What a great tour around the UK with our collecting customers visiting Torquay, Lands End, Cornwell, Launceston, Royal Worcester, Wheal Martin, The Eden Project, Saint Michaels Mount, Screech Owl Park, Nottingham to meet with Robin Hood, (who was our tour guide around Nottingham), before heading for York and Whitby. Then onto the Moorcroft factory to make our own special piece of Moorcroft, where we also get to mix with some of the staff and artists to see how Moorcroft is made first hand. It was a priority to see Weal Martin early in the tour as this is where the clay comes from to make the beautiful Moorcroft pottery and most other pottery in the UK and it did not disappoint with its water-driven machinery from 100+ years ago all on display. Then finally we saw the Wedgewood factory and Roal Crown Derby. The whole trip was great made even more pleasurable by Plants Luxury Travel Ltd from Cheadle Stoke on Trent who transport us on all our tours and are efficient, safe, cautious, helpful and very pleasant, picking us up and dropping us off right on time every time. (we won’t mention Froghall station;-))) They have been our preferred bus company for so long now, that we have had the Grandfather, the husband (Mark) and wife (Julie) plus now the daughter drive us around the countryside, so we almost feel part of their family as their daughter was only a school girls when we first met her when she hitched a short ride with us to see what Australians looked like;-)). Such a nice group of people to deal with if you ever want to tour the UK or parts of Europe with a group please consider them! http://www.plantsluxurytravel.co.uk/
This was a huge disused quarry that they didn’t know what to do with, so they decided to collect plants from around the world and build an ark to preserve all the species and what a great place it is to visit. Whilst we were there they had a few dinosaurs roaming around amongst the crowds entertaining the children. Plus the place is full of extraordinary art pieces scattered around the property. We would recommend this place to anyone travelling to the UK.
Royal Worcester was a treat to see the fabulous pieces that used to be produced out of this factory. At one stage the factory was owned by the Worcestershire sauce manufacturers. They had a piece of pierced work there that no one so far can reproduce as the maker used to take it home to work on and died never passing his secret on.
Saint Michaels Mount
St Michaels Mount was so full of history with Monks and takeovers and shipwrecks you could spend a whole day here easily, then there is the town itself where I got a good Cornish crab sandwich!;-))) We were lucky to get there while the tide was out so could walk over but had to get a boat back to dry land.
Screech Owl Park
Screech owl park was a hoot! With over 50 different owls to see and the park offers you a unique and amazing opportunity to meet and touch a number of their hand-tame owls and learn about their characteristics. These owls have been hand-reared for educational purposes and range from some of the smallest species in the world to among the largest. Each one of the owls were keen to stretch their wings and get a feed at the same time. They also had a Kookaburra there that they hand-reared and he stole the show because he could catch food in the air whilst owls pin their food to the ground or a tree.
Whitby was a place of significance for us Aussies, as this is where Captain Cook did his apprenticeship. But full of sea fairing stories and the setting of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” Whitby is a place of paradox where families and vampire hunters rub shoulders at the beach and among the Gothic ruins of Whitby Abbey. A very busy place with queues of buses unloading tourists from around the world. (I counted more than 50 in a row!) Again it was supposed to have the best fish and chips in England but by now we had learned to ignore such baseless bragging, as every seaside town seemed to have the same signs. We were dropped at Pickering station in Yorkshire by our Plants bus driver and went by steam train to Whitby and back and lucky we did as Whitby was packed down the road as far as you can see.
We went to Nottingham to meet with the renegade Robin Hood! He was just so full of stories and fun and was probably the best tour guide we met in the UK. With the full outfit and sword swinging stunts he lead us through the history of Robins life and the history of Nottingham. Everyone wanted photos of him as he lead us on a merry trip into tunnels under the city and to the best pubs in town spinning stories and anagdotes around the life and times of Robin Hood. ;-)) Nottingham itself was a great surprise with amazing architecture and a great vibe around the city center and great Ales, of course, thanks to Robin’s in-depth Alehouse knowledge where he was always welcomed:-)
We have been to Wedgewood several times and it only gets better each trip. They have spent millions on the place so now it has a fantastic museum and a great place to meet for a coffee or a lovely restaurant for lunch. This place is a must-see for pottery lovers as Joshia Wedgewood was a genius in a lot of ways and a great forward thinker.
On the whole trip, I had been looking forward to this spot the most but I was quite disappointed as it was very crowded and not that clean with limited food and seating for the numbers of people but interesting scenery all the same for an hour or so. Plus the big rescue helicopter gave us a nice flyby;-))
Torquay has a Mediterranean feel about it where the English go to play all year round thanks to its mild climate. With great bus tours and nice seaside walks and a cafe on every corner, you cannot fail to enjoy your time here as we did. So much to see and do you could easily spend a week here but we only had one day but we squeezed a lot in despite the short visit. (The crab sandwiches were to die for but their beaches leave a lot to be desired)
Royal Crown Derby
This was the final visit we managed to squeeze into our fun-filled and feature-packed tour. Malar and I have been here several times before and they have a great lunch service, so around midday is a great time to call in. They have a very interesting factory tour as well but you have to book well in advance and we just did not have enough time to spare, so we hit the retail outlet instead and everyone managed to get a few great bargains to take home;-))