Thursday, 26 February 2009

Historic links…

New artefacts related to the ill-fated Titanic will be on display at the National Maritime Museum as it highlights Cornwall's connection with the ship. The museum will be hosting a national touring show, "Titanic Honour and Glory" from 6th March to 21st June. Cornish descendents of those on board or associated with the vessel have contributed to the showcase, providing artefacts that include everything from letters to gold watches and newspaper cuttings.

Jeannette Francis, whose family was on board the ship, was among the lenders. "My father, grandmother, great grandmother, great uncle and great aunt were all on board Titanic and to tell their story is very special," she said. "This is a one-off."

"Titanic is a story with many different levels," explained Jonathan Griffin, director of the Falmouth-based museum. "Exploring the Cornish aspects has highlighted just how widely the effects were felt."

We’ve many holiday cottages handily placed for a visit to the Museum, which can be found on Discovery Quay in the heart of Falmouth. Some are in Falmouth itself, including this excellent apartment sleeping two on the water’s edge at Packets Quay with spectacular views over the Fal estuary. Or perhaps this comfortable apartment sleeping four in a quiet part of Falmouth just a stroll from Swanpool and Gyllyngvase Beaches. Just along from the yachting marina and ½ mile from the centre of Falmouth, is this excellent apartment looking over the Penryn River.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Cool Cottage…

A charming detached holiday cottage in Dorset has been named among the 50 cool cottages in Britain and Ireland by the Sunday Times newspaper.

Located in Monkton Wyld, Dorset, the holiday home has been described by the newspaper as "a touch of Spain in Thomas Hardy country" whose design features are "more redolent of Catalonia than Casterbridge".

"The soft hills scrolling away towards Lyme Regis are unmistakable, however, and indoors is all England – winged leather armchairs gathered around the inglenook, pleasingly uneven masonry propped up by venerable beams," says the review. Those planning to book a Dorset holiday cottage may be interested to know that "even the mauve master bedroom manages to be a winner", according to the review.

This enchanting, little bit of Spain in Dorset is just 2 miles from Charmouth and the “Jurassic Coast” cliffs, sleeps 5 and costs from £323 for a week – short breaks are also available.

Monday, 23 February 2009

The perfect seaside café

Where better to relax than in the Hive Beach Café in Burton Bradstock, West Dorset, recent winners of Coast magazine’s 2009 Award for Best Coastal Café, Pub or Restaurant.

The combination of great locally sourced food with stunning, uninterrupted views over the Jurassic Coast makes for a winning formula. The Hive prides itself on being the perfect seaside café, combining quality produce with fish and seafood landed mainly in Lyme Bay. The menu reflects the wonderful diversity of what’s available in the South West, including simple and sophisticated food from egg and bacon breakfast baps to Lulworth hand-dived scallops with chorizo, pancetta and black pudding.

Put your feet up afterwards and rest it off at Dormouse Cottage, a tiny Grade II listed, traditional Dorset thatched, stone built cottage (also just a stone's throw from the village’s two good food pubs). Sounds like a gastronomic treat! A week here starts from £210 for four people.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Cornish treasures get ever closer

Getting down to Cornwall and the South West just gets easier by the day – and even easier on the pocket. Low cost airline, bmibaby, has just announced a new summer service to Newquay from Birmingham International Airport – fares start from as little as £13.99 one way including taxes. The new service kicks in from late-May and makes the unique destination of Newquay even more attractive – the roads are fine but this certainly beats the drive down.

Newquay is rightly famous for its beaches, all five of them, and all magnificent for doing everything you do on beaches, from sandcastling to walking, not just surfing. If you prefer dry land the coastal walks are stunning and you’ll no doubt work up an appetite fit for Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall restaurant at nearby Watergate Bay.

We’ve lots of cosy holiday cottages in the area where you can rest up after a day’s fun and events including this smart, sunny first floor apartment (sleeps 5) with lovely long views of Fistral Beach and the magnificent, rugged coastline from Towan Head to Trevose Head. It’s on special offer at the moment, down from £343 to £274 for a week (just £55 per person) for all remaining weeks to the beginning of April. Check out those offer details.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Outdoor Adventurers

Come on all you outdoor types, there’s the perfect show for you in Plymouth next weekend, Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd February. “Explore the Outdoors” is a two-day exhibition being held at the Plymouth Pavilions for all those that love to get out there and mountain bike, snowboard, travel and generally have fun. The show brings together enthusiasts and exhibitors from all sectors of the outdoor world and will be opened by Charley Boorman of the hit TV shows Long Way Down and Long Way Round. There are also discount vouchers for visitors to use in the Pavilions Ice Rink or Fun Pool.
After a visit you can wind down in this comfortable, detached family house right on the waterfront in Noss Mayo, with panoramic views of the Yealm estuary (it has steps down to its own private quay). There is no more glowingly beautiful coastal scene in Devon than this lake-like estuary, full of sailing boats and yachts, enclosed and sheltered by high, oak-wooded hillsides.
A week in this delightful spot will cost from £52 per person, based on six sharing from Friday 20th February.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Ship Ahoy!

Bring your binoculars with you when you stay at this hidden jewel in Kingsand – available from just £522 (usually £696) for a party of six week commencing Friday 20th February. It’s a little bit dearer half-term week but still a bargain at £666 (usually £888) if you’re still looking for somewhere to escape to with the kids for the school holiday. Check the details here. Watch the shipping and yachts glide past – there are right out to sea views from most rooms as well as the garden, but do make the most of this exquisite, historical fishing village and its neighbouring sandy beach at Whitsand Bay.

Spoil Mum - Mother's Day 22nd March

We’ve been celebrating Mother’s Day since the 1600s but finding the perfect present doesn’t get any easier, does it? Most of us resort to chocolates or flowers in desperation but surely Mum deserves better than that? Here’s a couple of ideas that will certainly last longer than the usual box of chocolates…

How about arranging a family get-together and treating Mum to a weekend away? Pennywell Farm near Totnes in Devon is offering all mums a free cream tea and you can rest it off afterwards at a delightful cottage in Ermington. Set in acres of private gardens and paddocks with uninterrupted views to the heights of Dartmoor, it’s only a short drive from Pennywell through the delightful, leafy Devon lanes which will be awash with spring flowers by then.

A week starting Friday 20th March will cost you £510 for 6 people.

And for something completely different - visit Overbecks and sow a sunflower seed for your mum and watch it grow. Overbecks is a luxuriant coastal garden and Edwardian house on the edge of Salcombe, which houses the former scientist and inventor owner’s weird and wonderful collections. Lots of fun. You can stay nearby in this neat, little bungalow, just a few minutes’ drive or a brisk walk away – there are a few twists and steep climbs to negotiate but it’s worth it for the views. You can rest recover en route at the Winking Prawn, a great stop off point for a beer and sandwich or perhaps something more substantial.

This quiet corner of the busy seaside town of Salcombe will cost £245 for a party of four for the week starting Saturday 21st March.