One of the joys of travel is discovering unexpected things along the way. Don't you think so? I research the places I'm going to visit but I don't organise every hour of every day I'm away (I know someone who does just that)! Though I have some idea of the things I want to see , there's always plenty of leeway for things that just crop up. Burgh Island was one of those.
We stayed in a quaint little cottage in south east Devon (England), on the river Dart. Think white washed stone buildings, thatch roofs here and there. Lanes so narrow only one car can use them at a time, birdsong, greenery and a general peace and beauty. It transpired that just across the river from us was Greenway, Agatha Christie's holiday home, which was definitely worth the visit, and full of Ms Christie's possessions still.
Then we noticed our hosts had left recommendations about other places to visit and Burgh Island was one of them. As soon as we read about it we knew we wanted to go there. Here it is, viewed from the coast at Bigbury-on-Sea. I love English place names!
You'll see that it's not really an island, or only just a part time island. This tiny knob of land lies just off the south coat. At low tide, like in this photo, it's connected to the mainland by a sandspit. When the tide comes in though, it's cut off. Isn't that magic? What could be more alluring than an island, except an island that comes and goes?
There's not much on the island other than the very old Pilchard Inn, and the 1920s Burgh Island Hotel. Here's a closer look at the hotel.
Did you notice that unusual vehicle in the water? Here it is in closer view. It's the water tractor that's used to take people across the water when the tide's in! And yes, that's how we got across. It was rather amazing how much joy there was in climbing onto such a contraption and slowly chugging our way across the shallows. Like an adventure from another era. And this is how people have been getting to Burgh Island for years. So much more fun than taking a car, or walking!
One of the lovely things about the Burgh Island Hotel is that it hasn't been renovated into a modern style. Instead it's all Art Deco loveliness so you really feel like you're entering another era, In fact some of the rooms are named for previous guests, including Agatha Christie, Noel Coward, Josephine Baker, Amy Johnson and Malcolm Campbell. Wallis Simpson stayed here and plenty of other notables.
One of the fun aspects about the place for a reader, is discovering the location was the inspiration for some well known stories, namely Christie's 'And Then There Were None' and 'Evil Under the Sun'. A TV adaptation of the latter Hercule Poirot mystery was filmed here too.
Personally, I loved the Art Deco elegance of the place. Just perfect for sitting, sipping a cool drink or a cup of tea and soaking up the ambience and the great views.
Have you ever had a particularly wonderful holiday find? Somewhere you hadn't known about before you arrived in the vicinity that was just fantastic?