If you cast your mind back to last year to my 29 things before thirty post, I listed staying at the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl hotel (Southampton) and watching some cricket from the balcony as something I wanted to do. My husband and I have spent many a day at the Ageas Bowl watching the cricket and we were excited at the prospect of trying out the Hilton once the building of it was completed. However, when we looked into a night’s stay for some of the key cricket games we wanted to see, the hotel was either fully booked or over our budget so for a while I thought this was something we weren’t going to be able to do. THEN our 1st wedding anniversary happened to coincide with a friendly start of the season match and so we were finally able to try out the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl hotel.
Our anniversary fell on a Sunday, so on the day we casually made our way down to the Ageas Bowl. Although we were a little bit early, our room was ready so we headed straight to our room.
Hilton at the Ageas Bowl –
As some of you will know, after my wedding in early April Ian and I disappeared off up to the Peak District for a few days, as we are unable to go on our official honeymoon until early next year. And to be honest, I don’t think I would have had the energy to plan a big holiday, as well as my wedding and it also gives us something to look forward to and budget accordingly. Although on a side note, I am in desperate need of a proper holiday, like desperate. Anyway, I wrote recently that I have suffered a bit of the wedding blues which fortunately has seemed to have passed now, but I still thought it would be fun to reflect back on our three nights/four days away up in the north, and provide you guys with some ideas of what to do should you find yourselves up in that direction as well.
The Devonshire Arms at Beeley
This was where we stayed for the duration of our trip so it makes sense to start with this. I remember pulling up on Monday afternoon and sitting in the bar having some lunch before we were able to check in, and thinking to myself that this was the exact kind of place I wanted to stay in. When we were planning our trip to the Peak District, I deliberately wanted to seek out a cosy hotel that we could just tuck ourselves away in but was in a good location to access some of the local sites and things nearby. I struggled a bit online so when I put the word out on Twitter for recommendations, someone came straight back with The Devonshire Arms at Beeley and it was exactly what I was looking for.
The Devonshire Arms is your classic countryside pub-hotel; our room was front facing and nicely sized for a double ensuite room and very comfortable. I brought my dressing gown from home with me but gowns were supplied if you wanted them.
We stayed on a bed and breakfast basis but owing to the location, we had dinner in the restaurant for two of the three nights we stayed and the food was amazing! Breakfast was also very good, along with cereals, bread, fruit etc. you also got a hot option included which set us up well for the day. I also cannot fault the friendliness and service provided by all the staff during our stay.
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I want to discuss today, tipping in America. Having just returned from my trip with Trek America touring the west coast (read my diary here), it was very much a focus on conversation throughout the trip and while we were well briefed about the tipping culture in the USA, we Brits will never quite be on board with this.
I have been to America before –New York and Las Vegas, but having not understood tipping, I didn’t do it as fully as I should have done but during my last trip, being educated about tipping from an actual American provided some much needed context to the culture and thus, changed how I did it.
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Catch up with my Trek America trip so far, days 1-4, 5-7, 8-10 and 11-12.
Day 13 –Pacific Coast & Halloween Party
At the beginning of each day before we head off in the van (unless it’s a free day and we’re not driving anywhere), Lana always shows us the map and talks us through the route that we’re needing to do to get to our next destination. Until this point, we’ve mostly driven across very basic landscapes which I’m not going to lie, is quite boring. However, having been the DJ for the last week (which means I sit at the front with Lana organising the soundtrack for the day –tougher than it sounds when you have an audience to please!), I haven’t been able to just nod off when I like. So it always amuses me when Lana says (to everyone), “you can fall asleep for this first part, but make sure you’re awake and looking at the views through the second part” because I can guarantee you, I want to fall asleep when the view finally gets interesting!
The Pacific Coast, is beautiful! Quite twisty turny so while I get a little bit travel sick, I was grateful for sitting in the front but the west coast is honestly, stunning. But a bit like when we were travelling through Yosemite I had my eyes peeled for bears, the Pacific Coast is all about whale watching and looking intensely at the sea as you’re driving along and questioning every suspicious looking object and ripple is tiring!!
I’ll let some pictures do the talking for a min of the Pacific Coast (Big Sur)…
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Catch up with my Trek America Westerner 2 tour so far: Days 1-4, 5-7 & 8-10
Day 11: Driving to San Francisco
I feel a bit sad this morning, I can feel the end of the trip being now only a couple of days away and the thought of not being with my Trek Family every day is dawning on me. We still have a couple of days but still, it’s present in my head; this past week has gone so fast, I have never known a week to go so quickly.
Our first stop on arrival into San Francisco was lunch with a stunning (despite rather windy) view of the famous Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. This was followed by an opportunity to cross the bridge on foot -Lana dropped us off and collected us on the other side of the bride, I never knew the bridge was 1.5 miles in length!
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