A brief visit to St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

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St Michael’s Mount is a beautiful old castle that sits atop a looming mount in Mount’s Bay Cornwall. It mirrors Mont St Michel in Brittany, and has unenviable position right at the centre of the bay, clearly visible from all sides, from Mousehole right round to Marazion.

St Michael's Mount Looking back to marazion from st michael's mount

Visiting St Michael’s Mount

We visited on a sunny day in August. At this time of the year, the Mount opens at 11am and we got there early about 10.30 thinking we’d get ahead of the crowds, but when we got there, the main 2 car parks were already full and so we parked in the overflow car park. Parking was well organised with stewards on hand to direct us.

Access to the Mount is via a causeway when the tide out, and in August, this was between 11am and 4pm roughly. At other times you can get a boat back and forth. We walked along the cobbled causeway and made our way to the Mount. It’s surprisingly large when you get there with a number of houses, alongside the estate offices, coffee shops and other facilities and of course the castle.

St Michael's Mount Read all about out trip to St Michael's Mount Cornwall. A wonderful day out for the family abriefvisitto.co.uk

Lots to see and do at St Michael’s Mount

Not surprisingly, with it being August, it was busy. We queued to get our entry tickets. If you’re a National Trust Member and you make yourself known to the staff, you can get passported through and not queue, but only if you have your membership card with you. The staff at the Mount don’t have the facilities to check the NT database, so you will need to have your NT membership card.

We then made our way up to the castle up past the Giant’s well, the Giants loveheart. There was storyteller entertaining younger children on the grassy area. We queued for about 20 mins up a long windy path to actually get access to the castle but it was well worth it.

There are lookout points along the way, so you can stop for a few moments and gaze out across the expansive beautiful bay. The different colours in the sea are mesmerising. It is a bit of a climb up, at times rocky & uneven path.

Read all about out trip to St Michael's Mount Cornwall. A wonderful day out for the family abriefvisitto.co.uk

The Castle at St Michael’s Mount

Having been home to monks I expected the castle to have more of a monastic feel. but I was surprised to discover that it is actually a living house, home to the St Aubyn family who still live there on a day to day basis. It’s well decorated & beautifully preserved with lots of historic artefacts.

Read all about out trip to St Michael's Mount Cornwall. A wonderful day out for the family abriefvisitto.co.uk

Read all about out trip to St Michael's Mount Cornwall. A wonderful day out for the family abriefvisitto.co.uk

It must be a truly magical place to live surrounded by heritage, stunning gardens & 360 degree views of the sea stretching right to the horizon. With many window seats from which to spot invaders, the odd armada, or to just sit and enjoy a book.

I was also surprised at the sheer height of the building, you don’t get a feel for just how high up the castle sits, when you drive past at a distance in the car. So probably not for feint hearted or for you if you suffer from vertigo.

Read all about out trip to St Michael's Mount Cornwall. A wonderful day out for the family abriefvisitto.co.uk

 

Read all about out trip to St Michael's Mount Cornwall. A wonderful day out for the family abriefvisitto.co.uk

 

Read all about out trip to St Michael's Mount Cornwall. A wonderful day out for the family abriefvisitto.co.uk

The chapel is well worth a visit for the beautiful stained glass windows. Sunday services still take place in the Chapel every Sunday from late May to late September.

Read all about out trip to St Michael's Mount Cornwall. A wonderful day out for the family abriefvisitto.co.uk

All these years we’ve been coming to Cornwall, we must have driven past like a million times. For me, St Michael’s Mount is  a bit of a beacon, rising proudly up out into the bay, and the first thing you see when the train from Paddington finally pulls into Penzance station. I can’t believe we didn’t visit sooner, but so glad we finally did this year.

Read all about out trip to St Michael's Mount Cornwall. A wonderful day out for the family abriefvisitto.co.uk

Gardens at St Michael’s Mount

The gardens weren’t open to the public on the day we visited which was a shame as from what we could see of them from the castle, they looked stunning. I’d like to come to back one day just to visit the gardens., and this time maybe take a boat over.

Read all about out trip to St Michael's Mount Cornwall. A wonderful day out for the family abriefvisitto.co.uk

If you’re planning a visit, do check the St Michael’s Mount website for opening and tide times, events etc. As I mentioned, the path up to the castle can, in some places, be a bit steep, and cobbled so might not be suitable for visitors with mobility issues. Car parking for the day cost £5.00.

If you go at the right time you can walk across to St Michael’s Mount via the causeway. At other times you can get boat back and forth.

Cornwall is a beautiful county with so many places to visit. We’ve spent many Summer’s camping in Cornwall, and last Summer we spent 10 days camping in and around Land’s End. You can read more about our days out in Cornwall here

 

Nila x

See lots more photos and videos from my travels on my InstagramTwitter or Vimeo feeds.

Instagram: @abriefvisitto
Twitter: @abriefvisit
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/abriefvisitto

If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, you might also enjoy:

visiting kynance cove cornwall   5 reasons to visit Holkham Beach North Norfolk

A brief visit to Kynance Cove, Cornwall

beaches to visit in cornwall kynance cove

Kynance Cove, Cornwall

In my honest opinion Kynance Cove is the most beautiful beach in Cornwall, if not in the whole of the UK. It is regularly voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and with its crystal blue seas and white sandy beaches, its easy to see why.

Kynance Cove is situated on the Lizard peninsula, just a few short miles from Lizard Point. We visited on a sunny day in August. We’d had a late start and by the time we reached the Cove it was already lunchtime so we only had a few hours til high tide at just gone 4pm.

kynance cove, lizard peninsula cornwall

If you arrive later on in the afternoon, you’ll find that it’s not a beach in the traditional sense, but a cove full of stunning volcanic crags and rocky outcrops, surrounded by the most beautiful blue seas. Honestly, you’d have to pinch yourself to believe that you’re not in some tropical country.

Parking at Kynance Cove

When we arrived, stewards were holding back the traffic and turning cars away. Everyone had the same idea and had headed to the Cove and the car park was already full. We had the option of parking near the entrance to site, which the stewards said would be a half hour walk to the water. We opted to wait to see if some spaces would become free lower down. Our patience was rewarded when about 15 minutes later we we were allowed in to park.

Once we’d parked we headed down to the beach. I couldn’t not stop looking at the water, so many different shades of blue and green, just stunning set against a backdrop of dark coloured rock, and wild grass.

rocky beach at kynance cove cornwall

Most of the best spots on the beach and cliffs further up were already taken, and it was quite busy. But we found a small space near the waters edge and set up. The kids put on their wetsuits and headed straight out.

visit to kynance cove cornwall

kynance cove cornwall lizard peninsula

Stunning sea and beach at Kynance Cove

The water was just so clear and inviting! I headed in, and I have to say, there was a real swirl and strong current, with the waves coming in and crashing against the rocks. As always, the water was cold to start with but within a few minutes it was lovely and warm.

beautiful kynance cove

kynance cove beach and sea

A bit later on, as the tide started to come in, we headed up to the lovely Cafe which serves hot / cold food, ice cream and the best Cornish cream tea! It was a great spot from which to gaze out over the sea, and watch the tide coming in from a safe distance, as the beach slowly disappeared!

beach cafe at kynance cove cornwall

All in all, everyone agreed that it was one of the best outings of our 10 day holiday. We had perfect weather, I just wish we’d had more time to spend there. But it’s definitely somewhere I’d like to return to, and this time I’d love to spend some time exploring the cliffs and headlands, so will definitely remember to pack some suitable footwear.

kynance cove cornwall

 

Visiting Kynance Cove

Check tide times and head out early to get a parking space and a good spot at the beach. The National Trust website recommends that you plan to arrive no later than 11am if you’re visiting during the school holidays.

The beach almost completely disappears at high tide and you could get cut off from the main cliffs back up to the car park so keep an eye for the tide.

The pathway down to the beach is rocky and the beach pebbly so wear suitable footwear. I wore flip-flops which were not great.

kynance cove at twilight cornwall

Cornwall is a beautiful county with many places to visit. We’ve spent many Summer’s holidaying in Cornwall, and this Summer we spent 10 days camping in and around Land’s End. If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, pop back next week for another Cornwall post.

Nila x

See lots more photos and videos from my travels on my InstagramTwitter or Vimeo feeds.

Instagram: @abriefvisitto
Twitter: @abriefvisit
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/abriefvisitto

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A Brief Visit to: North Norfolk Railway

North Norfolk Railway Spring Steam Gala

So we visited North Norfolk Railway in Sheringham last Saturday for the Spring Steam Gala.

days out in north norfolk, north norfolk railway,

Inspired by the romance of journeys and old fashioned train travel, a visit to North Norfolk Railway had been on my list of places to visit in 2018.  I’d been wanting to take a ride on an old fashioned steam train for ages, since seeing a beautiful steam train ripping through the countryside on a visit to Yorkshire a year or two ago.

And you know. Because Hogwarts Express.

steam locomotive north norfolk railway

I have to admit I was slightly apprehensive that my visions of a romantic afternoon on the trains would not match the reality. That, I’d feel really out of place amongst the rather serious looking trainspotters types, with their notebooks & paparazzi strength high speed zoom lenses or that the stations would be old faded remnants of a by gone time. You know, like the dated museums you were forced to endure on school trips as a child. Filled with old, uninspiring artefacts and dusty nick-nacks.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Sheringham Station

We arrived in Sheringham and parked up and headed to the station to buy our tickets. The station and platforms were decorated with pretty flowers and vintage suitcases, which really added to the pre war vibe.

vintage suitcases on platform at sheringham station norfolk uk

We headed to the platform to board the train just as a locomotive was pulling into the station to refuel and hook up with the carriages.

It was really interesting to watch this and I was struck by the sheer ingenuity of past engineering technology.

We boarded the train and stepped up into a gorgeous carriage, spotless with polished wood and brass fittings. After a few moments, the train headed out of the station and out towards Weybourne & Holt.  The chug chugging of the train as it headed into the countryside was comforting and had a strangely calming effect.  Clouds of steam billowed out from the locomotive, with the whistle blowing (much to my delight!).

vintage train carriage north norfolk railway

 

As the train gently rolled through the North Norfolk countryside, passing the golfers at the golf club and out into fields past windmills and villages, I was struck that we were seeing parts of Norfolk that we wouldn’t normally discover from the car or road. I’d like to come back to this part of the world to explore some more on foot.

 

Holt Station

At Holt station we disembarked and had a mooch around the station and museum. We also looked around the pretty but tiny Railway Cottage, which has been lovingly restored. It’s well worth a visit – hard to believe it was home to a family of five.

Also at the station are a picnic area and miniature railway & gift shop.

vintage railway signs at holt station north norfolk railway uk

We then headed back to Sheringham station to continue with the rest of our plans for the day. All in all, we spent a wonderful few hours on the North Norfolk railway, it wasn’t stuffy at all. From the trainspotters lurking in every field and embankment, to the volunteer stationmasters & train drivers, everyone looked so genuinely happy to be taking part in the gala and their enthusiasm and friendliness was infectious. It was hard not to get caught up in the excitement….!

And of course the trains and locomotives were the real stars of the show. Most of them have been lovingly restored back to their former glory. If only all train journeys could be like this!

vintage 1930's train carriage

 

Well worth a visit if you get the opportunity.

So, has the power of steam worked its magic on you? Have you visited North Norfolk Railway? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you…..!

Til the next time.

Nila x

ps – see lots more photos and videos from my Brief Visit to North Norfolk Railway on my Instagram or Twitter feeds.

Instagram: @abriefvisitto
Twitter: @abriefvisit

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A Brief Visit to North Norfolk

gurneys fish shop burn ham market north norfolk

 

I had a wonderful time in North Norfolk on Saturday. The day started off a bit overcast but in the end we were blessed with perfect weather, lots of sunshine but not uncomfortably hot.

First stop – Burnham Market

We started the morning off, as we always do when visiting the area, with coffee at the Hoste in Burnham Market followed by a visit to the lovely independent shops in the village to stock up on picnic supplies.

Craynaise royale from Gurneys Fish shop is top of the list followed by pastries, pate and other delights from Humble Pie, a gorgeous deli. Since our last visit, Humble Pie has now moved to just above Gurneys Fish shop, resulting in a bijou little food emporium filled with delicious delights.

North Norfolk Railway

After loading up the car, we headed off to Sheringham for the Spring Steam Gala. I’ve been wanting to get my Harry Potter vibe on and take a ride on an old fashioned steam train for a few years now and the North Norfolk Railway did not disappoint.

vintage steam locomotive north norfolk railway

 

Holkham Beach

We finished off the day with a few hours relaxing on beautiful Holkham Beach, reading and polishing off the last of the picnic. All in all, a wonderful day and the perfect antidote to a busy, tiring week baking in a hot kitchen.

holkham beach norfolk

This is just a really quick post, I will write up a full post in the next few days so do check back for more info if you’re planning to visit the area.

Til then
Nila x

Instagram: @abriefvisitto
Twitter: @abriefvisit

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Hello world!

Hello!

This is my first post on my new travel related blog. I have spent many happy, happy days exploring the best of this country’s beaches, tourist spots, heritage sites and other interesting places with my family. Before I visit I nearly always read up about the place on websites and more recently on blogs. It’s this that’s made me want to start a blog of my own. To record the highlights of days out and about, in the hope that they may be of use to you if you’re planning a trip with friends and family.

I’d love to hear from you so please do leave me a comment or ask me a question.

Nila xx

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons to visit Holkham Beach this Summer

5 Reasons to visit Holkham Beach in North Norfolk

Holkham Beach, in my humble opinion, is one of the most beautiful beaches in the UK and along with Brancaster beach is one of my top beaches to visit on the North Norfolk Coast. With endless sand as far as the eye can see, bordered by the sea on one side and dark pine trees on the other, it’s clear to see why Holkham Beach was voted Beach of the Year 2018 by BBC Countryfile readers & judges.

The beach is part of the Holkham estate, which is also includes Holkham Hall and Deer Park, with an extensive calendar of events, shops featuring art and gifts made by local artists and a food hall, making it a lovely place to visit before heading to the beach or just as a destination in itself.

Here are my top 5 reasons for visiting Holkham Beach this Summer:

1. The beauty of Holkham Beach 

The first thing that strikes you about Holkham beach is colour. The mix of dark green pine forest and light green grass set against a backdrop or golden sand and crystal clear water. 

beaches to visit in norfolk holkham beach

2. Big Skies and endless sand at Holkham Beach 

The second is the sheer vastness and scale of the beach which is breathtaking, with massive skies and endless miles of soft, golden sand. Due to its sheer size, the beach rarely feels crowded.

north norfolk beaches holkham beach

 

3.Things to do on Holkham Beach

I’ve spent many, many happy days here on Holkham beach over the past few years. From April to September if the weather is good, we’ll wake up early on a Saturday, drive up to Norfolk from Bedfordshire and spend the day on the beach, only packing up and heading home as the light begins to fade. 

sand dunes at holkham beach north norfolk coast

This is the perfect beach for not really ‘doing’ anything. It’s a beach made for chilling with a good book, taking a swim or a long walk on a summers day.

sand dunes and pine trees at holkham beach north norfolk coast

If you’re there all day you’ll notice how the beach and sands shift and change shape and colour as the day goes by and tide comes in and out. 

holkham beach sands

And if you get fed up of doing nothing, then there are some lovely coastal walking routes that start and end on the beach. Next time we visit I plan to do the 2 mile walk to Wells-next-the-sea.

4. Dog friendly beach

Holkham Beach is a dog friendly beach, as such, it’s not uncommon to see lots of dogs walkers and if you’re really lucky, horses and their riders taking a dip in the sea.

5. Visitor Centre coming late Summer 2018

On our last visit, there was building work taking place at the top of the car park for a new Visitor Centre that will open late Summer 2018 which will provide lavatories and facilities. I’m in two minds about this development myself. While I can see that providing these facilities will benefit visitors (myself included) I also worry that it will make the beach a much more popular destination and some of the isolated beauty of the place may become lost if it attracts hordes of visitors.

sandy beach at holkham beach north norfolk coast http://abriefvisitto.co.uk

Getting to Holkham Beach

The beach and car park can be accessed via Lady Anne’s Drive. There are currently no toilet facilities on the beach, so we always stop off at the Hall first to use the facilities and stock up on supplies for our beach picnic if we need them.

The car park is pay and display and allows you to pay by credit card which is always a bonus in this day and age where, like me, you probably rarely have actual cash on you. (Or you did have, until buying ice cream to keep the kids quiet became the TOP priority).

Access to the beach is via the raised walkway. We nearly always head right once on the sand. There are a number of dunes here which make for a great place to set up for the day. 

pine trees and sand at holkham beach north norfolk http://abriefvisitto.co.uk

I love to stay on the beach until the sun is starting to set and we’re often amongst the last few people on the beach.

holkham beach at twilight http://abriefvisitto.co.uk

Then we’ll head back to the car park and start the journey home, with windswept hair and sand between our toes, already planning our next visit.

Did you know that Holkham Beach features in the closing scene from Shakespeare in Love when Gwyneth Paltrow emerges from the sea and walks across the vast beach? This was Holkham Beach.

Rumour also has it that part of Holkham Beach is / has been a nudist beach. I’ve never actually come across this myself but it’s probably because we tend to stick to the ‘family’ area.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post. If you do visit Holkham Beach this Summer be sure to let me know – I’d love to hear from you.

Nila x
Instagram: @abriefvisitto
Twitter: @abriefvisit