Travel Diary 1978 - Part 6 - Southern England

Classic Slice Of Life Road Trip

On the road again, next part of travels, journey through the United Kingdom renting a Kombi Camper.

1st October 1978

Collected the camper, signed for contents, checked condition with rental company check-list-charlie, vehicle rental pre-paid we only had to worry with petrol and camp sites, off we go....

After being treated to a great lunch in London with our friends we departed early afternoon for short hop down to Brighton,, an enjoyable walk along the beach front at night, then ambled into the countryside where we slept alongside a cattle shed. Next morning awoke with a friendly cow peering through the window, well that is what happens when unable to find the campsite or motor home destination.

2nd October, 1978

Being up bright and early decided to travel to Gosport for breakfast (eggs, bacon, toast, marmalade and coffee £1.16), then do some shopping. Made inquiries about seeing/visiting Isle of Wight, no such luck, stopped for 'lunch' at Sir John Barleycorn Pub (as advised, always take advice when given) for a good pub lunch ha ha a beer, liquid lunch! Then continued down via Bournemouth in seach of Corfe Castle via Wareham.


Onto explore historical Corfe Castle in county Dorset, thoroughly enjoyed the picturesque towns and villages, unfortunately no great views from the castle being overcast weather. Seeped in history one has to reacquaint oneself with online, easier than when we traveled looking for pamphlets and maps.


Between Corfe Castle and Swanage permission was granted for us to spend the night on farm with amazing views. Leave only footprints and close the farm gates! Early to bed, early to rise we spent some time walking through the countryside, stretch the legs before driving once again with a visit to Swanage, then doubling back the way we came in.


3rd October, 1978

Polborder House offered a camping site approximately 2.5 miles east of Looe, well that was the plan, winding through breathtakingly beautiful country onto Plymouth. First toll gate at 15p to cross the bridge, realization struck we needed to get closer to Looe where we planned an evening in/on the town (possibly out with Polborder).


Lunch on Sidmouth beach, the unusual sand and shingle beach with red sandstone cliffs in Devon shire, another stunning landscape!

As promised we spent the night just outside of Looe in Conwall, farmers are/were amazing along the way, always interested in where we came from (strange accent) and very happy to oblige an over night stay.


1973 Volkswagen Westfalia Camper Bus. was very well laid out with double seat in the back acting as a couch, fold down table, small tub for washing dishes, with small camper fridge, plus a dicky seat opposite double seat. This could sleep four comfortably, two hammock type beds situated in push out roof we never used, being only two of us found plenty of storage space.

We went for an evening walk between hedgerows along narrow roads, we actually did,'t 'hit the town' being immersed in the beauty from the hill top views, wooded areas and flowers.


4th October, 1978

Quick hop down to Looe, parked and walked enjoyed seeing sights my pen-pal had written about on her holidays down here ten or so years ago. Magic seeing these lovely little seaside towns steeped in history and mystery where Cornish is first language spoken.


Traveled onto Polperro parking outside of the town to walk, narrow cobble roads make walking far easier to enjoy sights and sounds. After ambling around enjoying ghosts of a smugglers past we headed into the Smugglers Inn Museum, where we were given partial tour of the hidden tunnels.


Exiting bought a bottle of Scrumpie the taste of the region (£1.89 +/- 5 liter glass bottle - taste of strong, dry Cornwall cider).


Never leave a region without having a Cornish Tea, Scones, Strawberry Jam and clotted cream and a cup of tea (£0.60 each) a real treat!

Walking the town, harbour and partially onto the beach surrounds time to move on, although in all honesty, villages of Looe and Polperro one could never explore everything, you would need a couple of weeks here.


Journeyed down to Lands End where the sailors last saw land, the most south-westerly point in Britain, the end of the world to earlier generations.


Cornwall mined tin, many old buildings jot the hills evidence on how they obtained wealth. Miners wives made original Cornish Pies for nutritious/delicious quick lunch. Not able to wash their hands the pasty crust was made in such a way one did not have to eat the rounded section of crust to avoid eating contaminated section where hands touched.



Traveled along hugging the coast then using the A361 to Bampton. We spotted a sign advertising hot dinner served in a private home, then felt guilty for dragging two old ladies away from the TV! A delicious home meal. we paid adding a hefty tip, you know that guilt trip, we departed finding a quiet spot outside town along the roadside to sleep the night.

5th October, 1978

Up early after a good nights sleep, headed into Taunton, Somerset for a coffee, then do a little food shopping Rump Steak 0.5 lb cost £1.10.

Next morning commenced with pleasant scenic drive through Bristol stopping for lunch at "Ye Olde Shakespear Pub", one learns quickly, lunch pub grub and ale gives a taste of the area. Local flavours and drinks off tap local since 1636, a grand walk down memory lane enjoying this meal.


Cruised down half an hour or so arriving in Bath, largest town in Somerset with Roman-built Baths. No bathing, impressive roman history extremely well maintained baths, Bath Street leading to the baths also impressive design. Royal Crescent (Georgian housing) facing the Avon valley, Avon River slowly flowing down from Bristol interesting beauty still seen in certain parts.


6th October, 1978

Super early rise and shine enjoying an English breakfast we drove out of Bath around 8 am directly down to Stonehenge having decided to meet mother-in-law at Kew Gardens with her traveling alone.


Stonehenge is amazing! Some strange aura within the area, I can now see why people flock to witness this historical venue.

Kew Gardens is a must, if possible more than just once when visiting London, after a relaxing stroll through we enjoyed a dinner the the Victory Services Club before bidding our goodbyes to see her back in South Africa, we returned to our friends home in West Hampstead.


7th October, 1978

A morning shopping finishing up at the "Bull and Bush" for lunch, then walking it off on Hampstead Heath planning our night on the town seeing Barclay James Harvest, ended up sitting chatting to two in the morning.


Next day planning to drive down to Cambridge, start moving North. Stop off for a day does one good to catch up with what you have seen (visit local laundromat), share with our friends enticing them to get out of London on weekends with so much in close proximity.

Thanks for visiting, hope you enjoyed content so far!


European Part of Tour
Travel Diary 1978 - Part 1 - Planning
Travel Diary 1978 - Part 2 - Europe
Travel Diary 1978 - Part 3 - Germany - Denmark - Sweden - Norway
Travel Diary 1978 - Part 4 - Denmark - Germany - Switzerland - Austria
Travel Diary 1978 - Part 5 - Italy - France - Britain

Photographs originally from film camera, converted in early 2000's to digital so please excuse the age, memories are wrapped up here!


Thought for Today: "A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving." - Lao Tzu




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