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?
WOW Annie that sounds amazing and I would love to visit there I do love the Art Deco buildings when we visited New Zealand and went to Napier there are a lot there and it was gorgeous travelling around looking at them, but I have not discovered anything this amazing on my cruises :)ReplyDelete
Helen, I'd so love to see Napier. It sounds fabulous. I must say I rather like Art Deco buildings (not all, but a mostly). This was like walking back in time, though sadly the prices have gone up with inflation!Delete
What a wonderful adventure, Annie. I remember that episode of Evil Under The Sun, and being mesmerised by the gorgeous Art Deco hotel (as well as the transport across to the island). What a thrill to have had a chance to visit! I'm pea green. :-)ReplyDelete
Michelle, I've been wanting to see that one again ever since the trip. I'd love to stay on the island for a writing retreat. Maybe we could go together?Delete
What an excellent plan! :-)Delete
Hi Annie, how nice to revisit Burgh Island through your post. I had the pleasure of staying there for a night two years ago. Utterly wonderful!ReplyDelete
I've just got back from a holiday in Nusa Lembongan, a small island off the much larger and better known Indonesian destination of Bali. It was bliss! I have my daughter to thank for suggesting the place to me. I'd never heard of it before. Certainly didn't know how to pronounce it!
Kandy, I bet you had a wonderful time on Burgh Island. I've been following your Indonesian photos on FB. It looks like a fabulous place to unwind and regroup. Good on your daughter!Delete
Fabulous piece, Annie. And what wonderful photos. I'd love to visit Burgh Island (and Agatha C's house too) one day. Perhaps we could do a writers' retreat there! As long as nobody murders me. You know, people in the know must check out in droves once they find out Hercule Poirot is coming to visit. There's always dead bodies galore when he's checked into a hotel!ReplyDelete
WOW, Annie! I didn't know this existed and it just went straight to the top of my bucket list - how gorgeous!ReplyDelete
Years ago when we were in Madrid, we had someone break into our car by smashing a window. We were directed to this place that could fix it in Marbella (much further south on the Costa Del Sol). We hadn't plannewd on going there but it was the only place that we could get it fixed through our (dodgy) insurance so we went. And we loved it. Stayed for 5 days - 3 days more after the car was fixed. It was December in Europe so it was freezing but the south of Sapin was mild in comparison and the seaside resort which is bustling in summer was pretty much deserted which made everyone very keen to impress any tourists. It was just a relaxing 5 days watching the ocean and eating amazing food by very welcoming locals. It was an unexpected pleasure and we were sad to leave.
Marbella you are talking the playground of the rich and famous. Spanish version of Monte Carlo. My sister stayed there with friends for a few days. I have a photo of the super yachts in the background. A beautiful clutch purse she brought back for me from there, Moroccan style.Delete
That place was used in Poirot Evil under the sun tv show. It would be so much fun to go on that tractor transport especially when the tide is in. :)ReplyDelete