Our Abbey team recently embarked on a familiarization trip to explore England's South West Coast and discover the wealth of product found here. Even though the weather was quite grey on the first few days of the trip, our team's spirit wasn't dampened and we made the most of our time among some of England's most recognizable sights!
The England's Coast project covers several regions, stretching from Northumberland on the North East coast, to the Yorkshire Coast, including Scarborough, Whitby, Bridlington and the North York Moors National Park; the East coast, from Hull to Harwich; the South coast, including Brighton and Eastbourne; the Jurassic Coast in Dorset and East Devon; and the coast of Devon and Cornwall in the South West which is the area we focused on during the trip.
We enjoyed some highlights of the project on our first day when we headed down to England’s Riviera. On the way, we passed through Dartmoor National Park, before journeying on to the traditional resorts of Paignton and Torquay to enjoy a typically English seaside experience. With half our group staying in Paignton and the other half in Torquay, we found that Paignton is perfect for families, while Torquay has a lively nightlife.
We explored local attractions such as the Steam Railway from Dartmouth and the Paddle Steamer River cruise, but the area boasts many interesting stops, such as Totnes, a medieval town set on a winding river, and Dartington, a delightful craft town.
Our journey took us on to the Eden Project in Cornwall, a fascinating haven of biodiversity, found in a retired clay pit. The Project consists of two striking biomes, one housing a rainforest environment and the other a Mediterranean environment, and an external botanical garden. We found the Project incredibly interesting and visually stunning! It’s one of many fascinating gardens around the coast of Cornwall.
We then headed back to the coast to wander around the picturesque fishing village of Mevagissey with its scenic harbour and colourful houses, perfect for exploring on a summers day, before ending our day in Falmouth. Falmouth was another pretty coastal town, with a fascinating history. It also has several good group sized hotels, perfect for international groups.
Our first stop the following day was Marazion, Cornwall's oldest town. From here visitors can admire one of the region's most instantly recognizable attractions - St Michael's Mount - or visit it by boat (at high tide) or via a cobbled walkway connecting the island to the mainland (at low tide). We were lucky that the tide was out when we stopped by, so we could walk out to the island. We also made sure to squeeze in a group photo here, at one of Cornwall's most iconic sights!
On to another Cornish landmark on the coast, as we made a photo stop at Land's End, the most westerly point of England. We really enjoyed the sweeping views over the sea, even if it was a bit windy!
We then made our way to St Ives, a lovely seaside town on the north coast of Cornwall, connected to Land's End by a very scenic coastal route. Along the way between Land’s End and St Ives we spotted remains from Cornwall’s mining past, made famous in the TV series Poldark. St Ives attracts artists keen to capture its beauty, and visitors will find plenty of galleries and shops selling local crafts, as well as bakers selling the region's famous Cornish Pasty. The harbour area is particularly charming, and visitors can walk around the town to see local attractions such as Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum, as well as the sandy beaches. We enjoyed a walk around the idyllic town and sampled a pasty - or two!
We continued on to Newquay, known for its sandy Fistral and Watergate Bay beaches where crashing waves from the Atlantic Ocean draw surfers from all over the world.
After a night in Newquay, on our final day we explored the fishing village of Clovelly on the north Devon coast, famous for its steep, cobbled street where the only transport allowed is sledges - or donkeys! We enjoyed a ramble around the village before making our way to Bristol airport to fly home.
Learn more about the England's Coast project here!