Monday, 25 March 2013

A Train Adventure Not to be Missed for Family Holiday Fun

Peppa Pig and Fireman Sam are just two of the visitors to Minehead Station this summer, making it the must-see attraction for families on holiday in the West Country.

As if trains weren’t exciting enough for little holidaymakers, the West Somerset Railway offers steam train rides and the chance to meet some very important characters.

Peppa Pig and George will visit Minehead Railway Station on Saturday 6th April, with personal appearances throughout the day. Families can hop on a steam train at Bishops Lydeard, Crowcombe Heathfield, Stogumber, Williton, Doniford Halt, Watchet, Washford, Blue Anchor, Dunster or Minehead and enjoy the 20 mile trip along the line. There are also free vintage bus ride trips along Minehead seafront from Minehead station.

If you are planning a trip to Devon, Cornwall, Somerset or Dorset later in the year, see if your plans coincide with other character appearances at the West Somerset Railway. Fireman Sam arrives for the day on 4th May, and a Day Out With Thomas takes place over two weekends in July – the 6th and 7th, and 13th and 14th. Mike the Knight will be meeting visitors on 21st September and Scooby Doo arrives just before Halloween, on 26th October. And of course, Father Christmas will be making a stop during December.

For more information on events at West Somerset Railway click here, and for ideas on where to stay visit the Helpful Holidays website or call 01647 433593.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A new look literary festival is a great excuse for a new look at the West Country

Cornwall’s popular Du Maurier Festival has a new name for 2013.

The Fowey Festival of Words and Music is the new name for Cornwall’s most popular festival of arts and entertainment, formerly The du Maurier Festival, Fowey. Taking place on the 8-18 May, its organisers say the ‘new image reflects the vibrancy and energy of the event, which will continue the eclectic mix of events which gives the festival its widespread appeal and makes it one of the most popular festivals of its kind in the country.’

Located in the heart of Cornwall and surrounded by great seaside and countryside landscapes, it represents a real opportunity to see some of the county’s scenery as well as lapping up its culture.

The line-up includes writer and broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby, star of musical theatre Ruthie Henshall and bestselling author of the worldwide hit War Horse, Michael Morpurgo.

Talks by leading writers, performances by star names from the worlds of music and comedy, workshops, guided walks, river cruises as well a range of community events the Fowey Festival will continue the tradition of the du Maurier Festival, pleasing existing fans and enticing first time visitors to what has become a leading event in Cornwall’s cultural calendar.

Running since 1997, the festival is not forgetting its du Maurier roots and will include as many du Maurier related events as ever, reflecting the strong links between the author and town, where she spent a large part of her life, and Cornwall, which inspired many of her celebrated books.

For more information, visit the website or facebook page, or follow the festival twitter account @foweyfestival.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Easter Comes Early But Don’t Wait – Book Your West Country Break Now and Beat the Crowds!

Clovelly, by Dave Hamster

Easter comes early this year, so make a well-timed opportunity for a getaway to the West Country, where the range of things to see and do for visitors is vast.

Pack your holiday reading book and head to Chagword, Dartmoor’s literary festival in Chagford. The line-up includes Jonathan Dimbleby and Kathy Lette, with tickets to events from the 15th-17th March selling out fast.

Off-road enthusiasts are just in time for the 4x4s jaunt across Exmoor, on the 22nd to 24th March. Rugged 4x4s will take to special off-road sections of the National Park for this unique event. The Jaunt is suitable for all skill ranges, but some rise to The Challenge, for which one vehicle per team must have a winch. It’s not just a good event for holidaymakers, it raises funds for local charities, too.

If aeroplanes are more your thing, the Aerohub at Newquay Cornwall Airport is now the home of the Classic Air Force’s collection of airworthy, post-war classic planes. From 29th March you can soak up the atmosphere of this unique collection - it’s an exciting and interactive day out with children’s activities, a simulator, engine start-ups and loads more, including a chance to take to the skies.

The Easter Oyster Hunt at Flushing Quay from 29th March to 1st April marks the end of the oyster season. Local oyster-men and chefs take the weekend to show locals and visitors how to enjoy the freshest seafood and a boat trip on the Fal River.

Take part in the 40th anniversary celebrations of the St Endellion Easter Festival, 29th March to 7th April, by singing Thomas Tallis’s wonderful 40-part motet in the atmospheric Collegiate Church of St Endelienta on 30th March.

And who could ignore sweet treats at this time of year? For something different to the traditional Easter Egg Hunt, head to the Fantastic Fudge Hunt in Clovelly, from the 29th March to 7th April. Your task is to find one of 20 fudge stones hidden in the village, take it to the Visitor Centre and see how much fudge you’ve won. If it’s Number 20, you’ll find yourself with a whole kilo of delicious, multi-flavoured fudge!

Fancy beating the crowds? Book now for pre-Easter breaks and Easter fortnight holidays. Give our knowledgeable telephone team a call on 01647 433593 and they’ll help you find the right place for your relaxing coast or country break.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Build a West Country holiday itinerary with Help from locals

Time on holiday is precious and shouldn’t be wasted researching what to do each day. Everyone booking a break with us will receive a free booklet packed full with tempting ideas for days out plus discount vouchers for 86 major attractions. 

The What Shall we do Today? guide is sent to holidaymakers before their stay so outings can be planned in advance.

Deals range from half-price entry and free admission for two accompanied children, up to group rates for individual entry. The South West Lakes Trust is offering 10% off its watersports activities, while the Dartmouth Golf & Country Club is discounting its full green fees and day membership by 25%.

The Guide gives you options from award-winning restaurants to saunters along the coast path and sandy coves for a lazy paddle. It is put together with the aim of showing you the best of the West Country, without you having to put in all the research.

Our ‘Top 10s’ always prove very popular and because they are our personal favourites, you might well stumble across a great find you would otherwise have overlooked. We chose places to eat, walks, beaches, houses and gardens, attractions for children and West Country wonders. We did have to add an eleventh suggestion for a few of those categories, too.

All Top 10s carry the Helpful Holidays ‘time to go home’ (TTGH) rating according to the level of protest when these words are uttered.

Every place is also highlighted on the interactive Explore the Area map on our website. And if you find something you think should be included, let us know so we can pass it on to other Helpful Holidays guests.