CornwallJuly 3, 2016 in the United Kingdom
22 June 2016
Set off south to our Cornwall Holiday.
Lunch at Wetherby. Angela said she could live here!
Just after leaving the M42 after Birmingham to join the M5 we got stuck in a mega traffic jam, It just did not seem to move - three lanes of it! Angela texted the boys to see if they could find out what was wrong. Apparently a lorry spilled oil not long before we joined the motorway and all 3 lanes were closed for clear up. The radio said it would an hour to clear. The traffic very slowly moved to the next junction where we were led onto a diversion route through loads of villages. It took ages and we were really fed up! eventually we got back on the motorway. The radio announcer at that point said that the motorway would be shut for another 3 hours. Pity those cars that were behind us!
We arrived at our hotel, the Cheltenham Chase Hotel just before nine pm and just in time for dinner which was included in the stay package.
Today we decided to explore the area. Many years ago I was in Stroud which I remembered as pleasant small leafy town. It turns out that was not so, in fact it was a very busy uninteresting town. We did not stop or explore, except to look at a reclamation antiques market with a lot of interesting garden furniture but nothing else that interested us.
Before we got to Stround we stopped off at a small and lovely quite Cotswold village called Painswick. We had a little walk about.
After Stroud we travelled via the M5 in the direction of Bristol and on the Severn Bridge across to Wales. The bridge toll was £6! The bridge is fantastic through except the roadway was under repair which spoiled the crossing a bit. There is a second Severn Bridge a little further down river, also crossing to Wales but a different motor way.
Next we went through the Forrest of Dean towards Monmouth. At Monmouth we had a coffee and croissant sitting outside Cafe Nero. Not much to say about Monmouth.
Back to our hotel after that for dinner and a good night' sleep.
Journey to our next destination: Padstow in Cornwall. Again we got stuck a number of times on the motorway. I had mapped out the roads to Padstow but we also had the Navigation system on which kept telling me to got on different roads to the ones I had mapped out. Angela was driving - I kept telling her to go my way and not follow the navigation system. Early evening we got to a very small village just off the road where we stopped and had fish an chips which we ate in the car. The fish and chip lady aked me if i wanted small, medium or large chips. I opted for medium which turned out to be a huge load of chips - good I did not ask for large!
Eventually around 9pm we got to our hotel which was a castle they called Camelot Castle. It is nowhere near Padstow - hence the Navigation system kept telling us to go a different way. (Angela had booked it and I though it was just outside Padstow. We actually went a long way round probably adding an hour to our journey.)
Actually the castle is Tintagel Castle but to make it more interesting the owners called it Camelot Castle.
As soon as I saw the outside I thought this is not going to be good. Sure enough it wasn't. I struggled through the small turning entrance doors with out luggage. Everyone has to struggle through that. Why they don't have a side door in addition to the turning door I don't know as there are glass panels either side which could be converted to normal doors! Anyhow, it was an indication of what was to came.
Angela had booked two rooms. On checking in she found out that it was a "dog friendly hotel" and dogs had stayed in the rooms with guests recently. Angela was not happy! She has allergies and nothing about dogs staying there was on the website through which she booked. The receptionist said she could offer us a third room where no dogs had been recently. She gave us three keys to check out all rooms.
Another struggle into the small old lift.
Well, the rooms were dire! The third room was in the "loft" and tiny. Room two was better, but not much. The "best" room out of the three was a four-poster room with admittedly fabulous views of the craggy cliffs. But the room as stuffy, dark and dusty. The toilet and shower was a porto cabin in the corner of the room! What a joke!
Angela decided that we should stay in that room and forget staying in separate rooms.
We cancelled our second night's stay which some difficulties but thank god we managed. Had we not pre-booked and had it not been so late I would have left there and then and rather slept in the car than that castle.
We had a bottle of wine in the lounge of the hotel to settle us down before bed. The lounge of the hotel was actually ok and as pictured on the website. I read in the hotel house magazine about the fabulous rich couple that owned the hotel and gave local artists a venue to display their art. Ha ha, what art, totally out of place! And then the actual painter of the totally out of place pictures that are hanging all over the castle came over to our table and introduced himself as the owner of the castle!! Unbelievable!
We had a terrible night's sleep on the lumpy old mattress. The room was dull and dark, no table lights on anything to create at least a bit of atmosphere in the room. Next morning when we left the hotel the "artist" came over to us as we checked out to try and encourage us to buy one of his prints! (A guy with a Porsche actually bought two prints as we left, unbelievably!)
We could not leave Camelot (actuallyTintagel) Castle quick enough. (Apparently legend has it that King Arthur was borne in that castle and his uncle gave him the big round table which sits in the middle of the entrance hall. The table, wherever it came from is indeed impressive. It looks like the castle is used for filming. I don't think any of the actors would want to stay overnight there though!)
Our destination today was Port Issac where Doc Martin was filmed. We had always promised ourselves to go there one day as we love the TV series. (In the TV series the place is called Port Ween.)
The port is at the bottom of a very steep hill. We managed to discover all the key places in the series which mad as really happy. Before we set off again we had coffee in a nice little place just by the car park and I had a cab sandwich - very good!
We then finally travelled to Padstow. That was a very busy place. It was Saturday and the weather was very pleasant so there were load of tourists and day trippers. The place has a similar feeling to Whitby in Yorkshire. We had a walk around and Angela had a pizza in an upstairs pizza restaurant with balcony windows overlooking the busy street. The pizza was not good though. I had an ice cream which was good.
We did not stay long in Padstow as it was too busy.
We then travelled along the narrow cost road to Newquay. Angela was driving and she did a good job on these tricky roads. Newquay did nothing for us and we carried on across to the other side of Cornwall: St Austell.
We still had to find a place to stay for the night. On spec we came to a place called Carlyon Bay, next to St Austell. We stopped at what looked a very expensive hotel and Angela checked if they had rooms. There was a large wedding and all the hotel was full. Angela was recommended to a bed and breakfast pub at nearby Charlestown Harbour. That proved to be a great recommendation. We got the last room which was actually a newly refurbished suite at their annex. We got it reduced from £160 to £130 as it was the last room, really a bargain for such a lovely room. The pub also had a weeding on, but not a high class one, but a very busy one with lots of noisy children and noisy ladies who got louder as the night went on.
We had a little walk round the small harbour and then a meal in a nearby pub. It took a long time for the food to come. We spoke to a lady that sat at the table next to us about the area and what to do. She recommended The Lost Garden of Heligan and also that Falmouth was a good place to visit. At 9 o'clock a very loud band started to play and we left the pub.Read more