A Trip to…Paignton Zoo, Newquay Zoo & Living Coasts

I decided to buy an annual membership for Paignton Zoo. This allows me to pay them a visit any time I want to for a year.

Not a bad plan as Paignton Zoo is my favourite Zoo of all. The bonus is that it means I also get unlimited visits to Newquay Zoo in Cornwall and Living Coasts in Torquay. I’m also allowed one visit to Chester Zoo as well! What a bargain – less than £50 for all that.

So armed with a new camera, I decided that I would try and combine a trip to both Paignton Zoo and Newquay Zoo. (It didn’t quite work as there is so much to see at Paignton that I had to go to Newquay the next day.)

Now as Living Coasts and Newquay Zoo are smaller it was possible to combine both so the camera got a good workout.

Living Coasts is a coastal zoo and aquarium in Torquay and has Sea Lions, Otters, lots of seabirds and an aquarium.

Newquay Zoo has a pride of lions who you can get really close to.

 

It’s just as well there was some armoured glass, she didn’t like the camera very much!

 

Newquay Zoo is much more compact than Paignton but nonetheless a lovely afternoon out.

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Brexit

So, here we are, a couple or three months away from the ‘Brexit’  (I so hate that word!) deadline.

What do we know for sure?

  • We were lied to on a grand scale

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  • The far right of the Conservative party are desperate for us to leave without a deal ( what the newspapers are calling a ‘hard brexit’).

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  • The Labour leadership have been less than dynamic over the whole thing.
  • The UK is split more than ever
  • Theresa May has proved to be a ‘uniter’ – Pretty much everyone is united in their dislike of her!

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  • Only 70% of the electorate voted in the referendum
  • Of the 43,000,000 entitled to vote, just 17,410,742 voted to leave (40%)
  • 25,589,258 people did not vote to leave the EU.
  • The consistency for a ‘peoples vote’ – or in other words, a second referendum has been with the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats.

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Given the importance of this issue to the UK in general, would it be right to have another vote?

A trip to… Camden Market

When I visited London Zoo a while back, the waterbus went to Camden Market and also Little Venice. I caught the Little Venice one but decided that when I had more time, I would come back and visit Camden Market.

So, yet another great deal on GWR from South Devon to Paddington (£30 return, what’s not to like!) and a good deal on a Premier Inn at Euston I set off.

When I got to Paddington, I caught the tube to Euston and then on to Camden Town. When I got to Camden Town, I noticed a sign that said that I couldn’t catch a return tube to Euston on a Sunday due to the volume of people wanting to leave Camden Market. There was a clue if ever I saw one! When you come out of Camden Town Station, you need to head for Camden Lock which meant a right turn from the station. A short stroll later and the market came into view.

 

As it was a very hot day and also a Sunday, there were huge crowds at the market (which is massive). I wasn’t too worried as I knew I would be back the following day. I spent ages watching an impromptu magic show from a stall holder who was selling the tricks and made a mental note to return the following day – I had already agreed to do a magic show for my grandchildren at Christmas and I needed some new tricks!

I spent the rest of the afternoon at the market and then wandered up to Chalk Farm station past the famous Roundhouse which has seen performances from pretty much all the major bands of the 70’s, the train back to Euston was quick and I walked over to the hotel just a couple of minutes from the station. Now I have to say, I do like Premier Inns, the staff are always friendly and helpful, the rooms are, in my experience always clean and the food is usually ok.

This time was no different and I had booked a ‘meal deal’ which  gave me a two course evening meal, a drink and breakfast all for less than £25, which for central London is a bargain.

After a huge breakfast (well it is help yourself!), I staggered walked to Euston station and caught the tube back to Camden Town.

As my train didn’t leave until after 7:00pm I was able to spend all day at the market. I had a good look at the various food offerings – Mexican, American, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Hungarian, Italian and loads more, the clothing and the jewellery and then went back to the magic stall for my own private magic show. I did buy quite a few tricks for my Christmas magic show and I had a few months to learn how to do them. I had a truly magical time at the market and then headed for something to eat (well you have to keep your strength up don’t you!). I chose to sit in a Mexican eatery and I’m glad I did, the food was spectacular!

Time for another stroll around the market and then I made my way to the waterbus and back to Little Venice. Time for a light meal at Paddington station along with a glass or two of vino and then on to the train and back home just before midnight. Would I go to Camden Market again? You bet!

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A trip to…Weston-Super-Mare

I got another good deal on the train to I looked around online for a hotel. After about an hour without success, I was beginning to wonder if I would find one. Eventually I got the last available room at the Royal hotel – ok but expensive!

How come it was so busy? I know it was peak season but there are usually more vacancies than that!

I found out why when I arrived at W.S.M. – The annual air show coincided with my trip. Now I’m not usually a lover of things that get hordes of people in a smallish space at once and I had avoided the air show in Torbay by going to Bournemouth (more about that in the future).

It was very hot but I thought I would watch bits of it from the pier.

Of course, 1000’s of others had the same idea and it was packed. These shots were taken earlier in the morning before the crowds arrived! I can’t tell you how welcome this pint of cider was later on…

 

Given the state this country is in and the problem town centres are having all over the country, Weston is clean, not a huge amount of empty shops and there didn’t seem to be too many beggars on the streets.

Every place I went into, I was welcomed with a smile and given how busy they all were it did make me feel good.

I managed to choose the hotel (I didn’t get much choice!) that the Red Arrows support guys were staying in so there was quite a lot going on.

 

Day 2 was very similar to day one – but even busier. By lunchtime, it was heaving and so I headed for the back streets and lo and behold a restaurant that was quiet. I did worry that there was a reason for this, but no, friendly staff and a nice roast dinner – made my day! Eventually I headed back to the sea front just in time to catch the Red Arrows. Then, back to the station for my train home!

 

A trip to…London Zoo & British Museum

So another away day!

I promised myself that I would come and visit the British Museum in London and I thought that I should be able to combine this with a trip to London Zoo. Now I love Zoos and I particularly love the work they do to breed endangered species. The last time I visited London Zoo though was over 30 years ago so I was looking forward to seeing the changes.

So I managed to find a great return deal on GWR (£30 Paignton – Paddington return – can you believe it??) and a good deal on a Travelodge in Kings Cross and off I went.

I decided to walk to the museum from the station as it was a beautiful day – I think you get to see more when you walk!

It was uncomfortably hot in the museum and filled with foreign students and so I cut my visit short and walked on to Kings Cross to the hotel.

Despite some of the reviews, I was pleasantly surprised and had a coffee after checking in.

I had decided to eat out as there was so much choice and walked across the road to this place.

The following day I had breakfast in a local McDonalds and caught a train to Camden Town and wandered up to the Zoo.

Later in the afternoon, I was thinking about catching a train back to Paddington when I came across a sign for the London Waterbus. You can catch it from the zoo and it goes either on to Camden Lock or back to Little Venice. The one I caught went back to Little Venice (which is very close to Paddington!) idyllic!

A gentle stroll back to Paddington for a bite to eat and watch the commuters rushing around to catch their trains and I wandered in to the station in time to catch my return train back to Devon – Lovely!

Eden Project, Cornwall 2018

So, another away day, this time to Cornwall. Both hotel and first class rail fare (both ways!) for less than £50 – bargain!

Went on one of the new trains, first class isn’t as comfortable as the old ones, but for the price and the complimentary coffee and cake? #stillgreatvalue

 

I stayed at the Travelodge where I stayed the last time which is ok and the staff are really nice.

I got given a disabled room for some reason so it was close to the bar (but not too close!) with a wet room, nice!

Cheap drinks between 4 & 6 too.

 

I took advantage of the cheap drinks and the food promotion and enjoyed a long sleep before heading up to Eden the next day.

Now it has to be said – The Eden Project is simply amazing – if you like finding out what grows where in the world, and the autumn colours……. There are three main areas – the outdoor gardens, the Mediterranean biome and the rainforest biome. Rather than go on too long, I’ve let the pictures do the talking!

 

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I took hundreds of photos and I will change the images in the slideshow from time to time so check back to see if there are new ones!

First class train home and an early night!

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Scarborough, York & Whitby 2018

This trip was a bit different! I went on a coach holiday and I REALLY enjoyed it!

Part of the fun for me is the planning. What is there to see and do, what to take with me etc. and as I was going in May and the weather forecast was good for the week, I didn’t need lots of clothing. By the time I left, I had loads of leaflets and catalogues from the Scarborough and York tourist offices, and so I was ready to go!

I met the coach at the coach park about 5 minutes from where I live at 6:15 AM!!!

By the time we had collected others from Newton Abbot, Exeter, Taunton and Bridgewater, it was a little after 9:00. We headed up to Gloucester Services for a comfort break and a coffee. The services were really nice with a farm shop as well.

The next stop was Corley Services, which is the regional hub for the coach company. There were probably 10 or 12 coaches there when we arrived. There was enough time to have a leisurely lunch and everyone was called for the coach. The driver was brilliant (just as well as we had him until we got back to Corley on Friday afternoon!). The next comfort break was at Doncaster Services. We arrived at the hotel at around 5:00pm and checked in. Someone brought the cases to the rooms and I went for a walk to stretch my legs before dinner.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much in the way of decent food considering the price I paid ( around £60 per night with full English breakfast and a 3 course meal each night and all transport), however, I was very pleasantly surprised. Plenty of choices and well cooked!

The following day we had a day in York – if you haven’t been, trust me, you should go! Lovely city with loads to see and several museums. I wanted to get to the Jorvik museum, the Castle museum and the Railway museum, but in the end, I settled on the Castle and Jorvik.

I didn’t bother with York Minster as I’m not interested in religion and I stayed next door to it 35 years ago when I last came! Apparently though it’s very nice if it’s your thing.

A really lovely trip and one that I’ll repeat as I’ve got to see the railway museum!

A trip to Whitby came the next day

A quick check to remind myself of what Whitby is famous for – Bram Stoker, fish, annual folk festival and Whitby Jet are the main things.

It’s a typical seaside tourist town and as I live in one of those, it didn’t do a lot for me. I did have a fish and chip lunch though – delicious!

fish and chips

The following day we were free to spend in Scarborough and as I had spent a lot of time sitting on a coach, I decided a good long walk was in order. I spent the day walking and taking the odd photo. I was ready for dinner by the time I got back to the hotel.

Early breakfast and travelling home the next day – so day 1 in reverse! I got home at about 6:30pm and decided there and then that I would come to Yorkshire again.