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Trip Report Gardens and Hiking in Cumbria, Yorkshire Dales and Wales

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Tuesday – Arrive from Canada at 10 am, pick up rental car no glitches. Set out for Culzean Castle. By pure chance our route took us though Alloway, looked pretty so we stopped. The Robbie Burns Memorial and Garden were just what we needed, wandered around town for an hour visiting the Auld Kirk, Brig ‘o Doon etc. There is a tea room called the Bank ‘o the Doon where we had a perfect lunch; the sandwiches / panni were freshly made and served with 4 kinds of salad, unfortunately still jet lagged and too tired for dessert which looked awesome and was locally made. Back in the car and arrive at Culzean at 2 pm.
Culzean Castle is as awesome as I remembered. Whisked past the gate without paying admission because we were staying. Special exemption to drive right up to castle gate where we were treated like royalty (bad pun). The Adam room was lovely, spacious with en suite. On the floor below there was a lovely large drawing room overlooking the Irish Sea where we were free to relax and have a drink (honour bar). Mr Mac had a lie down while I went for a quick walking tour of the grounds. Found the conservatory, a lovely beach access and delightful woodland walk. At 3:30 high tea was served, included beautiful variety of sandwiches, sweet cakes and scones with clotted cream (time to regret our late lunch). After tea had a tour of this very interesting home, which has just been delightfully refurbished after a generous American bequeathed them $$$. Went for a walking tour of the grounds that included lovely Port Carrick Beach and the Swan pond.
Back to the house where I lounged in the drawing room with a good book while Mr Mac had another quick shut eye. When we booked had the option of paying extra to have 3 course dinner in castle which we did. We had asked for dinner at 7:30 at which time we were served drinks in the drawing room while examining the menu and making our choices. 5 minutes after ordering a spectacular sunset over the Irish Sea emptied the room as a group of us rushed downstairs to sit by the castle wall and enjoy the show. Dinner was ready when we got back upstairs. A great variety of food to choose from and all very high quality and served to perfection. Nice wine list and they didn’t mind when I opened a nice bottle of Cab Franc ice wine I had brought from duty free and shared with other guests. Don’t tell anyone at the castle but wandered back down to the beach after dinner and had a little skinny dip…perfect evening.

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