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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

London To Exeter Trains

First Great Western run trains from London Paddington to Exeter St. David's Station. Journey times are approximately 2 hours, 12 minutes to 3 hours or 3 hours 20 minutes depending on the particular service.

The fastest trains stop at Reading, Bristol Templemeads, Taunton and Exeter St. David's.

Virgin Trains To Exeter

South West trains run services from London Waterloo Station to Exeter St. David's in times ranging from approximately 2 hours, 50 minutes to 3 hours, 20 minutes. Train frequency is around one train every two hours.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dorchester & Thomas Hardy

Dorchester, in Dorset, is one of England's most interesting, small county towns.

For Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) buffs, Dorchester or Casterbridge as the town is known in the writer's novels is a must-visit. References to the writer's life and works are omnipresent in the Dorchester's quaint Georgian streets.

Dorchester and Thomas Hardy - Hardy's Cottage

Hardy's statue is at the intersection of High West Street and The Grove on your right. The literary inspiration for the Mayor of Casterbridge's house is now a bank on south Street.

Thomas Hardy Statue, Dorchester

Not-to-be-missed for Hardyphiles is the Dorset County Museum (Tel: 01305 262 735) on High West Street with the largest collection of original Hardy manuscripts in the world.

Walking north out of the town towards the pleasant streets near the river is the site of a public hanging that Hardy supposedly witnessed as a child. Stroll here for an invocation of the writer's childhood remembrances.

Dorchester & Thomas Hardy

Hardy's Cottage (Tel: 01305 262366), in Higher Bockhampton, where the author was born, is a small thatched house with a pleasant English garden. The cramped interior gives some idea of Hardy's far from prosperous upbringing as the son of a stonemason, in comparison to the grandeur of Max Gate - the house he had built after his success as a novelist and poet was assured.

Dorchester & Thomas Hardy

Max Gate (Tel: 01305 262 538), 2km east of Dorchester is where the author lived from 1885 until his death in 1928. It was here Hardy wrote two of his classic Wessex novels: Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure.

Hardy's heart is buried at Stinsford Churchyard, north of Dorchester along with his first wife (Emma nee Gifford) and second wife (Florence Emily nee Dugdale). Hardy's ashes are placed at Poet's Corner in Westminter Abbey in London.

Dorchester & Thomas Hardy

Dorchester's Tourist Office (Tel: 01305 267 992) is on Antelope Walk and has some excellent information on Hardy and Hardy-themed strolls around town.

© Britain-Visitor.com

Sunday, November 30, 2008


If you are traveling down to Exeter and the South West on the M3, A30 and A303 rather than the M4 and M5 motorways, your route will take you past Stonehenge.


Stonehenge, Britain's most famous ancient monument, is about an hour's drive west of London, about 2 miles west of the village of Amesbury in Wiltshire, just off the A303.

The ancient stone circle is believed to date from around 2500 BC.

Archaeologists, though not in full agreement as to Stonehenge's exact uses and purposes, surmise that it may have been an ancient burial ground. Other theories have the UNESCO World Heritage Site as a place of healing and part of a ritual landscape that covered a much wider area.


Stonehenge is open most days of the year though visitor hours vary throughout the year. See the English Heritage site for full details on opening times.

Admission is presently £6.40 for adults.
Tel: 0870 333 1181.

The nearest railway station to Stonehenge is Salisbury about 9 miles away.

Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Exeter Airport

Exeter International Airport (EXT) is situated 5 miles to the east of Exeter city near Clyst Honiton just off the A30. Exeter International Airport has regular domestic flights to Aberdeen, Alicante, Belfast, Edinburgh, Faro, Geneva, Guernsey/Jersey, Hannover, Isles of Scilly, Leeds Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle. International destinations include Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Dublin, Funchal, Larnaca, Nice, Palma, Paris, Malaga and Salzburg.

Exeter Airport

Many of the flights are operated by Flybe, which has its HQ in Exeter with Isles of Scilly Skybus running the flights to the Scilly Isles.

Exeter Airport has both short-stay and long-stay airport parking facilities.

Bus 56 (56A 60B) runs from Exeter St. David's Station to Exeter Bus Station to the Airport and then to Exmouth. There are no Sunday or Bank Holiday services and the last bus from the airport is around 6pm.

Bus 379 runs from Exeter St. David's Station to Exeter Bus Station to the Airport and then to Sidmouth. There are no Sunday or Bank Holiday services and the last bus from the airport is around 6pm.

Corporate Cars (Exeter Airport's authorised taxi company) operates from the Arrivals Building. Tel: 01395 234 100. Chauffeur Services - Tel: 01395 233 728

Exeter Airport opened in 1937 and was a military airport during World War II. Exeter Airport's facilities include a Bureau de Change, ATMs, a bar, cafe, shops and a restaurant. The airport handled over 1 million passengers in 2007.

Exeter International Airport
Exeter EX5
Tel: 01392 367 433

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Devonshire Cheeses

Devonshire Deli offers 3 delicious cheeses available online for quick delivery throughout the country.

Taw Valley Tasty

Taw Valley Tasty Cheddar is a Cheddar rich in depth of flavour and texture. This cheddar is not strong, a taste normally achieved by increasing the salt levels. Pasteurised. Uses vegetarian rennet.

Chili Cheddar

Afterburn Cheddar. Added ingredients are red and green bell peppers, a little garlic and chili pepper. First you get the taste of a good cheddar and then you get the flavour of the chili.
Try in on toast or baked potato - your favorite dish will never be the same again!


Devon Stilton. A Stilton rich in flavour but mild on the blue side - not harsh or bitter as some Stiltons can be. Creamy in texture, smooth and delicious. Suitable for freezing as is all Stilton. All true Stilton come from Melton Mowbray and so does ours.
Pasteurised. Uses vegetarian rennet.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dartmoor Inn Lydford

The stylish Dartmoor Inn in the historic village of Lydford in west Dartmoor is a renown gastro pub and boutique hotel.

Dartmoor Inn Lydford

The food is especially recommended for its use of local produce and imaginative menus. The themed special meals include Lavender Harvest Supper, In Love with Linen Lunch or the White Christmas Bazaar.

The accommodation consists of superbly decorated rooms in French and English style with beautiful hand-painted furniture.
Each room is completely individual, with its own sitting area, and en suite bathroom.

Dartmoor Inn Lydford

Bed and Breakfast is £120.00 per room per night.

Dartmoor Inn

Tel: 01822 820 221

Lydford is on the western edge of Dartmoor National Park, south west of Okehampton on the A386.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Well House Tavern Exeter

The Well House Tavern (Michael Caines Tavern) is part of the The Abode Exeter formerly the Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter and directly opposite Exeter Cathedral, with great views of the church and Cathedral Green. The Well House Tavern is known for its fine food and good selection of ales, beers and whiskies. There's a Sunday roast at Sunday lunchtime.

Well House Tavern, Exeter

A set of bones on display in the basement are often said to belong to a monk and a nun who threw themselves down a well in Cathedral yard to be together in death.

Well House Tavern
16-17 Cathedral Yard
Tel: 01392 223611

© Britain-Visitor.com

Monday, October 13, 2008

Beer Devon

Beer, located around a small cove on the south coast of Devon, east of Exeter, is one of the county's most pleasant spots.

Beer Devon

Both a working port and a tourist town, Beer retains its essential authenticity. The gently sloping stone beach is lined with squat, brightly-painted fishing boats and the small town, with a population of less than 1,500 people, has some lovely stone houses, restaurants and pubs. Small leats (aqueducts) running along the sides of the streets to empty into the sea, increase the charm of the town.

Beer Devon

Beer is famous for its stone, which has been quarried since Roman times and used in such diverse buildings as the Tower of London, Windsor Castle and numerous churches and cathedrals throughout the country including Exeter Cathedral and St. Paul's in London.

Beer Quarry Caves offer guided tours for groups and individuals of the caves, which have also been used as smugglers' hideaways and a sanctuary for the persecuted in past centuries. The caves contain the workings of the first Roman quarry workers as well as later Saxon and Norman sections. Not just a place to store smuggled loot in the 18th century, the caves gave protection to Catholics fleeing persecution and were worked until the beginning of the 20th century in often appalling conditions.

Beer Devon

Beer's reputation as a smuggler's haven, made famous by Jack Rattenbury's 1837 Memoirs of a Smuggler, was reaffirmed in 2007 when a cargo vessel, the MSC Napoli, on route from Sweden to South Africa, ran aground near Branscombe, just to the west of Beer, and thousands of people from all over Britain, rushed to the site to scavenge for the goodies washed ashore.


There are infrequent buses to Exeter, Lyme Regis and Poole from April to October.

The Anchor Inn on Fore Street (Tel: 01297 20386) and Steamers on New Cut (Tel: 01297 22922) are recommended pubs for their fine beer and food. The Anchor has accommodation too - 8 en-suite bedrooms.

Beer Devon

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

BBC Devon News RSS Feed

The BBC Devon news page brings you all the latest news, weather and sports from Devon. Plus travel news, entertainment, people, images, webcams and Radio Devon.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Devon Long House

Devon long houses can be found throughout the county and especially in the Dartmoor area. Often dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, these long narrow dwellings are often thatched and some of them can rented out as holiday cottages or have been converted to Bed and Breakfast guest houses.

Devon Long House

The original long houses are thought to date back to Saxon times. This fine example is a privately-owned home, east of Exeter near the village of Woodbury Salterton.

Devon Long House


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Theatre Exeter

The New Theatre Exeter is the home theatre of the Cygnet Training Theatre founded in 1980 through the association of Monica Shallis, Mary Evans and the Northcott Theater.

New Theatre Exeter, Devon.

The present patron is Peter Brooke.

The drama school offers three year courses for students over 18 and the theatre takes plays on tour around the country including to the Edinburgh Festival and London.

New Theatre
Friars Gate
Tel: 01392 277 189

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mol's Coffee House Exeter

Mol's Coffee House in Exeter in Cathedral Close originally dates from the early 16th century, and was supposedly a meeting place for the Elizabethan adventurers, Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh, though this may just be fabrication.

Exeter 1596

Mol's was originally built by Exeter Cathedral as a lodging for its priests. After the Reformation the priests were turfed out and the building was used as a Customs House. Later the building became a shop and in the early 18th century a coffee house. Since then the building has been used as a gallery, a jewellers and a stationers. It is now a boutique gift shop - The Collection.

1 Cathedral Close
City Centre, Exeter, EX1 1EZ

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Babbacombe Model Village

Babbacombe Model Village in Torquay opened in 1963 and has been a highlight of many a child's trip to the south west.

Babbacombe Model Village

There's a miniature railway station, football stadium, landscaped gardens, Merrivale Castle & Medieval Village and even Stonehenge. There will be a model Olympic stadium too in time for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Babbacombe Model Village

Other attractions include the new 4D theatre and of course the exhibits are illuminated after dusk.

Babbacombe Model Village
Hampton Avenue
Devon TQ1 3LA
Tel: 01803 315315

Hours: Vary throughout the year with later opening times in summer.
Admission: Presently £7.90 for an adult with special prices for 2 adults and 2 children £24.90.
Access: From Torquay sea front catch #12 bus to Torquay harbour and then the #32/33 service to St. Marychurch bus stop.

Babbacombe Model Village

Images © David Beech

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Exeter Weather BBC RSS Feed

See a 3-day forecast for the weather in Exeter including temperatures, rainfall, wind speed, visibility, pollution, sunrise, sunset and relative humidity.

This weather forecast is generated by the Met Office Weather Widget

© Britain-Visitor.com

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Southgate Hotel Exeter

The Southgate Hotel, near to Exeter Cathedral, is operated by Mercure and is rated a 4-star hotel with 110 ensuite rooms. The hotel has a bar, gym, an indoor pool, a good restaurant, sauna, solarium, a whirlpool spa, in-room WiFi and free parking.

Southgate Hotel, Exeter, Devon

The Southgate Hotel
Southernhay East
Exeter, EX1 1QF
Tel: 0870 400 8333

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Exeter Cathedral Close

The streets around Exeter Cathedral are the prettiest in the town. Cathedral Close has many fine old buildings around the green in front of the Norman-period church.

Exeter Cathedral Close, Devon

The Royal Clarence Hotel, the Bishop of Crediton's house, Mol's Coffee House, which dates from 1598, and was supposedly a haunt of Raleigh and Drake, and a number of other period piece buildings, which now house cafes and restaurants, make up the pleasant area.

Exeter Cathedral Close, Devon

Picnic on the lawn or try a pleasant pint in the nearby Ship Inn.

Exeter Cathedral Close

Exeter Cathedral

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Express & Echo

Express & EchoThe Express & Echo is Exeter's and its surrounding area's local newspaper.

The Express & Echo provides local news, business news and sports news as well as updates on local markets, classifieds, what's on, Exeter City FC news plus weather updates.

The Express and Echo's RSS feeds are here if you wish to subscribe online.

Devon Map

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway

Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway runs from Paignton along the Torbay coast to Churston and on through the Dart Estuary to Kingswear.

As rural railway routes faced closure in the 1960s and 1970s, the Dart Valley Railway company, made up of rail enthusiasts and concerned individuals, acquired the track and began running services in 1973.

Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway

At present a day return on the route between Paignton to Kingswear is £8.00.

The original line was built between 1857 and 1864 and affords fine views of the sea and the wooded Dart Valley.

Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway

Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway
Dart Valley Railway plc
Queens Park Station
Torbay Road
Tel: 01803 555872
Fax: 01803 664313

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Ye Olde Cider Bar Newton Abbot

Ye Olde Cider Bar in Newton Abbot is one of the last remaining real cider bars left in the country.

Ye Olde Cider Bar Newton Abbot

Serving scrumpy, country wines and perry and no beer and spirits, Ye Olde Cider Bar is an authentic trip back in to the past.

Be warned! Devon cider is strong and after about 4 pints that is about the limit for most drinkers before you just have to sleep it off.

Ye Olde Cider Bar Newton Abbot

Ye Olde Cider Bar
99 East St
Newton Abbot
TQ12 2LD
Tel: 01626 354221

Images © David Beech

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Oddicombe Beach

Oddicombe Beach is one of the best beaches in the vicinity of Torquay and Babbacombe. A mixed sand and shingle beach at the foot of wooded, red sandstone cliffs.

Oddicombe Beach

There are spectacular views from the top of the cliffs at Babbacombe Downs, which can be reached either on foot or by the Babbacombe Cliff Railway, a funicular railway from Babbacombe Downs to Oddicombe Beach. The historic funicular dates from 1926 and is in operation from Easter until September 30. A single ticket is presently 1.10 GBP.

Oddicombe Beach

Facilities on Oddicombe Beach include a cafe on the cliff, boat/pedallo hire, deck chairs, beach huts and another cafe on the shore.

Oddicombe can be reached by bus #32 from Torquay. Parking is available about half a mile from the cliffs.

Oddicombe Beach

Images © David Beech

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Richard Hooker

The Anglican priest Richard Hooker (1553-1600) is one of Exeter's most famous sons and one of England's most respected theologians. Born in Heavitree, Hooker rose in the new Tudor Church of England to become the Subdean of Salisbury Cathedral and later Rector of St. Andrew's Boscomb in Wiltshire.

Richard Hooker's statue outside Exeter Cathedral

Hooker's writings, in particular Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, stressed tolerance and inclusiveness and the middle way of Anglicanism between what he saw as the extremes of Catholicism and the Puritan movement.

Hooker's statue stands outside Exeter Cathedral.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Quay Inn Teignmouth

The New Quay Inn in Teignmouth is known for its real ales and is only a short walk from Teignmouth railway station.

New Quay Inn Teignmouth

Image © David Beech

The New Quay Inn
New Quay Street
TQ14 8DA
Tel: 01626 774145

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Exeter Corn Exchange

Exeter Corn Exchange Theatre is Exeter's largest multi-purpose arts venue.

What's on in Exeter

The 500-seat venue has space for conferences, exhibitions, concerts, dances and cabarets.

Exeter Corn Exchange
Market Street
tel: 01392 665866

Monday, August 4, 2008

Exeter 1596

This beautiful building in Exeter, Mol's Coffee House, Devon, originally dates from 1596, as is proudly displayed on the wall.

The place was supposedly a rendezvous for the Elizabethan buccaneers, Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh.

Exeter 1596

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Virgin Trains To Exeter

Virgin Trains have services to Exeter from Birmingham New Street Station.

Travel time is approximately 2 hours, 30 minutes with ticket costs presently ranging from 20.50 GBP to 57.50 GBP for a single journey.

Virgin Trains To Exeter

Image courtesy Jake Davies

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pedestrian Subway

This is a pedestrian subway at the big roundabout at the bottom (south) of the main high street of Exeter City.

They have the reputation in London of being a muggers shopping hall but down here they seem quite a pleasant place to be.

I like the cool blue waves on the wall.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Harvester Inn Pub

This is the Harvester Inn pub at the Exeter Quays.

I haven't been to a Harvester in years, the food was awful then and I doubt it has changed at all. The typical English rubbish of steak, burger and chips, fish and chips and peas. None of it cooked well or with any decent flavour or texture. There is a good reason us English have a poor reputation for cuisine and this chain is at the vanguard of the reasons why.

Bloody hate the places.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Spider cat

Our cat SpiderThis is one of our cats, Spider. She's called that because of her skinny legs, her black coat and the way she scoots about. Our other cat is called Mouse because when we first got the cats our little girl pointed at the tabby one and shouted "MOUSE MOUSE".

They are both gorgeous.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

An English Rose

English roses.The roses in our garden this year are just gorgeous. They smell fantastic too and last a long time if you keep dead-heading them. An enzyme builds up in the 'hip' (rose bud after pollination) and when the quantity of enzyme is high enough a signal is sent to the plant to stop producing flowers and to put all its energy into the seeds. So break off the dead rose heads as soon as the petals have fallen and you will continue to get glorious roses throughout the summer.

You don't need to cut them off with pruning shears, simply bend the stem and they will break at the correct point which is at the nearest 'node'.