I visited El Coto for a meal with friends for the first time on Saturday and was blown away by the quality of the food and service provided. The Spanish atmosphere is really authentic, and the food is simply delicious - a definite find in Darlington.
It's an absolutely stunning walk for all. As you begin your walk, you walk down a lovely coastal path with views of the sea where the Falmouth dockyard is and where the ships come in from.
As you walk around you come to the point which is a rather large open space where, on a sunny day, you are able to get ice cream from the many vans, there are picnic tables and an old ruined castle called Little Dennis, which used to be a gun tower for Pendennis Castle which is on entry to the point.
There are stunning views of the whole of the seafront from the point and plenty of hidden little beaches below.
As you walk right around, there is an area which is a popular site for diving and yet more benches and picnic areas.
As you come to the end, you have a lovely long walk all the way down over the seafront which has stunning views over the sea, of Pendennis Castle and the golden sandy beaches.
I live here and I am never bored of the views.
You can get off a train at Falmouth Docks or you can simply follow signs to Pendennis Castle.
A classic city centre park. Trees and paths take you from the park to the shops and general vibrancy of Gloucester Rd. Great all year round. And now with added coffee courtesy of some entrepreneurial soul - complete with table cloths and yummy snacks. A great place to while away an hour or two. Or the whole day.
Off Effingham Rd
Nearest station: Montpelier
Porlock is situated in the Exmoor countryside and is a village with its own nearby bay and probably the most feared hill in the area. Porlock hill has a 1-in-4 gradient and has been responsible for many an accident over the years. The village is very pretty and certainly worth negotiating the hill for and you can walk to the bay which lies on a salt marsh - an excellent site for bird watching.
From Minehead, travel about 6 miles west along the A39 and watch for the Porlock turn-off.
The debate over the best pasties in Cornwall is as lively on Facebook as it is on Falmouth High Street on a Saturday morning. The foodie scene here is growing fast, but food snobbery doesn’t really stand its ground among the locals. Having grown up in Falmouth, and as a frequent visitor, my top tip is always where the pasty holy grail is to be found.
For me, and most of Falmouth (to which I am related), the source is W.C. Rowe. Rowe’s has several outlets – including one at either end of Falmouth High Street – and is the favourite with locals, even though its started “mass producing” in recent years.
It’s mostly down to the perfect blend of spices, light pastry and nice, lean chunks of steak. They also stick to tradition, so no chocolate and banana pasties here, thanks.
Get there nice and early to avoid disappointment and as the tourists run the length of the high street looking for Greggs, snigger knowingly as you wander down to the quayside with your delicacy in hand. And if you want to grab pasties and get down the beach without facing the high street at a weekend, or it’s a bit too late to chance it, the Rowes factory is behind Asda on the main route into town and you can get them REALLY fresh there. The locals won’t thank me for telling you that!
Pasty & Savoury Bakery
W.C.Rowe (Falmouth) Ltd
Bickland Industrial Estate
Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 4TA
23 Arwenack Street, Falmouth TR11 3JA 01326 312991
16 Killigrew Street, Falmouth TR11 3PN 01326 316939
2 The Kings Hotel, Market Street, Falmouth TR11 3AB 01326 316552
Old Hill Falmouth TR11 2PR 01326 316935
A warm summer's day, a table on the balcony by the River Avon eating home-made pasta and watching people almost capsizing punts. The location is great but actually the food is what it's all about.
As you walk along Plymouth Hoe taking in the spectacular sights of Plymouth Sound, there are several different ice-cream vans that you could stop at, but there is only one you should stop at - the Langage Farm one.
This is by far the finest local ice-cream you will find, made with real Devonshire cream and with a fantastic array of flavours from the traditional to the unusual. You could try Thunder & Lightning, which is filled with honeycomb pieces, or Turkish Delight flavoured ice-cream, or you could just stick to the farmhouse clotted cream flavour. They are all delicious!
Normally parked towards the Barbican end of Plymouth Hoe, underneath the Citadel.
The finest sequoia avenue in Britain, and a fantastic cafe from where you can see the red squirrels.
The cherry ferry across the Firth of Clyde
The start of the glorious gardens of Argyll and a gateway to the west coast.
Up and down Stokes Croft, near the centre of Bristol, there's an explosion of street art. On Jamaica Street there's an outdoor art gallery organised by the People's Republic of Stokes Croft. There are plenty of hoardings up and down Stokes Croft with interesting street-art and you can see the Banksy piece, The Mild Mild West. The shops and clubs are picking up the theme too. Don't forget to take your camera.
Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1
Jamaica St, Bristol, BS2 8JP
People's Republic of Stokes Croft www.prsc.org.uk/
You can see my article about Stokes Croft Graffiti on my blog
The West Country has the largest number of naturist beaches for skinny-dipping and sunning au naturel anywhere in the UK. Slapton Sands near Dartmouth is one of the finest and is easy to access. It's also very family-friendly.
It's on the A379 Dartmouth to Kingsbridge road. Park at the Strete Gate beach car park and walk 500 metres north along the shore to relax au naturel. There's a photo on the cover of the Bare Britain guidebook www.barebritain.com
Once you book with this family-owned company, Cornish Horizons will offer you first refusal on the same week at the same property the following year. Such a relief for when you find a holiday home you love to return to year in year out - it's like having your very own time share week! And saves having to take pot luck on booking.
19 New Street, Padstow, Cornwall PL28 8EA
01841 533 331
South of Bideford on the other side of Clovelly is this dramatic coastal location with its lighthouse, beautiful cliff-top paths and a small shipwreck museum!
Join the A39 from Bideford heading south until you see the turning for Hartland Point
About two miles west of Ilfracombe - as the crow flies - lies this small gem of a seaside village. It's set in a very deep 'combe' or valley and is one of those places where you genuinely feel as though you've stepped back in time. The village can be reached by road where you can experience the vertiginous descent through narrow lanes or by footpath across the cliffs from Ifracombe with wonderful sea views.
Once there you can enjoy a variety of pleasures - visiting the Fuschia tea gardens or the Grampus pub, taking one of several excellent walks, or just enjoying the wonderful little rocky cove and beach which for many is the highlight that really provides Lee with its charm.
From Ilfracombe take the B3231 passing through Slade valley and Lincombe then descend into Lee.
Get the train from Exeter to Teignmouth, walk from the station to the seafront, and walk towards the ness, along the beach, around from the channel to the mouth of the river Teign, then walk along the river beach - you will be opposite Shaldon, and see Dartmoor up the River Teign.
Get the Teignmouth ferry to Shaldon, walk up to the ness, go through the smuggler's tunnel on to the beach. Return to Teignmouth on the ferry, and continue walking along the river beach, you will pass a row of original fisherman's cottages, and come to the Ship Inn, buy a pint and watch the sun setting over the moors.
An isolated and atmospheric pebble beach with one of the most geologically impressive cliffs in the world. Lovely on a sunny day; awesome when it's stormy. Walk to the far end for total peace and quiet (but don't get cut off) then head to Crackington for lunch.
On the singletrack road between Widemouth Bay and Crackington Haven. From the viewpoint south of Widemouth Bay drive down 30% incline to the valley bottom where there is space for a few cars.
Eco-Hostel in a charming old slate school on a hillside with wonderful woodland valley views. It has a cosy communal lounge with wonderful wood burner which is great for snuggling after a walk up nearby Cadair Idris. Extremely restive for a weekend stay. Good beer, food and company at the Slaters Arms down in the village.
5 miles north of Maccynlleth, just off the A487, not far from the C.A.T.
A teeny tiny pub in a teeny tiny village. Try the sit-down-be-cider. Visit the geology museum. But what you really need to do is find the local expert - Mr Cooper, who has written a book on the history of the pub. Ply him with a pint of the aforementioned cider and he will tell you all you want to know about the pub, the Purbeck coast or the art and architecture of Rajasthan.
01929 439 229
Formby Hall Golf Resort and Spa is a recently fitted-out hotel who are offering Grand National Accommodation packages for 2008. Many hotels in Liverpool are booked up but this one seems to have a number of packages still available.
Shops: There is a small selection of shops in St Andrews, it's a great place for tartan products such as kilts and also for golf products.
Attractions: Golf is the main one but the old cathedral and castle are well worth a visit, they are both located next to each other.
Nightlife: There are no clubs in St Andrews but there is a great selection of bars, The Gin House and Ma Bells are two popular places.
Eating: There is a large selection of fine dining options in St Andrews, but if you are on a budget then The Grill House offers well priced food.
Accommodation: For a small town there is a large selection of five-star hotels, The Old Course and Fairmont are the two best hotels. For those on a tight budget try The St Andrews tourist hostel or one of the many B&Bs.
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