I just got back from a short trip to England, one of my favorite places, and a country I seem to return to often.
British Airways had a sale in August, $699 RT, nonstop from Houston, and I couldn’t resist. A friend decided to go in on the adventure as well.
October 10- on time departure out of Houston.
October 11- Arrival at Heathrow. Immigration was a nightmare, lasting about 1.5 hours. No fun when you haven’t slept in ages! I cannot sleep on planes. I have a small fortune invested in various travel pillows, but nothing works (and this includes Ambien as well).
Onward we marched to the Avis car rental in Terminal 5. Wouldn’t you know, they didn’t have the type of car we had reserved (automatic, midsize). After a huge hassle and waiting an hour for them to bring a car from another location, we got a midsize auto Peugeot (the only automatic they had on the airport site was a tiny hatchback and a big van). This was not a good start to the trip with the long delays at the airport! We did have glorious weather though, a welcome thing
Our first destination was Bath, supposedly a manageable two hour drive for our first day. Well, we got lost a few times just trying to head west on the motorway. As a Texan used to easy on and off freeways if you make a mistake, it was a sad scenario for these two women. We lost a chunk of time getting back on track. Fatigue was probably a factor.
As we neared Bath, we realized we had GPS in the car! Wish we would have known that right at the get go, but oh well. Alas, the GPS did not know the street of our b&b and we spent a lot of time circling around the narrow streets of Bath before we finally found our place, the Apple Tree Guesthouse.
This place is very clean and was quiet at night, just what we needed. I had a small double and my friend had a larger double. Price for the small double was £ 80.
Since we had lost so much time going astray on the roads, we made haste to drop our stuff and walk into town. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then hit the Abbey and Roman Baths. I loved the Abbey very much and took a lot of pictures of the beautiful stained glass windows and architecture. The Roman Baths were cool, but I felt very overpriced at £14. After those two “must sees”, we spent the rest of the time just roaming around. Bath is a nice town and merits more time than we allotted.
We were both very tired after the long day of travel and called it an early night.
October 12- Up early for a brisk walk around town and breakfast before hitting the road. Next stop, Wells to see the cathedral and Bishop’s palace.
Wells Cathedral is amazing!! I don’t think it gets the attention and visits it deserves. It’s become one of my all-time favorite churches. There’s plenty to see and it’s truly beautiful. My Christmas card this year will be featuring a photo I took of a glorious window.
After reluctantly leaving the cathedral, we moved on to the Bishop’s palace next door. The property is very lovely. The grounds are the highlight. The interior of the palace is not particularly interesting.
We had a quick walk about the town and then had to move on. The town of Wells is really nice and I wish we had more time to visit.
Next stop, Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. This is a spectacular place on the coast. All the exercise one gets from the countless steps is exhilarating when combined with the gorgeous scenery. We really enjoyed the stunning setting.
Once done (basically ushered out because it was closing time at 5 pm), we hit the road for our b&b to Penzance. Our GPS (we named her Glenda) took us down some really narrow lanes out of the Tintagel area. One maverick driver ran us off the road at one point. Luckily, there was not a wall at the particular place! Some of the drivers on these narrow roads are road hogs and not very nice. Others, luckily, are more sharing of the road.
We arrived in Penzance to the Chy An Mor B&B an hour later than we planned. Louise, the hostess, was very welcoming and helped us with our suitcases to our rooms. I had a very small single room and my friend had a small double. I must say, after this trip, I am ending my practice of trying to save a few dollars by getting a single room. I’m just too sensitive a sleeper to try to be comfortable in a twin bed. I need space to flip and flop until I fall asleep!
We dumped our bags and then went out to forage for dinner. We tried one place, a Weatherspoons, but we were ignored and finally gave up to find another place. We went to Chapel Street and settled on the Turks Head Pub. Service is not a strong suit in Penzance restaurants, we noticed, but we did get drinks within a reasonable time and finally got some food. I had the best chips (fries) of my life at this place. Had I known they would be that good, I’d have just ordered a double order to serve as my dinner!
October 13- leisurely start to the day, enjoying our English breakfast and then setting out for St. Michael’s Mount. The weather was glorious again. We were so blessed on this trip.
St. Michael’s Mount, sort of a sister to Mont St. Michel in France, is a wonderful structure off the coast. During low tide, you get there by walking the causeway. When the tide comes in, you take a boat. The tide was out the morning we went, so we enjoyed the walk. Lots of people were out, many with dogs. What I like most about the English is that they love dogs. I met the nicest Cocker Spaniel at St. Michael’s Mount. She was the most adorable pup ever! (Special note if my golden retriever is reading this: Harry you are still the best and truly the most adorable) Her human parents were really nice people and we had a pleasant chat, with me expressing my admiration for their wonderful canine friend and them telling me all about their charming pup.
It’s a bit of a hike to the castle at the top of the hill. More great exercise! The views are spectacular from the top. The castle and the chapel are lovely. We really enjoyed this visit.
After we trekked down, we walked into the town to get a little snack for lunch. A sausage roll for me and pasty for my friend. We munched in the parking lot (£4, by the way) and then were on the road again, now to Lizard Point.
Lizard Point is very beautiful. It made me think of Northern Ireland (well, I guess so did Tintagel). The lighthouse was undergoing some work, so we could not visit.
We thought we’d try to visit Pendennis Castle, near Falmouth and arrived at 4:20, knowing the castle closes at 5 pm. Sadly, last admission was at 4 and they would not even let us have a peek at the exterior of the castle. The way the land is at this spot, you can’t see the castle from the parking lot or anywhere outside the wall. Phooey!
We drove back to Penzance for supper at Gino’s, just a block or so away from the b&b. Again, not good service (ultra slow), but it was on the waterfront and we were happy to relax.
To be continued.
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Trip Report - Bath, Wells, Tintagel, Penzance, Exeter and London