Consett to Hunstanton is about 450 miles, through Sherwood Forest and the moors. I have to say it wasn’t our original intention to go that far but it has turned out just fine. It was an easy trip until we decided to look for a place to stay. Holbeach sounded quite nice so we turned down that road. From then on every sign we came across said Holbeach, Holbeach in every direction and yet we are surrounded by farms and vegetables with the occasional house or group of houses. We go down one street then another, never seeming to reach Holbeach and feeling like we are going around in circles but never coming across the same place! Thankfully, we come across a pub, very flash somewhere in Holbeach, we think anyway. We enjoy a cold drink and ask how to get back on the Kings Lynne Road – the fellow laughed and said “yes we came here 3 years ago and still can’t find our way out – all roads lead to Holbeach”. Honestly I truly believe it is the Bermuda Triangle of Britain and the pub was weird, all modern and crazy – maybe if we had ‘stayed the night’ we would have ended up in our own Rocky Horror Picture Show!
After talking to Aunty Pat she suggests we go on to Hunstanton, get ourselves some fish and chips from Fishers and stay put. She said she is looking forward to seeing us tomorrow – if we can find her place. We do just that, enjoy a long walk around the headlands, beach, beautiful parks and are amazed when the tide finally comes in after seeing it so low. We try some cockles and sit in the park with our lovely fish ‘n chips, some nice cod but glad we only got the small piece!
The crumbling cliffs, clearly showing 3 different layers, the top being like white chalk
Our small serve of fish n chips
Sunset at Hunstanton
Setting off to Hadrains Wall today, armed with good advice, maps and confidence…….until a couple of minutes down the track we miss the turn off for the quieter road, instead of the M5 – not to worry it will make the journey quicker and with less turns, just more traffic.
Our first glimpse of the wall is something to remember set in beautiful green sheep and cattle pastures and remarkably intact. Our first walk takes us along the wall up a natural hill and shows the true workmanship of something that has been around since 120 AD – all to keep those terrible barbarians out of the south. We then head back out on the road that follows along the wall with some interesting dips – wise not to go too fast. The next stop is the Roman Fort, which is now in ruins, but still amazing that you can see most of the foundations of the buildings, entrances and wall. The Romans must have missed their warmer climate and even had under house heating – at least for the higher ranks. Well worth our trip up here – a very interesting slice of history that is easily accessible to everyone.
Maybe we were too busy chatting about the experience we just had but we miss an easy turn, although not well signposted, so need to backtrack a little. It’s so good to be in a place that even though you may go off track nothing is too far to come back to. I think we are definitely the accidental tourists that seem to find ourselves on the right road despite our best efforts to get lost. Consett was our looseLy planned destination for the day and we are so relieved to find it. I pull into a pub, just off the side of the road, that has accommodation, so we can set up for the night. Dawn, who runs the hotel is lovely and sits with us showing us the best way to our nest destination, tells us about her travels in their caravan and a beautiful love story about her and her current husband. The beer, food and accommodation is so cheap but you do get what you pay for. Despite her good company this place needs a thorough clean, smells of stale everything which ends up lingering in our clothes the next day. Went from our absolute best accommodation to our absolute worst. Still we managed to sleep and got away very, very early.
The lookout tower
One of the many sheep grazing around the ruins, Shane gets very interested in the sheep/cattle varieties
Our first look at Hadrian’s Wall
Looking back at the ruins of the headquarters.
It is a bit of a challenge getting around, well for us, as sometimes you have an exit number or a road number that doesn’t quite show up until you have gone sailing past the turn-off. There are also signs randomly placed on roads that are no where near turn-offs. Anyway we did make it to Penrith which has very unusual, higglety, pigglety streets, some are only one way and all in all quite unique – made for horses not cars I am told. We find a pay carpark and think an hour should be OK – plenty of time to get to the tourist information centre but we just can’t find it. Every sign says 2 mins walk from every direction but we cannot find until a kind lady practically sticks our noses in it. They are a lovely couple running it who help us out with accommodation, Hadrian’s wall and so much other good advice. I did tell them that other information centres we had been to know very little, even about their own towns, so we were very impressed with his knowledge. He did offer me to call him any time to get help if I needed. (I do look and am helpless.). Sadly, we get to our car 5 minuets late, lost again, and would you believe it there is already a ticket on the window. Our paid park ran out at 12:18 and the chap wrote out the ticket at 12:23. We got back 2 minuets after that! Anyway, I have written away so I hope they are nice to us.
Our accommodation at Limes Country Guest House, is sensational. He has put us in his very best room, looking out over the country side. A huge room with a king size bed, sofa lounge all for a regular price – and a cooked English breakfast to boot. We then head down to Pooleys Bridge to see our first lake, the one and only we visit, and hope to go for a walk around a ‘fell’ but as we head down the ever narrowing lane we realise we may have taken on too much. The roads get so narrow I pull over as far as I can as soon as I see another car. I honestly don’t know how we didn’t get scraped or abused or something but we turn around as soon as possible, 5 miles down the ‘track’, even then I have to let Shane out of the car just to do that. Frightening stuff!. We get back to Pooleys Bridge and go for a lovely walk, grab some fresh baguettes and head back to our lovely room to recuperate from our dramatic driving trauma. Good to experience it though!
Our English ‘bush’ walk.
r breakfast is great and our helpful landlord sends us on our way with some helpful tips.
Thanks to Sylvia, who suggested we see how the English do the beach, we headed to Blackpool and came to the quiet seaside town of St Annes on Sea, about 5kms down the coast from Blackpool. We are staying at the St Ives Hotel and everyone is very helpful and friendly. We opt for the bed, breakfast and dinner deal which ends up being a fantastic choice. The receptionist talks us into going into Blackpool by tram which sounds like fun. Today we go for a walk around the town, out to the water, along the waters edge, check out the beach cabins up along the promenade and home. I decide that it is way too hard to swim here – you would literally have to walk out miles to get into ankle deep water so you can hardly dive straight in.
Unfortunately, the next morning it is windy and sprinkling rain but we decide we will still walk the 5ks to Squires Lane and catch the tram. So happy when we get there and enjoy the hour and half journey from one end of the track to the other. A perfect thing to do, see the sights and not get wet. Blackpool is quite amazing, a carnival, party, country fair and show all happening at the beach. It has the biggest, baddest roller coaster ride I have ever seen plus so many amusement parlours it is hard to imagine there are enough people to keep them all in business. On the way back we hop on and off the tram to enjoy some of the views closer up. The central Pier is the biggest of three and we walk out to the end enjoying some nougat along the way. As we walk along the promenade you can hear the bingo caller across the street which reminds me of my granny taking us to bingo in Wisbech, 42 years ago. Today is cold, windy and occasional showers so being adventurous we do make the walk home from the tram and almost make it before the rain sets in. We are well prepared with umbrellas and rain coats but happy to be back and very hungry for our roast dinner!
i did go swimming………… but in the hotel pool, 30degrees and inside so I couldn’t get blown away, a nice sauna to finish – very civilised. Maybe I will get another opportunity to swim in the Northern hemisphere.
St Annes on Sea, part of the old pier.
The beach huts you could rent for the day
Central Pier Blackpool looking back along the promenade
Central pier, all the usual amusements that you would see at a show, shooting galleries, clowns, rides and inside the centre all the new high tech games
4 hours from London and we are in Liverpool. The dialect changes considerably and so does the friendliness of the people who, are not rushing around as much and have time for a bit of a chat. Unfortunately it is a little miserably but we set out to explore and fnd a place that does a nice Sunday roast. We see a sign to the ‘Cavern’ precinct so of course we have to check it out.. It was really a basement that smelt horrible, apparently , had rats running around but the acoustics and atmosphere was uniquely special making it a very popular venue for musicians and fans alike. We do find a place to enjoy a roast and then start the very long walk home hoping to find a nice watering hole along the way and we stumble, quite accidentally into Flanagans Apple where a young guy is rockin’ the joint. Tom Stabler plays a great mix of Beatles music, some Irish songs and so much more. the whole pub joins in with some of the songs and you can’t help feeling apart of one big happy group. A great night out, Daniel gets engaged to a girl he just met, she wants to live in Australia and that’s the only way, and I have to find a ‘gig’ in Australia for Tom! Daniel also makes some local friends after we get back to our accommodation and they can’t believe he brought his parents to stay here in Sheil Street as it can be a bit rough. We hadn’t noticed anything but the motel having mega security, cameras and monitors everywhere. Our last night Shane goes outside for his last cigarette, in his pj’s, and a woman approaches him asking if he “wants any business”. I told him he was practically soliciting for a bed buddy!
Shane and I decide to do the whole ‘Ferry ‘cross the Mersey’ thing and enjoy the sites and talk about Liverpool and Birkenhead (the place across the river). Dan meets us for the Beatles story which was a lot of fun with some interesting stories and lots of reminiscing over their music. I found the photos particularly interesting showing what Liverpool looked like way back then and just how much it was bombed during the 2nd World War. ‘Time for a Pimms’, a burger and home we go for a much earlier night.
A lovely place to visit, thoroughly enjoyed it all!
Our view, looking back at Liverpool from the ferry.
The Beatles Story begins
A Whisky Sour
Fried macaroni and cheese, chicken breast with blue cheese and spicey chicken with Thai sauce.
Well, we didn’t quite make it to Liverpool – a sad story of holiday dates mix up but the good news is Dan and I are going out in Brixton. This place is amazing and Shane would be happy to see all of the butcher shops. They have been as scarce as hens teeth – but here they are as common as muck! Definitely a place to come, markets, good produce and the most diverse cafes and street food I have ever seen. Unlike other areas of London that seem to have a concentration of Asian, Italian, curry’s etc, in their own particular area, this place has everything from the American Hot Dogs to Chinese Dumplings. We stop in at Wishbone for some delicious chicken, my favourite is the one with the blue cheese sauce, macaroni and cheese deep fried, decadent but delicious and my first try of a whiskey Sour – very nice. I think that Mojito’s would be a nice way to end the evening so we head off to a nice little place that Daniel knows, with wobbly chairs called the Agile Rabbit, with great cocktails. Daniel has an African Mule and I have a Mojito’s and watching the bar lady at work is wonderful. She is a French and now working in London and I say “ciao” instead of Bonjour – a few too many cocktails I think. The good thing is she wonderfully welcoming and delighted that Daniel is taking his mother out. We order one more for the road, Dan tries a real Bloody Mary and I go for some Brazilian cocktail – so nice. another chat to our friend and we ask for the bill she says ” I like you two so much I make you another drink on me. It was so funny, my drink is very easy to swallow but 1 Bloody Mary is definitely enough for Dan and he is in struggle street but after all it is free so the big effort is made. A surprisingly wonderful night, after a day of disappointments and it is nice to see Dan’s favourite place in London and where he would like to live.
The view of the Tower Bridge from the Thames walk
Into the Tower of London we go, this tower has a date of 1280 and wasn’t the oldest one there – I know Shane looks impressed too.
Our Yeoman, or the Queens body guard who was our guide for the first hour
Such fun to do the silly things in life like going to Abbey Road, which just happens to be on our train line, and walk across that crossing that the Beetles made famous. When we arrive there is a crowd of people doing the same thing and it must drive the motorists crazy – although I must say most of them smile and give you a wave. I did wait until the crowd had thinned and the traffic was less. A very special moment among so many. We then get to London Bridge and head along the path called the Thames walk, self explanatory really, to the Tower of London. What a great place to visit and hear gruesome stories of the poor unfortunate souls that were considered traitors who were be-headed, then had their head shoved onto spikes, paraded through the streets and put up on the London Bridge as a warning to all, their bodies buried in in unmarked graves. Apparently the women got to be buried with their heads so that was very thoughtful. The admission fee may be a little high but considering you can have guided tours all day and what you can see it is so interesting. Our guide was excellent, funny and respectful. Just to apply for one of these jobs you have to have done 22 years of service in the armed forces and have a good conduct medal. The stories are fascinating and of course lots of famous ones like Anne Boleyn but we are quite surprised with some of the historic names. All in all a fantastic day out. We walk back going over the Tower Bridge, which is far more architecturally interesting than the London Bridge, and return along the Thames before heading to the Borough markets for cooking supplies. We return home for our last night In London, Daniel enjoys our home cooked meal, a few beers, off to bed to prepare for our trip to Liverpool.