Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Epic England Road Trip ~ Part 2 ~ Somerset!

Welcome back to our Epic England road trip across the south of England. Last time I told you about getting the ferry from Rosslare to Pembroke and driving down to Devon to visit The Big Sheep, you can catch up on all the fun HERE. This week I’m going to fill you in on our trip to Yeovil in Somerset.

What to see/do in Yeovil:

Yeovil is the centre for aircraft and defence industries in England which is why we chose to go there as my husband and kids wanted to visit the Fleet Air Arm Museum. The museum tells the story of British naval aviation through the years spread over four large halls filled with military and civilian aircraft. My kids loved the viewing area where we could watch military aircraft take-off and land.

My 8 year old son, Séamus and 9 year old daughter Orla were in awe at the simulated helicopter ride from Hall 2 to Hall 3 where we landed on the flight deck of HMS Ark Royal. I have to say I was blown away by how real the whole experience was especially the part where we were guided around the aircraft carrier by nothing more than lights and recorded spoken commentary.

Séamus was fascinated at the history of the Supermarine Walrus on display as it’s one of only 4 left in the world today; it was flown by the Irish Air Corps during WWII. In 1942 it was hijacked by 4 Irish lads who wanted to fly to France to join the Luftwaffe but they were intercepted by the RAF and returned to Ireland; where the Walrus was transferred to Aer Lingus after the war however they never flew it and sold it on to a Wing Commander in the RAF in 1946 where it was used by the RAF for recreational flights until 1949. In 1963 it was discovered in a dump at an airfield and presented to the Fleet Air Museum who took two years to restore it to its former glory.

We spent about 3 hours in the museum and I have to say it’s one of the best aviation museums we’ve been to; they’ve lots of hands on educational displays for children to understand things such as speed, height & distance in relation to ships & aircraft.

Our visit was complimentary. Avail of a 20% discount on door prices by buying tickets online priced at £11.20/€12.92 for adults & £8.40/€9.69 children over 5 years old, admission is free for children under 5. Discounted family tickets are also available. For further information visit HERE.

Where to Stay in Yeovil:

The Premier Inn - Yeovil

As we were on a budget we chose to stay in Travelodge’s or Premier Inns for the duration of our road trip. After spending the day at The Big Sheep we hit the road to drive just over 1 ½ hours to Yeovil where we stayed in the Premier Inn Yeovil Town Centre. We stopped off along the way to meet with one of my husband’s colleagues so we arrived quite late. 

The car park for the hotel consists of a handful of spaces which were all occupied when we arrived so it took us a bit of time to find on street parking at that hour. Our room was on the second floor of the hotel with a view out over the town. It was clean and comfortable; we couldn’t have gotten better for just £48/€55.36 per night B&B for 2 adults & 2 children. 

However check in was quite a slow process and the breakfast in the Beefeater restaurant wasn’t great, I wouldn’t avail of the cooked breakfast again as it tasted like the ingredients used were of poor quality. I’d just stick with the continental breakfast on offer.

All Aboard the HMS Ark Royal

Where to eat in Yeovil:

We didn’t want a restaurant dinner as it was late in the evening so my husband went out to try to find a pizza place for dinner; he struck gold mere steps from the Premier Inn. He stumbled upon Munchies a pizza, kebab & burger takeaway on Main Street. Their pepperoni pizza was absolutely delicious & was wolfed down by 5 hungry children! Even though it wasn’t deep pan it reminded me of the pizzas we used to get at the Chicago Pizza Pie Factory on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin.

Special Mention: The Grove Inn, King's Nymton

Earlier I said we stopped off to meet one of my husband’s colleagues but I have to give a special mention to where we met him. His local, The Grove Inn a wonderful 17th century thatched pub nestled in a picturesque village in North Devon. It’s easy to see why they’ve won numerous awards and been listed in guide books the world over. 

The low beamed ceilings, crooked stone walls and open log fire give it that welcoming homely feel. Unfortunately we didn’t get to sample their menu as they weren’t serving food the evening we visited but there’s always next time!

We could have also visited the Tank Museum in Bovington but we simply didn’t have enough time so we chose the Fleet Air Arm Museum instead as my husband had already visited Bovington. Check back next week where we continue our road trip and stop off in Bournemouth and the National Motor Museum.

Have you visited either museum? What did you think? Have you any recommendations of places to eat/drink or things to see/do in Devon or Somerset?

*** Disclaimer: As advised above we received complimentary admission to The Fleet Air Arm Museum. As usual all thoughts are my own, I was not asked to write this review. As ever neither free services nor payment would ever sway my opinion. ***

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