Review: Eden Project & Heligan
Escorted Tour - Coach
Coaching for beginners
222 people found this review helpful
Just when I thought it was safe, she hijacked me from behind, plonking her tea tray down on the table. ‘Hope you don’t mind me joining you, I’m Doreen’ she said breezily. This was my first UK coach holiday and more being used to luxury travel in adult only hotels to hot, far flung places, I was already apprehensive about this five day budget trip to Cornwall. Was I going to be harassed by fellow passengers at every ‘comfort’ break? On the face of it, the only thing I thought this lady and I may have in common was that we both wore glasses!
I’d heard terrible stories about coach holidays; being cooped up for hours; no air conditioning; cramped leg room; passengers past their sell by date and third rate hotels where you’re expected to join in with the bingo sessions!
My niece was getting married in Newquay, the place I grew up and where in 1967, I’d camped outside the Atlantic hotel as the Beatles filmed their Magical Mystery tour. I considered all my travel options from Southport. I didn’t fancy driving on my own, intimidated by the endless conga of articulated Lorries; being delayed for hours in Manchester airport like last year for the hour’s flight to St. Mawgan or face the extortionate and lengthy three change train journey. So I plumped for this very reasonable coach holiday, as it wrapped all my transport, accommodation and food needs into a neat bundle and incorporated the wedding date perfectly.
My trip was the Eden Project & Heligan, staying at the Eliot Hotel in the heart of Newquay. The feeder coach picked me up in Southport at 8.30a.m, then with further pick-ups on route, we arrived at Burtonwood services at 10a.m. with plenty of time for refreshments before departing again at 11a.m. Signage and staff to help were plentiful and the switching of cases between all the feeder coaches at Burtonwood is well organised and a sight to behold. Once I’d given my case to the driver in Southport, I didn’t have to touch it again until it arrived outside my hotel room.
I hoped this was going to be a few days of ‘me’ time, away from hubby (something you need occasionally when you’re both retired). Time to just stare out of the coach window; flick through magazines or start that new Dan Brown. Then catch up and have a good old gossip with my sister and family.
So how did I get on? Well the air conditioning kept its cool and the seat was comfortable. The leg room would have been okay if I hadn’t kept my hand luggage by my feet (You never know when you may need a wet wipe!) The gentlemen sitting next to me on the coach introduced himself as Stuart; we shook hands and exchanged niceties, then I went back to my book. Stopping for lunch at 1.30 and then tea at 4p.m., we arrived in Newquay at 6 p.m. where the hotel manager, a Ross Kemp lookalike was helpful and friendly as was all the staff.
My clean, bright single room overlooked the pool; it had shower, no bath, which suited me fine; tea and coffee making facilities, TV, and good wardrobe space.
I was allocated a table number for meals, joining a couple from Blackpool who were good company together with our waiter who kept us entertained with tales of his traumatic hair loss after dying it blond! There was a choice at all meals and the food was plentiful and good quality.
The entertainment was enjoyable, so I’m told, and although there was the obligatory bingo early evening, the impressionist and the comedian were, I am reliably informed very…entertaining!
I didn’t go on the included full day trips to Mevagissey and the Gardens of Heligan or to the Eden project, due to family commitments. However the feedback was that they were enjoyable, but tiring as they involved quite a bit of walking, but both venues had ample facilities to sit and relax.
I did go on the additional £5 morning trip to Padstow. The overcast day didn’t diminish the prettiness of the harbour and the independent shops were not outshone by Rick Stein’s empire, seemingly on every corner. Determined to buy something from his gift shop, I hadn’t quite anticipated paying £7 for a tea towel. I did draw the line though on paying the £13.50 for his fish and chips. I wasn’t that hungry!
So, would I go on a coach holiday again? You bet I would! I used this trip as a way of getting to Cornwall but ended up enjoying the whole experience and thought it great value for money. Stuart and Doreen, both seasoned coach travellers, were not only a mine of information but also good company when I wanted it, didn’t intrude on my ‘space’ when I didn’t and thankfully stopped me looking like billy no mates on several occasions.
Coaching is a great way to see this country as long as you are open-minded and go with the flow. I just need to convince hubby to come with me next time…then again, maybe not!
P.s. The wedding was lovely!
Need to know:
Denise travelled with Alfa travel at a total cost of £293.00 which included a £25.00 single room supplement, for 4 nights, dinner, bed and breakfast, travelling on the 26th June 2013.
Take a travel pillow for comfort, in case you want 40 winks
Clearly label your case, to avoid delay at Burtonwood
Take your own refreshments. Denise paid £7.50 for 3 teas at the service station.
222 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.
Silver Travel Advisor Recommended Partner: Alfa Travel