Monday, April 06, 2009

Campervan Trip - Feb 09

Ok....update on our van trip in February.

Day 1 - Saturday February 14th - London to Leeds Castle to Dover to Brighton

So we got up early in the morning and headed towards the Van depot. I got the shock of my life when I saw the van, we certainly didnt blend in whilst driving in it, I'm sure you'll agree!

So we packed all our things in the van and headed towards Dover which was going to be our first stop - to see the 'White Cliffs'.

On the way to Dover, we passed a sign saying 'Leeds Castle' so we thought why not? it's early enough in the day, lets go!
Leeds Castle was lovely, quite a large grounds with lots of lakes and duckies! On the grounds also they had a very entensive aviary and a mini zoo with some animals. Was lovely to see it all and we are glad we made an impromptu stop (later we realised thats what this trip was all about!)


At around 2pm we left and headed towards Dover, again!

Dover was nothing to write home about, the castle was closed when we got there, and the cliffs well as expected - were white! haha.


After Dover, we plugged our next port of call Brighton into the Sat Nav, saw it wasnt too far away and headed off.

Brighton is meant to be the tourist town of the south, its a uni village, meant to be a good night life and generally fun place to visit. We got there late-ish. Parked the car along the Marina and went for a walk. Was a lovely night, we went and visited 'Palace Pier' this big fun amusement park on the end of a pier. Full of skills testers (my fave) and 2p games! Loving it! We had such a lovely night, Clint tried to win me a toy from a skill tester for Valentines, but failed miserably - he just doesnt have a knack for those machines - I'm a pro - but the machines musta been so rigged, cos' I didnt win anything :o(




We parked the car along the pier and slept there, no caravan parks had any vacancies in the area!

Day 2 - Sunday 15th February - Brighton to Arundel to Chichester to Portsmouth to New Forest to Salisbury

We woke up bright and early in Brighton and headed to maccas for a morning coffee - maccas coffee was soon to be quite a staple in this trip for me! On the way to Chichester we passed a car boot sale and went and had a look. I got a couple of books that came in quite handy for the trip!

After that we continued to head to Chichester - stopping in a place called Arundel on the way. Arundel is part of West Sussex. In Arundel we saw the Arundel Castle, a huge church and the whole town had lovely cobbled streets and pathways, it was very cute.


After that we continued on our way to Chichester. In Chichester we had a quick look round, went to a Sunday Market there, went to a TESCO to do some food shopping and hopped back in the van and headed towards Portsmouth.

Portsmouth (Hampshire) was quite similar to Brighton, in that it had a large harbour. We had lunch there and continued to New Forest. Somewhere we were told we must go as it is a huge national park with wild ponies!

We got to New Forest around 4pm and went for a drive around, wow, it was very cool to see these beautiful deer and ponies scattered throughout.




After New Forest we decided to head somewhere to stay for the night, Salisbury had a camping ground open so we headed there. We got set up at the grounds, headed back into the centre had a drink and went back to the grounds, early early night, but we were exhausted!

Day 3 - Monday 16th February - Salisbury to Stonehenge to Exeter to Torquay to Plymouth to Newquay

Ok....so far we have been covering a lot of ground and seeing a lot of places. Today the plans were to head closeby and see Stonehenge. It cost £6.50per person and although it was such a small space, we had an audio guide and heard heaps about the history of Stonehenge and what the purpose of these rocks is said to be. Very cool place and we were both glad we decided to go there.



After Stonehenge we hopped in the van and headed towards Exeter where we were just planning a quick stop to go to the loo, another coffee stop for me!

After that at around 1.30pm we continued on towards Torquay....has to be nice if we have a place called it at home right!?! Well it was lovely, a coastal town (coincidence!) and we parked the van and walked along the coast line.

We called into a place called Kents Cavern, which was meant to be a prehistoric cave that the first inhabitants in Britain was meant to live in. Unfortunately we got there too late to see it, but watched a bit about it at the visitor centre. In the shop there I found these 3 stones - Citrine ( emotional wellbeing) bloodstone (creativity, decision making and intuition) and red tiger eye (confidence and protection on travel)....I now carry them around with me in my handbag....they're so pretty and hopefully bringing me all the special things they're said to.

After Torquay we headed Plymouth, we parked the car and went to the Plymouth Hoe - a massive park that had a lovely view of the bay and lighthouse.


After Plymouth we went towards Newquay - our home for the night. To get there we drive through Dartmoor Park. We got to Newquay checked into our caravan park and headed towards the city centre. We found a Walkabout (surprise surprise) had a couple of drinks, dinner and headed back to our van for the night.

Day 4 - Tuesday 17th February - Newquay to Cornwall (St Ives, St Just, Lands End) to Tintagel to South Moltern

I have found a love for cider whilst in the UK (not good for the figure though - let me tell you) and read that there was a Cider Farm close by. So we got up early and headed towards there to find out how cider was made. We walked around the production area and I also brought this cool Strawberry wine, that when I have finished my health kick (I haven't drank for over 2 months) I will drink to celebrate!


We left there at approx. 10am and drove along the cornwall coast to St Ives, St Just and finished at Lands End - the most southerly point of England. This drive was absolutely amazing. Not only was it extremely scary!! The silly sat nav took us on the most narrow one way (but actually 2 way) roads where you could not see what was past like 1 metre infront of you, but also the most beautiful place we had been to......very nice.

St Ives was just so lovely, and Lands End was nice although very commercial and full of tourists.


After that we headed to a place called Tintagel, where Tintagel Castle is......the home of King Arthur - not so much a castle as such, but the ruins as one. clints favourite place on this trip. I unfortunately had a stomach bug and spent most of the time in and out of the toilet, so could not explore it with him!





We left there around 5pm and were heading towards Bath, we stopped the night at South Moltern, in between Tintagel and Bath.

South Moltern caravan park was very cute! We ate dinner at a lovely inn around the corner and headed back for an early night!


Day 5 - Wednesday 18th February - South Moltern to Bath

We got up nice and early and headed towards Bath, a place we knew we would need to spend quite some time to see all that was there. We arrived in Bath around lunch time.


We had lunch and walked around a bit, the actual centre was quite small.


First port of call was the Roman Baths which were very cool! Then we went and saw the bath abbey, the circus (centre) and had dinner at Wagamama.







After that Clint reluctantly agreed to see amovie with me (2 for 1 Orange Wednesdays!) I have read all of Sophie Kinsellas Shopaholic books since being in the UK and had been waiting for her movie to come out. So luckily for me, thats what we went to see. I must say it was quite different to the book, but I did really enjoy it!



After that we went back to the caravan park and went to the inn there for a drink before going to beddy byes.


Day 6 - Thursday 19th February - Bath to Cotswolds to Stratford Upon Avon to Nottingham

Departed Bath early in the morning and headed towards cotswolds on our way to stratford upon Avon the home of Shakespeare. We saw Shakespeare's birthplace, his daughters and his granddaughters houses and his grave. It was such a lovely 'old style' town.



We left Stratford upon Avon and headed towards Nottingham, the home of Robin Hood. We stayed just out of Nottingham in a dodgy caravan park, so not worth the money we paid for it.


Day 7 - Friday 20th February - Nottingham to Cambridge



Today we headed into the Nottingham centre to check out about the home of Robin Hood. What a let down, let me tell you! So not worth the extra travel north to get there....there was a statue of Robin Hood, a lame and boring museum thing and thats it! All that travel for nothing. One pretty cool thing about Nottingham was a 'City of Caves' tour we did. We were able to enter these underground caves in the shopping centre and see how the people of nottingham used to use them. They were used mainly to live in and for leather production - quite a different experience.



The shopping centre was the highlight of Nottingham! I got shoes, like 4 paids for 60 quid I kid you not. I got a pair of dress zip up Doc Martin boots for 30 quid (loving them!), 1 pair of havianas for like £3! A pair of black slip ons for £12 and a pair of converse shoes for £5. Clint also got a very nice shirt for £10! Bargain city!




After that we headed back south towards London and stopped in the University town of Cambridge.

Not much for us to see there so we headed to the movies again, this time seeing the much raved about movie 'Slumdog Millionairre'. We really enjoyed it.


Day 8 - Friday 21st February - Cambridge to London

Last day of our trip, headed back to London.

Stopped at a scrapbook shop for me, I had read about, and I did my first scrap shopping in like a year. I was in heaven - though I must say the shop was so disorganised it was like overload!! No sense of order at all, no brands together, colour matching, NO ORDER AT ALL! Made me miss Chandon even more !!!

Anyways I did get some cool little bits and pieces, they did have a lot of stuff, but just hard to find what you wanted. I find the scrap supplies over here - online - are quite a way behind compared to home. Harder to get, and longer to wait for the newer stuff which is sad :o(

So back to London we went, ready to go back to the reality of working on the Monday!


Overall, we had a really fun trip, certainly gave us enough practise and knowledge to know that we can survive camping round Europe for the summer! Looking very much forward to that now.


* More recent update*

Since this post we have been on a self guided tour round Italy (6th April to 18th April) - I do have stuff to post about this. And have booked Egypt (23rd May to 30th May) yeah!!! Should be great!