We have been holidaying in England for years now mainly because that is where my inlaws live so it makes sense we visit there so the girls will get time with that side of the family. All that aside however it is a wonderful place to visit – you might think sure how is it any different to Ireland it’s so close but yes it is, the picturesque old villages, the beautiful coastal paths and the traditional pub lunch are among some of the differences I love. Last time we holidayed in Cornwall I got SO many questions about getting there, it is a bit of a trek but obviously far easier to get to than say France for a camping holiday (where we have been once with the girls and I wrote about it here and will again but not at the moment when the smallest lady is just so small, renting a house in the south of England is far more appealing than a mobile home at the moment).
The advice here on travel would apply to any trip to England if you are travelling by boat then then by road!
- How to get there by boat – we go by boat because it is genuinely the most relaxing way to travel. We have done all the crossing between Ireland and England and now stick to going over with Stena from Rosslare to Fishguard, the evening boat leaves just after 6pm and gets into Fishguard around 9.30pm at which point we have the girls in their pjs and we are ready to hit into our 3 hour journey to Somerset. We tried getting the later Irish Ferries boat at 8.45pm but we had to get a cabin to let the girls sleep which adds only a little to the cost but A LOT to the stress believe me and then it made getting to our destination on the other side ridiculously late. Two things about that Stena crossing in particular is that firstly the play area is appalling, its so dated but they do show a movie so that’s something and the hot food is horrendous, honestly, it’s really poor! We usually try stopping somewhere en route to Rosslare and then we have snacks or sandwiches on the boat to fill the bellies. On the way home we get the Irish Ferries crossing at 2.45 which is gets in at 6.45 and the girls again generally sleep on the way or are ready for bed when we get home which is ideal. That ferry is way better than the Stena one, it’s been done up a lot recently so the play area is small but grand and they always show a movie and the food is a bit better.
- How to travel by road – this is probably one of the biggest differences between England and Ireland and that is the sheer volume of traffic on the roads. Massive queues of traffic on the motorways are not uncommon and all it takes is for someone to cross a lane to quickly and the knock on can last for miles. So we always travel by night, even then the roads are busy but we have never encountered traffic when we drive by night. If you are travelling by day two pieces of advice – go well stocked with snacks and keep an eye on google maps to see if there is a major blockage up ahead.
- Where to stay – We always rent a house when we go to the South Coast and use housebythebeach.co.uk, the houses we’ve been in have been really well equiped in terms of games, books, kitchen ware, cleaning products and basic food stuffs like salt (although that is totally random and will depend on the house not the website providers if that makes sense!) etc it’s just like going into someones home so if you were travelling by night from the ferry to say Cornwall you would be looking at about a 5 hour drive but the key to the house is always left outside the property so you can let yourself in whenever you please.
- What to expect – for me holidaying in England is just so calming, our days revolve around the beach and barbeques and coastal path walks. The South West coastal path stretches the entire way round the south coast tip of England from Minehead in Someret to Poole in Dorset and you’ll find lots of lovely walks between beaches which come in varying degrees of difficulty but definitely something you could do with young kids (not buggies!!). We have stayed on the south coast of Cornwall so that’s the only area I know but we have visited the Lost Gardens of Heligan which were nice but expensive to get into so go early in the day to make the most of it! We haven’t been to the Eden Project yet but that is on the list for this year. Mevagissey is a small fishing town which is great for a day out, there is a TINY aquarium at the harbour and also a small museum and it wouldn’t be a trip to any English spot without having fish and chips at some stage! That part of England is famous for tin mines and china clay and there are some museums around the county on those topics.
- When to travel – travel before the schools in England get out for the summer. This is a no brainer, it’s obviously much quieter everywhere but especially on the roads and cheaper to rent holiday properties. They usually get out around the third week in July so we always go at the start of July, weather, which not guaranteed of course but we have found it is still quite good.
So I know it’s a pretty specific blog post in terms of location but then choosing your specific location is a personal thing, the aim of this was to advice in terms of travel really because if that goes well then it sets you up for a nice relaxing holiday. And one last thing, it is absolutely not a complete holiday to Cornwall if you don’t have at least one cream tea on the beach…per day!!!!