This is about a trip to the West Country undertaken by my Grandfather during 1931 when motoring was in its infancy. The car used was a Sunbeam Twenty Five - Weymann Limousine. The majority of the driving was done by a Chauffeur, Ted! The article was actually written by a Sydney Harper who accompanied my Grandfather on the Tour.
The text and grammar has been left as it was written, hence what now-a-days would appear to be a peculiar style.
"We left Mr. Lavington’s house at about 10 a.m. on the 12th June, passing through Kingston on Thames, Staines, Egham, Reading and Newbury. Very interesting country.
Had lunch at Hungerford, at the Bear Hotel. Most interesting town, renowned for its fly-ﬁshing which was just commencing. Excellent lunch, and the gin and French which was served in very fine glasses was much enjoyed. Then proceeded to Marlborough, noted for its‘ Public School and thence to Chippenham and Bath.
From here on commenced some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable, from Chewton Mendip through the Cheddar Gorge to the village of Cheddar. This, in my opinion, is the finest scenery I have ever scene. We visited the Cheddar Cave, and the effect of the water on the rocks is very wonderful. It is magnificent scenery right through the Cheddar Gorge from the village of Priddy to Cheddar.
We continued via Wells to Glastonbury. Here we stayed the night at the Pilgrims lnn - a very comfortable old hotel. This town is an ancient religious settlement, with abbey ruins.
Then proceeded via Knowle and Bridgewater on to Minehead. Lunch at the Feathers, Minehead. Informed us business was very quite, only four people lunching in the hotel.
Then came the wonderful climbing of Porlock Hill. This wonderful climb is well known, I think, to everyone. the drop down from Lynmouth through Barbrook Hill to Lynton affords a wonderful view, and one must not forget the little village of Watersmeet.
From there we passed through Ilfracombe, Bamstaple and Bitldeford, arriving at Clovelly. The scenery quite interesting. We stayed the night at the New lnn, Clovelly. This one street village is renowned to all. Our walk to the breakwater after dinner was one of which we are proud.
The following morning our luggage was placed on a donkey, which is the only means of conveyance in the village, we proceeded through Stratton, Bude and Boscastle, and here was fine coastal scenery with severe hills. We arrived at Camelford midday Sunday and filled up with petrol, and enquired from the man what time the "pubs" opened on Sundays, and he replied, much to our amusement, that he did not know, in spite ofthe "pub" being next door to him. We then went on to Wadebridge and had lunch at the Molesworth Arms. We had terrible rain from Boscastle to Wadebridge. After enjoying an excellent lunch we proceeded again via Padstow, St. Columb Major, Newquay and Redruth on to Penzance, staying at the Mount’s Bay Hotel. Redruth is the centre of the Cornish mining industry, and, in places, the country is just unattractive mining district.
On Sunday evening we walked to the ﬁshing Village of Newlyn. On Monday morning we motored to Land's End, which in itself is most interesting. We then go and lunch at Sennen Cove, which, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful coves in Cornwall. We have an excellent lunch at the little inn. The cove is renowned for its‘ crab and lobster fishing, and in addition, the fishermen are renowned for their beer drinking. “One old gentleman" the landlord said, “who was enjoying a seat in the bar, had drunk thirteen pints before breakfast and the enquired if he had had any“. Indeed a lovely spot.
We returned to Penzance via St. Rush and St. lves, breaking the journey there and having a thorough good look round the place.
Tuesday - nothing but rain in torrents. just to walk to the little bar round the comer we got wet, both in and out. We were very comfonable at the Mount’s Bay Hotel, the food being excellent and everything perfectly clean, and indeed our stay there for a few days was most enjoyable.
We left Penzance on Wednesday morning for the Lizard. Had a pleasant walk to the lighthouse, and then proceeded via Helston to Falmouth, and had lunch at the Kings’ Head. This is a very interesting sea port, and, l think, a safe harbour for yachtsmen.
After an excellent lunch we proceeded to Truro, and visited the Cathedral, which is modem in style. From thence onward through Stricker to Fowey. This last a very quaint little sea pon at the mouth of the river Fowey. The streets are very narrow indeed, and, in my opinion, no motorist should be allowed to enter owing to the danger caused by the narrowness of the roads.
Thence to Lostwithiel, Liskeard, East Looe, Torpoint and then the ferry to Devonport and on to Plymouth, staying the night at the Royal Hotel. Here at dinner we met Mr. Morgan of the Port Trade.
Left Plymouth on Thursday morning via Kingsbridge on to Dartmouth, the scenery being very pleasant. We had lunch at the Royal Castle Hotel, Dartmouth, a very interesting old hotel. We then crossed the ferry to Kingswear, passing through Brixham, Paignton, Torquay, Teignmouth, Dawlish onto Exeter. We visited the cathedral here, which dates back to a very early period. From thence we go to Sidmouth, arriving on Thursday night and stayed at the Belmont Hotel. This hotel has recently been renovated and is very comfortable. All up to date conveniences. Food excellent.
Friday - we had lunch at the Royal London Hotel, Sidmouth and in the aftermoon we motored to Lyme Regis and Seaton. Both very quaint places. in the afternoon, we were held up at Seaton by a terrific thunderstorm accompanied by hail.
On Saturday morning, we left Sidmouth via Dorchester, Bridport and on to Weymouth. Lunch atThe Royal Hotel, Weymouth. Nothing particular calling for interest. Thence via Wareham, Corfe Castle, Swanage, Studland to Bournemouth, and thence on to Winchester, arriving there Saturday evening and staying at the George Hotel. Very ﬁne, old Hotel, over 500 years old. In the evening we walked through the old town, and looked at the Cathedral. Sunday moming, leaving Winchester, calling at Selboume and had a pleasant time with Mr Ben Maltby. Fine scenery from his house. We had lunch at the Newlands Comer Hotel, a hotel decorated in Spanish style. The scenery from the hill is very ﬁne.
I think we arrived at Mr. Lavington's house at about 4.30 in the afternoon, after a really the ﬁnest holiday that it is possible to anyone to enjoy, with no accident of any description, and, in view, of the very hilly districts and unknown country, an amount of credit must be given to Ted.
l believe the total mileage was in the region of 850 miles, and the petrol used from door to door about 64 gallons."