We spent Sunday morning relaxing, eating scrambled egg on toast- as a side note, the thing I love most about staying somewhere with proper cooking facilities (a caravan, an apartment) is that you can make breakfast without it costing an arm and a leg. Although breakfast is probably my favourite meal out, it can soon add up and when your screggs are as good as mine (seriously, ask anyone), it makes just as much sense to eat at home sometimes- and then headed off towards the Jurassic Coast just under an hour away from Christchurch and pulled up at Lulworth Cove.
The visitor centre tells of the creation of the natural (and beautiful) cove and we took in the scenery and the sea air amongst lots of other tourists and a bit of a seabreeze. It was stunning, hard to believe you were still in England and we watched the people, sea and animals for a while on the pebble beach. We tried to find some fossils unsuccessfully – but they can be found if you’re persistent (or if you’re less so, bought from one of the giftshops). We enjoyed a hot drink on the Cove front and were pleasantly surprised with the reasonable prices at the obvious tourist trap then we went on our way.
We were in two minds whether to eat at the Lulworth Cove Inn with views of the cove but – mainly due to parking time limits and a lack of change for more- we headed towards the nearby Weld Arms Inn (about 10 minutes away by car and on the castleside of the Cove.) We didn’t visit the castle as we wanted a lazy, leisurely afternoon and due to Sunday opening felt we couldn’t have that and see the castle too.
I’d read great things online about the Weld Arms (another reason why planning and research beforea trip pay off) but was happily impressed with the meal despite high expectations. We found pub food at restaurant quality with impecable service and cosy surroundings. Starting with the Soup (served with bread made locally and lashings of butter) and the belly pork with black pudding jus our mouths were watering for the main (if it was to be half as good as the starter). For main, we both ordered the beef roast – sirloin beef with a yorkshire pudding, 2 large roast potatoes which were perfectly crispy while remaining fluffy inside and vegetables. It was one of the best roasts I’ve ever had. We didn’t have room for pudding after an indulgent starter and main and drove back to the caravan in peaceful satisfaction.
Monday was a spa day. I don’t know why I was up so early but I was. I saw the sun rise behind crap itv2 programming (I use crap in an affectionate way here; there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying some Jeremy Kyle and The Chase and getting irate when a contestant is too greedy and tries the £20,000 challenge with two lives remaining and doesn’t even bother to use their trial run). Getting ready consisted of having a wash and brushing my teeth and finding loose clothes to slip into that were easy enough to get back on after the spa (as an FYI this is always best whenever you might be swimming; at all costs stay away from tights unless you enjoy a serious case of what I call Twisted Crotch. Which nobody does.)
The spa was relaxing although I had some criticisms (a review is upcoming) and we came back mid-afternoon for a late lunch and to nap and play board games (the kind with no board, though. Our games of choice at the moment are Uno and Bananagrams.) And we listened to the rain pitter patter on the caravan roof with the heating up and a big pot of tea. It was lovely and we remembered that sometimes it’s okay to slow things down just a little bit.
On a [very] rainy Tuesday we headed off to something we [wrongly] assumed was inside. But the Sealife Adventure Park at Weymouth isn’t your standard round-in-an-hour-including-the-gift-shop Sealife Centre. It’s outdoor in parts with various enclosures in self contained buildings. It’s off season so the train doesn’t run to the sister attraction (included with the price of the ticket) the Weymouth Tower which is a thirty minute walk (apparently – it looked much further from 165 feet above when we were up there) or about a five minute drive. An hour’s parking down there is only a pound so it’s well worth avoiding the hassle and driving down (unless you enjoy a long stroll and want to take in the beautiful front of Weymouth or even want to wander along the beach, which must be one of the best in England). Because of the weather, we took the car.
The Sealife Centre is keen on conservation and runs rescue and breeding programmes, from the turtles (rescued as unwanted pets or having not had the right papers to clear customs on being imported to the large Green Sea Turtles which were rescued after being hit by speedboats off a US coast) to the Otter family which are the product of a past breeding programme. The staff are friendly and one in particular – Joe- gave the various animal feeding talks throughout the day oozed passion. We bumped into him and he told us all about Lucia the Octopus not because he had to but because he clearly loves the animals and what he does. It was refreshing to see
The ticket price is a little steep and always leaves me wondering how a family affords to take children to these places but of course the animals require a certain amount of upkeep which doesn’t come cheap. There are, however, several offers on at any given time including money off for booking online or the Kellogs ‘Adults go Free’ vouchers which entitles a free adult entry with a paying child (or, if like me you have no small humans in your charge, a free adult when another adult pays) which definitely makes that box of cereal worthwhile
As I said, later in the day we went to Weymouth Tower which by all accounts attracts large crowds in the summer and can mean a long wait, we stepped right on probably because of a combination of the month and the weather. The view is spectacular and the commentary interesting, although be warned the whole experience only lasts about 15 minutes (including the obligatory photo with your companions in front of a green screen and the attempted sales pitch of the enthusiastic guid-come-photographer).