So Me and Brad went to the Netherlands in June 2019 to meet up with some of our closest friends Mel and Stan! Stan actually lives in the Netherlands too, so it was a pleasure to be hosted by him in his home country! We also met out friend Kaat from Belgium, she came across and stayed a few days with us.
We had an awesome few days and did some amazing things together. These photos below don’t actually do it any justice and it was so hard to find my favourites! We did a boat tour, went to the beach in Zandvoort, the A-dam look out and Swing, so many coffee shop and also a night out on the town! So these are only a quarter of my favourite shots I took in the Netherlands because If I had a choice I would have chosen all of them.
Enjoy and let me know which ones your favourite & if you’ve been to these places below!
We woke up refreshed andready to go for another day of exploring the South West coast!
Waking up In the Hobbit Homes was really cool and very refreshing. You stepped straight outside into the fresh air so it was nice to have a cuppa and enjoy the fresh morning weather! Once we had walked down to the washrooms, had a shower and freshened up check out was at 10 so we got sorted and headed out to explore St Ives! The washrooms were also really clean and fresh. Although it would have been nice to see someone cleaning it straight after we had used it for other guests we also understand in todays climate that might not be possible!
So we jumped in the car and drive the 10 minute drive into the centre of St Ives. The first mistake we made was driving. Parking is really very limited so if possible park at the top of the hill on your way into St Ives. The walk back up might be painful but not as painful as trying to find parking in the centre because it isn’t really plausible on a busy summers day.
St Ives from the off was so beautiful, the blue water and the beautiful beaches and harbour. It was low tide so all the boats were resting on the sand in the harbour as we waded through the masses of people who had finally escaped after the coronavirus lockdown. Admittedly this was the only location out of the many that we visited where I didn’t feel Covid safe walking through the streets. Usually when we were outdoors I’d keep my mask off but when we were walking through I felt incredibly uncomfortable especially being basically shoulder to shoulder and popped my mask on until we had reached the other side of the harbour. All the restaurants were open and it was Ice creams galore! I love all the stone buildings and the cobbled streets. I imagine in winter its the cosiest town of them all.
We wandered across to Smeaton Pier and followed the coastal pathway along the seafront around to the piece of land known as ‘The Island’. To get there we walked past Bamaluz beach and also Porthgwidden beach to finally make our way up to St Ives head, situated on The Island, and also to take a nosey at St Nicholas Chapel too! It was a really lovely walk with beautiful views of St Ives beaches and the harbour. We then finished off with a picture overlooking Porthmeor Beach and a walk back through the cobbled streets of St Ives (trying not to buy even MORE fudge from some of the delicious shops) and up the dreaded hill to the car!
Next up on the agenda was to drive across from St Ives to Lands End! I was really excited for this as I’m from Lowestoft (although no longer residing there now) and Lowestoft holds the landmark on our coast for the Most Easterly Point of the UK! So Complete opposite sides of the country which is pretty fun. So I was very excited when we arrived.
We paid the £7 parking fee which is basically your entry fee and then headed down to the entrance! When you arrive there are so many facilities I really didn’t expect. I was expecting to arrive to the lands end landmark post, the flag and that was really about it. I was shocked to find children’s amusements and also multiple food stalls and places for drinks! There is even a hotel and place for you to stay if you wanted too! It was good as I was hungry so had a portion of nachos for the price of a small London Flat. It was massively overpriced but I guess its the tourist attractions that do that to you!
We wandered past the stalls after some food and headed down to look at the actual Lands End landmark, unfortunately again you had to pay for a picture in front of it. But we didn’t do that and just took a pretty good picture from the other side of the line and our own pictures as we walked down the slope towards the first and last house! It was cool to see the first and last post box and the first and last house, the first and last flagpole and the Lands End viewpoint. I never imaged I’d be that far South West in my entire life. Now all I want to do is go to the most Northern and Southern point! It would have made sense really to go to the most Southern point whilst at Lands End as it was just an hours drive away! Highlight of Lands end was definitely the proposal we saw by the Lands End sign, so nice that even the bad weather didn’t bring the mood down for such a special occasion!
Next location on the adventure for the next two days, the longest we will have spent anywhere on the trip, was Newquay! Now I was so excited to go to Newquay so I could teach Brad how to surf! The drive from Lands End to Newquay was only an hour or so and was really easy.
We arrived at our Airbnb and it was absolutely beautifully decorated and so cosy. We had everything we needed from a coffee machine, bathroom with a shower next door to the room with towels, a TV, a place to put our sandy things from the beach, the COMFIEST double, wardrobe space, Wi-Fi and a TV to relax and watch when we weren’t out exploring. It was like an upside down house, Kylie the host lived upstairs and the room ad bathroom was downstairs. During these Covid times she kept the bathroom sparkling clean also which was amazing. The best part about this Airbnb though? I went to the toilet at 6am and was greeted in an open kitchen door to A HOUSE RABBIT. I must have missed this part on the listing as it definitely states she’s in there but I was so pleasantly surprised, what a great way to wake up! She was super cute!
As we arrived quite late in the evening we decided to walk into Newquay and find some food. Unfortunately at this point the Help out to Eat out scheme had just started and we didn’t even think to book, everywhere was SO busy. We manged to find a table on the main high street at a place called Lost Brewing Co. On a complete whim and reluctantly we went inside and I am so glad we did, it was so good we went back the following day for drinks before our meal elsewhere. Not only do they brew their own beers and sell them here but the food was amazing. I had Halloumi fries, Battered prawns, Chicken strips and some fries as well for finger food as I was just so hungry and couldn’t make my mind up but they are actually super popular for their burgers as well!
All in all another successful day, we headed back to the Airbnb shortly after so we could get some good nights sleep ready for a day full of surfing the next day!
Another early wake up on Day 3 for a full day of action and exploring with Tasmin as our tour guide showing us around Brixham, Berry Head, Totnes and Dartmoor before we headed across to St Ives!
Our first stop was Berry Head just around the corner from Torquay and Brixham. It was a beautiful spot for a walk and to enjoy the sea views off the cliffs! Berry head is a nature reserve and coastal headland which houses an old quarry, a lighthouse and a cute little cafe for anyone wanting a hot drink and a cake whilst they take in the views of the ocean! It was a gorgeous spot and I’m glad we went on such a hot day! Its also one of only 7 Unesco Geoparks in the UK, 140 only in the world, how fascinating is that? It certainly didn’t disappoint.
Once we had finished in Berry Head it was off to Brixham. A bustling and very colourful seaside town on the coast of Devon. The houses were all beautiful colours and there were endless families crabbing in the harbour! I hadn’t been crabbing since I was a kid so this was so great to see which they had managed to catch with their lines and bits of bacon on the end. Of course fish and chips was in order. Tas took us to this amazing fish and chips shop called Rio’s Fish & Chips restaurant and takeaway. We decided on a takeaway and went and sat at Brixham Breakwater, a small flat stoned beach just the other side of the harbour!
The food was amazing and we spent the next half a hour watching and learning how to skim stones. Tas and Brad were really good but I just got into the habit of just throwing them into the water and giving up. But I tried and thats what counts!
Next up on our travels was the cute town of Totnes. With a beautiful river on low tide as we arrived we walked up the main high street which is a slight hill to enjoy all the small independent shops and to watch them make fudge in the window at Roly’s Fudge Pantry. A place we noticed is EVERYWHERE. Exeter, Lincoln, Brixham, Bournemouth, you name it chances are they have a shop there. We ventured up a small alleyway underneath the archway that hung over the main high street to find a quaint church of Totnes with low hanging trees all down the pathway, It was really beautiful. Followed by a browse in a book shop, mine and Tas’ favourite place! We then headed back down the hill for the next leg our journey!
Tas wanted to take us to Princetown in the Dartmoor National park and it was without a doubt the most stunning part of the trip when it came to driving routes! There were wild horses everywhere and sheep all over the hills and in the road that you had to slow down and swerve just so you didn’t hit them! One sheep did decide to run out in front of the car but thanks to Brads quick reactions he was safe and so were we! Honestly the views were like something from a movie, I’d never expected views quite like those here in the UK but how mistaken I was. It was breathtaking.
We arrived in the small village of Princetown and decided we wanted to have a look at Dartmoor prison. The prison is a category C mens prison with huge granite walls and a very gothic looking demeanour. We made it to the outside gate before realising we probably shouldn’t snoop any further but it was so cool as I’d never been so close to a prison before and I have a real fascination with prisons (dark tourism and all that). After a full day of exploring it was getting late and we still had an hour and a half drive to St Ives from where we were we decided to have a quick tea at The Old Police Station cafe in Princetown before we all went our separate ways.
We couldn’t have had a better day with Tas as our tour guide showing us places we had never even thought to go too! Plus it was so so wonderful to spend time with her, especially as when we left Dartmoor for St Ives she had an hours drive home for herself she brought us all this way. I’ll always be grateful for this time spent.
Next up was St Ives! Once we jumped in the car again we were off to our Hobbit Home! Yes you read that right, Brad and I were staying in a coastal Hobbit Home! It was so cool. The driveway once we arrived was small, narrow and windy and if anything a little bit dangerous. Once we arrived we grabbed our wheelbarrows, popped our luggage in the barrows and trekked our way across the field to our hobbit home.
We had our own hammock outside and a log fire too for us to prepare which accompanied an honestly box at the entrance where we could pick up a bag of wood. £5 down later and cracking fire we absolute could not complain. That same evening we used the communal kitchen and living space to cook up an easy meal of tortellini. The shared kitchen was amazing, wonderfully decorated and literally had everything you could ever need. The only things we brought was our food! Really resourceful. There was also perfectly clean and functioning toilets and showers but if you didn’t want to do the trek from your hobbit home or cabin up to the communal areas you had the option of a compost toilet. Personally, I chose the communal area toilets because the smell of the compost one nearly knocked me clean out. That and there was no good lighting in them either so if you fell over, oops.
The Hobbit Homes themselves were super cosy. There was a double bed and inside was a hamper with blankets inside if we needed them for around the fire. There were fake candles which were cute and fairy lights all around the cabin which gave it such a homely feel and there was plenty of room for our bags and belongings. You really are one with nature though as just as we went to sleep something started scratching at the walls of the home and naturally, not literally, I shit myself.
It was a great night and just as the sun was setting we ventured up to Knills monument which was only a 10 minute walk from where we were staying and got the most beautiful 360 view of the St Ives coastline, St Ives itself and we watched the blood moon come over the hills. It was definitely one of the most relaxing nights on the trip ready for another day of exploring the next day!