During August 2015 what a great tour we had with our traveling group of collectors. Going around the UK 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 Snottingham), 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 transports us on all of our tours and are very efficient, safe, cautious, helpful plus very pleasant to deal with, 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 their daughter Gemma drive us all around the countryside, so we almost feel part of their family. Gemma was a schoolgirl when we first met her when she hitched a short ride with us while mum was driving “to see what wild Australians looked like” and now she is a bus driver herself ;-)). Such a nice group of people to deal with if you ever want to tour the UK or parts of Europe or just need a lift to and from the airport and around the area with a small of large group please consider them! http://www.plantsluxurytravel.co.uk/
Scroll down for other exciting places we visited on this trip.
Wheal Martyn was a must-see place for our touring group of collectors as this is where the clay is mined for most of the pottery in the UK and has been mined for over 100 years. The site was originally powered by running water using streams and big paddle wheels and supplemented by steam-powered engines. All over Cornwell, there are old mines for minerals and clay. There is a great museum here where we learnt so much about the processes and a very good restaurant.
The Eden Project
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 have an amazing piece of pottery that is “pierced work” on display that no one so far has been able to reproduce as the maker used to take the pieces home to work on at nights and died never passing his secret of how it is made on to anyone else.
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 great Cornish crab sandwich!;-)
We were lucky to get over to the Mount while the tide was out so we could just walk over on the roadway but had to get a boat back to dry land after the tide had come in once more.
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 with their talons first before ripping it apart.
Whitby was a place of significance for us Aussies, as this is where Captain Cook did his apprenticeship. 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 firstly 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 with busses and it would have taken ages to get on our bus once more.
The little streets were cute and so packed there was little hope of driving anywhere around the town but we managed to get a double-decker bus tour around the outside of town but had to walk around the central parts.
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. He explains the town was originally Snottingham named after King Snot.
With the full outfit and sword swinging stunts, he lead us on a merry walk through the history of Robin’s life and the history of Nottingham.
Everyone wanted photos with him as he lead us on a trip into tunnels under the city and to the best pubs in town, spinning stories and anagdotes around the life and times of Robin the Hood Maker. ;-))
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 with a pint:-)
If we weren’t merry to start with we were by trips end;-)
We have been to Wedgewood several times and it only gets better each trip. They have spent millions of pounds on the place, so now it has a fantastic museum and a great place to meet for a coffee at their cafe or their 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. He bought up a huge tract of land where he wanted to set up an industrial park which is now all been sold off for housing.
On the whole trip, I had been looking forward to this spot the most after reading about it in books etc but I was quite disappointed. As it was very crowded and not all that clean with limited food and almost no seating for the numbers of people there, but interesting coastal scenery all the same, for an hour or so. Plus the big rescue helicopter gave us a nice flyby which made the day;-))
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 here were to die for so I had several;-))) but their beaches leave a lot to be desired coming from Australia.
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;-))
Then it was off back to Australia the very next morning:-(