based there, and so is a must for surfers of all experiences and levels.

    Before I go any further, if surfing conjures up images of Hawaii and young athletic people riding the waves… don’t be put off.  Fistral, particularly during the summer months, is the haven of the family amateur surfer, body boarder and the swimmer.  In fact with the RNLI Lifeguards present throught the summer months, keeping order and keeping you safe, Fistral Beach is a great place to take the family for safe water fun.

    Fistral Beach has a car park above it, but you will need to get there early or be lucky to find a space.  If not, there are a plenty of car parks in the town which are not too long a  walk away.  However, we always tried the car park first, if we were not lucky with a space then we dropped all our stuff and the passengers off and then went to park the car.

    Fistral itself is a large, generally flat, sandy beach.  It will get busy in the summer holidays when the sun is out but you can usually find yourself somewhere to sit.  We found our beach tent invaluable in securing a little bit of space and, more importantly, to help us find our way back to our stuff after being in the sea!

    The facilities at Fistral are very good, there are toilets and showers (50p token required) as well as a cafe and shops over looking the beach.  The food is not the cheapest – £2 for chips – but all in all, the facilities make it far easier to spend the day at the beach.

    So the surfing and bodyboarding.  Well the summer swells are not the best time of year for the serious surfer – it is much better in the Autumn – but it is a good time for beginner as there are usually good waves to learn and practice on.  As you would imagine there are a number of BSA approved surf schools that operate on Fistral Beach and lessons for a half day tend to be around £30.  It is well worth having a lesson at the beginning of your holiday to teach you the techniques and the safety basics nad then you can spend the rest of the holiday refining your technique. Surf lessons are appropriate for people of all ages – from 8 to 78, so there are no excuses not to give it a go!

    Your surf school will provide everything you need for your lesson – including boards and wetsuits – you just need to remember your swimming costume, a towel and the sunscreen (even on cloudy days)!  If you don’t want the lesson but don’t have the equipment, there are plenty of places on the beach or nearby that you can hire surf equipment including the wetsuits.

    Whether you are swimming, surfing or bodyboarding, there are specific areas for you to be in on the sea and the RNLI Lifeguards keep it well organised, meaning you can feel safe whatever you are doing.

    Newquay town centre is only a short walk from the beach and so at the end of the day it is easy to head for a bar or pub for a drink to celebrate your success!

    Where to stay?


    • Suitable for Family: 5 stars
    • Beach and surf: 5 stars
    • Beach facilities (toilets/showers): 4 stars
    • Cafe/food: 4 stars
    • Safety: 5 stars (RNLI Lifeguards during season)
  • Polperro and Looe – picture postcard Cornwall

    Date: 2010.08.24 | Category: Features, Places to go, Review 4 star | Response: 0

    If you are visiting Cornwall this year then a trip to the towns of Polperro and Looe are a must for anyone wanting to experience the traditional ‘picture postcard’ beauty of the Cornish fishing village.

    Set just a few miles apart these fishing villages can be found on the south coast of Cornwall near Liskeard and Plymouth.


    With a large car park for tourists set on the edge of the town its easy to arrive and set off into Polperro on foot.  The walk gives you plenty of time to look at the pretty streets and marvel at the houses perched all the way up the cliff sides.

    As you wander along you also have time to choose from the great range of Cornish pasties, Cornish ice creams and, of course, the Cornish cream teas… for research purposes, we tried many of these out and confirm that they are worth the effort!

    You can get short boat trips from the harbour so that you can appreciate the great views from the sea.

    While there is not lots for the kids to do, Polperro is a small village that can be easily walked and we found that the choice of ice creams easily distracted the children while we explored.

    Coast walk from Polperro to Looe

    You can follow a great coastal footpath that works its way along the top of the bays.  It is well worth doing to really appreciate the scenery of this rugged coastline and please allow plenty of time for the walk, as the path meanders its way following the coastline, and make sure you take drinks and appropriate clothing. Although you can walk there and back, we walked one way and caught a local bus back…. definitely not one for a pushchair though.


    Either a lovely walk or a short drive takes you from Polperro to the picture postcard Looe.  Again you are welcomed by the sight of cottages perched all the way up the cliffs that surround the town.  Looe has a bigger shopping centre with all the holidays momentoes you could ever want. And, of course there are lots of places to try the pasties, ice creams and cream teas.

    On the practical side, their is a big car park on the way in to Looe – but don’t rely on a quick get away as the car park exit can be a bit busy towards the end of the day!  We also found that Looe had a lot of the UK banks so it was a good place to to top up our cash reserves.

    Day trip details

    • Polperro: 1-2 hours exploring (including time for Pasties etc)
    • Looe: 1-2 hours (including holiday momento shopping)
    • Good for couples and families
    • Overall: 4 stars

    Where to stay

    We stayed in a holiday park in the Newquay area and traveled to Looe and Polperro by car – about a 55 minute drive. However there are plenty of great places to stay closer including:

  • Compton Acres, Bournemouth, Dorset, South West England

    Date: 2010.08.23 | Category: Been there, Latest News, Places to go, Review 4 star | Response: 0

    As a family that has spent so much time holidaying in the Bournemouth area of Dorset it is amazing that it has taken us so long to do one of its largest attractions. Our hesitancy has always been along the familiar lines of… “it will be a nice garden but will we enjoy it while tugging the kids along behind us!”

    This August we finally bit the bullet, bought the £17 family ticket and headed in.

    Compton Acres is one of the finest privately owned gardens in the South of England with a unique series of stunning gardens and a spectacular view of Poole Harbour, Brownsea Iasland and the Purbeck Hills beyond.

    Once inside you follow a circular path route that takes you through the various gardens, from the splendid formal Italian  Gardens, through the sub Tropical link to the wooded pine valley, rock and water gardens and much more.  As you would imagine the gardens are all pretty, well maintained and very peaceful.

    Our favourite was the Japanses garden, which is recognised as one of the best in Britain, with its Tea House draped in Japanese wisteria and the thatched summer house.

    As for the children, well their highlights were the activity area which allowed them to climb and run around a bit – without disturbing other visitors – and the Bog Garden which was a great place to spot wildlife including butterflies, toads and many many dragonflies.  Compton Acres during the summer holidays had also put on a clue trail for the children to follow, which kept them occupied, if only for the promised sweet reward at the end.

    Compton Acres is pathed all the way around and so is accessible for pushchairs and the disabled.

    Most surprising moment was the fantastic view across the harbour from the cafe – up to that point you feel in an enclosed garden and then you suddenly look up and see across the Harbour to Brownsea Island and beyond.  The cafe had a good selection of sandwiches and cakes to accompany tea, but we just sat and appreciated the view.

    We visited Compton Acres in the summer holidays but it is open all year round with colour and scent throughout and regular events held so check the website for more information.

    There is also a Model Railway Exhibition that includes 1000 foot of scenic track attached to Compton Acres, although this does require extra admission (£1.50 for adults, £1 for children).

    Location and accommodation

    Compton Acres is close to Sandbanks, set between Bournemouth and Poole in Dorset.


    • Family fun: 4 stars
    • Lenth of visit: Allow 2 hours

    Find out more

    Visit the Compton Acres website to find out more.

  • Eden Project, St Austell, Cornwall

    Date: 2010.08.16 | Category: Been there, Features, Places to go, Review 5 star | Response: 0

    One of the UK’s premier holiday attractions, the Eden Project is a fascinating and fun,
    5 STAR family day out in Cornwall.

    So what exactly is the Eden Project?

    First and foremost, it’s a garden – an amazing, incredible garden.  Discover plants that have helped humanity since the dawn of time explained in fun and engaging ways.

    Trek through steamy jungles, past shacks, waterfalls, and plantations – including the largest rainforest in captivity with a tree canopy 50 meters high.

    Travel to the Mediterranean without leaving the UK – perfumed citrus orchards and olive groves, all enclosed in a second Biome, transport you to warmer climes.

    Then you can marvel at the cutting-edge architecture and art.  Such as the world-famous Biomes which include the largest  greenhouse in the World. Explore the Core, a stimulating education centre, with a roof built the same way plants are.  See World-class art installations right across the site making Eden a huge gallery.

    And, of course, it’s a living example of regeneration and sustainable living – learn how they turned a clay pit in to a paradise.

    Fun for all the family?

    Whatever your age you will find plenty to entertain you at Eden.  During the School summer holidays the Eden team run lots of kids entertainment, which while we were there included building a den from items such as poles, ropes, canvas, tarpaulin, material and whatever else you could scavenge!  Also water challenges – including pumping water along family made river valleys.  The children had great fun at these and then sat down and watched and took part in the fire starting demonstrations for over 45 minutes.


    You can eat at the restaurants at Eden which are reasonable value for a major attraction.  However, if you are there after 4.30 in the summer you can also enjoy a barbecue which is superb value and well worth doing.  There was also a band playing to entertain you.

    Plan your day

    Before you visit Eden it is worth checking the website to see what is going on to make the most of your day.  It is well worth knowing that after 3.30pm there are reduced rates for adults and children go free – this made a saving of £30 for our party of 5! Not only did it save money, parking and wandering around the attraction was so much easier later in the day.

    Couple of other tips.

    • Don’t forget the sun lotion as it can be a major sun trap.
    • Its a long walk back to the car once inside, so make sure you take everything you need when setting off.


    St Austell, Cornwall, South West England

    Where to stay

    Caravan and holiday parks close to Eden: St Austell, Cornwall, South West England

    Self catering and cottages close to Eden:  St Austell, Cornwall, South West England

    Lodges close to Eden: Cornwall, South West England


    • Value for money: 5 star – especially after 3.30pm
    • All family entertainment: 5 star
    • Parking: 5 star
    • Overall: 5 star
  • New Perran Holiday Park, Cornwall

    Date: 2010.08.14 | Category: Been there, Review 3 star | Response: 0

    New Perran Holiday Park is on the north coast of Cornwall close to the popular beaches of Newquay and Perranporth.

    The first thing you will notice about this park is the view.  Situated in an elevated position you have a terrific view of un-spoilt countryside in all directions.  In fact it is so completely  surrounded by countryside and farm land, that New Perran has no traffic or car noise near by so you can really feel away from it all.

    Of course an elevated position does mean that you notice the windy days more but most of the site is bordered by hedges which provide some protection.  We would still recommend that you take along a wind break or two to give yourself some extra sun trap areas.

    New Perran has caravan accommodation as well as touring and camping pitches.


    New Perran is ideally placed for Newquay, with the popular surfing and body boarding locations of Fistral Beach and Watergate Bay just 5-6 miles away.  Even closer is the beach at Perranporth which is just 4 miles from the site entrance.

    Touring caravans, motor homes and camping pitches

    The pitches are large and well spaced around green central areas meaning that the park feels open and spacious.  We visited this park in the school summer holidays and the site was busy but did not feel crowded and was not noisy.

    The are a number of toilet blocks that have showers, washbasins and toilets. These are  cleaned daily and during our stay were clean – although after everyone gets back from the beach they can get a bit sandy.  There are also family rooms that include a baby bath.

    Washing up facilities were located in the same blocks and these were adequate.


    There is a good sized ‘heated’ swimming pool on the park but during our stay the children found the pool very cold – although this was not helped by the wind.

    There is a shop on site for your basic needs but this is open between 8am to 11am and 4pm-7pm so you need to be organised to be there before lunchtime.

    There is a also a Cottage Inn on site but on our 2010 summer stay this remained closed.  So it is worth checking before you book if you were expecting to have this bar facility.

    For children there is a good adventure playground in the middle of the park that our children spent quite a lot of time on.  There is also a toddlers play area and games/TV room.

    For those traveling with pets their are large dog exercise areas at each end of the park.

    Caravan accommodation

    The park has a number of luxury holiday caravans catering for 4 to 8 people. Each comes with a shower, toilet, hot and cold water, tv, full sized cooker, microwave oven, fridges, gas fires and electric heaters. Some also come with central heating.

    For more information about the accommodation>

    Review scores

    • Pitch sizes: 4 stars
    • Washing and toilet facilities: 3 stars
    • Entertainment facilities: 2 stars
    • Swimming pool: 3 stars
    • Overall score: 3 stars

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