South West England-Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City
Devon, due to it’s location from UK main airports, is frequently forgotten although it’s heritage, gardens and castles are impressive.
Plymouth, home of The Mayflower pilgrim sailing, Sir Francis Drake and Plymouth Gin is an ideal base from which to build your itineraries. Visit the steps from where the Pilgrim Fathers departed in search of a new life in 1620 followed by a short visit to the Mayflower museum opposite. Wander along the cobbled streets of The Barbican, filled with quirky shops selling locally-made products to the home of the oldest on-site gin producer in the world-Plymouth Gin. Located in a former monastery, you will learn about the this much-loved,varied tipple or try your hand at a masterclass for added enjoyment. Climb to the top of Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse for stunning views across Plymouth Hoe and beyond.
Set in 865 acres of country gardens, Mount Edgcumbe is the former home of the Earls of Edgcumbe. The historic house features three large tapestries which dictated wealth and status, the reconstructed banqueting hall after its destruction from enemy warfare, and formal gardens dating back over 200 years, depicting styles from England, Italy, France, with a Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee creation.
Meandering through the rolling hills and dramatic countryside backdrops, visit the home of Dartington Crystal. Watch live demonstrations of glassmaking, try your hand at blowing glass and wonder at the talented engraving experts. Dartington has been a leading English brand for over 40 years, known for its contemporary crystal design. Next stop is Rosemoor Gardens; 65 acres of intoxicating, ornamental beauty. Dating back to Lady Ann Palmer in 1931, the garden includes a collection from South America, Papa New Guinea and New Zealand, and is now owned and maintained by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Padstow is recognised for its Michelin-starred chefs opening new establishments in this small fishing village, namely Rick Stein. But it’s not just about top class restaurants; sample some of the country’s finest fish and chips in the café or wander down narrow streets to the picturesque harbour.
This sample of the South West is just a taste, with Exeter and Boscastle within easy reach, and ideally combined with another location to maximise the distance travelled.