Holidays and Trips
For some years now the Parish of Holywell has organized coach trips and an Easter holiday to enable parishioners to spend time together and more importantly to bring their friends into the social life of our church. Normally, we have two coach trips a year, one near Christmas when we have visited for example, Chatsworth to see the Christmas decorations and Christmas stalls in the grounds. This year we are going to Bideford, Devon and staying at the Durrant House Hotel. http://durranthousehotel.com/
Holywell Parish Easter Holiday 2015
Easter Monday 6th -10th April 2015
Situated near the old port of Bideford with views of the Torridge Estuary, perfectly located to explore the rugged coastline of North Devon. We will be travelling with Voel Coaches as usual with use of the driver and coach for local tours .
Depending on numbers booking I hope to hold the price at £190 per person again this year with a deposit on booking of £40 per person.
At present I have options on 18 twin rooms, 16 doubles and 9 singles at this price. I need to get the group decided as soon as possible so please submit names and a deposit of £40 per person.
Holywell Parish Easter Holiday 2014
Wagons West !!
As Confucius say “Today is the tomorrow you feared yesterday ! “ and with that in mind, I slipped out of bed on Easter Monday to make a hasty getaway for the parish holiday in Paignton. Organizing a group holiday for 45 people is the stuff of anxiety dreams so when I exploded in the first few minutes ,when some people would not sit down in Carmel on our orange Voel Coach to be counted , I apologize.
Unlike last year there was no snow around, the promised rain had not arrived, the driver was different and everyone seemed to be there before me. It was looking good as I fastened the Mexican sun talisman to the window of the coach . This year we were to have some 15 Lions and three Vikings for my brother-in-law Kjell and his wife Eva, sort of pronounced “ Shell and Eh-Va” ,were joining us from Stockholm. In the event, it all went so well. The sun started to shine but on Easter Monday getting to Devon is not easy so there had to be a lot of motorway driving and finding stopping places this time was difficult. Anyway we got there at four in the afternoon and were greeted by Lee the manager of the Queens hotel.
If you want a hotel for a very moderate price look no further, the staff especially Fayet the Turk, and Rose the Devonian were wonderful, attentive ,polite, nothing was too much trouble and the food, four courses every night and breakfast equally generous, both waiter served ,was excellent. Rooms were small I admit, but as we only slept in them it did not matter as they were very clean and equipped well.. Only one couple complained about their room as they liked to tango in the bathroom and they were quickly relocated in a spacious family room with slip proof tiling in the bathroom for their dancing.
On the first day, Steve Wardell our quiet driver, suggested we took the day in Plymouth so after an excellent breakfast, we trickled through country Devon banked lanes of my childhood towards Plymouth, en route passing fields of regimental sun panels as Devon farmers are giving up growing milk to producing crops of electricity. No one can say that the people of the West Country are not slow to make money especially from grockles ( tourists) known as emits (ants) in Cornwall, now known proudly as Kernow, after its recent status change. Here can I appeal to the people of Wales not to close tea shops at 5.p.m. especially at Bodnant Garden !
Plymouth proved a good choice as the party split into the gin drinkers who went to the renowned Plymouth Gin Distillery on the Barbican, the sailors who took to boats to see the Sound and the River Tamar and Royal Naval Dockyard and the walkers who after locating pasties and ale, strode off to the Hoe to see were Francis Drake played bowls while waiting for the tide to sail against the Spanish Armada. Most of the day was sunny but as we reached the bus it rained a little bit.
Second day was to be the trip to the Eden project located an an old china clay pit quarry near St.Austell pronounce “Snozzle” . By now I was feeling better and my accent was being strengthened . Tumbling out of the Voel Coach we were greeted by a pretty young girl with a Cornish accent. Fortunately, I had done a deal by telephone and knocked off a good few pounds for our entry tickets. If I had been less honest and described everyone as seniors, it would have been even cheaper, but it was a church trip! Eden like Eden I suppose is quite remarkable and beautiful with so much to see and do , eat and drink. Eating paella in a Mediterrenean dome in the sun and drinking an excellent Cornish ale while fellow parishioners tucked into large tasty pizzas and sipped red wine was a memorable experience. Flowers and their scent surrounded us and all passersby seemed to be laughing and smiling. For some Lions the high light of the holiday was the Eden Project zip wire for four of them decided to fly over the quarry on high to prove their lionhood , like shackled and bundled birds arms out , while laughing fellow passengers recorded the event with their cameras. As they zipped overhead, none screamed I noted, but none roared either.
On the last day for trips it was decided freedom was best and people would decide where they would go. Bryn & Roy decided to lead a meandering cliff top walk to Torquay which proved of great interest and resulted in some very tanned or red faces latter at dinner. Ferries were taken across the bay and everyone marvelled at their cheapness and ladies were teased by having rowing boats as likely ferries pointed out to them ..all arrived back at Paignton, tired, safe but happy. Others decided to take the marvellous old steam train named Hercules from Paignton Station to Kingswear where we caught the ferry to Dartmouth ,all included in the return fare. Spirits were high as we dispersed into Dartmouth for coffee. As Birgitta Kjell , Eva and I were speaking Swedish ,we were stopped by a tall man and his smaller companion, a well made up gentleman with long blond hair carrying a little dog in a bejewelled handbag which later we learned was made in Sweden .. The big man being half German thought we were Germans and he and his fruity companion showed great interest in us which made a very amusing interlude. Dartmouth is a little jewel with art galleries, bijou souvenir shops, first class restaurants and cafés and in truth everyone from our group seemed to disappear and had a great time .The hotel possessed a swimming pool and many took advantage of this facility and swam daily free of charge.
On the last day at 0915 hours reluctantly we left for home as the first rain started and we arrived tired but happy in the late damp afternoon. If you want to come on the next holiday get your name down early. Lastly, despite strict warnings about leaving anything on the coach , some fool did…me , my Austrian alpine hat !!!
Terry von Ireland,
Parish Coach Trip to Salford Quays Saturday 27th July 2013
After nearly ten days of sunshine and temperatures in the upper 20s Centigrade the day for the Salford Quays trip approached with a weather forecast promising rain. Thus, we decided to take the Mexican Glass Sun Pendant that in previous years always hangs on the window of our Voel coach on holiday, purchased some years ago on a parish holiday that started by leaving Holywell in torrential rain .In desperation and with a sense of humour, it was purchased in the Moreton Garden Centre at our first stop where after the rain ceased and it was sunny for five days.. ..luckily it worked this time for the sun began to shine and blessed the whole six hours we spent at Salford Quays. For those who have never ventured there, be assured you will find something to interest you. A large group from Holywell Parish were given a conducted tour of the Lowry Gallery by one of the young ladies who work there. It was an eye opening experience for they gained a insight into the life and work of L.S.Lowry as they viewed his life’s work , covering his paintings and sketches from his childhood to his death in 1976.
The Imperial War Museum nearby affords a unique opportunity to see and hear the history of British and Commonwealth Forces in last two centuries set out on a grand scale with a wealth of exhibits including sound effects .It is also possible to obtain a commanding view of Salford Quays and the Manchester Ship Canal by ascending the view tower by a lift to reach a spectacular platform high above the Quays.
For those inclined to shop ,The Salford Quays complex on two levels gave our group a chance to window shop or stagger back to the coach point at the end of the day laden with large plastic bags. Numerous open air and covered cafes, restaurants and bars enabled the group to find lunch and afternoon tea or an aperitif before retracing our route to Holywell.
Everyone had a great day and many resolved to return under their own steam to see more of Salford Quays.
Scarborough Parish Holiday 2013
Perhaps April Fools Day is not the best date to choose to set out on a parish holiday especially in view of the snow of the previous weeks, but early in the morning some 24 parishioners and camp followers assembled and huddled together by the wall at the top of Mertyn Lane to await the orange coach from Voel, driven by our usual driver Stephen Lloyd. The remains of snow drifts piled against the local walls were not melting…..and although spirits were high, meteorological trepidation filled our hearts. A swift check showed that German punctuality was achieved and so we set off for the next pick-up point at Fron Park Road. Again, all were present and correct so we motored on to Northop Swamps to pick up some Lions. Fixing the Mexican stained glass sun talisman to the coach window as is our tradition, we set out for York via the charm of the M62.
Reaching York, we were driven to near the Minster but avoided the extravagant entry cost to seek lunch in cafés, restaurants and even hotels, all seemingly being successful in finding tasty and satisfying meals. Bang on time again we left York and thereafter a deep silence reigned as Stephen, probably the only one awake, drove us safely to our destination, the Ambassador Hotel in Scarborough. Here we were invited into the bar lounge for coffee but as a second coach arrived a wonderful luggage and people traffic jam built up as people from Holywell and Preston tried to find cases and coffee. Several cases from our group were missing but everyone had seen Stephen load them neatly on our coach so eventually they were located and we all disappeared to find our rooms.
The Ambassador Hotel with its cliff-top location near the Italian Gardens and the hospital featured in a recent TV series, proved very popular, for it provided excellent food, well, except for the occasional breakfast croissant crisis, while the service provided by Lithuanian and Bulgarian girls and Gemma, a Yorkshire dancing dervish with a real sense of humour, was very good. The swimming pool and sauna, free to guests to use, proved very popular with our group especially our youngest member who became a kind of resident seal.
Our first day was a visit to Whitby, the attractive whaling and fishing port with associations with Dracula, located just to the north of Scarborough. With its narrow winding cobbled streets and many steps it offered a challenge to the group, some deciding to brave the open topped tour bus, while others well-clad, set out in the sunshine, tempered by the cold wind from the North Sea. The spirits of the group were reinforced by Jean Butler whose pealing laughter kept us amused as we trudged around the old port of the town. Our only disappointment was experienced at Whitby Abbey where after climbing 199 steps dutifully counted by Jean Parry, we found our Cadw Heritage cards rejected by the lady at the English Heritage counter, so we were refused entry and were not prepared to pay. In truth, it looked like an inferior version of Basingwerk Abbey and we remembered that back home in Wales we do not pay for prescriptions and our students get university tuition fees at a third of the cost of English students. If you ever go to Whitby, reader, it’s the fish and chips restaurants that provide the wow factor. How different is the taste of freshly caught fish, beer batter from heaven and chips fashioned with loving care and cooked to perfection…. ..we will return!
Next day a trip had been researched for a visit to Burton Agnes Hall, a private residence of some size and style with a history dating back the some 700 years. The sun beamed down on us and Stephen Lloyd our driver donned his 30 Euros sun glasses regaling us with details of their necessitated purchase, while he joked and entertained us with political details of his marriage and its domestic problems and his ability to solve them by regular visits to the pound shop.
So far the sun had shone from dawn to dusk each day. However, the best laid plans of mice and man do oft go astray and the research had not revealed that Burton Agnes Hall did not open until 1100 hours until a breakfast time check.
Thus a diversion was made to the nearby Flamborough Head, a visit that proved the mettle of all the group, for although the sun smiled on us a really crisp wind cut across the cliff tops. However all seemed to relish the fresh air and sense of adventure, many reaching the cliff edges far from our coach where happy bands gathered for group pictures with many exchanges of cameras. The invasion of the large café there ensured a safe delivery of morning coffee before we moved on, after David Evans had taken a serious group photo with his fine looking reflex camera against the orange background of the coach. Our leader made a brave attempt to coordinate outer clothing colours in small groups against the vivid orange of the vehicle.
Burton Agnes was a coup for it was quite remarkable in that it was very old, furnished luxuriously, but had a warm atmosphere and was light and airy. Above all it was a veritable treasure trove of art collected over many centuries and its upper gallery included many French Impressionist paintings and several Epstein statues.
The little restaurant in the courtyard although crowded, offered good food and coffee, while the adjacent shops outside tempted us with all the sorts of things a cowboy could do without. Leaving the house we ventured in to the garden where the walled kitchen garden with numerous seats became a sunbathing venue and the sun this time was really warm.
From Burton Agnes we crossed the North Yorkshire Moors and Heart Beat country to reach Pickering, an attractive market town where folk rapidly disappeared into antique shops, charity shops, the flea market and church. This flea market was very popular and the Rev Brian Taylor nearly bought a very smart black hat with an elegant silk lining, but sadly it was too small. It was time to return and as usual, all met in the lounge bar before dinner to compare notes on the day’s adventures.
Our final day was in Scarborough, a day free for individual choices and relaxation, so many hopped on the open tour bus, most to get up to Scarborough Castle and also to locate one of the Bronte sisters’ graves in a nearby graveyard . This proved very popular for sunbathing as its comfortable new benches being south facing, provided an ideal spot to sit in the sun, sheltered from the wind by the churchyard wall. It should perhaps be emphasized that our parishioners and Lions did not strip off, but sat with their faces uplifted to the sun in a way very typical of Scandinavians at the end of winter to get some free Vitamin D an add colour to pale faces. This time, our Cadw Heritage Cards turned up trumps for they were accepted and eleven of us got in with three cards, our Welsh honesty being accepted without question. The view from the castle was incredible but again it was also matched by the wind so after a brief tour ot the battlements we sought refuge and coffee in the castle café.
Finally and all too soon, it was Friday and by 0800 hours all our cases were outside our rooms for collection as we took our last breakfast with ample croissants. How cosmopolitan we British have become even reckoning tikki masala as our national dish. We had decided to visit the nearby Eden Camp on route, a German and Italian Prisoner of War camp near Scarborough
now set out as a museum with exhibits in all its 55 huts, some with visual and audio effects and even smoke. Some of us older ones were unnerved by the siren which always had the power to induce fear and anticipation all those years ago. Wartime food was served in the café and soon we were on our way home. Still with the sun shining, we arrived in Holywell at 1700 hours…. next year it is rumoured we will visit Devon in the West Country.
Our parish holidays have recently started on Easter Monday and consist of travelling to a pleasant hotel where we are centred for some three or four nights to explore the surrounding area. Such holidays have been to Torquay, enabling us to get to the Eden Project, Trebah Garden, Buckfast Abbey and Plymouth where there was a popular visit to the Plymouth Gin Distillery and the Barbican, while another year we were in Street in Somerset to travel to Glastonbury, Wells & Bath where we had a conducted tour of the Roman Baths thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Last year saw us in Cardiff to visit the Norwegian Church, the National Assembly and the Cardiff Bay Scheme taking part in boat excursions and visiting the Welsh National Garden and taking in St. Fagans on our return day.
The keynote of these holidays is a leisurely pace on a Voel Coach using the daytime for excursions and returning to the hotel in good time to get changed and have an aperitif before for an informal dinner. While in Somerset a few years ago we sought an invitation to play skittles at a local inn. They were very intrigued when we were having an hilarious evening of laughter, song and games which eventually drew in some of the locals, who found we were a church group and regretted that their own church congregation could not seem to enjoy life as we were. If you are interested in these coach trips or holidays, please contact Terry Ireland
tel.01352 713450 or email: email@example.com