Romantic Ruins, More Beaches and Delicious Restaurants’ – My Second Review of the South Coast

For first review of the South West, click the link here:

 

https://actingmylife.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/peaceful-walks-sandy-beaches-and-something-inbetween-my-review-holiday-to-the-south-coast/

What more than just the countryside? Well, look no further. The South West Coast reviews are back again!

Nearly a year after our last visit, my Mother and I decided to spend another trip to see our family again for the Easter Holidays. Although the weather isn’t warm (unlike London), we decided to make the most of it. We didn’t stay long this time, as it was approaching to the end of my break. We would have liked to stay longer; alas, that wasn’t to be. Despite this, we have enjoyed our mini-holiday. Again, I offer a huge thanks to them for being wonderful hosts; it’s a pleasure (as always) to have their company. This is what happened:

Day One – Took a walk on West Bexington beach, before heading to dinner at the No 6 Restaurant in the heart of Dorchester. 

Arrived in the afternoon. Had a steady walk on the beach, minus the strong, heavy wind. Walked for about half-an-hour.

In the early evening we travelled to a decent, yet quiet restaurant. In fact, we were the only one’s there. To be honest, it was in a tight street corner, which made it impossible to be seen. If there isn’t anyone who hasn’t been to the restaurant before, then where have you been? The owners of No 6 were extremely friendly and provided excellent hospitality. The food was top-notch. Rather than your usual heat-eat ready meals, the chief provides customers fresh, ready-to-eat meals on your plates: from the small appetisers to the breakfast-plate desserts. I also have to give them a huge credit to how they dealt with those who have allergies. Not only they give you clear information of what they could replace with on your dishes, but they also kindly give you food substitutes to replace the usual bread, and butter (before your main dish, or with your starter) and explaining to their customers about what’s in them, i.e., ‘the rice cakes are made with corn, and are gluten and wheat-free’. No problems with my experience at all: however, one small tip – dress casually, as No 6 is very posh.

Day Two – Went to visit Corfe Castle, headed to the Tea Shop for Morning Tea and looking around the village. Then, travelled to Studland Bay; had an hour walk, before making a stop at The Halfway Inn Pub and Restaurant for some late lunch. In the evening, we went for a walk in the countryside, near Frampton Village.  

School holidays never fails to disappoint all. So, it’s no surprise that Corfe Castle is the King of entertainment. Come rain or shine, activities are provided for all ages; from the tiny tots to the energetic over sixties. There are demonstrations of Medieval weaving, cooking and historic talks of swords. You can even practice your archery skills and see how you go. But the main attraction has to be the castle. Considered to be England’s romantic castle, Corfe is a crown jewel for every historic eye. It has a one thousand year history, full of excitement and wonder. Every crenellation and stone is worth stopping for; even the breath-taking view from the Keep is picturesque.

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View of the Castle grounds and village, from Corfe’s Keep tower.

 

To end our morning, we stopped at the Tea Rooms and we’re served, with the fashionable displays of tea, cappuccino’s and apple juices. Afterwards, we went around the shops before heading back to the car park, via the New Inn.

Next stop was Studland Bay. The beach did have a couple of walkers, even though it was getting close to high tide. We had fun and there was plenty to see, including a training exercise with the Coastguard and the Lancaster.

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View of Studland Bay.

We got hungry after our walk, so we paid a visit to The Halfway Inn, a pub and restaurant in the middle of the countryside. The Inn was in a cosy, friendly environment. And like No 6, the staff were really friendly and were very good with customers who had dietary requirements. The only downside we had however, were the waiters, serving the incorrect meals. This meant that we had to wait for an extra four to six minutes to the right ones to arrive. It was only a small issue, so there was reason to make a huge fuss about.

Later on in the day, we decided to walk around Frampton Village. Starting from the Village car park, we pasted Millennium Park, went over The White Bridge, and headed through Metlands Wood, via Tibbs Hollow. We then ended our evening constitutional, down the Roman Aquaduct and Frampton Park, before heading back to the Hall.

What’s a way to spend a beautiful day by spending quality time with your family. From Stonebarrow Hill, the views of the sea were spectacular and breathtaking (especially when the sun was out). When we went on the walk around the Hill, and Golden Cap, I noticed that there were a lot of steep steps and hills. But in between  there is farmland, landscapes and St Gabriel’s Chapel, a small, romantic, thirteenth century ruin, which is now a place of worship. My uncle, auntie, cousin, parents and I have enjoyed our afternoon, from the picnic to the walk – it was a wonderful experience. I recommend the Hill and Cap, as a wonderful day out. Also, I suggest to bring a picnic but near the car park, as it would be easier than carrying heavy bags and walking around the steep cliffs.

Day Three – Spend our last morning back in Frampton Village; this time, we took a longer walk …

The weather was calm and bright; a prefect end for our mini-holiday. We decided that before hitting the road home, my Mother and I would join our family on a last walk outside Frampton Village. This walk was in Nunnery Mead, a nature reserve. We started via the same route, only to change direction when we approached Southover. Then, we continued past Maiden Newton and into the woodland, before arriving at the reserve. Nunnery Mead is full of woodland; it also has two excavation sites – one was a Roman Villa and the other a Medieval Village. And to top it all off, there are short pathways where you can walk, whilst listening to the peaceful sounds of the River Frome. If you lucky, you might also hear the distant sounds of resident peacocks or newborn Spring lambs.

 

Overall, we’ve enjoyed our second stay in the South West; in fact, it was bigger and better than the first time. Each time we come down, I feel I’m already home. A home of which I can belong too, as well as for those who enjoy the taste of the English Countryside. In my last review, I remember saying:

It has been a wonderful experience and we are sad to leave. But as we do, we leave behind the memories of our week’s stay and the wonders we’ve experienced and enjoyed. I’m delighted to share them with you in the hope that one day, you will share and have many experiences when you visit the South West Coast of England.

While the feelings for leaving are so strong, I’m already seeing the positive vibe I have about the South West. There’s no doubt that they’ll be more experiences to come. It may not have tall buildings or have the shine factor (as to the Shard in London); but it has everything to offer.

If you get a chance to visit the South West (especially during the holidays), I would recommend visiting West Bexington beach and Studland Bay during low tides. They should occur during the lunch hour, but check before you travel. For a fair, decent timetable for Tide Forecasts, I would recommend using The Beach Guide. However if you ever visit the beaches during high tide (especially in rough weather), NEVER EVER under any circumstances go near the waves. A lot of deaths have occurred, mostly at West Bexington due to strong currents.

If history is your thing or a simple country walk, Corfe Castle would be a good place to start. However, there are three things to bear in mind:

  1. You’ll be walking up and around the hill, within and around the grounds. So, wear some decent shoe wear.
  2. Wear warm clothing, as there you likely to bump into very cold wind.
  3. Be careful where you go, if you walk around the hill (before the main entrance). There are lot’s of pathways that are close to the edge. It is also really steep and any accident could be seriously fateful. Always stick to the path and keep an eye while you walk.

If you want to walk around Frampton Village, I would highly recommend Tibb’s Hallow and Nunnery Mead. But if you come across any wildlife, do not approach them for they maybe protective of their young. Also, wear sensible footwear and be careful when you walk near the River Frome.

If you want to stop for a late luncheon, I would recommend both restaurants. For No 6, I would look out for the Special’s on their board/menu’s; especially anything with fish involved. As for The Halfway Inn, I seriously try the vegetarian Five Bean & Lentil Chilli. It’s gluten-free and tastes amazing when you blend the chilli, rice and nachos together. You’ll really, really enjoy this; it can also be served without cheese.

Anything is made possible and nothing is possible when your there – in the South West.

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The Top Ten Palaces and Houses to Visit In the UK This Summer

Summer’s just around the corner and for most of us, we start to plan our holidays, or even day trips. For me, I admire History and ever since I could remember, I love to visit and see Britain’s palaces, houses and gardens. These are the places were knowledge is the key to learning and beauty performs fantastic displays, as if you are in an amphitheatre.

So, if you a UK resident or you think you want to spend your holiday this year in the UK, you’re in for a real treat. This list, is based on my personal opinion but I want to share them with you; I really highly recommend them.

  1.  Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire

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A view of Blenheim, from the Water Terraces. 

This is the birth place of England’s greatest Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. He spend most of his time here during his lifetime and it’s easy, to see why. Blenheim has an amazing history and breath-taking views. In the summer, the gardens will full of flowers and from mid-June, visitors will get a chance to explore the Temple of Diana and Churchill’s Memorial Garden. 2015 marks the fifth anniversary since the death of Churchill and there are lots of things going on; this is why Blenheim is a great place to go.

Don’t miss: The Queen Pool and the Oxfordshire Pantry*

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A view of the Queen Pool and the bridge, from Woodstock Gate.

The Queen Pool is an outstanding pond that travels far out from the Main Lake and Vanbrugh’s Grand Bridge. It is a beautiful scene, especially from the grounds (just towards the Main Entrance, through the archway called Woodstock Gate). It is a perfect way to end your day, especially with the sunshine. You’ll certainly be taken away with this marvellous view.

* I’m on a gluten, wheat and dairy-free diet and normally you I don’t have a lot of food because there isn’t a lot I can have. However, this cafe is amazing; it has good hospitality and it has wonderful food. There are gluten-free sandwiches, gluten, and wheat-free cakes as well as soya milk drinks (which the staff won’t give you extra charge for). So if you get a chance, please, please visit there. I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.

Top tip: Come back, more than once

Blenheim has a lot to see, but not everyone gets a chance to see everything. If you haven’t seen everything and still want to complete your trip, I would suggest coming back either in a few days, couple of months, maybe a year. When I went for the first time, I didn’t get a chance to see everything. I believe it’s better to see more than just leave it, to avoid disappointment.

2. Bateman’s, Burwash, East Sussex

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A view of Bateman’s from the Bateman’s Lane.

This is the house where Jungle Book author, Rudyard Kipling lived from 1902 until his death in 1936. This house is a marvel icon, especially if you a nature walker. There are lots of places to look around, as Bateman’s roughly covers around five, maybe six acres of land. The house also covers many exhibitions and holds items like Kipling’s drafts of his work and his children’s items, including Josephine Kipling’s necklace. If you have a chance, this is an amazing house to visit.

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A view of Bateman’s from the gardens.

3. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey

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A view of the Georgian Hampton Court Palace, via the River Thames.

This is the place to be if you are a fan of Tudor and Georgian History. This is the only place that has two different palaces, from two different eras butting in together. And in 2015, Hampton Court celebrates its 500 anniversary since its founding as a palace. It is a beautiful place, with luxurious 17th – 18th century gardens and amazing rooms. But, watch out for the ghosts in the long corridor! You’ll never know when they’ll come…

Don’t miss: The Chapel Royal

This is where the most important events have happened from the christening of Edward VI to the arrest of Catherine Howard. It is also been said that Jane Seymour’s heart and lungs are buried under the altar. But, this beautiful chapel is unique; there is no other palace I’ve see with so many colours in a chapel. Worth a visit to see.

Also don’t miss: The Guided Tours and TimePlays

Hampton Court provides great entertainment and this is where visitors will get a chance to see things being brought to life. Tour guides dress up in Tudor costumes and react some of the famous times have happened within the 16th century. There’s no need to book beforehand as it will be included on your visit. Be prepared to be astonished, amazed and entertained. Great fun for all of the family.

4. Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire

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A view of Bletchley house from the grounds.

Bletchley was the early home of the British Secret Service (MI5) and it was a secret location during the Second World War. But believe it or not, Bletchley used to be a stately home. This wonderful, inspirational place gives visitors an insight into the lives of those who worked hard to save Britain from the dominating Nazi Government. It’s like stepping back in time and seeing how the codes were cracked, and how the staff lived and worked during the war. But, look out for the house and the grounds; it has this unique look of a University campus rather than a grand palace. To me, it feels wonderful.

5. The Royal Pavilion, Brighton

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A view of the Pavilion.

The Royal Pavilion is a beautiful, yet slightly unusual palace. Built for the Prince Regent (the future George IV), the Royal Pavilion has a collection of beautiful antiques from other world countries, mostly India. It’s like taking trips around the world, without the need to travel on an aeroplane. The gardens are amazing too and if you are lucky, you might get a chance to view them from sitting on the balcony near the main cafe. This is a worth-while treat for any Georgian, Indian or seaside fans everywhere.

6. Sudeley Castle, the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, England

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 A view of the Castle from the gardens.

Set in the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside, Sudeley Castle was the home to many people, including Richard III, Thomas Seymour and Catherine Parr. It is a beautiful palace, with lovely gardens and amazing landscape. It’s like reacting a Jane Austin novel, in the 16th century. There are special treats in store and you’ll certainly have plenty of time to look around. And if you are really lucky, you may find a nice spot to find a picnic within the gardens.

Don’t miss: The Sudeley Pheasantry

The Sudeley Pheasantry has a collection of birds; from 294 species of pheasants to three species of owl, it has a lot to offer. This is a must-see, especially if you are an animal lover and if you are lucky, you might see some of peacocks roaming freely around the Pheasantry.

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Ruins of Sudeley’s Old Castle.

 

7. Down House, Downe, Kent

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A view of Down House from the garden

Once home to the famous scientist Charles Darwin, Down House is an extraordinary house where you’ll learn more of Darwin’s work and family lives. This is a magnificent house, in the beautiful Kentish countryside. Be prepared to be entertained, amazed and bedazzled with this wonderful house; one of the finest in the gardens of England.

Don’t miss: Darwin’s Gardens and Darwin’s Thinking Path

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 Darwin’s Thinking Path

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Down House from Thinking Path

Darwin didn’t just study in the house; in the morning, he would always go for a stroll around the gardens. There, you’ll be able to find unusual, beautiful and rare flowers. And if the weather is good, I would recommend taking a walk around the sandwalk, or famously known as “Darwin’s Thinking Path”. This an opportunity for photographers as they’ll be able to capture wildlife roaming about, such as butterflies and bees.

Top tip: Car Park and Transport Issues

If you are planning to travel by car to get to Down House, take per-caution. Down House is located in the middle of the countryside. And the street, Luxted Road is extremely narrow; traffic’s pretty bad if it’s busy, because people who live near the house always park outside of their houses.

Also, the car park is pretty small. It only has forty-two spaces. So, my advice would be get down pretty early when or before the house opens because you’ll get a good chance of seeing the house, without having the need to cancel your journey.

However if you are preparing to travel by train, the nearest train stations (Chelsfield and Orpington) are three miles away from the house. The down side to this is that your walking journey will take you an hour and back each way. So, properly not a good idea if you aren’t a fan of walking.

8. Althorp House, Daventry District, Northamptonshire

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 A view of Althorp House from the Main Entrance.

Althorp is the residence of the Spencer family. It is a striking house, covering about five-hundred and fifty acres of land. It is also home to the finest private collections of art, including paintings by Van Dyck. There is plenty to do and see; it’s an opportunity, not to be missed.

Don’t miss: The Garden and Lake

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A view of the lake from the gardens.

The gardens and lake are spectacle to see, especially in nice, warm weather. Like Down House, it is a perfect setting for keen photographers. There’s plenty to see too, with the flowers and wildlife. Definitely a must-see!

9. Hatfield House, Hatfield, Hertfordshire

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 The Old Palace, Hatfield House.

Hatfield House is one of my favourite places to go, since I’m an Elizabethan/Tudor fan. There are two palaces to see; the old palace, where Lady Elizabeth (the future Elizabeth I) was raised and the Jacobean house, which is still in residence today. The gardens and nature walks are lovely and it’s a fab place to have picnics

10. Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire

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Woburn Abbey.

Woburn Abbey is the residence of the Bedford family and it is absolutely stunning. Like Althorp House, Woburn has a fantastic collection of arts and historic pieces. It also has three beautiful gardens that are truly amazing. It is worth a trip and you’ll certainly enjoy seeing the deer in the grounds. They look splendid.

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One of the gardens at Woburn.

That’s it, guys; these were my top ten places to go this summer. If you have any places to suggest, please let me know in the comments section below.