Holiday Activities on the Jurassic Coast of Devon and Dorset – South West England

The unique and beautiful Lyme Bay traverses West Dorset and East Devon in south west England, a part of the coastline known as The Jurassic Coast. Declared by UNESCO as England’s first natural World Heritage Site The Jurassic Coast is up there with the world’s most famous attractions such as the Grand Canyon in the USA and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

The Jurassic Coast covers 95 miles of truly stunning coastline from West Dorset to East Devon and the landscape records 185 million years of the Earth’s history. World Heritage status was achieved because of the site’s unique insight into our geological history as it clearly depicts a ‘walk through time’ spanning the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods of the Earth’s development.

Charmouth beach in West Dorset is one of the best places along the Jurassic Coast to search for fossils. Experts lead guided fossil walks and they are organised from the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre, situated just by the beach – the walks take place throughout the year and help to bring to life the area’s geological history.

The Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre is a mine of information regarding the geology of the Jurassic Coast, the fossils and the local wildlife – the centre’s wardens are on hand to answer your questions about the area. The Heritage Centre promotes the sustainable collection of fossils and it’s worth checking out the advice on fossil collecting at the centre before setting out on your own fossil hunting expedition.

One of the most wonderful ways of exploring The Jurassic Coast is to take a ride on The Jurassic Coast Bus Service (the X53). This bus travels along what must be one of the most beautiful and scenic routes in the country and connects Exeter, Sidford, Beer, Seaton, Lyme Regis, Charmouth, Bridport, Abbotsbury, Weymouth, Wool, Wareham and Poole (summer service). An Explorer Ticket offers unlimited travel along the route for a day. The ticket costs just £6.00 for an adult, £4.50 for a child or £13.00 for a family ticket (up to four people with no more than two adults).

You can sit back and enjoy the views from the top deck while somebody else drives but you can also get off the bus and explore the towns, villages and attractions along the route. The bus service is also ideal for walkers who want to walk along a section of the coast path as they have the option of either travelling out or back by bus.

The low floor buses run every two hours and tickets offer unlimited travel for a day. So why not hop aboard and let the bus take the strain as you explore this stunning coastline.

There is something almost magical about this area and it is certainly a wonderful place to take a break. Take some time to come and explore the heritage coastline, the historic towns and hideaway villages in an area of truly stunning natural beauty.

The Jurassic coast is a wonderful place to visit all year round and is an ideal place for family seaside holidays, romantic short breaks for two or winter weekend breaks. One of the most flexible ways to visit the area is to book a self-catering holiday cottage.

Discover Cornwall and the South West Coast

Cornwall has an array of wonderful sights and hands-on experiences for children attending primary school. Travel to the south coast of England and let your pupils explore one of the world’s largest conservatories and indulge themselves in this diverse Mediterranean landscape. The quaint towns that dot the coastline are typical examples of traditional fishing villages nestled comfortably in the stunning scenery.

A primary school travel group will have endless opportunity to discover the many interesting aspects of this county. The Innovative Eden Project stands out as a major attraction and the Tate Art Gallery in St Ives houses a marvellous display of fine contemporary art. There are also the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Gardens that are well worth a visit and free for students. St Ives is a beautiful town to spend a day exploring the cobbled streets and winding alleys that are typical of the Cornish towns.

The Eden Project

The Eden Project welcomes primary school travel groups and offers some very exciting opportunities for pupils to learn, engage in workshops and experience the innovative ideas that brought this project to life. There are thousands of different plant species grown here and these are intermingled with unusual and modern art and architectural sculptures. The purpose-built education centre stands out as a living classroom and makes The Eden Project an even more attractive destination. A specialised education team on site means you can bring your group to attend organised workshops that are packed full of new learning experiences for pupils of all ages.

Once an old china clay quarry, this site, which is as big as 30 football pitches, has been transformed into tropical, futuristic greenhouses housing a museum of nature that aims to teach visitors about the delicate relationship man has with his natural world.

There is more to Cornwall

Cornwall is not only famous for its flora, but is also home to Newquay Zoo, an award-winning zoo housing over one hundred species of animals. Go wild and visit the big cats at lunchtime, have fun and join an activity trail, or take notes and listen to one of the animated zookeeper talks. From creepy crawlies to penguins, wildebeest to red pandas, the animals here come from all over the world. In the tropical rainforest exhibit, pupils can learn about the world’s largest and most fragile ecosystem and interact with its different environments, and a visit to Toad Hall teaches about the threat to many of the world’s amphibians today.

A different and interesting excursion is to The National Lobster Hatchery, one of the very few research laboratories focusing on marine biology that opens its doors to visitors. Education at every level is catered for and primary school travel groups can gain a wealth of information from the group sessions given here. Pupils can begin to understand the need for conservation and sustainable fishing if the fisheries are going to survive their current situation. Stock enhancement programmes are developed here and sustainability issues are comprehensively researched.

Being a coastal county Cornwall has a rich maritime history. The National Maritime museum dedicated to the celebration of the sea is a fascinating place to spend an afternoon. The museum is now engaging in more research and exploring under the sea too.

A beautiful place to stay with easy access to some educational and enjoyable attractions, Cornwall is a great option for primary school travel.

Three Foodie Attractions You Must Try in Bristol, England

Bristol, located in South West England is a centre for local food initiatives in the United Kingdom. Their Food Policy Council is dedicated to ensuring the people of Bristol have food that is healthy, delicious, good for the environment, affordable, and profitable to the people who grow it. In June of 2012, they are hosting the first ever Food Conference in the UK, as well as the largest farmer’s market in the UK.

During your stay in Bristol, you will have a veritable cornucopia of culinary delights from which to choose. You can stay for a week, and eat every meal at a different award-winning restaurant. However, there are three foods that you absolutely must try while you are in Bristol.

Sweet Treats

First, visit Guilbert’s Chocolates Ltd. In business for over 100 years, they are located in the oldest commercial building in Bristol, a short distance away from the Bristol Hotel. The Foster rooms, the new location of Guilbert’s Chocolates, were the home of John Foster, a merchant during the 15th century. Guilbert’s makes all of its chocolate by hand, using the same methods (with a few updates for electricity) as when they were originally founded. You can buy boxed collections, or select individual chocolate creams, truffles or fondants before deciding which treats are your favourites.

Locally Eats

The second thing to try is not a single food, but rather, a category of food. Bristol is extremely active in the local foods movement for many reasons; they are active in:

  • Encouraging the use of locally-grown, sustainable food
  • Hosting a range food-based events
  • Urban food producing initiatives

If you would like to browse through the selection of fresh local foods available, you can visit one of Bristol’s farmer’s markets held every Wednesday or the first Sunday of the month. Locally-sourced food is also used in many eateries, including several Bristol hotel restaurants. To go one step further than simply locally-grown food, you can also dine at The Lido Restaurant, the Glassboat Restaurant, and Spyglass, each of which share a garden dedicated for use in their delectable dishes. The Lido Restaurant, for instance, creates ever-changing menus based upon what the garden produces. You can learn more about environmentally sound cooking at the restaurant and cooking school, Bordeaux Quay.

Pie, Please

The third food to be sure you must try while in Bristol is pie. Yes, I said pie. Bristol loves its pies, having two locations of the popular Pieminister restaurant and shop. They offer a wide variety of meat pies, vegetarian pies, seasonal pies, and sweet pies which make for excellent eat-in or take-out lunches, dinners, or desserts. But if you can try only one pie, you should make sure to try the classic sweet pie, the toffee apple pie. The Old City location of Pieminister is located near both Guilbert’s Chocolates and the Bristol Hotel, although after eating both sweets, you may want to take a roundabout route back to your hotel to walk off all those calories.