Grandma and Grandad came down to look after DC, so we had a lovely couple of child-free days. We set off fairly early on Friday morning and made a pit-stop at our favourite breakfast spot - the River Cafe in Axminster. I had my favourite of poached eggs and mushrooms on toast and hubby had the full English; best of all, hubby's breakfast was free since I had filled up my loyalty card on our last trip and was able to redeem it this time. Result!
Then it was time to press onwards through Devon to Bigbury-on-Sea, the small seaside village located on the mainland opposite Burgh Island and from where we were collected in the hotel's Land Rover and driven to the edge of beach where we transferred to the SEA TRACTOR!!!! We were so chuffed at having the opportunity to ride on this as it's only used when the tide is in; otherwise hotel guests are taken across the beach in the Land Rover. We had clearly timed our arrival to perfection as the tide had only just started coming in, so the water wasn't too deep/choppy/splashy and the trip over was very enjoyable indeed.
We checked in (having been upgraded to the Cunard suite!) and since our room wasn't ready, decided to head for The Pilchard Inn, the pub which has been on the island since 1365. Yes, that's right 1365, which makes it very, very old. Imagine the tales that have been told in that pub - tales of smuggling and piracy and treachery on the high seas! We had a spot of lunch and a glass of something alchololic; the roaring fire provided a great spot by which to settle in with a book for an hour or so - bliss.
When our room was ready, we headed back to the hotel and oohed and ahhed over the 1930s flavour of the decor and furnishings. The view from our balcony out over the beach and the village of Bigbury was wonderful. Then it was time for an afternoon nap - isn't that what every weekend break calls for?
In the evening it was time to dress up and head down to the Palm Court Bar cocktail lounge where canapes were served and we made our choices from the dinner menu, all very civilized, before heading through to the dining room: I chose scallops for starter, five-spice duck breast for main course and something totally divine which I completely forgotten for dessert. After dinner we went back through to the Palm Court Bar for petite fours with coffee/tea. The food was absolutely superb and it was a lovely end to a very pleasant and relaxing first day on the island.
The following day was hubby's 40th birthday and we started the day with tea/coffee and Buck's Fizz (the drink, not the 80s pop group) in bed.We wandered down to the breakfast room at about 10.15am (very civilized!); again, the food was wonderful - a great selection of fresh juices, yoghurt and cereals to help yourself to, plus a menu of lovely cooked options; I went for the American pancakes with caramelised bananas - delicious! - while hubby had some of the many options from the Full English.
Then it was time to walk off all that food and really wake ourselves up with a very blustery (and sometimes wet) walk across the beach to Bigbury, and back again. Can you see the paler streaks of sand on the beach in the photo below? That was where the drier sand was being blown across the beach by the wind - quite something to see (when we didn't have our hats pulled down over our faces to keep out the chill/rain.)
When we headed back to the island we decided that since we were all trussed up in coats, hats, boots, etc we may as well do a little more walking and explore the island itself. The views from the top were stunning - the sun even came out from time to time and we were rewarded with a rainbow across the bay.At the very top of the island is a 'Huer's Hut' - this was where the huer would live and keep a look out for the tell tale signs of pilchard shoals; when he saw one he would send out a 'hue and cry' to alert the local fishermen.It may not have all the modcons, but it's all about location, location, location!And here I am looking somewhat windswept, with the hotel in the background.When we walked back down to the hotel we had a look round the grounds, which include the Mermaid Pool situated at the far end of the island, down a set of steep stone steps.This is the hotel from the rear; our room was on the very far right corner - the last three windows on the first floor.Here's the Palm Court Bar from outside.And here it is from inside when we decided a spot of afternoon tea was in order after all that walking and battling with the elements!Isn't that a wonderful view? We spent a good couple of hours enjoying not just the food, but the calming vista too.And you can see the waves crashing in these two photos - very atmospheric.Even looking upwards we were rewarded with a stunning sight - the glass roof of the Palm Court.That evening it was time to get dolled up again as there was live music in the dining room (apologies for dreadful photo!). Once more, the food was fabulous - canapes and cocktails in the Plam Court, then I had a delicious starter which totally escapes me at the moment, followed by black bream and finished off with lemon tart. And once more it was back to the Palm Court to end the evening with petite fours and coffee. Another wonderful day on the island.
The following morning, our last, we feasted once more on a delicious breakfast - smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for me and sausage sandwich for hubby - before checking out and saying our fond farwell to the hotel and island.
Rather than taking the Land Rover back over to the mainland we decided to walk across and make the most of the fabulous sea air and wonderful views.
All in all a delightful weekend, very relaxing, with great food, stunning views and great company!