Sunday, 23 July 2017

Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, Cornwall

My OH and I talk about travel a lot and I would say it was one of the first things that we discovered we had in common. For the entirety of the time that I have known him he has told me stories of one of the greatest theatres in the world and how amazing it is, so when we first started discussing a child free weekend in Cornwall we knew it was on our hit list to have a good look around. A couple of weeks before we headed off it was birthday and to my delight he had bought me these:

Eeeeeek! I cannot being to tell you of my excitement as I had been wanting to see an opera for a while. 

We had a few issues upon arrival in Cornwall (our car died *sob*) but luckily enough we managed to get a hire car so that we could actually make our date at the Minack. It is hugely popular and our show was completely sold out. This is the view from the queue looking down at Porthcurno beach:


We did wait for a while to get in but then we were purposely very early. I would say as long as you are there half an hour before the show then you should get an ok seat. We had assumed from the website that we could sit wherever we wanted to but they fill from the front up so you have to  sit wherever they direct you to. 

I would suggest that you go to the loo before you take your seat as it's a long way down depending on where you are sitting. It's also really steep but as it's a cliff face I guess that's not a surprise to most people!! Once we found our seats we did go back to the little cafe to get some food and had one of the best cornish pasties I've ever tasted. Not only were they amazing they were also cheap as chips - not very often you can say that at a great place.

This was the stage: 

Have you ever seen a nicer looking stage in your life?  

Look at that view!! 

We were so incredibly lucky before the show started that we could see dolphins jumping in the distance. I do not have enough superlatives to describe what an amazing experience it was. Apparently it's quite common to see them during a performance. Unfortunately I only had my phone camera with me so I didn't manage to capture any reasonable photos.

The Minack Theatre was hewn out of the cliff face by an amazing lady called Rowena Cade, therefore all of the seats are either solid rock or grass covered but they were actually really comfortable. We did hire seat pads though which were £1 each from the box office, not sure it would have been quite so comfortable if we hadn't.  

The theatre is truly something else:

And our performance of La Traviata was just breathtaking:

Oh my goodness, the final scene had me sobbing like a baby:

Just so incredible. The main characters in the cast were outstanding.

As you can see from the pictures we were incredibly lucky with the weather. I'm not sure that it would have been quite so immense if it was rainy heavily or very windy. Most of the audience though seemed prepared for the weather and you would at least need a warm top and full length trousers. It was beautiful when we were there but it did get chilly towards the end.

There is a visitor centre which is open in the day to have a look around if there are no performances on and you can do a backstage tour which costs about £5 each but unfortunately we missed this due to our car problems. The cafe is also open during the day and if nothing else I would suggest going there just for the views and the pasties. I honestly can't recommend it highly enough to everyone!!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Mevagissey, Cornwall

We've been to Mevagissey twice this year once for a day trip and once for the weekend and it's just the cutest place. It's just South of St Austell and is a relatively small, old fashioned fishing village/harbour, and it's just how I expected Cornwall to be. 

The streets are too narrow for cars so apart from deliveries you need to park just outside of town. As it costs £5 for the entire day and takes 2 minutes to walk into the town it's not a huge problem. 

The streets may be narrow and hilly but they are full of colourful buildings:

Like I say it's a harbour town too so lots of busy fishing boats in and out all of the time:

And of course some amazing places to eat where you can sit and look out over the water. I had the most amazing full english breakfast at Tea on the Quay. All of the ingredients are locally sourced and I cannot recommend it highly enough:

Obviously when you are in a fishing village you also need to have the quintessentially British fish 'n' chips:

Honestly the most amazing fish n chips ever!! The other amazing thing is the colour of this water.....just look at it.....

When your childhood holidays are taken on the East coast believe me the sea is not this colour :)

Do you have a favourite fishing village??

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Hollywood - Walk of Fame

If you've never been to Hollywood let me start by telling you that it's a funny old place. Obviously it's hugely exciting to see the Hollywood Sign and some parts of Hollywood are super fancy and cater to the stars and the vastly, humongously rich. This is mainly in West Hollywood (WeHo) as all the signs told us when we there recently. This is the part that runs down Sunset Boulevard (hello rock clubs) and butts up to Beverley Hills.

Most of the main tourist areas though are quite run down and there are lots of homeless people and beggars - think Pretty Woman! I only mention this because the man was quite shocked at how different it was from his perception when we were there. However I can't say that I've ever felt unsafe there. So to the cool stuff......

Grauman's Chinese Theatre is on Hollywood and Highland and is one of the must see sights of Hollywood:

This is also the site of the handprints and footprints of the famous. I've done this before but it's still cool and Chick loved it:

The Walk of Fame is also really cool and a must see for anyone visiting LA, especially for the first time. The stars run for 15 blocks along Hollywood and there are over 2,500 of them. It's so much fun looking out for your favourite famous people. In fact I was having so much fun that I only took one proper photo:

And then as vodka is my favourite tipple ever, also had to take this one:

As we had Chick with us we obviously had to do the obligatory teen shopping - hello Forever 21 and Victoria's Secret at Hollywood and Highland Shopping:

Even the man couldn't complain when you have this view from the mall:

Hollywood is also the home of Jimmy Kimmel Live:

Have you ever been to Hollywood? Do you have any top trips for fellow travelers?

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Campsite Review - Wicksteed Park, Northamptonshire

We've stayed at many campsites over the years and if I'm honest we normally venture a little bit further from home. For our holiday last year Littlest was unfortunately having a flare up and we needed to be within driving distance of the hospital, so we looked around and decided that we would camp at Wicksteed Park.

Wicksteed Park is just on the outskirts of Kettering and is set in 147 acres of parkland. It is home to plenty of play equipment as well as more theme park type rides. Not all of our kids are big fan of rides and at Wicksteed you can either buy a wristband or individual tickets and then decide who goes on what. Me and the boys normally share tickets between us and then the girls have bands so they can go on everything. Due to their unusual system, as campers it means that you can access the whole park including picnic areas, play areas and facilities and you obviously don't need to pay for parking either. If you aren't interested in the rides then they do have a wildlife area, natural play area, arboretum, aviary and lake walks.

The campsite is at the far end of the park and set away from the main areas. It's a huge open expanse, overlooking the lake and you can choose any plot. We chose to be at the top of the hill overlooking the lake:

The bathrooms and showers were always clean and were well supplied with loo roll and the man who looked after them was really lovely. We had a couple of long conversations with him. For me the lake view and the price were absolutely the best part.  For 2 adults, 4 children under 16, the biggest tent known to man and 2 cars it only cost us £60 for 4 nights. In comparison our usual Lake District campsite is £40 a night so an absolute bargain. As well as the convenience of being a 5 minute drive from the nearest big supermarket and shops and in our case in driving distance of the hospital.

For me the only downside was the generic white noise that comes from being near a big town and major roads. Although I say it was a downside for me, the rest of the family didn't notice it at all!! I think it's probably because we live in a very quiet area in a tiny village so I'm only used to hearing birds!!

Although the weather wasn't great we did get the true camping experience and the kids weren't on their phones all week which is exactly why we camp!!! You just can't beat sunsets and s'mores!!

We did have one full day at the park on the rides but we used some of the facilities every day especially the play park:

Wristbands are £18 for a child and £15 for an adult. Campers do get discounts after the first day. Ride tickets start £1.25 each or you can buy sheets of 20 or 40 that start at £22. I think that some of the activities aren't included in this price though such as Rush which is a huge jump on to an air pillow or the zip wire. The car parking fee for all day is £6. 

Even if you don't fancy camping it's a pretty cool day out or alternatively they do have some holiday homes onsite if you aren't a fan of canvas living.

Do you have a recommended campsite in the UK?