It was a lovely bank holiday weekend. The sun was shining and I had some friends visit from America. They were kind enough to trust me to plan 3 days of activities for them as a surprise, taking them to new and exciting places each day.
Day 1 :
I picked them up from Gatwick Airport and whisked them away for a day of fun activities in the countryside.
Secret Destination 1 - Avebury
We went to the standing stones in the village (the largest in the world) after driving through the pretty town of Marlborough. Many of them are still standing and it is thought that the circle was constructed around 2600BC. There is a lovely Henge Shop nearby packed full of souvenirs as well as books and jewellery. Avebury is one of my favourite places and gives a great chance to get up close with such impressive stones. It has such a different vibe to somewhere more touristy like Stonehenge.
We drove a little further down the road through Devizes to Stonehenge. We didn't pay the overpriced admission, but had a good look from the side of the road. It's crazy how close it is to the side of the main road (A303), shame the Druids who built it didn't have roads as transport of the stones would have been a great deal easier...!
Secret Destination 3 - Glastonbury
After a delicious vegetarian lunch in the Blue Note cafe, it was time to browse the shops. Lots of tack, but a few real treasures. I stocked up on silver charms for the bracelet my husband bought me for our wedding anniversary a few years back. I tried to resist the books, but caved and bought 4 in the end. As the weather was so nice and we had some time, we went for a walk up the Tor. Beautiful views across the surrounding countryside despite the fact that the wind picked up just as we reached the top. Legend has it the Tor was once the site of Avalon from the Arthurian myths and there are lay lines crossing there.
Secret Destination 4 - Eden Project, Cornwall
The Eden Project is a charity funded set of two biospheres. One is filled with all kinds of tropical plants and the other focuses of Mediterranean. The tropical dome is much bigger and even has a man made waterfall. There is a lookout that goes just inside the roof, but unfortunately it was closed due to high temperatures and humidity. They sell organic, locally produced food and have their own bakery.
The outside gardens are beautiful too and they have a whole host of activities and special events including circus skills and outdoor concerts.
Secret Destination 5 - Haytor (Dartmoor)
Haytor is a giant rock you can climb, which of course we did. My uncle let me take some pictures of him mediating on the top under the beautiful blue sky with Little Tor in the background. We even saw some wild Dartmoor ponies as we left after climbing back down.
Secret Destination 6 - Dartmoor Wildlife Centre
A few minutes down the road from where my Aunt and Uncle live is the wildlife centre. It began as a Hedgehog rescue centre and hospital and has expanded to include foxes, badgers, owls, sparrow hawks, ferrets, weasels and a small amount of farm animals (donkeys, cattle, alpaca, a pot bellied pig and some goats). I got to hold a hedgehog and brush one of the donkeys which I loved. I wish I lived closer so I could volunteer every week.
Our final trip before heading back to my flat was to visit the pretty seaside town of Lyme Regis. They have a sandy beach which was full of tourists, but more importantly if you go in the opposite direction there is a pebble beach with rocks full of fossils. They are literally everywhere and many of the roads are completely covered in ammonites. Its fascinating to see the remains of creatures millions of years old, it makes me feel such a small part of the universe.
Cornfield just outside Lyme Regis. There is something so British about it somehow and it summed up my mood for the weekend of relaxation and natural beauty.
One of the best things about staying with my aunt and uncle in Devon was the amazing home cooked food my aunt makes. The first night was a sumptuous veggie curry and the second the comfort of cauliflower cheese with a host of other vegetables included. I can only hope my guests had as much fun exploring the English countryside as I do. I hope they come back as I have so much more to show them.