I was recently at a conference in Manchester. The return journey afforded my wife and I the opportunity to take in the Peak District. Seeing that we live in the Brecks and are bordered by the Fens, the chance to see anything taller than a couple hundred of feet above sea level made a nice scenic change.
I particularly liked the dry stone walls, and the tranquillity of the pasture lands. Yes, we have sheep and cattle in East Anglia too, but the stone enclosures are so much more attractive than wire fencing.
My wife and I made a pit-stop on our return journey home from Bournemouth in order to visit Stonehenge. It was a cloudy but dry day and had just enough springtime warmth to make the outdoor stop enjoyable.
It had been twenty years since my last visit to Stonehenge. Previously we had parked in a grassy field and bought tickets from a kiosk only a short walk from the stones. When we visited yesterday, we found a paved car park (£5 to park but refunded with ticket – free with our blue badge) and a modern visitor centre with cafe, toilets, and a reconstructed village as imagined from the time period of the construction of the circle. The queue was a bit long for tickets (£20 ticket for seniors), though the annual membership and pre-order lines went faster. As the “new” centre is further from the stones there is more of a walk, though a shuttle bus also is available. The place remains iconic, scenic, and educational.
Wheelchairs are available on site, and the paths are level enough to make decent progress with a walker or said wheel chairs. The shuttle is recommended for those with mobility needs.
There are also a number of benches and picnic tables near the visitor centre.
Bournemouth provided a great opportunity to explore more of the surrounding area by sea. There were boat trips available from the Bournemouth Pier which explored not only the immediate bay, but the Jurassic Coast and the towns of Poole and Swanage.
And of course all sea journeys help to give you an appetite!
My wife and I had a nice visit to the seaside while I was attending a union conference. Bournemouth has an interesting combination of beaches and the usual British coastal amusements and a very hilly terrain which for someone more familiar with Great Yarmouth was a bit of an adjustment.
We stayed at the Hilton which we found very welcoming and convenient especially as it has its own parking. We had a meal at a lovely southern African restaurant called Zimbraai which my wife enjoyed as a “taste of home” and took our other dinners in the hotel’s own Schpoons and Forx restaurant which had lovely attentive service and a really friendly manager who is from Italy. The room was large and clean and had both a fridge and a spacious safe that was large enough to store laptops, etc.
The Observation Wheel is directly in front of the pier on Bournemouth Beach. Tickets are £6, or £5 for seniors, and the views are good making it a nice little addition to the seaside visit.
There is a land train which runs both east and west along the seafront from Bournemouth Pier and which stops also at the Boscombe Pier. An all day adult ticket is £6.50 and does allow some easy and inexpensive transport along the attractions on the beach.
The Bournemouth Oceanarium is one of those attractions which I guess makes the seaside the seaside. This aquarium has a number of exhibits and sports such things as clown fish, sharks, and penguins. It costs £14.50 (adults) or £12.50 (seniors), family ticket are also available.
Add in an ice cream on the beach, and I think we have a complete seaside adventure (I will write about the boat trip to Poole in another post).