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> Howdy...... :), Advice on UK and Ireland
tonyshez
post Jan 29 2009, 02:58 PM
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Hi All,

Firstly, after flicking through this site for a bit, it seems that it and i will become best mates over the next 8 or 9 months... looks excellent. well done to all who contribute. i look forward to having my say on a things should the need arise. smile.gif

My Wife and I have booked a month -long stint in the UK and ireland for October this year. we'll be in London for 5 nites, the hire a car from Heathrow, then drive around the place for 3 weeks, then back to London where we come home. (this bit is making me frown already).

We have been before but only spent a couple of days in London and a day trip to Liverpool before heading on a Tour of Continental Europe.... Loved all of it.

What I am hoping for is some honest advice on the driving part of our holiday. As far as I can tell, driving through the country (ie: outside London) is quite easy and looks unreal with the great contryside etc... but we all know that looks can be decieving. We have b and b accomodation passes booked for the whole 3 weeks we'll be driving, so we can choose where to stay on the run, no one room is ever booked in advance so that freedom should be fun.

at the moment we'll be heading south from london to brighton, then right around the coastline and up into wales, over to ireland, the back to wales where we'll continue to drive all around the place. any MUST SEEs you would recommend?

well, Thank you. Any help we r given is greatly appreciated and i look forward to getting to know u guys.. smile.gif
Thanks again

Tony gora.gif
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sianeth
post Jan 29 2009, 03:25 PM
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As far as the UK goes, motorway driving is not the best and is usually extremely dull. If you want to see countryside then I'd recommend you take smaller roads where possible.

When you're down in south I recommend getting over to StoneHenge and to Bath, its a beautiful city, full of history.

Then if you get over to North Wales, this is a link to the highest waterfall in Wales, its a little gem, I highly recommend a visit. Make sure you get good directions though, this one is definitely in the middle of loads of countryside!

http://www.pistyllrhaeadr.co.uk/

Oop north I would say both the Peak District and the Lake District are excellent places to drive around - there are plenty of places to stop off for walks and things as well.

This is another waterfall I recently visited, which is supposedly the best in England, and is also stunning. Its up in the North Pennines, which again are excellent for scenic driving.

http://www.rabycastle.com/high_force.htm

I hope some of that stuff helps... let us know if you have any questions and I'll see what I can do... otherwise, hope you have a blast!
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kathryn77
post Jan 29 2009, 06:41 PM
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Hiya, How long are you going to have in Ireland?
It takes a bit longer to get places over here, as motorways aren't very common...! But that makes for more interesting driving, as you're in the country a lot. (Well, outside of Dublin anyway)
Dublin itself is a great city - everyone goes to the Guinness Factory, but don't miss Kilmainham Gaol (Jail) - it's a guided tour about Irish history/the uprising etc - really really good!
If you're into music, the 'Rock & Roll bus tour' is great too for all the music history in the city. Temple Bar is the main tourist pub area - if you want to see live Irish music, there's a pub called Gogarty's (think it might be 'Thomas Gogarty'), right in the heart of Temple Bar - but you have to go upstairs in there for the live music - it's really good.
Trinity College is also in beautiful grounds, right in the city centre. Everything is fairly accessible/walkable in Dublin city - if you're staying here, it'd be better to leave the car at your guest house!
If I think of anything else, I'll put it on, or feel free to ask away!


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tonyshez
post Jan 30 2009, 01:32 AM
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Thank you both so much for giving me some info... i really appreciate it, a lot! AAah, the waterfalls look amazing, cannot wait to check em out. see, it is these things i am after, things that arent generally on every tourist map, but are superb nonetheless.... CANNOT wait for the Gaol tour... we'll be trying to do as much kinda spooky stuff as possible... ie: black friars cemetery in Edinburgh... love it.. Gaols, criminal past etc.. love all that stuff.... when u ARE driving on the motorways, is it easy enough to get off them and take scenic routes? are there signs erected for this at all?? We'll be in Ireland for 5 nights, so the general plan is off the ferry at Rosslare, south west to killarney/cork etc... blarney (sorry, gota do it) then head north up to giant's causeway in Northern Ireland, then down to dublin, then back to get the ferry back to fishguard in Wales.. so anything we see that we like we'll try to squeeze it in.,.... anyway... gotta run, getting more and more excited as time goes on (bloody hell, have to wait til OCT!!),,, speaking of that, I hear that is the quietest time to travel..... is this right?? i hope so, cos its booked now!! heh... once again, thanks heaps and talk soon,
Cheers, Tony smile.gif
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sianeth
post Jan 30 2009, 04:00 AM
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I wouldn't say there are signs as such, you're probably best buying a map and looking for smaller roads that go to the same place. On the otherhand, motorway driving will probably be a fair bit quicker. However motorways are usually really busy around the big cities during rush hour, 7.30-9 am, and 4.30-6pm, so I'd advise planning not to be on them then.

The AA website is a good route planner if you end up going to some obscure locations!

http://www.theaa.com/route-planner/index.jsp
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lou82
post Jan 30 2009, 04:06 AM
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Hi Tony,

If you only have 5 nights in Ireland I would maybe think about leaving the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland for another time as driving from Dublin direction will take an absolute minimum of 3 and a half hours driving each way. That doesn't account for times of day/traffic.

The motorway between Dublin and Belfast is just over 100 miles and dead easy.. but the drive from there on up to the Antrim Coastal road is winding.

Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted you have NI on your itinarary.. I'm just concerned that all the driving round the south/central south and east of Ireland you would be too tired to enjoy the Giants Causeway and if you're up at the Causeway then the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is a must see just 10 minutes down the road from there.

If you're feeling brave and very energetic go for it! I personally think 5 days to cram in what you've planned is not enough. You could always stay in Ireland and do the Cliffs of Moher which would be alot closer to that general area..?

Sorry, I'm not meaning to be negative, just trying to be realistic about your expectations of what you want to see verses the logistics of distance between sights.

Lou


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wakingdream
post Jan 30 2009, 02:48 PM
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QUOTE
The motorway between Dublin and Belfast is just over 100 miles and dead easy.. but the drive from there on up to the Antrim Coastal road is winding.


We've done that drive but only from Blefast which isn't very far. Too bad if you have to miss it because it's stunning. But, it woud be a worth a jaunt over for a few weeks some other time to do some exploring.

Where are you from? More or less, how do you drive? I'm from Canada where we drive on the right side of the road on the left side of the car. I was kind of screwed up in Ireland there for a bit!


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tonyshez
post Jan 30 2009, 02:59 PM
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Yeh, the drive between belfast and dublin is a definite, we were just gonna do it on the way back, so belfast to dublin..... we'll see how we r goin for time.

driving shouldn't be too punishing, im from Australia, so we drive on the left too, thank god, otherwise it'd be a bit hairy, (just like the big fat spider i just killed in my bathroom)....

so, on the west coast/side of Ireland, does anyone know if that is worth doing? Havent read too much about those regions yet....

thanks again mate..
QUOTE
Where are you from? More or less, how do you drive? I'm from Canada where we drive on the right side of the road on the left side of the car. I was kind of screwed up in Ireland there for a bit!

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lou82
post Jan 31 2009, 08:42 AM
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The Causeway Coastal Route of over 100 miles in Northern Ireland is listed as 1 of the top 10 scenic drives in the World, so yes, the whole thing is very worth while! It is winding and I also do alot of driving.. this coastal route is more tiring than any other drive I've ever done as it's narrow in places and you're negotiating bridges and steep cliff drops at times too. Tiring on concentration!! If you go up this way there's a slight off the beaten track tip I can recommend.. dare I!? Torr Head is a very steep road to drive (there was a stage I had to turn back as I was worried my very old car didn't have the stamina go keep going!! seriously, first gear up those 'hills'!) but if you get far enough you get an excellent view over to the Mull of Kintyre. Do a search on Google for Torr Head and you'll see some vid/photos and other peoples experiences of a very challenging road to drive/ride!

The west coast of Ireland is well worth doing if you have time. Actually I would rate the west coast more stunning than the east coast but that's just me!

There's loads of beaches, rugged coastline, scenic drives, mountains and activites on the west coast. It's feels more remote and rural that east coast which is what I like about it.

Connemara in the Galway region is stunning and also if you have time (on this trip or a future one) then Donegal is an absolute must. I love Donegal.. as do most people as it usually has the best weather in summer and also has good beach breaks for surfing jump.gif

For basic info on Connemara go to here

For Ireland in general, places to do, things to see and festivals etc click to Discover Ireland

If you're simply wanting to hit the main tourist attractions then the west coast doesn't have them.. it holds alot of history, as Ireland in general does, but it's more off the beaten tourist track.

Lou


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kathryn77
post Jan 31 2009, 06:09 PM
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Hi again Tony,
Phew, well, today I drove from Dublin to Kilkenny as I have a friend visiting. One thing I didn't comment on before as I wasn't sure if it was still true since I've not driven in Ireland since I moved here, is that the road signage is RUBBISH! It's 70 miles to get to Kilkenny from here (we planned to see the castle there). Anyway, we got lost and so it took 3 and a half hours to get there, via the Wicklow mountains...hmmmm....there are roadsigns, they're just not very good, and at the odd junction where they are missing (or state different places to the names you've been used to seeing or are looking for!), that's what gets you lost!! I'd advise satnav!!
I'm still right about the motorways - not everywhere! So it can be dark at night and on two way roads - the road signage problem doesn't help at night. Again I don't know if this is still true or not which is why I didn't mention before (but given todays' adventures...!), a few years ago, on the west of Ireland, I remember having to slow down for junctions, as the signs were right at them! Also (and this makes me laugh, as it's "stereotypical Irish", I remember the km sign increasing at one point when I was driving towards a destination! Yeah, get satnav!!

On your car hire: are you planning on hiring from the UK then and taking the ferry? If so, check out the insurance procedures, as you can't take a hire car from Ireland to the UK! I'm not sure what it is the other way round, but I know you're not insured if you take a hire car from here to the UK (if you happen to read my Scotland blog you'll see that I did this - I didn't realise until after, but luckily all was OK!) Also, if you're taking a hire car from the republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland, you do need additional insurance, as Northern Ireland is part of the UK, not the republic. (NB. You'll also find the distances in the republic measured in kms, and in the north they are in miles) I'd definitely work out your hire car insurance procedures before you plan anything else (especially if you're going to do Louise's dangerous Northern Irish road suggestion!!) You might be better flying (cheaper) and hiring a new car here. www.ryanair.com and www.aerlingus.ie are the budget airlines. I hired my car this weekend with www.easycar.co.uk, it was 30 per day for the w/e (think you get deals for longer)

Anyway, my weekend adventures aren't over, and we're going somewhere else in the car tomorrow. I have an Ireland blog on: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entri...b_UID=kathryn77
You can have a laugh at the route I took today from getting lost! I plotted map pins on a few of the towns we passed through, lol! I'll update it properly once my friend has gone home on Monday.
One more thing - the Lonely Planet for Ireland is awful. Not for the places, but the maps!! The street I live in on Dublin is in the wrong place for a start. An Irish friend also told me that her whole town has been repositioned!

Finally, you never said you were going to Scotland as well! That's where I'm from! Do you need any tips on there? I spent a week last September travelling in the highlands - something I hadn't done before! The blog is here: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/kathryn77/4/tpod.html




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lou82
post Jan 31 2009, 06:37 PM
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Kathryn has a very valid point on car rental, insurance and breakdown cover for Ireland.

If you only use 1 car to travel over the borders then you WILL invalidate insurance and breakdown cover while out of NI/Republic depending which you rent from.

I know from personal experience as my car broke down in the Republic and I had no idea my breakdown cover wasn't valid in Ireland!! So be careful and either rent 2 cars or you may be able to pay a high premium to cover both UK and Ireland...

I had to laugh at your sign post comments Kath! Very true!! That's why the drive from Belfast up to the coastal route can take alot longer than planned.. it's like some of the signs are there for the amusement of sending you in the wrong direction!! It's not just Republic of Ireland like that!


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kathryn77
post Jan 31 2009, 07:14 PM
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QUOTE(lou82 @ Jan 31 2009, 11:37 PM) *

I had to laugh at your sign post comments Kath! Very true!! That's why the drive from Belfast up to the coastal route can take alot longer than planned.. it's like some of the signs are there for the amusement of sending you in the wrong direction!! It's not just Rupublic of Ireland like that!



Oh good god, you mean it's like that up there too? LOL! It adds to the experience, it's an adventure! Who knows where I'll end up tomorrow!
I will get up there though at some point, and you can be my tour guide smile.gif !


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lou82
post Feb 1 2009, 07:33 AM
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Ha ha! You know it!! Crazy Irish logic the signposts.. gotta love it. I know people who've lived in and around Belfast all their lives and even if they need to go 20-30miles outside the city they need sat nav!


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darrenstravels
post Feb 1 2009, 12:02 PM
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QUOTE(tonyshez @ Jan 29 2009, 07:58 PM) *

What I am hoping for is some honest advice on the driving part of our holiday. As far as I can tell, driving through the country (ie: outside London) is quite easy and looks unreal with the great contryside etc... but we all know that looks can be decieving. We have b and b accomodation passes booked for the whole 3 weeks we'll be driving, so we can choose where to stay on the run, no one room is ever booked in advance so that freedom should be fun.


As you're from Oz, you won't have any problems - everything is pretty much the same. Just bare in mind we do it in MPH and not KPH, and most cars are manual.

Outside of London driving is easy. London is a bit of a nightmare, you have to drive very aggressively to get anywhere. Plus factor in congestion charge and parking fees, and it gets really expensive.

Heathrow is right on the M25, so you can get anywhere fairly quickly, although it's real busy all the time. Motorways are dull, but get the job done. Although the UK is fairly small, the smaller roads will take forever to get anywhere, but are far more interesting and scenic. If you know where you want to go, it's easy to plan a decent route using online maps etc. A decent map will come in very handy too, so I'd get one of them - look especially for one with city maps in it, as the towns here are really confusing - no planned grids here (except for Milton Keynes, and that won't be on your list of must see places!).

Speed cameras are everywhere, and are not as well signposted as in Oz. There are also loads of mobile vans, but they are pretty obvious (unlike those in Oz!). No one sticks to the limit on the motorways, except for the bit near Heathrow, which has a lot of speed cameras and different speed limits, so just watch yourself there.

For places to see, I'd say all the National Parks - New Forrest, Lake District, Peak District, Dartmoor etc. These are places of real beauty, and in October are very quiet too. For cities, I'd say London, Bath, Winchester, York are all nice places to visit. I can't speak for Scotland or Ireland, but they seem to have been covered above this post!


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tonyshez
post Feb 1 2009, 04:05 PM
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QUOTE
On your car hire: are you planning on hiring from the UK then and taking the ferry? If so, check out the insurance procedures, as you can't take a hire car from Ireland to the UK! I'm not sure what it is the other way round, but I know you're not insured if you take a hire car from here to the UK (if you happen to read my Scotland blog you'll see that I did this - I didn't realise until after, but luckily all was OK!) Also, if you're taking a hire car from the republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland, you do need additional insurance, as Northern Ireland is part of the UK, not the republic. (NB. You'll also find the distances in the republic measured in kms, and in the north they are in miles) I'd definitely work out your hire car insurance procedures before you plan anything else (especially if you're going to do Louise's dangerous Northern Irish road suggestion!!) You might be better flying (cheaper) and hiring a new car here. www.ryanair.com and www.aerlingus.ie are the budget airlines. I hired my car this weekend with www.easycar.co.uk, it was 30 per day for the w/e (think you get deals for longer)



Thanks again to all for helping me... I have the car hire sorted out ... already paid for to be honest and it is only costing me an extra 55pounds to take it into ireland for the 5 days we r there, so all is good...

yep, we'll be heading up to Scotland, most definately... looking forward to a few places in particular there. st andrews (sorry, im a golf tragic), rosslyn chapel, inverness.... pretty much all of it i spose..... cant wait to do the spooky ghosty tours in Edinburgh...... oh, one thing in particular i am waondering about is parking.... Since i won't be driving in London, i have no need to worry about parking there, but what about some of the other cities.... is it easy enough to park in the street etc or is it insanely expensive???

I am looking forward to the "getting lost" element of the drive... i know i say this NOW, but i think it'll just add to thee adventure..... I odnt knowif any of u have ever been to Melbourne, here is Australia, but if u can drive around that city can drive anywhere... having to deal with traams, pedestrians and right hand hook turns from the far left lane, u can handle most places ii imagine, but we'll see how we go.

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travelmonster
post Feb 2 2009, 03:50 PM
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Am I right in thinking that you have three weeks to drive around England, Scotland and Wales? Let us know what sort of things you like doing and then I can give you some ideas on places to go and things to see.



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kathryn77
post Feb 3 2009, 05:11 PM
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Hiya, that's cool that you got the hire car sorted - I wasn't sure if you'd be able to bring a hire car here because it's not allowed the other way around.

After seeing what you're also going to try to get to in Scotland as well as England, Wales & the whole of Ireland, I'm beginning to wonder if you're being a bit ambitious...? Are you planning on sleeping at all on this trip?? lol!

If you are, and given you like the spooky stuff, you might want to know there's a haunted castle you can stay in overnight, just an hour north of Inverness at a wee town called Bonar Bridge. I didn't find out about that until after I'd passed - was so annoyed! It's called Carbisdale Castle and it is part of hostelling international.

As for parking, in the cities, you should find car parks easily. However there's a lot of one way systems and it gets busy at rush hour - it'll be the one way systems that confuse things, but my earlier suggestion of hiring satnav should help with that. Edinburgh is also installing a tram system, which I believe is due for completion soon - this will be in the city centre. If you to Manchester, they have trams there too, same with Dublin. In the smaller Scottish towns anyway, some of them you might be able to park for free for half an hour or an hour - these will be signposted on posts on the pavements. Make sure you look out for them, as the traffic wardens are rife, no matter how much of a quiet place you might think you are in!

As for looking forward to 'getting lost' - I don't think you have time on your agenda for that?! LOL! Please promise you'll hire satnav?? Even if you keep it switched off until you are lost, bored of being lost, and needing to get somewhere?!! Just don't want you to miss anything you really wanted to see on your tight timescales!

I am updating my Ireland blog now with photos and stuff. We ended up in Trim, County Meath on Sunday. There is a castle there which was used in the film 'Braveheart' - it was really good. Also went to an abbey that was used in a scene as well. I'll have it up-to-date tonight or tomorrow.


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wakingdream
post Feb 3 2009, 05:42 PM
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QUOTE
Torr Head is a very steep road to drive (there was a stage I had to turn back as I was worried my very old car didn't have the stamina go keep going!! seriously, first gear up those 'hills'!) but if you get far enough you get an excellent view over to the Mull of Kintyre.


Oh man! We did that drive and it was brilliant. Ofcourse it was pissing rain for most of it!


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tonyshez
post Feb 3 2009, 08:24 PM
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QUOTE
Am I right in thinking that you have three weeks to drive around England, Scotland and Wales? Let us know what sort of things you like doing and then I can give you some ideas on places to go and things to see.


howdy, yep we will be driving around for 3 weeks, staying wherever we end up and havin a ball. somm touristy stuff is cool... a few castles, some spooky haunted stuff.. history... all of that.. we love it. any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. smile.gif



QUOTE
After seeing what you're also going to try to get to in Scotland as well as England, Wales & the whole of Ireland, I'm beginning to wonder if you're being a bit ambitious...? Are you planning on sleeping at all on this trip?? lol!


See, to us here on Oz 3 weeks is an enormous amount of time to be driving around the place.... see, while we clearly have no concept of time (old to us is 50 yrs)... u guys dont seem to know how lucky u have it with how close and small everything is. eg, this weekend, i am driving to see my sister and her family, up the east coast here for about 7 hours... then back 2 days later... no big deal and we won'y even leave the state......now, the same distance will get us from london to edinburgh... this is not a big deal at all.... we have a S*$#load of time. of course at the time we won't wanna leave and come home to go back to work etc, but a month in the uk is like 6 months in australia..... we wont be needing to see every single square milimetre of the place, impossible, but we'll just take our time and enjoy being there..... i dont wanna sound like i havent done ANY research myself, because indeed i have, and the time frame we have chosen fits well with the rough things we want to see, and unfortunately most of all, our budget... it isn't a cheap place u guys live in... smile.gif

any assistance, positive or negative is welcomed... smile.gif
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travelmonster
post Feb 4 2009, 08:04 AM
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Well, if you like spooky stuff, this website http://www.enjoyengland.com/ideas/city-bre...host-walks.aspx might be of interest to you.

Also, this one http://www.spookystuff.co.uk/BritainsTopTe...tedCastles.html

If you are going into Brighton, then I recommend The Royal Pavillion http://tourism.brighton.co.uk/History/body...p;mainheading=6 I went there last year, its an awesome place.

For the castle with the most history in England I would suggest Dover Castle, but that may be a little off route for you.

Try and get down into Cornwall, its beautiful down there, has the best beaches in England and also on your gaol theme, you might be interested in this http://www.cornwall-calling.co.uk/other-at...bodmin-gaol.htm



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