England’s ‘West Country’ is renowned for its natural beauty, lovely houses and gardens, and coastal towns. This charming 10 day program explores some of the most beautiful landscapes, charming seaside villages, ancestral homes, and sites from the popular TV series Doc Martin and Poldark.
On arrival at London’s Heathrow Airport, join your private tour bus and drive to beautiful Bath. Check into your hotel and enjoy a light lunch prior to this afternoon’s walking tour of the elegant spa town. You’ll see architectural treasures such as the Royal Crescent, The Circus and the Asembly Rooms, and your tour will end with a visit to the Roman Baths. Later, return to your hotel for an evening at leisure and an early night!
After Breakfast at the hotel, stroll up the hill to visit Bath’s wonderful Number One Royal Crescent, an elegant house which has been kept in the style of Regency Bath; you will see how people lived in the time of Jane Austen. Stop in at the Fashion Museum, a journey through the history of clothing and accessories from Bath’s heyday to the present. There will be time at leisure this morning for shopping; Bath has an incredible array of wonderful stores before this afternoon’s visit to Bowood House, a grand stately home which dates back to the eighteenth century. Its beautiful gardens were designed by maestro Capability Brown. Later, return to Bath for dinner and overnight.
Depart Bath this morning by private tour bus en route to Cornwall. Our lunch stop will be at the gorgeous gardens of Rosemoor, owned by the Royal Horticultural Society, and there will be time to stroll around and enjoy the beautiful plants. On arrival in Cornwall, check into our Country House hotel for dinner and overnight.
Driving westwards, we will visit Pencarrow
House. Here are fifty acres of formal and woodland gardens specialising in
conifers, rhododendrons and camellias. The historic Georgian house is still
owned and lived in by the family who have a superb collection of
pictures, furniture, porcelain and some antique dolls. Lunch will be in Padstow, a gourmet fishing village with many fine restaurants.
Continue to Lanhydrock, situated in the Fowey valley; the garden forms a horseshoe around one of the finest houses in Cornwall, built in the seventeenth century and restored in the nineteenth. Upstairs and downstairs rooms are furnished in the Edwardian style, making this one of the most impressive houses in Cornwall. The garden is famed for its early magnolias, a garden of contrasts with its formal Victorian parterres and wooded garden on the hillside above. The area is also associated with author Daphne du Maurier, who lived here and set many of her novels in Cornwall.
Return to our Cornwall hotel for dinner and overnight.
We begin the day in the quaint unspoilt fishing
village of Port Isaac. Port Isaac was a busy coastal port from the Middle Ages to the mid 19th Century
when it was an active harbour where cargoes like stone, coal, timber and
pottery were loaded and unloaded. To this day the fishing industry has played
an important part in the village’s history and brightly coloured fishing boats
dot the harbour. It is renowned for its narrow streets and alleyways, having one of the
narrowest thoroughfares in Britain, the aptly named ‘Squeezy Belly Alley.’ Many of the village’s buildings will be easily identifiable to Doc Martin fans,
including Fern Cottage which was used as the doctors surgery, Bert’s Restaurant
and the chemist’s, to name a few…
After a good look around the village with plenty of photo opportunities we head on to neighbouring Port Gaverne, a tiny peaceful cove, then past Roscraddock Manor farm where a barn is used for many of the interior scenes of Doc Martin such as the surgery.
Continue up past Dinnabroad Farm, used as the location for Aunt Joan’s farm, to the village of Delabole where all the interior school scenes are filmed at the local Primary School. You will then make a stop at the beautiful beach at Trebarwith Strand where we can take in the magnificent views from the Port William pub high up on the cliff overlooking the beach and enjoy lunch on your own.
Continue into the dramatic and rugged landscape of Bodmin Moor, stopping briefly in St Breward, a tiny village surrounded by open countryside and high hills. Here you’ll find the highest church in Cornwall at about 700ft. The Old Inn here featured as the location for the interior shots of the sudden delivery of Martin and Louisa’s baby in season 4.
Cross the old airfield at Davidstow, home to flocks of moorland sheep and wild ponies, past Crowdy Reservoir and on to the last stop of the day, in the beautiful village of Altarnun, arguably one of the prettiest villages in Cornwall. The 12th century church of St Nonnas and known locally as “The Cathedral of the Moors” was used as the location for Martin and Louisa’s wedding….the parish priest is actually a huge Doc Martin fan himself!)
First visit today will be to Cotehele, a Tudor house approached by way of a medieval barn, gatehouse, and three courtyards. In side the house, the floors slope, the rooms are dark, and there is no electricity. The furnishings date back to the Tudor period. Also on the itinerary today; the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Europe’s largest garden restoration project. These glorious gardens have been brought back to life to tell the story of those ‘ordinary’ people who tended the land before departing for the Great War. Later we will visit Eden, the dramatic global garden housed in the world’s largest greenhouses. This unique venture was created to tell the fascinating story of man’s relationship with plants, and you will travel between the environments of the world experiencing the different climatic conditions and diverse plant. Dinner tonight will be at a well-known local restaurant.
Today’s tour takes you as far as you can go in Cornwall,
down to the magical and unspoilt far West, the very end of England, where
beautiful white-sand beaches and rocky headlands are dotted with abandoned
mines and engine houses fill the landscape.
Start on the South coast with a view of St Michael’s
Mount and a visit to the church of St Hilary, with its magnificent frescoes,
painted by artists of the Newlyn School. From here, drive to Porthcurno, close
to Land’s End. Visit the famous Minack Theatre, a wonderful open-air theatre
built into the cliff edge that allows superb views across the bay to Pedn
Vounder beach, which is one of the most beautiful and widely photographed
beaches in Cornwall, chosen as a location for many scenes throughout Poldark.
From Porthcurno, head West to Porthgwarra, a picturesque fishing hamlet which has a slipway, caves and tunnels that evoke images of Cornish smugglers and pirates. It is a delightful secluded little place; the scene where Demelza spies Ross taking his morning swim was filmed here. Continue along the coast of West Cornwall, through the quaint unspoiled town of St Just whose history is rooted in the mining, farming and fishing of days gone by. Nearby Wheal Owles is spectacularly situated on a cliff edge and was used to portray Ross Poldark’s mine. Free time for lunch in a local pub before contiuing along the coast to the small village of Zennor and then bypassing St Ives, to St Just. This drive is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the whole of Britain.
Final destination of the day is St Agnes Head. Winston Graham wrote most of his books whilst he lived in Perranporth, just a few miles from St Agnes, and the landscape and characters around him during his life inspired much of his work. The area was used to represent Nampara Valley, part of Poldark’s family estate in the new series. Finish your tour at Wheal Coates, one of the most photographed spots in Cornwall.
Today will be spent in St Ives, exploring the artists’ community there. This area has been in the news recently as the location of the 2021 G7 meeting, and has been popular with holidaymakers for many years, with its stunning white sandy beaches. St Ives itself is an artists’ paradise, with narrow cobbled streets, painted fisherman’s cottages and strong artistic community. An outpost of the Tate Gallery and the Barbara Hepworth museum are situated here as well as numerous other galleries and studios. We will visit the Tate Gallery, touring in company with one of the docents, and also attend a reception in the atelier of a contemporary artist. Free time to wander and shop before returning to our Cornish Country House hotel.
The estuary of the Helford River is one of the loveliest parts of Cornwall. We will call in at Trebah, garden of dreams. This beautiful ravine garden is the impressive result of more than a century of inspired and dedicated creation. Walk from the house down through glades of sub-tropical ferns and palms, beneath a canopy of century-old rhododendrons and magnolias. Stroll by the Koi pool through the water gardens and past tranquil pools to the private beach where you can relax and sample a traditional Cornish Cream Tea in the coffee shop. Lunch will be at a waterside inn, where oysters are served fresh from the nearby oyster farm. This afternoon, we will take a boat ride along the water, a delightful alternative viewpoint of this beautiful area. Last stop of the day will be at the best ice-cream shop in Cornwall!
After a leisurely start, we will take the train to Heathrow Airport. Overnight accommodation will be in one of the airport hotels, in preparation for your homeward flight tomorrow.
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