Southern Explorer 2021

Back on the 2021 trip round up now with a whirlwind tour of the South in July 2021. Starting off in Plymouth, we then headed to Boswinger in South Cornwall, Torquay and Bristol.

Here’s a few snaps from Plymouth to start us off. Plymouth is the capital, and historic hub, of maritime Devon.

As well as lots of wall art, there’s plenty of art and culture to be discovered. Including this gigantic sculpture known as Messenger, she was created by the Cornish artist Joseph Hillier and shows a female actor crouching in preparation to run onstage.

It was commissioned by and installed outside the Theatre Royal, Plymouth in 2019 in preparation for the city’s Mayflower 400 celebrations.

A bit more vibrant wall art from a few of the seedier corners of the city below!

Away from the urban centre there is more traditional sea faring sights to be found.

Tinside Lido is a 1935 Art Deco lido beside Plymouth Sound and overlooked by Plymouth Hoe and Smeaton’s Tower.

The lido is open in the summer months between May and September – it’s a bracing dip at this time of year!

The quayside is the perfect place to be if you’re after some food and drink, with classy and quirky venues jostling for position.

The Barbican area of Plymouth is a cute little maze of alleys, independent shops and places to eat and drink.

So it would be rude not to have a cocktail (or two!) while we are here.

Newport

Last stop of our Isle of Wight 2021 trip was another new spot – Newport. Often referred to as the capital of this tiny island.

This historic town has elegant Georgian and Victorian architecture and a little quay too.

While a lot of the town is generic, there are a few quaint little sections such as Watchbell Lane below.

A few random religious objects including a masked up Mary in the window next to a printer . . .

Then there is a touch of poetry including the Duck Snub Outrage! Including the immortal lines ‘That makes me sad. Ducks are bad’.

A few more shots of wall art dotted around the town.

Alum Bay sands

After our needles speed boat trip we have another jaunt up and down the multi coloured sands of Alum Bay.

Alum Bay is unique in having 21 recognised shades of colour and gifts made from these were presented to Queen Victoria in 1860.

Its cliffs are a range of browns, oranges, blacks and creams tumbling down to a pebble beach.

Then it’s back on the cliff lift and floating back up to the top to carry on with our tour.

With last looks back down to the turquoise waters that are looking a little Mediterranean.

Boat to The Needles

There was a boat trip to be taken next, so we’re boarding the bright yellow RIB and heading out towards the iconic Needles.

Enjoy some more rubbish camera footage now as we wait for the rest of the boaters to get on board.

There’s a lot of bobbing about to be done while we wait. . . .

Then we’re off and we’re lucky enough for the sun to make a break for it, resulting in some lovely views of the rocky formations.

This one is almost picture postcard perfect! One of the best views I think you can possibly get of the Needles.

A highly enjoyable experience – my cheesy little grin says it all!! Plus we just avoided the torrential rain that followed . . .

Alum Bay

Finally I get to ride the Alum Bay chairlift! Hurray! Be warned, the following post contains a lot of very crappy video footage! Not sure why I only have SD quality footage!

I am eager to be off – check out the slightly manic grin as we leave land!

As you descend from the top of the Alum Bay cliffs down to the beach below you get to experience spectacular views of the picturesque Needles Rocks and Lighthouse.

You can also see the multi-coloured sand cliffs of Alum Bay and the stunning turquoise waters beyond.

Net up we’re off for a speedy trip out to The Needles on this little yellow peril 🙂

Steephill Cove

Another new sightseeing spot to check off our Isle of Wight list is up next – the quaint little hamlet of Steephill Cove.

Tucked away at the foot of the Ventnor Undercliff area, and only accessible by foot it really is one of the Isle of Wight’s true hidden gems.

From a distance it is not hard to see why this charming little spot earned its moniker! It’s a bit of a steep scramble down to reach it – but believe me it is worth it!

We’re walking to it from Ventnor Botanical gardens as we’ve already paid to park there. You can’t drive down so you have to find parking on the road above.

It might only be literally a handful of houses plus somewhere to grab food and an ice-cream, but it is so delightful that you can’t help but fall in love with it!

This tiny fishing cove boasts a beautiful beach, a clutch of charming beachfront accommodations and not much else.

The resident fishermen have been practising their tradition since the 1400’s along this coastline and you can enjoy the freshest catch of the day at one of the little eateries.

One of the stripey beach huts above holds a hidden surprise – it’s actually the entrance to a gorgeous little holiday let.

The rapidly tanning bearded one attempts to blend into the weathered old wood . . .

Everything seems as if it is part of a quaint little film set, from the stripy beach huts to colourful fishing floats and rope that adorn every home.

In the distance the white building is the old lighthouse which is available for a perfectly positioned holiday let.

Castlehaven

Another first for us is the tiny hamlet of Castlehaven near Niton and Puckaster which is on the Isle of Wight’s southernmost tip.

Just a clutch of houses, boats and a caravan site with a view (and a tiny cafe too)!

The quiet little harbour and village green offer views out to Reeth Bay and it’s a perfect spot for a little quiet contemplation with no one but the seagulls and the occasional dog walker to disturb the solitude.

Quarr Abbey

Forgot to post this one! The first sight on our hit list when we landed on the Isle of Wight was a return to a previous favourite – the beautiful Quarr Abbey.

Here you can enjoy a tasty treat (or two) check out the abbey pigs and soak up the peaceful atmosphere of this gorgeous place.

The Grade I listed monastic buildings and church, completed in 1912, are considered some of the most important twentieth-century religious structures in the United Kingdom.

The stunning, and unusual buildings, were constructed from Belgian brick in a style combining French, Byzantine and Moorish architectural elements.

The abbey buildings were created by 300 workers from the Isle of Wight who were more accustomed to building dwelling-houses, rather than stunning feats of architecture.

There’s also lots of other lovely old buildings to explore around the abbey.

Ventnor botanical Gardens

We’re discovering something new this time! With a trip to Ventnor Botanical Gardens. A trip around the varied flora of the globe without leaving the Isle of Wight!

Being south-facing, and so close to the sea, frost rarely settles in the Ventnor Botanic Gardens, so they can grow a plethora of exotic plants year round that many other gardens simply don’t have the climate for.

The glorious gardens are spread across 22 acres and each area is based on geographical regions of the world.

Ventnor Botanic Garden is located in the microclimate of the Ventnor Undercliff which is on average five degrees warmer than mainland UK – this makes them Britain’s hottest gardens!

The hubby lingers in the hydrangea dell before we head to the New Zealand and subtropical planting.

As well as more exotic trees and flowers, there are also some more familiar garden favourites to check out including the ever delightful wisteria.

You can easily while away a whole day exploring these wonderful grounds, especially once you factor in sampling some lovely homegrown food, checked out the hop plantation and meandered through the olive grove.