An adventurous group climbed their way up Capstone Hill, determined to reach the summit. After a great effort by all, it was a fantastic feeling when we saw the Union Jack flag flying high in the sky. The views were amazing and we were able to see far and wide. We were so thrilled at our achievement.
We visited the Lynmouth Flood Memorial Hall dedicated to the lives lost in the great flood of 1952. The Cliff Railway built in 1888 from Lynmouth up to Lynton is a fully water powered railway and is the highest and steepest water powered railway in the world. A trip up to the top was a must! The views of the coastal scenery are spectacular and once up in Lynton we had a traditional Cornish Pasty for lunch, taking in these breathtaking sights.
Lynton also have a fascinating Toy Museum & Shop. This small museum is packed with toys, games and books from the 1970s and 1980s. It was fantastic to reminisce and enjoy the toys and games we once played with as children. It bought back great memories.
An exciting morning was spent in Paignton, a bustling, vibrant town home to the Dartmouth Steam Railway. This wonderful steam train was named Braveheart and we soon boarded, ready to start our journey. We travelled along the stunning coastline, lined with golden sandy beaches and we especially loved waving to those spectators taking photos of the train along the route. We stopped at Churston, Greenway Halt; home of Agatha Christie which provided us with spectacular woodland views. Our final stop was at Kingswear where we were welcomed by the most beautiful views over the harbour, overlooked by hundreds of pastel painted houses.
Luckily for us we were able to see how molten glass is transformed into items of beauty as the skilled craftsmen made beautiful wine glasses and vases at the Dartington Crystal Factory. From the viewing galleries we were able to see the finished products sparkling and getting a final inspection before being packed. We walked around the visitors centre and learnt about the history of Dartington crystal and that it’s the UK's only remaining glass factory. There was lots of commemorative items on display including many items that had been made for the Royal Family and special events including the Olympics. It was a unique and fascinating experience.
The Great Torrington Heritage Museum is run by friendly volunteers with the exhibits being donated by local people over the years. Famous for glove making, dating back to the 16th century we were able to see the tools and machines that would have been used and a display of the various gloves that were made. We enjoyed seeing the old costumes and pottery, amongst other artefacts.
The busy little seaside town of Ilfracombe had a very impressive harbour and we were amazed at the size of the beautiful bronze and stainless steel statue named Verity; a pregnant woman and her unborn baby which symbolised truth and justice.
Continuing our walk, we found the most treasured of all Devon’s museums which showcases Ilfracombe’s local maritime history and donations from local residents of artefacts from around the world.
The bowling alley was a great way to spend an afternoon. We all managed to get some fantastic scores and a good few strikes with Ian, being crowned the overall winner with a fantastic score of 121! More fun was had in the amusement arcade, trying our luck on some of the machines in return for some prizes.
Seaton Tramway was a step back in time as we travelled on the oldest Tram in the fleet, originally built in 1904 and was rebuilt at Eastbourne and Seaton between 1962 and 1984. We took our seats and started our journey from Seaton to Colyton. Looking out the window at the magnificent countryside and passing famous landmarks.
Widecombe-in-the-Moor, a village on Dartmoor National Park is famous for its annual fair which takes place on the second Tuesday of September and attracts visitors from far and wide. It was a glorious day for it as we wandered around marvelling at the magnificent vintage cars, farm machinery, different breeds of cattle, blacksmiths hard at working shoeing the horses, arts and craft stalls, folk singers and dog agility displays. We loved people watching as they walked around in period costumes.
We also found a great homemade fudge stall and bought some to take home as a treat!
An ice cream in the sunshine is always a good idea!
Plymouth National Marine Aquarium is the largest Aquarium in the UK. We first visited the rock pools and were able to see the small crabs, starfish, lobster and smaller marine animals. We read and learnt about the conservation programmes in place to clean up our oceans and beaches in order to protect the wildlife. We saw the jellyfish tank and walked through the glass tunnel where sharks, turtles and large fish passed over our heads. This was an amazing experience, we felt like we were in the sea with them.
We came across The Highwayman pub, situated on the edge of Dartmoor. It is known as Britain's most unusual and most magical pub. We were amazed to find an Aladdin's cave of the most unusual, wacky and intriguing artefacts. We had our evening meal and a few drinks before the owners invited us to visit some of the rooms, including a ships cabin dining room. Everyone was in agreement that this would certainly be a place that we wouldn’t forget.
A lovely day was spent at Exmoor Zoo. It was fascinating to see some unique and very unusual animals that we had not seen or heard of before like the binturong, singing dog and sand cat. We really enjoyed visiting the monkey house where most of them were basking in the sun, eating fruit which the keeper had left for them.
We also managed to watch the cheetah’s at feeding time and listened to the keeper explain their eating regime and that due to a successful breeding programme they are no longer considered endangered.