Seaview

Seaview is possibly one of the prettiest stretches of beach on the Isle of Wight in my opinion so we always have to revisit every time.

The colour palette of the water is just incredible, from deepest navy to royal blue, azure and greens.

We find a few lost little woolen friends along the beach as well as lots of lovely weathered boats.

And I can’t help myself when I spot this little gate latch that has been improved with some googly eyes 🙂

Neil can’t help himself when he sees signs saying no! Tiny bearded rebel that he is!

The water here is just so gorgeous and inviting, although it would be absolutely brassic if you dipped a toe in it!

Beach life

It’s all about the beaches today with a quick nip to the main town of Ryde for some traditional seaside fare – chips in a cone!

It’s starting to warm up now so we can shed some layers!

We’re heading to the gorgeous little village of Seaview again now, as it is a firm favourite of ours!

With dramatic rocky outcrops and choppy waves, the sea is a multitude of blues.

Lot’s more pics from this lovely little stretch of the coastline coming up!

Back to the island!

Were heading back to the Isle of Wight for another exploration of this tiny but attraction packed island.

Here’s the view from the ferry as we head into East Cowes. The sea is a stunning emerald green and the weather is perking up!

We’ll be revisiting a few favorite spots as well as discovering some new places too!

But before we get stuck into our action packed itinerary let’s just enjoy these gorgeous skies and sparkling sea 🙂

Plymouth

We head to the maritime city of Plymouth for a very wet and windy exploration.

Also known as Britain’s Ocean City – Plymouth has a long and distinguished history with the sea.

Below the sculpture to the right has been installed at Gunwharf Quays to honour those involved in mine design, minelaying, minesweeping, mine hunting or who served in mine countermeasures vessels.

The Spinnaker Tower dominates the skyline at Gunwharf Quay but you might also spot this pensive little statue gazing out over the water.

It was horribly wet and rainy though so we didn’t hang around too long on this occasion!

Tiny train

Oh how delighted the tiny bearded one was when we discovered the miniscule railway line that runs alongside the beach!

Hayling Seaside Railway is adorable! The narrow gauge track connects the funfair and amusements of Beachlands with Eastoke Corner and its shops, pubs and cafes.

Running through areas of rare seaside plants and beside Hayling’s renowned Blue Flag beaches, the railway also enjoys great views of the Solent and the Isle of Wight.

The line opened to passengers in July 2003 and there;s a mile of track in place – which takes quite a while to cover as you are going rather sedately!

Here’s the little Islander engine in action!

You can read more about this cute little railway on the Hayling Light Railway website here. (Plus enjoy the rather humorous history of the planning fights!)

Bit more beach

A few more snaps from the wind whipped beach on Hayling Island.

The Hayling seafront is primarily a shingle beach with long stretches of sand. You get views of the Solent as well as the Isle of Wight.

It’s a blustery day and we’re a little bit buffeted as we walk along the shifting shingle sands.

Hayling Island

Before we head over the Isle of Wight (again!) we spend a couple of nights on Hayling Island.

Hayling Island is an actual little island off the south coast of England that is accessible via a road bridge or ferry.

The natural beach is predominantly sandy, but in recent years it has been mechanically topped with shingle dredged from the bed of the Solent in an effort to reduce beach erosion.

It’s also incredible windy and is a fab spot for kite and windsurfing – in fact windsurfing was actually invented here!

There’s a colourful little beach cafe perfect for a hot drink or a cooling ice – but it’s all boarded up for the season unfortunately.

In the off season the empty shingle beach has a slightly mournful air, bereft of the summer crowds.

Oxford

For our first trip of 2021 we start off in the city of Dreaming Spires – the famous university city of Oxford.

The city revolves around its prestigious university which was established in the 12th century.

The architecture of the 38 colleges in the city’s medieval center led poet Matthew Arnold to nickname it the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’.

But it’s not just scholastic buildings that make the city famous. Below is the Turf Tavern – one of the oldest pubs in the city.

The foundations of The Turf Tavern date back to 1381. Once serving as a malthouse, producing brewing malt for the local beer houses, the site was in use as a cider house by 1775, known as The Spotted Cow.

Turf Tavern is hidden away down a narrow medieval alleyway today known as St Helens Passage, but described in the 1772 Survey of Oxford as ‘Hell’.

Hell Passage in the 19th century was a wretched place, with tightly packed tenement cottages housing poor working families. Below is the alternative route to the tavern via Bath Place.

Below is the beautiful Sheldonian Theatre, built from 1664 to 1669 after a design by Christopher Wren for the University of Oxford.

This beautiful building is part of Trinity College – one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. The college was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas Pope.

Below is St Mary Magdalen, a Church of England parish church.

A Saxon wooden church originally stood on the site but this church was burnt down in 1074 so Robert D’Oyly, the Norman Constable of Oxford, had single-aisle chapel built to replace it. 

Behind these imposing walls is Balliol college, another of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford.

One of Oxford’s oldest colleges, it was founded around 1263 by John I de Balliol, a landowner from Barnard Castle in County Durham

And this is just some pretty wisteria outside a shop that I enjoyed 🙂

Butterflies

We’re ending our exploration of the South of England in 2020 with a visit to the enchanting Stratford Butterfly Farm!

A few hours of enjoying 100s of exotic colourful flappers who float idly past you like so many rainbow scraps of paper.

From vivid emerald green to huge azure blue beasts, they float and linger in every corner.

This green variety was a particular stunner and I enjoy the moustache positioning of the butterfly on the statue below 🙂

Spot the real butterfly who has craftily camouflaged itself amongst the fake ones on this sign!

The way they move and look seems almost mechanical sometimes, check out this group of robotic looking little flappers. What is the plural for a group of butterflies?

The hubby’s bald pate seems to attract some of the more curious beasties. I wonder if he is sweating in the heat? . .

Then the butterfly whisperer managed to get this ferocious looking variety to perch for a second.

The one below was a particular favourite of mine. The beautiful markings look as if they have been painted on by hand.

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Shakespearian Stratford

The final stop off on our Southern explorer is the stunning town of Stratford Upon Avon, best known for being the birthplace of our premier playwright Mr William Shakespeare.

Stratford is a market town that is full to bursting with stunning Tudor details, some of which would be recognisable to Will himself.

Naturally the town, and shops, are steeped full of England’s most renowned son’s musings and best loved phrases. (and some other, slightly less deep thoughts)

Below is the birthplace of the Master of Musing’s – a charming building on Henley Street, one of the town’s oldest streets.

Interestingly, it was another famous author that we can thank for helping to ensure that the building is still here to enjoy, as in order to save it a public campaign was launched which was supported by Charles Dickens.

Away from the Bard though there’s plenty of other sights for the snap happy architecture fan to enjoy including a wealth of timbered Tudor buildings.

The most notable architecture is known as half-timber work, where buildings have an exposed wooden framework, with the rest filled with another material such as brick, plaster or wattle-and-daub.

Half-timbered houses often have an overhanging upper storey, which added extra space.

It was good manners for men to walk on the outer side of the pavement (where there was one), where he was most likely to be splashed by the contents of chamber pots emptied from above.

Not sure if the hubby would have taken one for the team back in the day . .

The gorgeous building below is Harvard House. It was built in 1596 by Thomas Rogers who was the grandfather of John Harvard – benefactor of the famous American Ivy League University.

After emigrating to America with his wife, John Harvard gifted the equivalent of three million pounds to the Massachusetts Bay Colony who named their new college after him – Harvard.

All in all a glorious place to spend a sunny day exploring. One final visit to make and then that’s this trip all wrapped up!