Search This Blog

South Coast Sea, Sand and Attractions with Phil and Melanie

What an amazing fortnight away we had down in beautiful sunny Devon. We truly were blessed with 14 glorious days of constant sunshine!  When we arrived at our gorgeous chalets, we knew the 2 weeks ahead of us would be packed full of wonderful things.  During our stay, we got to know the site very well, visiting the Clubhouse each night to watch the fantastic entertainment.  We saw Joseph and his Technicolor Dream Coat, We will Rock You, a Motown Show, a James Bond Show and many more great shows. 
We were staying in the beautiful Dawlish Warren, and on quite a few occasions we ambled down to the beach front and enjoyed ice creams and the world’s best milkshake!  We walked along leisurely, taking in the stunning sea views.  We saw a man on the jagged rocks performing some very clever tricks on his bike – we clapped and cheered him on! 
Some of us enjoyed a lovely swim in the on-site pool, splashing and spending time in the Jacuzzi.  We visited a lovely little village called Chudleigh and found a great little art exhibition where we all voted what our favourite painting was!  We had a wonderful visit to Kent’s Caverns one afternoon, exploring the prehistoric caves.  We learnt how stalagmites and stalactites are formed and saw some incredible old artefacts. 
One morning we went to the Donkey Sanctuary and saw lots of rescued Donkeys.  It was lovely to see how well they were looked after and how healthy they are.  On another day we spent the entire day at the wonderful Paignton Zoo.  It was like a giant nature trail and so beautifully looked after. We saw orangutangs, gorillas, giraffes, elephants and many more animals.
We spent a delightful morning in Torquay, dipping into a few souvenir shops.  We had a very relaxing lunch overlooking the beautiful harbour.  On the middle Sunday afternoon, we went to Newton Abbot Racecourse and put our bets on the horses!  A couple of us won and were very excited! 
We took a very exciting ride down the cliff on the cliff railway in Babbacombe!  We all climbed aboard and it took as down a steep Cliffside and dropped us at the bottom where we got out and had a lovely stroll. We saw some awesome red cliffs!  We then visited the Babbacombe Model Village.  It was brilliant, and we saw lots of models of things and places we all recognized.
We went to a local market one morning and strolled around looking at the variety of things on offer – we even saw a man holding a snake!  Some of us were brave enough to touch it!  We then went on to Powderham Castle. What a treasure of a place!  The castle itself was breath taking and the grounds that surrounded it were idyllic.  We took a tractor ride through the deer park which was so beautiful.  We saw lots of families of deer grazing and running around having fun.  It was really quite special to see them in such great numbers and in such close proximity.  We then took a guided tour of the castle which was extremely interesting and we learnt a fair few facts about its history!  All of this was rounded off with a castle garden cream tea, of course! 
One of the most memorable days was doing the ‘Round Robin’ trip.  For the first part of the journey we had an exciting ride on an open top bus and took in the magnificent countryside around us!  We then hopped off the bus and onto the Cardiff Castle river cruise boat.  We had the most serene journey along the river dart.  The scenery either side of us was incredible and so lush and green.  We cruised past a salmon farm, Greenway House (Agatha Christie’s summer home) and lots of little villages tucked away in little coves.  We then arrived in glorious Dartmouth and enjoyed a fish and chip lunch overlooking the port.   It was then time to catch the foot ferry over to Kingswear and have a scenic steam train ride back to Paignton where we started.  What a wonderful day!
We devoured many a fine meal during our stay.  One of our favourites was The Boathouse, which was right on the sea front in Dawlish Warren, and we could walk there within no time.  We went to a beautiful little pub called the Anchor Inn one evening which overlooked Dawlish Warren’s harbour.  It was very atmospheric inside and we all fell in love with it!  We also had a couple of BBQ’s outside our chalets in the beautiful evening sun.  We sipped on refreshing drinks and chatted away!
What a wonderful week away and thank you to everyone for making it so special.






Butlins with Owen & Pat

Having settled in we had dinner at a lovely pub in Butlins and our excited party went to see the show of “Rock of Ages”. It was an awesome show and we all got up and danced to the music. The girls were lucky enough to get hugs from the band! We then enjoyed the following band which was great fun. They allowed us on stage for a boogie.
Waking to a glorious day, we went for a walk along the beach. We got some fun photos with giant beach balls and sunbeds. Next we were off to the golf course for a crazy time seeing who the best adventure golfer was. Lunch was taken and it was time for the funfair. Everyone had a go on the bumper cars, which was great fun. Matthew and Simon go-karted and did some fast lap times! It was time for dinner at an Italian, so we got changed for dinner and the “Michael Jackson” show that followed. It was thrilling and we did a lot of dancing.

The following day, after a good breakfast, we started with a game of 10 pin bowling. It was girls vs boys and the girls won!! Lunch was taken and then we watched the pantomime which was very funny and entertaining. We relaxed before dinner and then saw the “Rolling Clones”. We danced the night away and finished the evening in a pub where we bumped into the Stones. They gave us hugs and we got some good photos of the group and enjoyed a drink with them. We were lucky to meet Kim and Elton too and made plans to see them the next evening.
In the morning, some of us went swimming, enjoying the thrill of the rapids, flumes and the fountains. Chris and Matthew were really having a great time on the flumes and the faster the better. Others went to the cinema and saw “Despicable Me 2”. It was hilarious. After lunch we had another game of 10 pin bowling before getting ready for dinner at our favourite Italian restaurant and then enjoying our last evening of entertainment. We saw “Tom Jones” and “Tina Turner”. Everyone was up on their feet and we all had a fantastic time.
Our last day, we packed up and started our journey home. On the way we stopped off for lunch in a wonderful country pub and continued on our homeward journey. We had all had such a lovely time and it was all thanks to a super group.



Painting and Drawing in France with Colin & Mags

Having crossed the Channel and arriving after a short journey from Calais, we settled in to our gite and prepared for dinner at a nice restaurant in Montreuil.
Waking to a glorious day and after a hearty breakfast we drove to Berck, a coastal town, had a walk along the front, lunched and then had our first ice cream of the week. We drove back to our lovely accommodation and refreshed before setting off to Le Touquet. We passed beautiful houses set amongst pine forestry before walking through the café-society streets. Dinner was at another nice restaurant in town and Robin was game for trying the mussels!
The following day we visited the chocolate factory in Beussent, saw how the chocolate was made and of course, purchased some!  Lunch was taken back at the gite and it was then time for our first painting session. Peter took us through the initial steps and we started our masterpieces. It was really a good experience being coached by a professional graphic designer and artist. Later in the day, we all sat in the garden and enjoyed a BBQ.
The next day we went to Boulogne and entered Nausicaa, the largest aquarium in Europe and had a great time looking at the fish, penguins and seals! Afterwards we headed for home to freshen up for another evening at a restaurant in Montreuil and had another nice meal and a late night.
After a very relaxed start, some went to the shops while others practised their drawing before another next afternoon of art with Peter. It all went very well and we ended up with some very original paintings that we could be proud of. Again, we had a BBQ in the evening and played pool and generally chatted and had fun.
Once again the weather was lovely and we headed for St Valery, a small town on the Somme, and wandered through the quaint streets and walked along the prom overlooking the estuary. A seal was spotted by our keen eyed enthusiasts. We then boarded the steam train to LeCrotoy and enjoyed the hour long journey through the countryside. It was time to freshen up for the birthday celebrations of Geoffrey, Michelle and Michael. They had all had birthdays whilst away and we even included Mags in it as her birthday was due the next day! We had a very special evening out in Boulogne and visited a restaurant in the old town, which has cobbled streets within a city wall. Presents of chocolates were gratefully received, which were purchased from the chocolate factory earlier in the week. It was a nice evening and it was late by the time we arrived home.
Our last day was here. We packed and then went off to Montreuil for the market. It was very colourful. There was much to choose from and last minute gifts were bought by some. Driving the short distance to Calais, we boarded the ship and headed directly for the “Brasserie” for our final meal in comfort with waitress service. It rounded off an absolutely superb holiday!