Explore English Heritage at its Finest at Totnes Castle

02 August 2016

18403-Totnes-CastleJust a 25 minute drive away from Galmpton Touring Park, nestled on the hill overlooking the Saxon town of Totnes is the stunning 11th Century built Totnes Castle – originally owned by a commander in William The Conqueror’s army.

Today, the castle has been transformed into a beautiful reminder of the lengthy and colourful history of England and is truly a spectacle to behold amongst the glorious Devon countryside.

Climb the steps up to the castle and overlook the thriving town of Totnes – a centre of commerce that boast a strong artistic community – and take in spectacular views of the River Dart. Visit the Castle Keep, built in the 13th Century and the best preserved of all of the three keeps in Devon, you can even still see the defensive arrow slits and battlements left behind.

The courtyard (also referred to as the bailey) is a grassy area perfect for picnics! Sheltered by trees including the Holm Oak, which is believed to be more than 150 years old, it is a truly tranquil place to sit and take in your surroundings. Weather permitting, there are archery targets set up in the bailey where you can try out the ancient skills with a bow and arrow for yourself.

There is a Moat Walk, which surrounds the outside walls of the castle, which would have been part of the original defence system for the entrance. Today it is filled with wild flowers and plants and makes a beautiful scenic walk perfect for nature lovers.

The Castle Shop offers souvenirs and distinctive gifts including chutneys, jams, books and jewellery for a wonderful reminder of your day. There are children’s toys and games that are wonderful replicas of the past, with wooden bows and arrows and dressing up outfits for budding knights and princesses. You can also purchase drinks, snacks, local wine, beer, and cider.

There is limited pay and display parking 64 metres away from the castle, which is suitable for cars only. Admission is £4 for adults, £2.40 per child (aged 5-15), and family admission for 2 adults and up to 3 children is £10.40. Gift Aid admission price is a little higher and includes a voluntary donation of 10%.

Totnes Castle is open daily from 10am to 6pm with the last admission an hour before closing.

An adorable day out for animal lovers!

04 July 2016

miniature-pony-centreThe Miniature Pony Centre at Wormhill Farm, Newton Abott does exactly what is says on the tin, with a large family of ponies of different colours, sizes and cheeky characters!

 

The Farm is around an hour’s drive away from Galmpton Touring Park, and is a guaranteed great day out! All of the ponies, aside from being utterly adorable, are tame and love to be stroked and played with – so the kids (and their parents) can get up close and personal and spend some real quality time with these delightful creatures. Now is a great time to visit too – as the mature ponies have had a busy few months and there are 3 brand new foals at the farm! However, there are more than tiny ponies and horses on offer for visitors.

There are peacocks and hens with tiny newborns arriving all the time during the Spring months. In the aviaries, there are cockatiels and several different varieties of poultry including incredibly noisy guinea fowl – whom now have their own living area in Pets Paddock. There are also rabbits, guinea pigs, lambs, and pigmy goats as well.

As well as the animals and birds, there are some high-energy attractions for children including Fort Bovey, and indoor activity area featuring a climbing wall, slide and tunnels which is ideal for children aged six and over. There are also soft play areas inside where younger children can crawl through holes, leap into ball pools, and play on a curly slide. At the top of the Centre there is a trampoline area, with 3 huge trampolines for the big kids, and a special one for those under 5, and for the really adventurous amongst you, try the zip-wire and get a birds-eye view of the whole park!

Children aged 3 to 10 years old can have pony rides touring a complete circuit of the riding area. Don’t worry, each ride (and child) is supervised by staff who are experts with the ponies, and will also make sure you have all the right kit – including a safety helmet! Each ride costs £2.

If you fancy something a little more peaceful during your visit, there is a fantastic walkway through the hedges, wetlands, and ponds, surrounded by trees and brimming with wildlife. In the Willow Garden you can walk amongst the butterflies and discover all kinds of insects and amongst the flowers and plants, and a trip to the top of the Stallion Paddock Walk rewards you with a magnificent view.

If you are planning to make a special trip, why not check out the hugely popular Pony Care Days? At £50 for a full day, or £30 for half a day the kids are taught the basic of how to properly care for the ponies – including feeding, grooming and mucking out! If the weather is nice they can also get involved in bathing the ponies – which, whilst a wonderful experience, can also prove rather wet so bring a change of clothes just in case! Pony Days must be booked at least a week in advance to avoid missing out!

The Centre is open daily from 10.30 am until 4.30 pm, although during August it stays open until 5.00pm. Admission for adults is £8.50, children 3 to 16 are £7.50 and Seniors and concessions are £7.00. Children under 3 are free. You can also get a family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) for £30 with additional children costing £6.00 each.

Fun, Food and Family Entertainment at The Gooseberry Pie Fair

31 May 2016

18313-Galmpton-Gooseberry-Pie-Fair“In eighteen hundred and seventy three, the people of Galmpton did agree, to hold a Gooseberry Pie Fair.”

And so according to the tales that have been told, in 1873, the tradition of Galmpton’s Gooseberry Pie Fair began – although records show it may well have been even earlier than this! The Fair hasn’t run consistently each year, it was revived in 1923, and then again in 1951 for the Festival of Britain celebrations. It was then held every year from 1968 to 1985 on the Memorial Recreation Field opposite Churston Grammar School, before another break in the proceedings which led to it’s re-launch as a Street Fair in 1995. Now in its 21st year as such, it returns once more for 2016.

Traditionally held on the first Sunday of July each year, The Gooseberry Pie Fair is a great, family-friendly fun day out, with Live Music, stalls selling all sorts of crafts, old Victorian rides and load more to see and do besides. This year’s event takes place less than half a mile away from Galmpton Touring Park, at The Manor Inn on Sunday 3rd July and looks set to be one of the busiest and best yet.

Each year, a HUGE Gooseberry Pie travels by steam train into Churston Station, where it is met by the villagers (and visitors) of Galmpton, and carried via procession into the heart of the village where it is blessed and the fair set in motion.

Why gooseberries? No one knows, but the tradition is so instilled into the heart of Galmpton that the reason behind the fruit is no longer important. The network of roads is closed off for the day and it really is a wonderful way to bring everyone together for an afternoon of fun. Stalls, activities and events that run on the day raise money for local charities with any surpluses from the fair itself being put back into local good causes for the community.

Access to the Village is restricted after 11.30am on the day of the Fair, and if you’re staying at Galmpton Touring Park, The Manor Inn is just a short walk away. Those travelling for the event have access to car parking on the outskirts of the village.

Staying at Galmpton in June? Why not check out some of the fantastic events going on while you’re here…

1st June

ROCK ON THE BEACH
The Ferry Boat Inn, Dittisham

1st, 8th, 15th
and 29th June

BMAD BIKE NIGHT
Paignton Sea Front

2nd June

PIRATE DAY
Brixham Quay

3rd – 4th June

THE OCCOMBE BEER FESTIVAL
Occombe Farm

3rd – 5th June

KINGSBRIDGE FOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL
Kingsbridge Town Centre

4th June

CLASSIC CAR MOTOR SHOW
Newton Abbot

4th June

LEMONFEST
Newton Abbot Racecourse

4th June

WRITER IN RESIDENCE
Greenway House

4th June

UKULELE FESTIVAL
Babbacombe Cliff Railway

10th – 12th June

THE CONTEMPORARY CRAFT FESTIVAL
Mill Marsh Park

10th – 12th June

TORBAY AIR SHOW
(Including the Red Arrows on 12th June)
Paignton Green

11th June

ARMED FORCES DAY
Paignton Sea Front

12th  – 24th June

ROYAL TORBAY YACHT CLUB TRIANGLE RACE
Beacon Quay, Torquay

15th June

BABBACOMBE ROTARY FAYRE
Babbacombe Downs

17th – 19th June

TEIGNMOUTH FOLK FESTIVAL
Various Locations – Teignmouth

18th June

BRIXHAM TRAWLER RACE
Brixham Harbour

19th June

UDO SOUTH WEST STREET DANCE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Riviera Centre, Chestnut Avenue, Torquay

19th June

CLASSIC MOTORCYCLES
Cockington Court

26th June

FOOD & CRAFT MARKET
Cockington Court

26th June

TORBAY HALF MARATHON
Paignton Green

26th June

DARTMOOR CLASSIC SPORTIVE
(Departing from) Newton Abbot Racecourse

Going Underground… at Kents Cavern!

04 May 2016

Children-CavingFancy doing something a little different during your break? Kents Cavern could be just the thing! Just a half an hour drive from Galmpton, this naturally formed cave system (also the warmest in the country with a constant temperature of 14ºC) is a great day out for the whole family.

This system of caves date back to prehistoric times, when settlers would live in the cavern, but today it offers one of the best day trip adventures you will find. Visitors can experience the Stone Age lifestyle of the people who lived in, and found shelter from the weather in the caves. They made fire, created tools and made a life for themselves in this amazing labyrinth of rock that is over 400 million years old.

Kents Cavern offer guided tours (which usually last about an hour), where you can discover how the caves were formed and see evidence of how people lived. The tour will also take you deep into the Cavern to see some of the earliest tools used in Britain, and you can also get a glimpse of animal bones and teeth that have been left behind from long ago. You can also experience the famous total blackout in the Bears Den – one for the braver amongst us!

There is more than a kilometre of cave passage and the visitors’ tour only covers a third of it! If you have a little caving knowledge and experience, there is also a ‘Dig Deeper’ package that let’s you delve into the depths even further. Be warned – there are some really tight squeezes to get in and out of down here, so it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted!

May is the perfect time to go, as there is plenty of half-term fun to be had with special on-site activities. Go on an Ice Age animal hunt through the woodland trail, go shopping just like a caveman and see if you can match all ten shops to your activity sheet, or how about going in search of fossils inside the caves? The Fun Dig lets kids go on a mini excavation for fossils, and if you dig deep enough – maybe even gemstones! With all this and more going on, a great day out is guaranteed.

As well as the breathtaking tour of the caverns, you can enjoy walks in the area with its spectacular scenery, and there is a ‘Stone Age School’ on the third Saturday of every month, where kids can go along and learn a new skill that the people of the Stone Age used every day. (It’s £5 for a single session or £35 for the year). One adult for up to four children is admitted free, but be sure to pre-book for this, as it’s very popular. Sessions run from 10am to noon, or from 2pm to 4pm. Children get to take home their creations as a keepsake at the end of the day too! It could be a leather pouch made in the Gathering Session, a bow drill made in the Firemaker Session or a bow and arrow or a Stone Tool Session! There’s lots to learn and discover, and you can create lots of different essential tools from the past.

The Cavern is open every day except Christmas Day, the restaurant and cafe open at 9:30am and the cave tours operate from 10.30am to 4.00pm. Adult admission is £10, children (3 -15 years), students, and seniors are £9. Children under 3 are free.

Fun in the Sun for Everyone at Paignton Pier

04 April 2016

18105_Galmpton_Paignton PierSet in the centre of a fabulous Torbay beach, the 240-metre long Paignton Pier provides a spectacular view of Torbay as well an exciting range of amusements for the entire family. Located just 15 minutes away from Galmpton Touring Park, there is something exotic about the boardwalk type experience that harkens back to an earlier time, and something about the bright colours and the sounds of laughter than brightens even the dullest day.

The beach, the sun, the fun, and the games – all come with their own built in stress relievers. If you don’t believe us, then you’ve clearly never enjoyed riding the Orbiter Dodgems and firing an infrared beam at the others to send them into a spin!

Built in 1879 by Paignton barrister Arthur Hyde Dendy, and designed by George Soudon Bridgman, the Pier was an instant success. The pavilion on the Pier was the site of entertainment such as singing, dancing, recitals, and a music hall. In 1880, Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera ‘HMS Pinafore’ was performed in the pavilion and the billiard room was constructed the following year.

In the 20th century a fire damaged the Pier, and over the years it declined until in 1980, a massive redevelopment project rejuvenated it completely with a wider shoreward end and the construction of the new pavilions that are in use today. At the Pier-head where the pavilion once stood (it had burned down in 1919), and where so much great entertainment took place in the 19th century, there is now an open amusement area with karts, slides and carousel.

The revival of Paignton Pier is a testament to what a natural place this is to relax. The sand, sea, and scenery are exquisite and the man-made entertainment has changed with the times to make this an exciting place to spend a day.

In 2014, Stade Developments (Hastings) Ltd. purchased Paignton Pier with the promise to invest heavily in new equipment. Last year, the Pier added the casino area with its popular slot machines – some with £500 jackpots!

Today, you can enjoy the latest machines, the mega slide, Orbiter Dodgems, trampolines, bouncy castle, shooting gallery, remote control cars, ten-pin bowling, and crazy golf. There is a beach shop and if you feel like a snack, there’s a cafe, takeaway, ice cream parlour, rock and sweet shop, snack bar, seafood kiosk, fresh donut stand, burgers and chips, and the homemade fudge shop.

From the Pier you can stroll to the centre of Paignton, where there is plenty of parking and the station and buses are nearby this English Riviera attraction.

Get Crafty at Cockington Country Park

01 March 2016

17986_Cockington CourtThe thatched village of Cockington is located a mile up the road from Torquay seafront, and just 15 minutes from Galmpton Touring Park. There you will find 450 acres of wonder to explore – Cockington Country Park.

A veritable paradise for nature lovers, gardeners and for those wishing to take in great views during a great day walking, this award-winning Country Park has something for everyone. The Church of St George and Saint Mary was constructed late in the 11th Century and still stands strong today, if you visit, you can enjoy the parkland and countryside via a network of paths and bridleways that allow for leisurely exploration either on foot or by bicycle. There is also an Arboretum south of the cricket pitch, which was historically a deer park.

The main focal point amongst the grounds is Cockington Court – a historic Manor House bustling with activity and things to do. There is the beautiful Rose Garden, ornamental ponds, art galleries, tea-rooms and craft centre’s to discover, whilst kids of all ages and abilities can enjoy the play area.

Alric the Saxon owned the Manor originally before he sold it to William Hostiarus. From there it was passed on to William de Falesia and subsequently to his stepson Robert FitzMartin after he died. During the reign of Henry I, FitzMartin became involved in the Norman invasions of Wales, and so there is a long and colourful history of the Norman invasion and the anarchy of the time well-rooted in the area. Suffice to say that FitzMartin left his land in Cockington to his son, Roger de Cockington and the land stayed in the Cockington family until 1348.

Over the centuries, the estate has changed hands several times, and today you can enjoy the beauty of the area largely thanks to the efforts of the Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust, a local, independent charity with more than 1,750 acres of green space across Torbay. As well as the 450 acres of Cockington Country Park, the Trust also protects the natural environment and heritage of Berry Head Nature Reserve and Occombe Farm along with various woodlands, cliffs and coastal walks in the area. The most current project underway within The Trust is the Cockington Green Heart Project, which is focused on rescuing the Linhay in the village centre and converting it into a County Park Centre. This involves developing a programme of volunteering, renovating the lakes, and providing more events and activities in the park.

 

Craft Studios & Art Galleries

Amongst the grounds at Cockington Court, there are 2 large craft studios where you can see the artists at work, and have the opportunity to purchase high quality goods made on-site.

The Stable Yard studios are workshops for sculptors, artists, tailors, glass blowers and a blacksmith (see list of artists here), whilst the Sea Change studios have sculptors, a chocolatier, accessory makers & upholsterers and jewellery makers and designers, (see list of artists here). There is also a smaller gallery a smaller ‘Cob’ studio behind the Play Area. If you are planning on visiting to see a particular artist, please call them first to check opening and viewing times – as they may differ from person to person.

Apart from seeing these fabulous creators in action, there is also a selection of galleries to explore at Cockington Court. There is a contemporary art gallery and walled art garden which has open-air rooms, hidden artwork and a story-telling area. The most popular, however, is the Kitchen Gallery, which is making quite the name for itself as a successful gallery space – showcasing local artwork alongside internationally acclaimed artists.

The galleries and craft studios have different events on throughout the month – from exhibitions, open days and days to get involved in. For a full list of events, click here.

 

Getting There and Getting in…

Cockington Court is open daily, from 10am – 4pm between October and March, and 10am – 5pm in April to September and admission is free. To get there by car via Torquay or Paignton, turn at the Livermead Hotel (signposted) and follow the lane down into the Village where you will find two car parks – Cycle Hub and Village. There is also parking available at Cockington Court itself, located behind the Sea Change studios. Once you are in the Village, take a right then turn left to the Drum Inn, keep left and follow the lane down to the car park. The Craft Centre and Cycle Hub car parks are open from 7am – 7pm, whilst the Village car park is 24 hours.

If you are travelling by bus, the Dialabus Service number 62 takes you directly to Cockington Court, and operates from Monday to Friday. The last bus leaves at 4.10pm from the stop located between the Manor and the Sea Change studios. If you are walking however, it is located 1 mile from the Torbay Sea with a walking route signposted starting at Cockington Lane.

Cockington Court is wheelchair accessible, and is a dog-friendly site, so feel free to bring your canine companion along for the day, however they do ask that they be kept on a lead in the gardens and studio areas.

Experience True Victorian Folly at Canonteign Falls

03 February 2016

17915_Canonteign FallsThe Canonteign Falls are widely considered to be one of the most magnificent examples of a Victorian Folly of their kind, and are the highest man-made falls in England. A 40-minute drive from Galmpton, the natural falls have been in this beautiful valley since the late 1800’s.

Canonteign is home to two sets of waterfalls – ‘The Clampitt Falls’, which start high up in Dartmoor, run through Canonteign and fall into the River Teign below, and ‘The Lady Exmouth Falls’ – so called because they were built under the direction of the 3rd Lady Exmouth in 1890 and standing at an impressive 70 metres tall.

Passing by ‘The Clampitt Falls’ takes you through the Secret Garden and Victorian Fern Garden and leads up to Buzzards View, which sits above ‘The Lady Exmouth Falls’ and offers spectacular panoramic views across South Devon and Dartmoor.

On the pathway down, you pass through ancient woodland to the Lily Lake, old Orchard and Bee Garden. There is also a Mini-Assault Course and Zip Line for the kids. There are seven lakes in total at Canonteign Falls, constructed in the early 1900’s by the current Lord Exmouth. The lower lakes alone offer a rare experience as they are home to wildlife such as Kingfishers, Bats, Butterflies, Wildfowl and Otters – all living in their natural habitat. The ‘Swan Lake’ is also home to Canonteign’s very own pair of Black Swans – Rudolph and Dame Margot.

Recently, a round sitting bench with twelve poems around an ancient oak tree has been designated ‘Poets’ Corner’. This is a peaceful area where you can sit and enjoy some of the most beautiful views Devon has to offer.

A place for the kids…

As mentioned earlier, there is a 30-metre Zip Wire and Mini-Assault Course, which kids will love. The assault course combines climbing, swinging and balancing skills, which are suitable for children from 5-12 years.

In 2014, a huge wooden galleon, ‘The Indefatigable’, was added to the children’s play area, and it is named after the famous ship belonging to the Estate’s original owner – Admiral Pellew, who was the 1st Viscount of Exmouth. Filled with climbing walls, slide poles and rope ladders, The Indefatigable is a great place for budding sailors and pirates! However there are trampolines, a climbing frame and swings too – meaning there is lots of fun to be had all round! On top of this, Canonteign is also home to some furry friends in the form of Hector – the Estate Hound, and Basil and Clarissa – two giant rabbits that love having visitors.

Opening times and prices…

The Canonteign Falls open for the season on the 16th March and are open from 10am to 5pm at the weekend. From Monday to Friday, the Falls are open from 10am to 4pm with last entry at 3pm*. The Home Farm Café opens at 10am and serves breakfast and lunch, and the Gift Shop is where the Estate’s original Home Farm milking parlour used to be.

Walking at Canonteign Falls can be challenging because is it a natural environment and so sturdy walking shoes or trainers are recommended when visiting. The ‘Grandad’s Way’ walk is accessible to wheelchairs and takes you around the Lily Lake to the foot of Clampitt Falls. It is about a quarter of a mile round, but if the weather is dry, you can continue on to the Lower Lakes.

Admission is £7.50 for adults, £5.75 for children ages 4-16, and £6.50 for students and OAP’s. A family ticket for 2 adults and 2 children is £24.00. For groups of 12 and over, there is £1.00 off the admission price. Wheelchair users are free of charge and carers receive a £1 discount off the entry price. Entrance to the Cafe and Gift Shop alone is free of charge.

There is disabled car parking as well as disabled toilets on-site, and pushchair access is similar to wheelchair access. Baby carriers are available for hire at £2 each and walking poles are available to be loaned out if you are unsure of your footing.

*Please Note: If there are heavy rain or high winds, because of the nature of the location, Canonteign Falls may have to be closed for health and safety reasons.

Explore British History at its Most Elegant

04 January 2016

17845_Galmpton_Powderham CastleListed in the Domesday Book of 1086, Powderham Castle is home to The Courtenays, and has been since the first Courtenay Earl of Devon married Margaret de Bohun whom received the Castle as part of her dowry. Their son, Sir Phillip Courtenay, built the current Castle in 1391, and it is occupied today by the 18th Earl and Countess of Devon.

This stunning 14th Century building is set in a Deer park, with astounding views across the Exe Estuary. The Estate has 3,500 acres of land, with four farms, 33 houses, garden terraces, formal lawns, approximately three miles of foreshore and woodland that is home to a diverse range of trees – principally oak, lime, horse chestnut and copper beech.

Just a 45-minute drive away from Galmpton, Castle Powderham opens for 2016 in March, and offers tours around it’s vast, majestic rooms from guides who have received a great deal of praise not only for their knowledge about the Castle, but for their friendly, entertaining personalities. Tours take up to an hour, and begin at the Courtyard Gift Shop at regular intervals throughout the day. If you’ve missed one, and are waiting for the next one to begin, you can have a look around the Courtenay Gallery located next to the Gift Shop, which has seating areas amongst the displays of Castle memorabilia.

Whilst the upper levels of the Castle are not accessible by wheelchair, wheelchair users can easily follow the tour throughout the ground floor of the Castle, which comprises of around 45 minutes of the tour. There is also a wheelchair available for loan for people who may wish to use it, and it is available on a first come, first served basis, so if you or a member of your party require it, it may be useful to phone ahead in advance.

Other features and attractions of Powderham include a Walled Garden Play Area, Pets Corner, The Forge, the Courtenay Café, Woodlands Garden and the Belvedere – a pseudo-medieval Gothic tower built in 1773.

Current admission fees are £11.50 for adults, £10.00 for seniors, children (4-16) are £9.00 and a family pass (2 adults and 2 children) is £37.50. If you fill out the questionnaire form you are given on arrival, and get your ticket validated at either the Gift Shop or Welcome Hut, you can return to the grounds for free within seven days. Season passes are also available.

The Castle and grounds are open Sunday to Friday from 11.00am to 4.30pm, with Castle tours beginning at 11.15am and running at regular intervals thereafter until the last tour at 3.30pm.

 

Celebrate your special day…

The beautiful settings and convenient location makes Powderham Castle the ideal location for any number of special events – with their emphasis placed on weddings. The following rooms are available for hire for exclusive use for weddings, civil ceremonies, blessings in the Chapel and wedding receptions:

  • The Music Room – light and airy with its distinctive domed ceiling to provide wonderful acoustics.
  • The Dining Room – warm and welcoming with a large open fireplace and a minstrel’s gallery often used by string quartets.
  • The Rose Garden Terrace – accommodates up to 1,000 guests and is a wonderful setting for a champagne reception.

Weddings can be held in the 18th century Pavilion within the Woodland Garden, the White Drawing Room, the Staircase Hall and the Rose Terrace Entrance, as well as other choice locations within the Estate. For the wedding party or travelling guests, accommodation is available – with up to 8 rooms within the Castle available for booking.

 

Getting There…

Powderham Castle is situated on the western side of the 16-mile circular Exe Estuary trail and is easily accessible either by foot or by bicycle – the route is signposted as NCN2. If you are travelling from the South, leave the A38 at the Wobbly Wheel Junction and merge onto the A379 (signposted Dawlish). At the Marsh Barton Roundabout take the third exit onto the A379, then at the Matford Roundabout take the second exit onto the A379 and follow the Powderham Castle brown tourist signs.

From the North, leave the M5 at Junction 30 and drive towards Exeter joining the A379.  At the Matford Roundabout take the first exit onto the A379, signposted to Dawlish, and follow the Powderham Castle brown tourist signs.  The Castle entrance is on the left-hand side as you are leaving the village of Kenton.

Get Your Skates On & Enjoy December In Plymouth

08 December 2015

shutterstock_242172757Winter is a time to wrap up warm, embrace the cold weather and make the most of the most magical time of the year. That being said, why not head to Plymouth and enjoy a classic wintertime activity – Ice Skating?

Put on your gloves, bring extra socks and head to the Plymouth Ice Rink at the Piazza Armada Way, less than an hour from Galmpton, for a real old-fashioned, traditional Christmas experience. If you don’t have any ice skates, no worries – they are provided on the day as part of the price of admission, with sizes available all the way up to an adult size 14! If you do have your own skates and safety equipment, then of course you can bring those along and use those instead.

During December, sessions in the week run from 12pm to 9pm, Saturdays from 10am to 9pm and Sundays from 10am to 7pm. The rink is open every day until the 31st January except Christmas Day when staff will be having their Turkey dinners! Special times are in operation over the holidays, with the last skate on Christmas Eve being at 5pm, and Boxing Day and New Year’s Day being at 8pm.

You can buy tickets at the venue on the day, or in advance online. Up until the 21st December, weekdays are ‘off-peak’ and weekends are ‘peak’ times, but from the 21st December to the 1st January, peak time prices will apply at all times.

Peak Times

  • Adults: £10.00
  • Children (12 years and under): £9.00
  • Family (up to 3 people): £25.00
  • Family (up to 4 people): £34.00

 Off-Peak Times

  • Adults: £9.00
  • Children (12 years and under): £8.00
  • Family (up to 3 people): £22.00
  • Family (up to 4 people): £29.00

 

From Monday to Thursday, Students can skate for £8.00 with a valid ID card. Tickets can be purchased at the venue or in advance online, and all children must be accompanied by an adult (who doesn’t have to skate – just be there). If you are not skating then admission to the rink is free.

If it’s your first time skating, or you would like some tips, there is a special trained team on hand to guide and supervise, and the rink is suitable for children aged 3 and up. If you fancy a hot drink or a bite to eat during your visit, Plymouth Ice Rink is surrounded by a huge choice of restaurants and cafés. The Ice Rink is the ideal solution for group bookings for a seasonal night out, whether it’s for a sports club, social club, a staff party, or a team-building event. With a minimum of 20 people, discounted rates and guaranteed advanced bookings are available. A 50% deposit is required and full payment must be made 14 days before arrival.

Beyond the Ice Rink, Plymouth is a busy town during the Christmas season. The City Centre is transformed into a glittering Winter Wonderland with gold and white Christmas lights and snowfall effects. To explore the city, why not take part in the Nutcracker Trail competition? Pick up a trail booklet from the Plymouth CityBus shop on Royal Parade (or wherever you see a Nutcracker) and find them dotted around 20 secret locations across the city. Find them all and you could be in with a chance of winning one of 12 iPad Mini’s!

Don’t have the time to hunt them all down? There are plenty of other ways to embrace the festivities. Visit Santa’s Grotto at Drake Circus, or the Christmas Grotto at RumpusCosy, Derry’s Cross where you can see the Frightfully Charming Deer and Fluffy Snow Creature show with music, dancing, large scale puppets, a tin treasure hunt and deep snow. Have your photo taken in the giant snow globe, see the Cinderella Panto at the Theatre Royal or visit the New Christmas Craft and Food Market filled with vintage Christmas gifts and local food produce. As a special treat, Plymouth’s Ocean Studios offers The Christmas Show, the exhibition of work by specially selected artists, which runs from 12pm to 5pm Wednesdays to Saturdays until the 23rd December within the city’s Royal William Yard. There is even late night shopping every night until Christmas.

With so much to do, Plymouth really is a great day out for all the family.

Step Back in Time to a Victorian Christmas with Bygones

06 November 2015

shutterstock_5539780Bygones is a marvelous privately owned museum featuring a life-size street complete with Victorian shops and interactive experiences. Just 30 minutes from Galmpton, the Victorian Christmas display is one of Bygones most popular special events and it runs from 1 December right through to Christmas Eve.

Recreating the atmosphere of a Victorian street at Christmas in 1897, the street becomes a winter wonderland complete with a real 12-foot tree, Santa’s workshop, and children’s crafts.

Bygones is particularly focused on 1897 as it was the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The owners researched the structure and contents of the shops of that time and found authentic museum display items to recreate an entire Victorian street. The family-owned museum has three floors of nostalgia including the life-size Victorian street with twenty shops and period rooms including a forge, sweet shop, apothecary, and a toy shop.

The notion of Bygones emerged in 1986 when the owners’ passion for railway nostalgia outgrew their home. They had bought a 27-ton railway engine from Falmouth Docks and needed a bigger space for it. The solution was to buy an old cinema that had become available near their post office business in St. Marychurch. They sold the shop and bought the huge old cinema on Fore Street, and to fund their passion for collecting, they founded their private museum and called it Bygones.

The attention to detail and authenticity is the hallmark of Bygones. When you explore the Victorian Christmas on the recreated street, you will know what it was like in the days of Christmas past.

Bygones is open from 10am to 4pm daily during December. While it closes at 4pm, the last entry is at 3pm so that there is time to explore the wonders of the museum. There is wheelchair access to the Victorian Street on ground level, and dogs on a lead are welcome.

Admission prices are £8.75 for adults, £7.75 for seniors and students with ID, £6,00 for children aged 4-14, and free for children under 4. A family ticket for two adults and two children is £27.50. Disabled visitors and registered carers are £6.00. Wheelchair access is only to the ground floor and that admission price is £3.50. There is a car park 50 yards away and the coach park is 200 yards away.