Category Archives: 2016

Liverpool – November Weekend Break

Mandy and I always make the effort to get away on our Birthday weekend which fall in February and November respectively. This used to be in the form of a B&B, or hotel in a nice location away from home. However, since we brought the camper its pretty much been an excuse to go away in the van.

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An example of Liverpool’s beauty

Come mid October we were struggling to decide on a location for my birthday. I saw a post on Facebook by somebody saying they had spent a night at Liverpool Marina in their camper, so we decided to investigated the option by looking at the Marina website ,and sending an email for prices and availability. The response was £15 per overnight stay in the outer car parks, which included access to shower facilities.  The price was fine as a room in a hotel or B&B in the center of Liverpool would have been upwards or £80. However, information on the camping location was sketchy, so Mandy and I were understandably apprehensive. We decided to commit to the weekend in the hope that it would work out for the ok. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Saturday 12th started well for me. I got presents and cards :) . The weather on the other hand was dull and rainy :( . We set off from Derby mid morning, and arrived at Liverpool just as the rain stopped and the sun came out. The post code we used in the Sat-Nav positioned us in a car park with a few campervans. Initially we thought it was the right location and were a little dissapointed at the lack of boats. There was water, but no boats. It soon became apparent we were in the wrong place as the Marina Yacht Club was nowhere to be seen. A short drive lead us to the right location where we found a nice spot on the edge of the car park to set the van up.

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This gave us great views of the boats in the Marina.

Pitched Up and ready to hit the city
Pitched Up and ready to hit the city

We popped into the Yatch Club to make our presence known, collected a swipe card to enable access the shower (£10 deposit), and paid for two nights parking (£30). We soon got our bearings and headed towards Albert Dock. This was a 15 minute walk along the River Mersey past the Liverpool Exhibition Center, BT Convention Center and the Echo Arena.

Mersey at low tide
Mersey at low tide

We had been to Liverpool in the past. The first time was a coach trip to the cavern club for an evening, and a couple of times after that where we parked up at the main shopping complex ‘Liverpool One’. On all  occasions we only saw a very limited portion of what the city had to offer. It’s not surprising that our impression of Liverpool was a little muted. That said, the regeneration and new developments seen on the brief walk from Marina to the Albert Docks was certainly giving me a reason to question my opinion. Over the course of the afternoon, my view of Liverpool changed dramatically for the better.

The quays, wharf’s, docks, architecture, museums and colorful history makes Liverpool one of the most interesting City’s to visit. I really couldn’t believe that  we had missed such a lot previously. Saturday afternoon gave us a great overview of the docks and its location in relation to the other areas we were more familiar with. A coffee at Nero, a meal at one of our favorite restaurants Zizzis, in combination with plenty of fresh air and  walking made the day pretty much perfect. Suffice to say we both slept extremely well that night.

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Sunday was Armistice day. This always fell on my birthday weekend so  we were used to being cought up in the excitement of the parades. This year was different. We had a leisurely start to the day because we didn’t feel the need to rush being so local to the city center. We had a shower, a cuppa & breakfast, then set off on a brisk walk up the now familiar ‘Kings Parade’  to the Albert Docks. We were so distracted by the shops and attractions at the docks, by the time we realized it was almost midday and we had missed the parade :(  …but I found this on youtube  :)

On the Saturday I had seen some small ferries giving guided tours of the docklands and river. I decided that this would be a great way to pass some time and learn a little about the history of the area. Unfortunately no ferries were running on Sunday because of armistice day. So we settled for an open top bus tour.

The temperature in the afternoon dropped so this was a chilly experience, but it was a great way to see far more of the sights than we would have been able to on foot. One fact I  learnt was “Liverpool has more grade 1 & 2 listed buildings outside of London than anywhere else in England” .

Anyways, we stayed a second night at the Marina before heading home the following day. In summary a really great city break on a real budget. Highly recommended for anybody that has a campervan / motorhome :)

Blackpool Sands, Dartmouth (14)

Blackpool Sands was the venue for the last stop of our two week vacation. This was to attend the “2016 Vans in the Sands” camper van meet. This is a unique opportunity to camp on one of the best kept beaches in the country. It turned out to be a cracking event, and the Grand-Finale by all accounts.

Last year we attended the same event and this is the reason we committed ourselves early on as soon as the 2016 event came available this earlier in the year. Last year it was at the mid way point on our two week travels, and  we had relatives visit which distracted slightly from socializing with the other campervan owners . 2016 was different in as much as it was our time to sit back, have a drink, and enjoy a little company with like minded people before we embarked on the drive back to Derby to conclude our holiday. Words can’t describe just how good it was. We made some great friends, and caught up with some of the people we met last year. We have decided that everything permitting we should be attending Vans in the Sands 2017 :)

 

 

Fowey & Polperro (10)

We awoke in the morning at Little Winnick Touring Park to damp and drizzly conditions. We chose not to stay another night at the camp site, but hadn’t found another pitch for leter on in the day. We knew the general direction which we were needing to move so we had options, but nothing we had committed to yet. We had heard that the Mevegissey to Fowey Ferry was one of the best boat trips in the UK. Mevegissey was literally two miles round the corner so we considered this as our main excursion of the day. However, after checking on the website we found that due to unsettled conditions in the St Austell Bay all trips had been cancelled :( . Plan B was to drive to Fowey and see what that had to offer.

The day remained gloomy throughout, but it didn’t damp our spirits. We were content to be moving on after a couple of nights in one spot. It only took us about 35 – 40 mins from Little Winnick but climbing the hill to the main car park required us to take a second run up after a car pulled out of a junction at the bottom of the hill killing Wolfgang’s momentum. Quite embarrassing really, but we made it in the end :( .

Fowey is quaint there is no doubt about that. Its twisting streets and alleys give it real character, and there are a raft of small shops and galleries to peruse. I would imagine that had the weather been good we could have gone on a harbor trip, or just sit and admire the boats. We spent an hour and a half looking round and getting our bearings before we decided it was coffee time. We found a nice Pub called the Gallion Inn. The view over the harbor was good so we chilled with a drink and took advantage of the free Wifi to look for a suitable campsite for the evening. An hour later we had polished off our drinks, had a meal and made a phone call to book in to our next campsite. It was still only early afternoon so the day was not over yet..

Quirky shaped building :)

Harbourside

Climbing the hill out of Fowey

We walked up to the van and waved goodbye to  Fowey. The next campsite was in Looe so we plotted a course to included Polperro. We weren’t sure how much time we would have there, but it was good to have the flexibility of pulling in another Cornish fishing village, even if it was on a whistle stop tour.

We were there within the hour, and parked the van in the main ‘tourist’ car park at the bottom of the hill on the way into the village.

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From there we caught the Tram down the road to the harbor. It was only a short journey passing some of the gift shops and pub / restaurants. We could have walked but I liked the idea of travelling in this odd looking vehicle (We would walk back 😉 )

Electric Tram..Errr, milk float more like ;)

In the car park. Novel way to advertise i guess

Harbour

Polperro is just a few miles from Looe,  and is sheltered from the ravages of time in its cliff ravine.  There was a tourist element about the place with the odd tacky gift shop, but that was limited and not overwhelming. I would say that Polperro had a similar genre of shops to Fowey. Some designer shops and art galleries. In total we probably spent about two hours there. Just enough time to walk around the shops and have an ice cream. In summary both Fowey and Polperro are amazing places and well worth a visit if you find yourself in this beautiful part of the UK. For us the lack of time in both places left us with enough reason to want to go back again in the future. Hopefully we will have some sun then, but for now we needed to get to our next campsite. Bay View Farm!

Next Stop Looe

Little Winnick (9)

After a great day in Falmouth we headed to Little Winnick Touring Park. This evening was meant to be a wild camp but we decided we couldn’t be bothered with the potential hassle of being moved on…and we liked the idea of having a shower in the morning :) . We had already booked for two nights. However, arriving early we didn’t want to commit ourselves for a full three night, and the campsite was fine about us being indecisive. So we paid for two nights with the option of extending it further if required.

The weather was great late afternoon. The campsite gave us total autonomy as far as the non electric hook up pitches were concerned. We found a spot near a tree to set the van up. My fist job afterwards was to give Wolfgang a clean. However, not long after the sun moved behind the tree and the temperature dropped as a result. Maybe not such a good idea pitching up next to the tree :(

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Giving the van a good clean…in the shade :(

Food that evening was done using the Cobb Cooker. Foccia bread, potatoes, salmon and savory rice stuffed peppers with pasta :) . We ate this in the van with the heater on :)

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To settle the meal we took a stroll a short distance along the main road and over a bridge onto the opposite side of the stream. The stream formed the boundary of the campsite. This path was a part of the Pentewan Trail which lead through a forest to the coast. After 20 minutes we headed back as it was starting to get dark. No great shakes as we ended up walking to the coast the following morning after breakfast and a shower.

Pentewan Trail

Chilling after the walk

Chilly but a nice beach at Pentewan

Getting wrestles..ready to head back

One thing we noticed about the campsite was the very limited mobile phone connection. That twinned with the fact we couldn’t do a great deal in the immediate location without having to pack the van up and use it to get around meant that it was a little restrictive. I guess we had been lucky at the previous locations we had visited and now we felt a little had done to :( .

polgooth-inn-set-in-aThe second evening we drove to a pub called the Polgooth Inn about 3 miles from our touring park, but it was very popular and there was more than an hours wait for a table. So we headed back after a drink and got the Cobb Cooker on the go. Suffice to say we decided not to stay for a third night.

Next Stop Fowey & Polperro

Falmouth (8)

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Falmouth was a bit of a last minute punt if I am totally honest. Originally we were set for the second of our two wild camps after Lizard Point. However, after the failed attempt at wild camping we  were thinking of bringing the Little Winnick campsite forward a day if they could accommodate us. So we looked at the map and saw Falmouth was en route.

As soon as we arrived the town had a good vibe about the it. As time passed it was apparent there was plenty to see and do for the day. Both Mandy and myself agreed was a good decision in the end.

We managed to get in touch with Little Winnick campsite whilst in Falmouth and they agreed that we would be able to arrive a day earlier than originally planned :)

Next Stop Little Winnick