Final Thoughts England 2016

I enjoyed my exploration of the south of England in 2016 enormously, and I thought I’d list a few of my favourite spots, some of which I’d been wanting to check out for years.

Ever since watching the original series of Poldark in the 70s, I’d wanted to visit Cornwall and walk those dark, stormy cliffs.

Crossing the Tamar on the train from Devon to Cornwall.

I found my way by bus from Penzance to Botallack, to the tin mines around which the series was set. This is the one set deep into the ocean that was used (as I remember it) in the series. The current Poldark series is also filmed here.

The steps that got me down and the ocean below. What you do for a good photo.

 

 

 

 

Also while in Penzance, I wanted to catch a show at the Minack Theatre, carved into a cliff looking out over the ocean. It took most of the day, Cornwall’s bus services being very strange, but it was worth it. I was very lucky to get there for the last matinee of the season.

‘Peter Pan’ at the Minack Theatre

And then there was Doc Martin. I was determined to get to Port Isaac, AKA Port Wenn. It took two trains and two buses to get there from Salisbury but again it was worth it. My little room was in the old schoolhouse, now a hotel, and looked straight across to the Doc’s surgery.

Port Isaac from the cliffs above the village.
Walking Cornwall’s cliffs

I’d chosen Chichester as one of the stopping off points on the way from Cornwall back to London because of its famous Festival Theatre and found, when I arrived in the city, I loved everything about it. Such a pretty, comfortable-looking place. The cathedral had a lovely community feel about it. Each hour everyone, including tourists, stopped for a couple of minutes of prayer and then went about their business. Off the cloisters is a restaurant with cheap, healthy food, which I took advantage of both days I was there. I would like to go back to Chichester and give myself more time to check out its long, very interesting history.

Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ at the Festival Theatre.
Lunch at Chichester Cathedral
Priory Park, Chichester

In Salisbury, I caught a bus a few kilometres out to Old Sarum, the original site of Salisbury before the bishop fought with the king and moved the cathedral to where it is now. The footings of the original cathedral can still be seen, along with the remains of the castle, moat and all. It’s a fascinating place if you’re into English history and it was a nice foray out into the countryside after spending all my time up until then in cities.

Back in Salisbury, I was wandering along to check out the cathedral, the main reason I went there,when I was stopped in my tracks by this sign.

That’s the William Golding who wrote the brilliant and terrifying Lord of the Flies.

Bishop Wordsworth’s School, Salisbury

In Salisbury Cathedral, I was able to view a section of the original Magna Carta.

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

 

 

 

I stopped at every cathedral along the way of course, and quite a few churches as well, but my favourite was Bath Abbey. The sun shone through the massive stained glass windows, sending coloured lights dancing around the white walls, and with the choir singing beautifully, it was something I’ll always remember.

Bath Abbey

Early in the trip, I was lucky to catch the last of the Buckingham Palace tours and was able to see the coronation coach, remembered as a young girl from film and photos of the Queen’s coronation, along with some of the other ceremonial coaches.

Favourite West End shows.

I discovered on my last trip to England that if you time it properly, you can get cheap accommodation at the university colleges while the students are on their break. Apart from the cost, I just love staying in those surroundings. I’d always wanted to drop ‘when I was at Oxford’ into the conversation, so in 2011, I stayed at Balliol in Oxford. This time in Cambridge I chose St. Catharine’s, right in the middle of everything and just one block from the river.

St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge
My room at St. Catharine’s. Quite spacious.
The view from my window.
Just one block from the River Cam

I’m a control freak and so I always take a long list with me. That way there’s less chance of missing things, but then on arriving home I discovered I missed them anyway. One of my big disappointments was that, from a mix up in Cornwall causing me to lose a day, I missed out on St. Ives, which looks just lovely. And how could I have missed out on Greenwich? Again?

 

 

 

 

24 thoughts on “Final Thoughts England 2016

  1. My niece would have been working at Buckingham Palace that summer – maybe you walked past her! She did two summers there while a student and said the main thing she learned was that when she graduated she wanted a job with a chair. She has succeeded in this, though I hope that’s not her only ambition in life 😀.

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    1. Suzanne

      Wonderful photos and recollections as always Coral. Bath Abbey and the Minack Theatre are both spectacular . You must go back (I’m sure you will ) to see Greenwich with its amazingly decorated buildings , history and excellent guides. St Ives quaint, hilly streets and beautiful beach can’t be missed. It also has a Tate Gallery with a fabulous souvenir shop , and many references to Poldark in the local shops. When I visited Cornwall this year I took a train from London to Red Ruth from where I hired a car. I noted that petrol outlets are few and far between and there are none at all in St Ives! Luckily no car is required in the town!

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  2. You visited some great places! I still haven´t been to Bath and have visited the Uk a number of times. I stayed at Winchester University last time. Love staying on campus. Thanks for sharing these great memories. xo

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    1. Sure is, Glenys, though I and another couple had to literally crawl down the stairs. It’s a challenging place for anyone with a fear of heights. I was constantly worried one of the cast was going to trip and tip over into the ocean. Apparently, they haven’t lost anyone yet.

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  3. You still managed to pack an awful lot in to your trip! I have only been to Cornwall once in the winter years ago when we drove from my parents in laws’ place in Somerset for the day. We made it as far as Port Isaac though and that was stressful enough in the car as I was trying to do a 3 point turn in a tiny little street. Very atmospheric though with the fog closing in!

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    1. Very atmospheric, Rosemary, though I wouldn’t want to be driving in it. I was lucky to get mostly sunshine at Port Isaac until the morning I left. By the time I alighted from the bus at Penzance, I couldn’t see where I was going for the storm. It was a bit like Melbourne with the weather changes.

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      1. No it was actually scary driving home that day Coral as we could barely see the road ahead and needed to head across Bodmin Moor to get back to the motorway. Fortunately the fog suddenly cleared after a little while. The western coast of the Uk does get wild storms and frequent changes of weather. We lived in Melbourne for 7 years too and know you can get 4 seasons in 1 day there!

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