Castles, Distilleries & Pubs Cruise
Thursday August 9 to Sunday August 12, 2012

Arrival in Southampton

Azamara Journey had already docked in the busy port of Southampton by the time we woke for our final morning onboard the ship. We were due to leave the ship at 8:30am so we were up early to get ready and have breakfast in Windows Cafe. As we have noticed before on our other cruises, the atmosphere at breakfast for the last day was quite different than all of the other days - the passengers being quiet and somewhat somber and the the staff already mentally moving on as the prepared for the next batch of arriving guests. The good thing for us was that even though this was the end of the cruise we still had more vacation to come with days planned in Lyme Regis on the Dorset Coast of England as well as some time in London before heading back to Canada.

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  • Thursday August 9, 2012

    Meeting up with Rose, Mick & Nicola and dinner at Hix

    Our timing to leave Azamara Journey was based on our plan to pick up a rental car in the morning and then drive to Lyme Regis. Following breakfast we took one final walk around the open deck of the ship and then readied ourselves to leave. Once on the pier we walked to the rental car kiosk in the Cruise Terminal only to find it was closed. We needed to walk to their office located reasonably near the pier. The route we were directed seemed indirect and more than once we wondered if we were heading the right way, but it was correct and we made it to the car rental office ahead of a few other people making similar arrangements as us. We ended up with a Vauxhall Astra and just after 9:00am we were on our way out of Southampton.

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      We weren’t entirely sure how the traffic would be with some of the 2012 Summer Olympics sailing events scheduled to take place in Weymouth. It turned out that the volume of traffic was quite light with no delays along the way. We did see the locations they were using for parking for the Olympic events and saw a number of double decker buses being uses to shuttle people from the parking area to where the events would be taking place. It all seemed rather efficient.

      We arrived in Lyme Regis at about 11:00am, and the roads were getting narrower and busier as we approached the pretty coastal town. Not for the faint of heart when driving on the opposite side of the road to which one is used to doing.

      This section of the coast, incidentally, is also known as the Jurassic Coast - recognized as a World Heritage Site with some spectacular cliffs along a155km stretch of the coast. It certainly is a very attractive part of the UK.

      The location that we had booked to stay in Lyme Regis was the Alexandra Hotel. As we arrived at the hotel, we came face to face with one of the other joys of small English towns - virtually no space for car parking. Very quaint, but not too convenient. We did squeeze the car into a spot, though, and got our first views of this attractive 18th century hotel. We checked in and our room was ready so we dropped our luggage in the room before heading out to explore a bit. The room was very nice and had a lovely view of coast. It would do very nicely indeed for the next few days. The location was perfect.

      Gary’s aunt & uncle were due to arrive sometime in the early afternoon, so we set off first to have a look around and also figured we’d grab some lunch before meeting up with Rose & Mick. Nicola was scheduled to arrive a bit later in the day. From the Alexandra Hotel we walked down to the beach and the harbour - called the Cobb with its man-made breakwater. It was hot and sunny and we decided to stop in a pub called the Cobb Arms. We sat outside but found some shade under an umbrella to enjoy a drink overlooking the small harbour. Linda hadn’t brought a hat on this trip, and up to now that hadn’t been a problem - but the conditions now made us think she should buy one. We found a very nice shop called Persuasion and they had a few good possibilities for Linda so it was good she was able to select one that would do well for our time here in Lyme Regis.

      We left the harbour area to explore more of the coastal town and we were having lunch when we received a call from Rose that she and Mick had arrived at the Alexandra - so once we finished up lunch we made our way to meet up and catch up with them and then a bit later with Nicola.

      Our evening plans got rolling with drinks in the very nice garden at the Alexandra Hotel. From there we made the relatively short walk to our dinner venue of Hix Oyster & Fish House. The location was fabulous with a very nice view and the food was excellent. It was a great choice for dinner that we enjoyed very much. We took a pleasant after dinner stroll back to the hotel where we enjoyed a drink at the hotel bar before calling it a night.

  • Friday August 10, 2012

    Beach, coastal walk and dinner at the Alexandra Hotel

    Day two in Lyme Regis started with a nice breakfast together with Rose, Mick & Nicola at the hotel. It was warm and sunny and the plan thereafter was to do a bit of a walking tour both along the coast and in town. We were looking to take things easy, so we weren’t planning to be too adventurous in where we went for the day.

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      We figured it might be a bit too hot & sunny for a long walk along the under cliff and we needed to keep in mind that the coastal area to the east of Lyme Regis had been closed off because of recent landslides - or as the seemed to call it locally: landslips. Whatever they are called, sections of the cliff face falling off were clearly an issue of concern in this area. Just a few weeks earlier a 22 year old woman had been killed when she was buried under tonnes of rock that fell from a cliff face at Burton Bradstock just to the east of Lyme Regis.

      We focused our walking in and around the coast of Lyme Regis itself. By mid-morning the sandy area of the beach was full of people and umbrellas - a very colourful scene against the blue of the water and sky. There was much activity in the whole Cobb area. We walked along the beach and the breakwater and made our way to check out some of the shops. It was nice at times to get out of the sun for a short break now and then.

      We had a nice lunch at the Bay Leaf Restaurant in the Bay Hotel overlooking the beach before wandering a bit more in town. We did make our way to visit the Town Mill - a restored Victorian era mill powered by a waterwheel turned by the moving water from the River Lym. The restoration together with added small art galleries, studios, shops and cafes made it a pleasant place to visit. It is one of the few attractions in the town - clearly the draw to Lyme Regis is the natural beauty on the Dorset Coast.

      By late afternoon we made our way back to the hotel for a bit of a rest before dinner which we had booked at the hotel as well. We could see now that the day travellers to the beach were packing up so now some of the sand was visible. We didn’t see them, but we imagined the tight streets would packed with vehicles taking tired families out of town after their day in the sun, sand & sea.

      Dinner at the Alexandra Hotel was pleasant, and obviously convenient. We had intended to have at least one dinner at the hotel with it being included in the weekend package that we had booked, and we were pleased with the result. A nice end to a nice day. After the extent of the touring we had done on this trip so far it was nice to take things a bit easier, and this was definitely a place to take it easier.

  • Saturday August 11, 2012

    A relaxing day in Lyme Regis

    Gary got up early Saturday morning to hopefully get some nice sunrise photos, but got caught out - he left the hotel through to the garden intending to head down to the beach, but all of the gates on the perimeter of the garden were locked. So were the doors leading back into the hotel. He didn’t have his phone with him, so he was stuck in the garden until hotel staff came to open up the gates and doors as part of their normal morning routine. Oh well. It was a nice idea but the execution was a bit lacking.

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      We met Rose, Mick & Nicola for breakfast in the hotel dining room at about 8:30am and made plans to do very little for this day. We figured we gather some of the comfy furniture located in the garden and then camp out to enjoy the day. It would be a bit easier this day with a fresh breeze and the temperature being bit lower than the previous couple of days. For the morning it was even necessary to have a jacket or sweater. We were told that there would be some restrictions in the hotel for part of this day with a wedding taking place in the Conservatory, but it wasn’t really going to affect our plans to laze around.

      We took lunch in the garden and other than that it was reading and chatting that filled the day. Being in the garden as we were for the day also gave us the opportunity to try the Full Afternoon Tea with Champagne, and it was very enjoyable, indeed. By late afternoon we did take a walk along the coast to take a slight break from relaxing. To complete the lazy day we opted to have dinner at the hotel as well. After dinner we watched fireworks display over the Cobb that was to commemorate the end of a local sailing regatta.

      This would be our last night here. As this point we had wondered if we should have planned to stay one more day in Lyme Regis - it had been very enjoyable and relaxing. For us, it was a terrific way to follow up the cruise vacation. In in the end, though, we stuck to our original plans that would take us to London on Sunday.

  • Sunday August 12, 2012

    Heading to London

    We were in no particular hurry Sunday morning, so we met for a later breakfast in the hotel dining room and then packed up to leave Lyme Regis. We needed to return our rental car back in Southampton, and we set off with all three cars back to drop off the rental car and then make our way with Nicola & Mick’s cars to London.

    More about that on the London page.

Lyme Regis Image Gallery

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About WHITEonline

WHITEonline is the digital home of Gary & Linda White. We’ve been married since 1980 and live just outside Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Linda was born and raised in Toronto while Gary was born in London, England and moved to Canada at the age of 11. We enjoy travelling and taking photos while we travel. WHITEonline provides the opportunity to share some of our photos & experiences.

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