London Diary – Beatles, Mayflower, Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall

Aug 23-26, 2019

Wow, it was almost a perfect holiday in Plymouth, Devon and neighboring places in Cornwall. The area is peppered with scenic spots and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. Plymouth’s got some very impressive historic landmark, Francis Drake, Captain Cook, Charles Darwin, and the Mayflower all set sail from its harbors, Arthur Donan Doyle lived in a building on the Hoe, and a spot on the Hoe where Beatles took a famous group photo is now marked with 4 metal plates for fans to create their own Beatles-esque moment. While the rest of the city still looks sluggish, the waterfront area has been done up very nicely. And OMG, I loved the fresh local seafood, offered at reasonable price too.

Beautiful Saltram House with lovely garden and ground made a relaxing day out. It has connection with Jane Austen’s older brother Henry and it is said that Jane herself had corresponded with Lady Morley about Emma. And yes, it’s what led me to the discovery of this area :o) It is also the filming location for 1995 Sense and Sensibility as Norland. It is now a National Trust property.

Cotehele is a breathtaking Tudor Mansion in Calstock, Cornwall. It seems to have stand still in time and simply is evocatively beautiful. It also comes with an impressive collection of weaponries and beautiful tapestries. The house is located on a hill within view of Calstock Valley. The extensive estate ground is situated on the bank of River Tamar and includes some advantageous viewpoints, Prospect Tower for sweeping country sight and Calstock Lookout for exhilarating view of Calstock Valley and Viaduct. The estate also includes a mill, the largest mill complex I’ve seen. We also discovered that coincidentally Cotehele, now a National Turst property, used to be owned by Edgcumbe family, same family that also owned Edgcumbe House, which is next on my list. Cotehele is the most fascinating house and ground I’ve visited!

The story of Edgcumbe family and Mount Edgcumbe House and Park is one that leaves you feeling awed, and a twinge of sadness. The Edgcumbes owned the land and house at Cotehele and Mount Edgcumbe since around 1353. In the Victorian era, the house become a grand castle and the family called Queen Victoria and Prince Albert their friends. The family unfortunately was dealt a double tragedy during WWII, its heir and future 6th Earl of Edgecumbe was killed in the war and the house was bombed to rabbles. With no other direct male heir, the estate passed to a second cousin in 1947. The 6th earl of Edgcumbe faced dual jeopardy, a ruined house and death duties. The brave soul soldiered on and embarked on restoring the house, applying for government funding and negotiating deals to avoid the death penalty. The house was restored based on its Tudor form, much smaller than it was before the bombing. It was nevertheless finally finished in 1974 and lived in by his family for a number of years. Eventually the 8th Earl relinquished the ownership and it is now jointly owned by Plymouth City Council and Cornwall.

Edgcumbe House and Park occupy north east corner of Cremyl Peninsular in Cornwall, which sits on the south bank of river Tamar, opposite to Plymouth’s Royal William Yard north of the river.  The gardens and views along the riverside are delightful. The house is located on a hill with delightful views of the great lawn sloping down towards River Tamar and Plymouth across the river.

P.S. There is a magnificent view point at B3247/Marker Lane.