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Mawgan Porth Beach

Over the years we have enjoyed the company of many people, whilst traveling through Britain and Europe. Here are some of the things that they have said about us.

2016 Tour Reviews

1. How was your overall tour experience? What did you most enjoy?

As I sit in my nice warm kitchen on April 2nd and look out the window at a furious snowstorm that has just blown in this "spring" I am acutely aware of how lucky we were with the weather during the entire trip. Although I expected blustery conditions along the coast the days were made even more spectacular by the sunshine and rather mild temperatures which allowed us to take our time exploring all the nooks and crannies along the way.
I was impressed with all the effort you put into insuring that all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed before the first traveller arrives to begin the tour. Your preparation is impressive and makes the transitions from one stop along the way to the next appear seamless. As I told you at some point along the way your command of the depth and breadth of history, geology, architecture, art and politics is astounding. I am certainly awed by your knowledge but I am more impressed by the manner in which you communicate your knowledge and make it not only interesting but entertaining so that the traveler does not feel like they are being hit over the head with a bunch of dates and places and kings and queens or rushed from one cathedral/castle to the next. I loved the diversity of each day; there was always something fascinating/interesting for everyone.

You did a splendid job orchestrating who would participate in the tour. While I was the "new" member of the group I never once felt out of place or out of step with anything. The Balls and the Helds were gracious and fun to be with which instantly allayed any apprehensions I may have had. Danni was a little more difficult for me to connect with as she seemed to gravitate to Tammy regularly since they had become BFF's on a previous tour. You made sure you spread yourself around evenly with everyone which does not seem as difficult with a much smaller group but still important to make sure you take everyone's "satisfaction" pulse.

Almost every day we had some "time" for ourselves to explore, shop, relax and dine. I think this is a key feature so that every minute of every day does not seem "programmed' until we are ready to drop! This "free time" allows every one to focus on what interests them which broadens the experience for everyone.
Each of the Guest Houses/Hotels had their own brand of "quaint" but they were quiet, clean, roomy enough and centrally located.

2. Please share any particular highlights or favorite moments from the tour.

If I am forced to pick only a few highlights this will be very difficult for sure!
I have to say having the better part of a day to explore Port Isaac would be at the top of my list. It seems to me that everyone was having so much fun that you tuned in to this and extended the time we had there; I will always be so grateful to you for this flexibility. We "Doc Martin" fans are an unusual bunch (Clunatics we are called) and being in "Port Wenn" is like traveling to Mecca.
I think my second favorite place was our time along the Jurassic coast and being able to see Durdle Door in person. It was everything I had hoped it would be. Special thanks to you for insuring that I did not injure myself on the long climb up and down.
I was really disappointed in my inability to climb to the top of Tintagel Castle but sometimes you just have to accept your limitations (even if you don't want to).
I was pleasantly surprised by the vastness of the beach at Mawgan Porth; it was just beautiful at sunset. I did not know what to expect at Hartland Quay but the opportunity to explore the rocky shoreline on my own at dawn was wonderful. Like Rodney and Tammy I also loved the quaintness of Clovelly.
Lanhydroc House was fascinating as was Winchester Cathedral and Winchester itself. Being atop Maiden Castle was impressive and really put the struggles of civilizations into perspective when you stand where they once stood and looked out over the vastness of the countryside.
Portchester Castle was interesting and made even more special when I found a "chunk" of the wall laying in the grass that you speculated had last been touched by a Roman soldier. OK, I'll stop now!

3. If you've taken other tours before, how does this one compare?

With a smaller group there is so much more flexibility to individualize like the day we made a detour to see the grounds of an abbey we were just passing by (sorry I have forgotten the name) or the detour we took to take photos of the tin mines in Cornwall or the extra time in Port Isaac. I cannot see a tightly scripted tour being able to do that. Many of the roads we traversed to get to our destination a large bus could not navigate safely. For sure I would never have had the opportunity to "wee" behind a barn amid the nettles with pigs keeping watch!!

Maura from Boston, MA

 

1. How was your overall tour experience? What did you most enjoy?

The trip was great. We loved the small congenial group, traveling with friends and with an excellent guide and driver.
It is hard to pick out a specific OMG . I really enjoyed the geology and history.

2. Please share any particular highlights or favorite moments from the tour.

The winery was outstanding and a real surprise, better than some we have visited in the states (outside of CA & WA). The ships in Portsmouth were also a treat. The highlight of the dining was Jamie Oliver’s. Our walking treks to the various archeological sites were nice times to exercise and learn some ancient history.

3. If you've taken other tours before, how does this one compare?

Since we’ve been traveling for the most part with a well known US tour company and have been impressed with their delivery, the comparison is simple. The smaller group has much more flexibility and is more fun.
One of the problems with other trips has been the constant nickel and dimeing at various stops. You have a perfect program with flexibility, the ability to stop wherever and whenever.

Pat and Don, California

 

1. How was your overall tour experience? What did you most enjoy?

Our overall tour experience was wonderful. We most enjoyed traveling with a small group and the flexibility it provided. Also, the time of year we travelled was perfect because sights were not crowded.

2. Please share any particular highlights or favorite moments from the tour.

It is hard to pick just one or a few. Each day brought a new experience and a great adventure.

Tammy and Rodney, Florida

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2015 Tour Reviews

1. How was your overall tour experience? What did you most enjoy?

My overall tour experience was fantastic. I really enjoyed the small-group camaraderie as well as the emphasis on outdoor activity. Mark is an exceptional tour guide with a unique perspective; as a native of SW England, he skillfully combines his own life experience with historical information, resulting in a clear context for what we were seeing and doing and giving us a greater understanding of this part of the world. I want to learn something when I travel. This is why I take tours, and I give this one my strongest recommendation.

2. Please share any particular highlights or favorite moments from the tour.

I experienced an exhilarating moment on the beach at Mawgan Porth in Cornwall. Gazing out toward the cliffs during a gorgeous golden sunset with the wind whipping fiercely around me, I wanted to take the clip out of my hair and run down the beach at top speed, feeling invigorated in a way that I haven't anytime in recent memory. I've had a few injuries and illnesses in the past several years, and I felt as if I'd come alive again in that instant. I won't ever forget that feeling.

The wine and cheese tasting at Sharpham was another highlight. It was a fun time in a lovely setting--and the wine and cheese were delicious--but more than that, Sharpham exemplifies the pride of place that's so prevalent in South West England. I've come to learn that the people and the land are very much a part of each other there, and the wine and cheese tasting was a most enjoyable demonstration of this.

3. If you've taken other tours before, how does this one compare?

I much prefer this style of traveling. I have taken numerous tours and while I enjoyed them all, this tour provided a unique and more personal experience that wouldn't be possible with larger tours. It was more active, more flexible to the group's interests and individual activity levels, and it provided opportunities to explore some truly fascinating places, as opposed to just big-ticket sites. This wasn't a "cross it off the checklist" kind of tour; this was a "I loved this and I want to come back for more" kind of tour. I also can't say enough good things about the accommodations and restaurants, all of which were higher end than what you'd get on most tours. We stayed at one of the best bed-and-breakfasts I've ever experienced, and I've stayed in them all over Europe. The included meals were top notch as well.

Danielle from Austin, Texas

 

1. How was your overall tour experience? What did you most enjoy?

I enjoyed the small tour experience the most and adored everywhere we went. i felt
Like I was part of a small family. i enjoyed going the back roads a tour bus cannot go.Hartland Quay staying there on the water was my absolute favorite.

2. Please share any particular highlights or favorite moments from the tour.

The statue in the basement of Winchester Cathedral and the cathedral itself one of my favorites. I also liked the small town feel of everywhere we stayed and that when we had group dinners we could choose what we wanted to eat. And if we needed more wine..it appeared!

3. If you've taken other tours before, how does this one compare?

As a veteran of 13 other tours this compares equally for tour content but exceeds those tours in one on one experiences with the guides. We could ask you anything at any time and if we needed more time somewhere you provided it.

Debbie from Alaska

 

1. How was your overall tour experience? What did you most enjoy?

Touring with Mark in SW England is amazing for many reasons. He grew up in Devon so he personally knows the little villages, history, stories about people, events, and interesting places to explore. He shares his knowledge and passion for this area and makes the experience unforgettable. The tour is a learning experience that's fun and energizing. Devon and Cornwall are beautiful. After seeing the countryside and quaint villages in pictures over the years, it was truly amazing to actually be there with our own private guide. I enjoyed that the tour was not only culturally rewarding, but it was also physically active. Because it was a small group, we were free to spontaneously stop and enjoy the moment. There was no rushing, or meeting deadlines. The tour felt relaxed yet Mark packed so much into two weeks. The variety was awesome. For example, one day we walked and climbed around the spectacular Dark Age castle of Tintagel on the cliffs of the Atlantic, and the next day we enjoyed rambling around the fishing village of Port Isaac where we felt we might run into Doc Martin! I also enjoyed Mark's choice of restaurants and picnics, for example -- lunch at Dunster Castle, a picnic beside a Tor in Darmoor, fish and chips at the ancient port of Northam, and a delicious seafood dinner at famous Rick Steins in a beautiful fishing village.

2. Please share any particular highlights or favorite moments from the tour.

You drove us all over the place -- all those little roads, lined with hedges, those little old villages and all your stories!! How about that story about that priest from that ancient church who got his head chopped off? Something like that. What about that odd little place in Porlock, packed full of "stuff" and personal photos where we had tea and scones. That was an experience. How about when we sat on a bench eating fish and chips while you talked about your great grandfather's business sailing in and out of the bay. How about Lanhydrock House (curator opened the giant creeky front door for us) where we were lucky enough to have a private tour and see Henry VIIIs book!! Geeze....!!! What about the submarine and that old guy who gave the tour! And of course you know I looooved the hiking along the coast (and also in misty foggy Dartmoor). Being with you for 2 whole weeks where you could zip around and be spontaneous, and fill the days with history lectures, geology (Iron Age), Roman ruins, hikes, good food, drinks, wine tasting, awesome emotional visuals -- roaring crashing Atlantic Ocean, old historical villages, interacting with wonderful locals, and Portsmouth's naval museums. I can't stop typing... on a roll....
Oh... what about Port Isaac!!?? I'm watching season 7 of Doc Martin, now. I was there!!! I love history, so for me everyday in Devon and Cornwall had a highlight. I loved roaming around the old villages, looking at architecture, churchyards, secret passageways, lovely gardens, and imagining what life would have been like hundreds of years ago. Mark told interesting and sometimes comical stories about everything. In Cornwall, I will never forget walking along the path high on the cliffs overlooking the roaring Atlantic Ocean. Mark's tour ended with three nights in Portsmouth. This city was the grand finale! We walked around Medieval Portchester Castle, perched at the head of the harbor, which was built within a Roman fort with spectacular walls 20 feet high. The final highlight for me was visiting the naval museums and several warships - specifically Admiral Nelson's ship HMS Victory and also Henry VIII's Mary Rose.

3. If you've taken other tours before, how does this one compare?

OK, I'm going to stop writing. I have hand written a review... it's too long, and I blasted through it because
if I tried to make it short, or edit it, I can't. I'm too sentimental. I was very lucky to
be on that tour. I personally liked it too because I was alone without a pal. No worries about anyone
but me. Also, I liked that it was 2 weeks. You have to have 2 weeks to feel immersed in an area. I've taken wonderful adventure trips over the years, however, Mark's method of guiding is different. The tour is actually a road trip through a small area that enables Mark to be flexible with his planning. With a small group he's aware of everyone's interests, whether it's history, dining, walking, or current events. Unlike other tours that cover a huge area, I liked that we focused on just a small section of SW England.
Another bonus is staying for three nights at each hotel! Most tours stay 1-2 nights.

Sue from Seattle, Washington

 

1. How was your overall tour experience? What did you most enjoy?

I was very fortunate that my tour was small. There were only two of us plus the guide(s). This made it very, very flexible to do what we wanted to do as if we were on a road trip with family (there were snacks in every car door pocket too!). Mark, our guide, has a wealth of information on practically anything you wanted to know about what you were seeing (and then some). The small out of the way eateries had fantastic food and even the not so small ones.

What I enjoyed most were the hikes we took overlooking the ocean and sheer cliffs, with the wind blowing at your face, closing your eyes and imaging a scene from The French Lieutenant’s Woman or waiting for Heathcliff at the top. Get yourself into shape for these because with all the good food you’ll be eating, it’s nice to know you won’t need to hit the gym while you’re there. But if you choose not to do these, the B&B’s we stayed at had great places to sit and read a book, stare at the beautiful view and enjoy your tea with cookies. They also had great radiators to dry out your shoes and clothes too. Do bring good walking shoes because you will be doing a lot of walking.

2. Please share any particular highlights or favorite moments from the tour.

My favorite highlights were the hikes up the cliffs or “looking for Heathcliff” hiking in the moors with horses and sheep looking at us wondering “what are you folks doing here?” It was such an adventure that the rain didn’t even bother us. I will emphasize to ensure you do bring rain gear and good hiking or walking shoes that are broken in and to expect any kind of weather!

This will never happen again but it happened to us. We were the very first people (from the public) to have a private tour and view of a discovered book of Henry VIII that he used to help him put together a plan to divorce Katherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn. The Lanhydroc House was closed when we arrived, even though we had confirmed reservations, due to last minute preparations for a public viewing of this book. The curator allowed only us to enter and gave us a partial tour of the house and then the book!

3. If you've taken other tours before, how does this one compare?

No comparison because how many tours has one taken where it was small enough to be that flexible. There was a day where we wanted to spend an extra day at Portsmouth to go back to the museum to view the Mary Rose and skip Winchester Cathedral. Because we were a small group, we really enjoyed having Mark join us for all of our meals and point out what was good and what was REALLY good, not to mention we could taste test his food! I hope this was not too taxing for him having to feel he has to be on point the whole time.

Maydene From Washington

 

1. How was your overall tour experience? What did you most enjoy?

In England we embarked upon a trip,

A motley crew of friends and cheerful guides.

The weather held is in its changing grip;

We laughed until we almost split our sides!

Black, jagged rocks thrust up from storm-forged, shores,

Clovelly charmed, and Exmoor brooded pain

From Robbers' Bridge and Lorna's tragic moors;

Tintagel's ramparts glowed in blinding rain.

Bright beaches called us, and we walked The Hoe;

In every town the poppies bloomed blood-red,

And church bells rang one hundred years of woe,

Though holy wells and time, some comfort shed.

Adventure called us in a dark November,

And we lived dreams that we will long remember.

Nov 2015

Margaret Garrison From Washington

 

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If you wish to contact us regarding available tours for 2016-2017 or would like to discuss your travel needs, please email us at seymourtravels@europe.com. Seymour Travels is registered in the United States.