British Adventure - Discover the South West
8 day tour of England visiting the south west, staying at B&Bs and inns.
NATIONAL TRUST PASS: National Trust offers a portfolio of over 300 properties, which can truly bring history to life. From the impressive Victorian interior of Lanhydrock in Cornwall to the spectacular collection of fine art at Petworth House and Park in West Sussex, the National Trust Touring Pass offers an intriguing insight into the rich past of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Along with homes known for their interiors and art collections, the National Trust Touring Pass allows you the chance to see filming locations for Hollywood movies, the World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey, as well as the spectacular landscaped gardens and former residences of renowned luminaries. Visit Winston Churchill’s home of Chartwell, Beatrix Potter’s cottage, Hill Top and Wordsworth House, the childhood home of William Wordsworth.
2 nights Bournemouth/New Forest
1 night Dartmoor/Torquay
1 night Barnstaple/Bideford
2 nights Bath
1 night at an airport hotel
Upon arrival you will make your way to Bournemouth via New Forest. New Forest Activities is the largest provider of outdoor activities within the National Park including archery, canoeing on the Beaulieu River, bush craft and rope courses. Visit the National Motor Museum which offers fun for all ages . With over 250 vehicles in its world famous collection, the Museum tells the story of motoring in Britain from humble beginnings to the present day. Displays include classic cars, historic sporting motors, modern rally cars, and F1 racers. Buckler’s Hard gives visitors a chance to go back in time and discover what it was like to live and work in an 18th century shipbuilding village; home to the ships built for Nelson’s fleet at Trafalgar. Take a trip to the Maritime Museum which tells the story of this unique village.
The Exbury Gardens are a must see for the green fingered travellers, the popular narrow gauge steam railway takes visitors on a magical journey around the northeast corner of the Gardens. The journey lasts 20 minutes and features include a bridge, tunnel, viaduct and ‘Exbury North’ halt. Visit the Ringwood Brewery where you can taste the malted barleys, have a sniff of the hops, and see the fermentations bubbling away in the TunRoom. Experience nature at the New Forest Wildlife Park in the heart of the National Park. Follow the woodland trails to see amazing animals in a beautiful natural setting and have fun in the fabulous adventure playgrounds.
New Forest Guided Walks are a great way to see the Forest through the eyes of a local expert, who will share interesting facts and stories about the landscape and wildlife as you progress along the route.
Overnight - Bournemouth/New Forest area
- The Bournemouth Pier is a central attraction in the town with beautiful views over the bay with the Isle of Wight on one side and the Purbeck Hills on the other. There is a popular amusement arcade a number of shops selling holiday souvenirs including seaside rock, candy floss and ice cream.
- Visit Bournemouth’s beautiful Grade II listed Victorian Gardens, running three kilometres from the pier to Poole.
- The Russell-Cotes Museum and Art Gallery, housed inside an impressive Victorian villa which boasts a great location atop the Bournemouth Cliffs. Similarly, for contemporary art lovers, the independent Westover Gallery is a must see.
- Aviation fanatics should head over to Bournemouth Aviation Museum which is close to the rides and attractions of ‘Adventure Wonderland’
- For the more daring, Bournemouth is home to the world’s first pier-to-shore zip wire - You can fly for half a minute up to 80 feet above the sea on the PierZip - It has two lines so you can race your friends.
- There is also RockReef adventure sports venue where you can have a go at indoor climbing, caves and an aerial obstacle course in the former pier theatre.
- For the younger travellers the Oceanarium is the town’s aquarium, home to baby crocs and penguins. Similarly, Farmer Palmer’s is a popular family attraction located close to Poole which allows children to get close to all sorts of farm animals, learning about them and having fun at the same time.
- The Torquay Land Train is a fun way to get around the town for all ages. It takes in the picturesque seafront and serves the bustling shopping parade, Fleet Street. The Land Train runs from approximately 9:30 and completes its circular route every 40 minutes until 16:00.
- Torre Abbey, with its fine gatehouse, guest hall, abbot’s tower and remarkable undercrofts is the best preserved example of a medieval monastery in Devon and Cornwall. Today it is a museum and Ancient Scheduled Monument, where you will discover beautifully presented heritage rooms, galleries, art exhibitions, interactive displays and talking portraits that will bring history to life.
- Take a trip down the Agatha Christie Mile as you walk in the steps of the world’s best-selling authors along the Torquay seafront. The mile takes you back to the opulence of the Jazz Age where you come across some of the places that were inspirational in her life and works.
- The South West Coast Path is the UK’s longest National Trail, at a mammoth 630 miles! A popular route is the 2.5 miles from Torquay Harbour to Daddyhole Plain. On the walk you will pass Beacon Cove where Agatha Christie used to swim as a girl, and a naturally sculpted cliff arch known as ‘London Bridge’.
- If you’re looking for a pleasant, idyllic spot on a warm Summers’ day then Watcombe Beach is for you, surrounded by cliffs and wooded hillsides. The steep path that leads down to the beach passes through mature woodland and opens to reveal a small cove with spectacular scenery.
- The Dartmouth Steam Railway from Paignton runs for seven miles in Great Western tradition along the Torbay Coast to Churston and through the wooded slopes bordering the Dart estuary to Kingswear. At Buckfastleigh there is a riverside walk and picnic area, play area, gardens, a fascinating museum, the workshop and historic steam and diesel engines as well as a well stocked shop.
- The Granite Way is an 11 mile cycle and walkway running between Okehampton and Lynmouth. This journey offers good views of the granite landscape of Dartmoor as well as a number of specific sites of national interest.
- Set within a spectacular ancient valley, Becky Falls has something for everyone to enjoy .The Falls was voted Devon’s Top Beauty Spot and one of the WWF’s Incredible Family Days Out! You can visit the indoor theatre for shows, animal attractions, and children can enjoy the popular Nature Trail Competition.
- Okehampton Castle is set above the rushing River Okement and is the remains of what was once the the largest castle in Devon. You can take an audio tour around the site and hear tales of a bygone age as you explore the former home of one of Devon’s most powerful families.
- Dartmoor Pony Rides are a great new way to explore the history, wildlife, legends and flora and fauna of the area. Launching in July 2017 this is truly a new way to experience the life that lies within the moors.
- For the younger travellers, River Dart offers an action packed day on the River with a pirate ship, toddler’s beach, commando assault course, spider’s web and low ropes course.
- Treat your family to a full day of animal action at Pennywell Farm, with a different activity, show or display every half hour, hundreds of friendly animals and even a chance to cuddle one of the world famous Pennywell Miniature piglets.
Torquay to Bideford
This morning you will make your way to Barnstaple and Bideford.
- Stroll along the quay and admire the expansive waterfront, or take a stroll around the Farmer’s Market which is held every Tuesday and Saturday in the Town Centre.
- For those who want to hire bikes, cycle down the Tarka Trail, the section between Torrington and Meeth is the least well-known part of the trail but definitely the most tranquil. There are some great views of Dartmoor through wooded and remote countryside leading to clay workings.
- Victoria Park boasts a wonderful children’s play area and free splash pool which is popular on sunny days.
- A ferry operates between Bideford Quay and Lundy Island, which lies about 22 miles away in the Bristol Channel. This peaceful, unspoilt granite outcrop stands just three miles long and a mile wide. With a starkly contrasting landscape, asserting high rugged cliffs on the west and a sheltered grassy coastline to the east, the Island creates a rich diversity of animal and plant life. The island also offers a number of warden-led activities including guided walks, rockpool rambles and snorkel tours
- The same ship that will take you over to Lundy Island, the MS Oldenburg, also provides evening cruises from Bideford along the River Torridge.
- Try an take in a show at The Queen’s Theatre which opened its doors in 1994. Recognised as a major touring venue, the theatre is open all year round and offers a varied programme which includes large-scale drama, ballet, contemporary dance, major opera companies, jazz, folk, blues and classical music.
- Visit Pannier Market which plays host to a range of events, from regular markets to showcases of delicious local produce and incredible street food. Open six days a week through most of the year, and with a proud history, the market has been voted amongst the top ten food markets in the country
- Take a trip to the Barnstaple Heritage Centre which offers the opportunity to find out fascinating facts about the town’s early history, from Saxons to Civil War, in the hands-on exhibition filled with lights and sounds, quizzes and games.
- Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum offers an intriguing Regency house and impressive collection of horse-drawn vehicles. Arlington Court is a complete family estate held by the Chichester family for over five hundred years. The Carriage Museum in the stables has a vehicle for every occasion from cradle to grave - A must see!
- Broomhill Sculpture Park lies in one of the most glorious valleys in North Devon, surrounded by hundreds of acres of woodland and bound by its own stream. Established in 1997 by Dutch couple Rinus and Aniet van de Sande, over the years it has organically grown into one of the largest permanent collections of contemporary sculpture in the South West of England.
Barnstaple to Bath
Today you will make your way to Bath. Places to visit enroute would be:
- Take a trip on the Steam Train. This is the longest standard gauge heritage railway in the UK. Travel along the 20 mile long track through villages, enjoying coastline and countryside, stopping at 10 stations along the way. Have lunch or cream tea on board and see Thomas the Tank engine on his regular visits.
- Have a picnic in Blenheim Gardens. Just off the main town centre, enjoy the beautiful 6 acre landscaped gardens, find shade under a leafy tree and play a round on the 18-hole putting course.
- You can visit the Minehead Museum to find out all about the history of the town - Learn about the hobby horse and what part North Hill played in both world wars as well as many other interesting local facts.
- Take a trip to Minehead’s Beach for paddling, swimming and building sandcastles. It is also great for adventurous activities such as kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, surfing and rafting. The Channel Adventure Team will provide you will all the kit you need to ensure you have a good time on the water.
- Take a walk through Old Minehead, along the winding lanes and up the steps leading to St Michael’s Church. Sitting proud on North Hill overlooking the harbour and the town, this historic 14th century church is well worth a visit. See the interesting sculptures on the tower of Satan and the Virgin Mary. It is believed that the church has stood on the land since Norman times.
- The shoreline and North Hill provide opportunities for Bird Watching with Oyster catchers and egrets patrolling the coastline. High on North hill there is a diverse range of habitats: cliffs, gorse and heather moorland, woodland and farmland. Here you can see buzzards, sparrow, hawks and kestrels, also peregrines, merlins, hobbies and occasionally a red kite. A wealth of smaller birds such as stonechats, skylarks and warblers are also about.
- Exmoor Adventures are the area’s leading outdoor specialists for a range of adventurous activities and courses such as coasteering, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, abseiling, canoeing, raft building and archery.
- Visit Exmoor Owl and Hawk Centre to absorb the beauty and tranquility of the Owl Garden, and be inspired by the amazing birds throughout the Afternoon with the Birds display. Most days you can fly an owl to your gloved hand depending on availability.
- Spirit of Exmoor offers visitors a unique way to experience the moors. Be guided on one of their friendly and well schooled horses so that you can really experience the wonderful countryside.
- Visit Exmoor Llama Farm and within one and a half hours you will have been introduced to the llamas’ history, temperament and how to handle them during your walk. You will then be taken around the land for a gentle walk, with a stop for refreshments. You will walk around a nature pond area, a small wooded area, and there are some other animals for you to meet on the way. Finally you will be able to feed you Llama to thank him for the walk!
- Take a trip to Quince Honey Farm, the world’s largest honeybee exhibition, BeeWorld offers interesting displays and exhibits that will teach you fun facts about the honeybee before you take a closer look inside the working hives. This family-run working honey farm has been producing quality honey since 1949 and has over 1,000 hives deep in the North Devon countryside.
- From the seaside village of Combe Martin, take the thigh-burning walk up the Coast Path towards Little Hangman on the 7.5km Hangman Hills Walk. Views along the coast reveal themselves as you gain elevation towards the Great Hangman, which, at 244m is the highest sea cliff in England and Wales.
Today explore Bath at your leisure:
- A special package offers visitors the opportunity to see the Roman Baths by torchlight, including the museum with its award-winning interpretation, the steaming baths and the Roman temple complex. View the Roman treasures, baths and temple complex at your own pace using an audio-guide, before reaching the Great Bath, where you can meet Roman characters and then join a Roman Baths guide for a tour of the 2,000 year old suit of bathing pools. After you visit head to the Roman Baths kitchen, located opposite, for a delicious three course dinner.
- Bathe in the open-air rooftop pool at Thermal Bath Spa, an award winning Natural Spa where you can bathe in Britain’s only naturally warm, mineral-rich waters as the Celts and Romans did over 2000 years ago. (pre-booking is essential in high season)
- See historic Georgian gowns and cutting edge fashion at the Fashion Museum, one of the world’s top 10 museums of fashionable dress. The museum displays chronicle the story of fashionable dress over the past 400 years and feature more than 160 dressed figures. There’s a dressing-up room where you an try on coats, hats, corsets, dresses and bonnets and have your photo taken against a Victorian backdrop.
- Follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen and visit the Jane Austen Centre dedicated to her time in the city. The centre offers a snapshot of what it would be like to live in the Regency times - the fashion, food, society - everything that would have inspired Austen’s timeless novels.
- Take a trip to The Holburne Museum, this Grade I listed building was originally designed and constructed as a hotel, but is now home to a collection of fine and decorative art.The fascinating pieces that adorn one of Bath’s most beautiful buildings vary from Renaissance treasures to masterpieces by Gainsborough.
- Bath Abbey is a magnificent and iconic landmark to visit and explore. The site where the Abbey now stands has been a place of Christian worship for over a thousand years and occupied by three different churches. The Tower Tours are a great way to experience a sneak peek behind this iconic landmark and enjoy a breathtaking view over the whole city.
Stonehenge & Lacock Abbey
Today you will make your way back to the London area. Enroute you may visit:
- The World Heritage Site of Stonehenge is approximately a 1 hour drive from Bath and is one of the most iconic prehistoric monuments in Europe. The imposing and fascinating stone circle was built in the late Neolithic period around 2,500BC. A fascinating audio tour is provided to listen to as you stroll around the towering stones. Pre-booking is strongly advised.
- Go and visit Cheddar Gorge, Britain’s biggest gorge and take in the dramatic cliffs rising up 450ft and explore the stunning stalactite caverns below. The Cliff-top Gorge Walk starts at the Lookout Tower with 360 degree views you’ll see for miles! All aboard the open top double-decker bus for your tour of the dramatic landscape. The Museum of Prehistory tells the story of our ancestors’ 40,000-year struggle for survival during the Ice Age while re-enactors demonstrate the survival skills of flint knapping and fire making.
- Visit Lacock Abbey, Village and Fox Talbot Museum to learn about the medieval abbey turned family home, the museum tells the history of the photography, and the quintessential English village famous from TV and film. The abbey’s wooded grounds are the perfect destination for taking a relaxed walk all year round and throughout the year, a range of exhibitions, events and family activities and trails means there’s always something to do.
Sadly, your driving holiday ends upon checkout. Make your way to the airport for your return flight.
- Bournesmouth/New Forest
- 7 day “ROYAL COVERAGE” self-drive standard car rental
- 7 nights pre-booked ensuite accommodation at delightful B&B’s and Inns throughout England
- Full breakfast daily
- National Trust Pass—offers free entry into hundreds of special visits throughout the U.K
- Touring map of Britain