England Revisited – Lynton, Devon

While we lived in London, we took many road trip and explored many of the beautiful places outside London. I couldn’t wait to do it again.

I’ve always loved Cornwall’s rugged seashore, and it was tugging on my heartstring again. But this time I found the same kind of Cornish scenery in Lynton, north Devon, simply because I stumbled across Highcliffe House B & B on the internet.

Five hours after leaving Essex, a coastal road leading to Lynton yielded prospect of a town on a majestic sea cliff. Shortly realizing it being Lynton, we were quite hyped up by that exciting vista. Soon the road dipped and we were driving through Lynmouth, Lyton’s neighbor at the beach, before the road climbed up again towards Lynton. Having gone through some narrow winding streets, we reached Highcliffe House. Located high above the town, view from its driveway was breathtaking and I literally cried out.

I couldn’t be happier with Highcliffe House. We were welcomed with cream tea as soon as we arrived, which came with instructions for cream tea either the Devon way or Cornish way, i.e. cream first or jam first. I ordered a pot of Lemon Grass and tried my scone both way. It was equally delicious either way!

Our room, Countisbury, named after Countisbury Hill that could be seen from the room, is a pretty room with lovely view and equipped with convenient gadgets, USB port charging station, Tablet for browsing news and Alexa for playing music. In addition, I liked the pleasant infusion throughout the house and appreciate helpful informatioon on its website for restaurants and walks.

Breakfast served with a view was also superb! All items, from smoothie to yoghurt parfait, fruit, tea, coffee and the hot dishes, were made of fresh, high-quality ingredients.

We had a great time in Lynton. In addition to beautiful location, Lynton is sophisticated, easy to navigate and has great restaurants and interesting shopping. I think we had the best Tapas at The Oak Room. Check out Art and Craft Center housed in a beautiful building next to the majestic town hall for locally made products, and St Mary the Virgin built in Art and Craft style overlooking Bristol Channel and Countisbury Hill. BTW, Lynton has its own Cracker Barrel, which specializes in Cornish Pasties.

The Brits are strong walkers and have developed extensive network of footpaths. Wherever I go, I take advantage of these walks. From Lynton we took up two beautiful walks, Valley of the Rocks and Countisbury Circular Walk via Winston’s Path.

Valley of the Rock is just an easy 30 minutes stroll from town. You can continue further into the valley, or return via the same route or a costal path which I highly recommend. Enjoy the spectacular views and watch goats carry out their gravity defying acts on the steep cliff sides.

Countisbury Circular Walk via Winston’s Path is a longer but equally exhilarating walk! It starts and ends at National Trust’s Barna Barrow car park. Path from the car park leads to the cliff where one can take in a stunning panoramic view of sea, Lynton in the distance and Parish of Saint John the Evangelist Church, a church dating back to the time of the Vikings. You will also go by Blue Ball Inn, a traditional coaching inn dating back to the 13th century. The rest of the path will yield delightful views of East Lynn Valley through which East Lynn River traverses.

Lynmouth is smaller, but picturesque in its own right, and boast easy access to a rocky beach.

As a fellow holiday maker aptly put it, “North Devon is like Cornwall without the tourists”. What could be better!

England Revisited – Staying in an English Village

Where to go for first oversea vacation in 2 years? No brainer really, back to England of course!

At this point, dear Blog, I should explain about this hiatus of more than two years. We moved back to USA in Sep. 2020. Although that is not the only reason for the abrupt halt to my posts, I’ll spare you the details of vicissitude, and focus on returning to England for a holiday.

Living in London between 2015 and 2020 was truly the time of my life. Although I had been a fan and visited multiple times prior to moving to London, those five years afforded me the opportunity to explore further the British Isle in length and depth that I had not expected. I am now convinced that, despite its own host of issues and imperfections, the British Isle is my happy place. Interesting fact was that I didn’t come to the conclusion until after moving back to US. Sometimes one must step away to see the big picture.

Needless to say, it was exciting to be back. During almost three weeks’ time between May 26 – Jun 13, we stayed with a couple of friends in their village in Essex, took a road trip and finally spent a good portion of time in London. As a friend put it, “England is the best this time of the year”, I couldn’t agree more, I was reminded many times why I love England!

As much as I enjoy London the big town, I love the countryside too, and no visit to England would be complete without experiencing its countryside & village life, its heart and soul! Luckily, we were invited to stay with our dear friends Amanda and Ian in their village in Essex.

Having arrived at Heathrow Airport on May 26, we picked up our rental car from Enterprise, and drove towards Amanda and Ian. Heathrow, Enterprise, M25 and service areas on the way are formerly familiar stomping grounds, fatigue from the long flight swept away, and the excitement built, “Hello UK, I am back!”. As we left the traffic behind, entered the rural scene and along with it that sense of peace and quiet that I enjoy so much in the English countryside. Thus we began the first 4 days of our holiday.

Being close to London, our friends get the best of both country and town. Meanwhile, like many villages in UK, it boasts a long history and hosts a number of Grade II listed buildings. Although I have visited multiple times before, I still find it irresistible!! Take a little stroll with me through one of the walking routes, crossing wheat fields, picking on Elder Flowers, Dog Roses, and Sticky Grass while minding and avoiding Nettles, looking for the elusive manor house, which alas was completely concealed in greenery this time of the year, visiting Parish Church of St Mary dating back to 12th century, walking through high street spotting various old and new buildings, stopping at a war memorial, which is something you might see in every village of certain age and a way of reminding its residents how precious peace is, and watching a Saturday cricket match. And certainly, don’t forget delicious tea and cake at the end of the walk.