No words – just some photos from our lovely weekend in Bath.

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Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

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Wyatts Covert in Denham does it for me.

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Simples really. Open all year. Fifty hardstanding pitches. An oasis north west of London and within the M25. Immaculately maintained by wardens Marie and Paul. Bus actually comes into the site for local travel. Small private airfield adjacent if you like something to watch.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Take the kids to the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.

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Source: http://www.theguardian.com

Written by Kari Herbert

In a nutshell

The grand family home of the motoring-mad Montagu family in the New Forest and the site of one of the finest collections of cars, motorbikes and motoring memorabilia in the world. There are more than 250 vehicles on display, from early motor carriages and 1920s “gangster” cars to legendary land-speed record breakers and motoring marvels, such as a giant orange on wheels. There’s also a full-size caravan made from Lego and familiar TV show cars, too, such as Del Boy’s Reliant Regal from Only Fools and Horses and Wallace and Gromit’s Anti-Pesto van.

There are costumes to try on, cars to climb into, knobs to turn and buttons to press and a new interactive crash-test-dummy challenge. Jack Tucker’s garage recreates the sounds and smells of the 1930s and in the “World of Top Gear” there’s all sorts of crazy contraptions created for the TV show.

Fun fact

Beaulieu was a top secret base for special agents during the second world war. More than 3,000 spies were trained here before undertaking daring missions behind enemy lines.

Best thing(s) about it.

The monorail at the museum. We loved riding the monorail high above the gardens of the abbey and, ingeniously, through the roof of the motor museum itself. But getting up close to the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was our daughter’s favourite.
The abbey and the gardens are stunning, and have a brilliant new Alice in Wonderland topiary display. There are fascinating exhibits for budding spies in the Secret Army exhibition and in Palace House costumed guides make you feel as though you are guests of the family – you may even see the cook rustling up a favourite family dish in the newly-restored Victorian kitchen.
What about lunch?

There’s a covered picnic area and benches beside the children’s Dipstick playground. Alternatively, the Brabazon Cafe serves good food using produce from the estate gardens: a kid’s picnic or hot meal, such as jacket potato or fish and chips, costs £4.75; a kids’ hot chocolate with smarties costs £1.75; adult meals, such as large salads from the deli, start at £7.50 (soup £4.60) and a cream tea is £2.50.
Exit through the gift shop?

Yes, with a huge selection of model cars, books and motor-themed gifts, as well as homeware, clothing and toys. A radio-controlled Ferrari costs £39.99 while pocket-money-priced toys, such as pencils and rubber balls start at £1.
Getting there

Travel by train, ferry or bus for all or part of your journey to Beaulieu and you get 20% off standard admission. Take the train from London Waterloo to Brockenhurst, or the Hythe Ferry across Southampton Water to Hythe. The New Forest Tour’s green route links Beaulieu with Hythe Ferry, Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst and Lymington. By car, take junction 2 off the M27 and follow signs to Beaulieu.
Value for money?

It’s pricey, but you could easily spend a full day here. Advance tickets cost £19.50 adult and £9.50 child, for entrance to The National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, Palace House and gardens, Beaulieu Abbey, the Secret Army Exhibition and unlimited rides on the monorail and veteran bus. Under 5s are free.

Opening hours.

Open daily 10am-6pm (27 May-24 September) and 10am-5pm (25 September onwards, closed Christmas Day).

Verdict

8/10, well put together and a great family day out.

CLICK FOR THE WEBSITE

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Nice – as lovely as ever.

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Enjoying time in Nice.

A recent survey revealed Nice to be the city most French citizens would love to live in if they had the choice and I can see why.

A tad hot for us Brits. 34 degrees C slows me down and results in more bars being visited when of course I am here primarily for the culture……

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Grove Lock Marina CL on the Grand Union Canal.

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This week I spent time at Grove Lock Marina CL on the Grand Union Canal near Leighton Buzzard. It is CL number 11 on page 283 of the 2017/2018 Caravan and Motorhome Club Sites Directory and Handbook.

The reason I like it so much is the setting; on the canal, part of a narrow boat marina with the very good Grove Lock Public House (a Fullers house) adjacent to the marina with your own key access to it from the CL and the marina. Excellent facilities, WiFi and the grass pitches have electricity and water to hand. For the security conscious it has electric gate access and since the last time I stayed here the owners have opened up a thirteen pitch site adjoining the CL but separate from it.

As a train enthusiast I love seeing the Virgin passenger trains and quite a few freight trains coming in and out of Milton Keynes but I know there will be some motorhome owners who would find that a tad noisy so I guess I am a bit biased on this feature.

The same company owns CL number 1456 which is the Kings Orchard Marina near Lichfield. The owners, Pridewater Estates Ltd, can be found HERE

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Close to home – and none the worse for that.

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The snag with sites close to home is that I rarely visit them. With much of my time spent in France and Germany all too often I am driving past local sites and not actually visiting them.

But this week I have been at the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Commons Wood site near Welwyn Garden City and it turns out to be an attractive oasis of calm not far from the madness of the M25, A1M, Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City. Really quiet and peaceful it has just 68 pitches spread over six acres so quite small and intimate and, as you would expect, beautifully maintained by the wardens with excellent facilities. 

And a five minute taxi ride will take you to the station and forty five minutes later you are at Kings Cross if peace and quiet is not you scene.

So it’s quite a find and reminds me once again not to drive past local sites!

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

And Cochem is a must….

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“In the most romantic part of the Moselle Valley, where the river curves between two hiking paradises – Eifel and Hunsrück – lies the old town of Cochem. Even the Romans sang the praises of this remarkable landscape. It is true – a few things have changed since then, but the attraction has remained because the past centuries – above all the Middle Ages – have left their marks here.”

I used to think Cochem on the Mosel was a tad too touristic for my personal taste but the mistake I was making was not looking beyond the main street facing the river which is indeed full of restaurants and shops selling stuff you really don’t want to buy. 

On that score I learned a harsh lesson years ago when I was in Kuala Lumpur and saw a simply magnificent Elvis Presley t-shirt which was a full colour photo of the Great Man screen printed onto a silk shirt. I had to have it. It looked so good in crowded bustling KL. To my disappointment I looked absolutely ridiculous wearing it walking to the pub where I live in Felsted. Some things simply do not travel.

On this German trip I was able to spend more time in Cochem and found it to be a real jewel – highly recommended!

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Saarburg on the Mosel 

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The list of towns worth visiting on the Mosel is endless and Saarburg is right up there in the top five in my opinion. Not large, just a 6700 population, and sporting Germany’s only active bronze bell foundry. The town started life in 964 (the American tourists I met in the main square could hardly get their heads round that) and has in turn been occupied by Luxembourg and French troops over the years.

It is a delight to visit and followers of this blog know that one of my main loves when travelling is finding a street bar and watching the world wag by.  Saarburg scores “dix points”.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews