All posts tagged: England

Cornwall Summer (Part 2): St Ives, Newquay and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen

ST IVES We arrived in St Ives on an overcast afternoon, checked in to a Victorian terrace with an ocean view, and wandered down through the cobblestone lanes to the sea. The harbour was pale in colour, with small, bobbing boats and seagulls circling above. I took a liking to the place immediately. This is where Virginia Woolf’s 1927 novel To the Lighthouse took inspiration from, when she would peer out at Godrevy Island from her holiday lodgings at Talland House. There is something about St Ives that draws your eyes out towards the sea. I’d love to know more about it’s history. Walking down by the wharf you’ll find The Sloop Inn, a whitewash historical fisherman’s pub dating back to “circa 1312”, with low, wooden ceilings in the bottom floor bar and popular seating outside. Check out Cornwall Part 1 here! St Ives is also a town populated by, and attractive to, artists. The Tate St Ives (which was closed when we were there, but has since re-opened), is a draw card, as is …

Cornwall Summer (Part 1): St Mawes, Penzance and the Minack Theatre

I’ve wanted to go to Cornwall for a long time, but as I approached, I realised I knew so little about what to expect. I didn’t know there would be cliffside theatres with sharks basking in aquamarine water below, or that there would be wildflowers in abundance, pirate bays and bars, accents with an endearing drawl at their strongest, modern hotels opposite centuries old buildings where seafarers have been raising tankards of ale for centuries. All this I didn’t really know. Our introduction was via St Mawes, where to arrive at the coast we found ourselves driving down one of the steepest and surely narrowest streets I’ve ever driven on (in a manual – eeeee!), so by the time we parked I was frantically looking for an alternate exit route, gulping at the thought of terrifying(ly embarrassing) hill starts. When I took a few deep breaths and looked around, I saw an endearing seaside village, where every building was white-washed, only the roofs differed in colour, and only a little. Two hotels draw a sophisticated …

Dorset Days: Lyme Regis (+ River Cottage Canteen), England

A day that starts with the natural wonders of the Jurassic Coast and ends with a pastel sunset on pastel houses by the sea is one to make you see the world through (English) rose-coloured glasses indeed. While navigating the winding country roads of Dorset is a challenge (I hadn’t driven a manual for some time, and this was a pretty rubbish re-introduction I must say – ha!), it is also a delight if you can veer your eyes off the road. Patchwork green farmlands with hedges of stone and tree, foxgloves lining the narrow roads, and the most fairy tale of cobblestone villages you could imagine – moss covered and with roofs made of straw – at times I almost expected Peter Rabbit to dart in front of the car. Hungry (probably from expending all the energy from my last meal by clenching the steering wheel tightly and despairing over two way streets with only one lane), we head direct to the seaside on arriving in town to find some grub. The beachfront footpath …

Wild Wander: Harter Fell, Lake District

That one of the most enchanting hikes of my life came as a casual half-suggestion from the mouth of a hotel concierge was unexpected. “If you want to walk, perhaps start from the carpark down the end of the road there,” he said. “That’s the base of a few nice walks”. No mention of sweeping district views, high hidden fell lakes, serene ewes perched on green cliffs peering out over Haweswater dam. So, as we left the carpark at Mardale Head behind, veered left and started climbing the side of Little Harter Fell, we weren’t to yet know the charm that lay ahead. It wasn’t long, after zigzagging up and up past the small Gatescarth Beck, before the views back down over the Haweswater Reservoir, built by the Manchester Corporation from 1929 which sank the villages of Mardale and Measand (read the brilliant Haweswater by Sarah Hall for a fictionalisation of these events), were as breathtaking as the climb had been. Under a sky of patchy clouds that warned of oncoming rain, we kept ascending …

Haweswater Hotel, Lake District, England

Filling up our tank on a day driving around the Lake District, the service attendant asks where we are staying. “Haweswater Hotel”, we tell him and he looks surprised. “That’s a great spot”, he says “it’s where us locals hang out on our days off”. Skymie and I exchange a smirk. Originally, I questioned whether staying by a reservoir in a district of lakes was the wrong move, but the website made it look so damn peaceful and pretty that I couldn’t resist.  Once checked in, we discovered it was also in a quiet little hikers paradise, with the start of some spectacular walks just down the road (you can read about our first short wander here). In an English summer the sun stays up until late in the evening, so our first dinner was by the bright windows of the dining room. The interiors were modern country with deep grey blue walls, mounted with a deer head or two. This wasn’t exactly to Skymie’s tastes as he’s vegetarian (I was also for a very long …

Weekend in the Lake District, England

A trip to the English countryside always seems like a jolly good idea, so for a romantic and adventurous short break, we head to the fells and farms of Cumbria in the Lake District. We chose the Haweswater as our base, actually a reservoir rather than a lake, which feels like a lucky little secret, as it houses the dreamy Haweswater Hotel and is right in by a number of epic and underrated hikes. After checking in and inquiring about nearby short walks, the concierge suggested we drive to the bottom of the street where we’d find Mardale Head car park, the starting point of a few lovely ambles. As we passed through the fell gate starting point, we peered up at the landscape to see the afternoon sun and passing clouds cast patchy shadows on the undulating mountains. We ascended for around 45 minutes, past winding stone fences, green hills and jutting rocks, all the while looking back at the blue Haweswater below. When we reached a small waterfall edge, we sat down to …