The Biggest Jellyfish I have Ever Seen!

We had a lovely day out in Exmouth, the highlight of which was seeing the biggest jellyfish ever! I literally screamed when it floated went past, even thought I was on the dock and not even in the water! It was like seeing a monster – a massive multicoloured creature, the likes of which I had no idea even existed in UK waters. We saw about 30 in all, and we spent around an hour looking for them and trying to photograph them, shrieking in delight when another one floated past! We are simple people.

The jellyfish were about 2 foot across, and 3 foot long, which is extremely big for the UK. I have seen some scary-looking jellyfish in Florida and took precautions against the super-dangerous Irukandji jellyfish in Australia. So I can imagine monsters like this living in Australia, but in the UK?! Wow. I took photos and looked it up afterwards, and apparently they were Dustbin-Lid Jellyfish, the biggest jellyfish in UK waters. They can grow up to 90cm across, but their sting is only like a nettle so they are fairly harmless. Still – I wouldn’t want to come face-to-face with one of these while swimming! Continue reading

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Ooo Devon is a Place on Earth!

We wanted to have a short break in North Devon and opted for Westward Ho! I’ll be honest – I have avoided this in the past as who has an exclamation mark in their name?! It seemed faintly ridiculous, but to Westward Ho! we went. And Wow! We loved Westward Ho! A beach of endless sand, a simple seaside holiday with fish and chips and ice cream – it was just when we needed.

The beach itself was the piece de resistance – at low tide it stretched on, beautiful flat sand. I couldn’t believe we were in the UK – it seemed more like New Zealand! Continue reading

Visiting the home of Broadchurch – West Bay, Dorset

Broadchurch was one of those TV shows I was hooked on. I couldn’t wait to get home to see the next episode, and speculated endlessly about who-dunnit. When I found out it was based in the Westcountry (as Olivia Coleman’s accent suggests), and West Bay in Dorset to be precise, I decided a visit was in order!

West Bay is dominated by large yellow cliffs. The cliffs are part of the Jurassic Coast and there is always a danger of rock-falls. I have seen many stories in the news about tourists who take risks and either stand on the edge of the cliff, or directly underneath it to get the best selfie. The last rockfall saw 1,000 tonnes of rock and debris falling, so you don’t wanna be underneath that! Continue reading

Portsmouth: The Dubai of Southern England?

Portsmouth is a harbour city in Southern England. My Mum had been saying for a while that she wanted to go because of the historic dockyard. I quite fancied being in the sunny south coast with a nice waterfront and Dubai-like sail, while watching the ships pass by. And it was a breath of fresh air.

The Historic Dockyard is quite something. There are various old boats to see, including¬† the Mary Rose, Henry the Eighth’s boat which sank in 1545, saw preserved in silt at the bottom of the harbour for 437 years (Yes, 437 years!!) before being dredged up in 1982. It is just like the Vasa in Stockholm, Sweden, which was on the sea-bed for around 300 years and is perfectly preserved. There are also ships like the HMS Victory which was Nelson’s ship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and the HMS Warrior from 1860 which was heavily armoured so no-one dared attack it and it never engaged in battle. Note: tickets are expensive and confusing – see the travel tips section at the bottom of this page. Continue reading

Paying our respects at the National Memorial Arboretum

The National Memorial Arboretum is our national monument in the UK to those fallen in the wars since WW2. I always see it on the news – normally the Queen is there laying a wreath on poppy day – so I thought we should pay it a visit.

It feels very inappropriate to say, but we actually had a nice day out there. There is a large glossy visitors centre (which feels very american – the type of thing you get in the National Parks) so we had a lovely lunch in the cafe there first, before going for a stroll round the park. Continue reading

Time Stands Still at Coniston, Lake District

I volunteered to drive to Coniston, which was a mistake. I’m normally sure of my width (ie. the width of my car – thank you!) but I found myself going down tiny roads which made me want to breathe in when another car went past. After what seemed like hours, I was relieved when we finally got to Coniston (and even more relived when my Mum offered to drive back!).

We managed to park for free on the street which was a bonus, as most parking in the Lake District is payable – you can be driving along in the middle of nowhere and see a lay-by with a few parking spaces in a wood – and there’s a parking meter!! Continue reading

Don’t Annoy the Bride! (in Windermere)

The Lake District, is one of the most beautiful areas of natural beauty in the UK. We visited for a mini-break to explore the vast lakes, mountains, and eat lots of ice cream!

Lake Windermere is probably the most famous lake the Lake District, and the nearby villages of Bowness-on-Windermere and Windermere form a must-do part of any trip to the Lake District. Continue reading

Gateway to the Lake District

After a slow motion drive up the M6 in traffic we were glad to stop at Morecambe. Famous for its endless sands stretching to the horizon, we made a beeline for the waterfront to stretch our legs.

After a short stroll along the blustery front, we hopped back into our warm car to continue the journey north. All the while we could see the mountains in the distance, calling us forward! Continue reading

Devouring the Jurassic Coast in Lyme Regis, Dorset

The Jurassic Coast is a stretch of coast from Sidmouth in South Devon reaching east into Dorset, and including the town of Lyme Regis.sidmouth

Sidmouth is a cute little town with good cliff walks nearby. We walked up the nearby High Peak cliff-top footpath for lovely views over the bay. Continue reading

Christmas in the Cotswolds

During cold frosty December, we took a trip to the cosy Cotswolds. The Cotswolds is well known for being a pretty area of rolling hills and golden-coloured stone houses, but everything looked extra cosy and welcoming at Christmas time!

cosy-windowWe visited the small towns of Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Norton, which is a small piece of the Cotswolds, so plenty more places to explore! Continue reading