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    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

    The Black Prince Festival in Millbrook - How to get rid of the winter

    The Black Prince's Boat along the street of Cawsand



    How to get rid of the winter?

    There are hundreds of ways to get rid of winter. Few miles from Plymouth there is a very interesting way and a very interesting area that makes a perfect destination for a way away from Plymouth or for part your long walk along the Cornish Way...And if you visit the first week of May you will see a great popular festival to celebrate the end of the winter! (see below).

    In Milbrook the found a way to get rid of the winter!

    Millbrook is a very small village situated in front of Plymouth along the mouth of the river Tamar.

    If you are coming from Plymouth, the nicest way is to take a five minutes and super cheap ferry ride from Plymouth to Cremyll (If you want to read more about Plymouth,  read my post on Plymouth).

    Practically at the harbour at Cremyll is a magnificent palace that welcomes you on this side of the river Tamar: Mount Edgecumbe. Few miles from Edgecumbe the little village of Milbrook is a place to visit.

    Start your visit at Mount Edgecumbe.

    The name of this palace is Mount Edgcumbe.  Mount Edgcumbe is an 18th century manor with a wonderful garden and it is a fantastic place for a walk away from the noise and the traffic of Plymouth.

    Mount Edgcumbe  has wonderful gardens. Seating on one of the many benches infront of the old manor you will enjoy great views along the mouth of the river Tamar. You can walk in the quiet lanes, visit the manor or just enjoy a walk around it.

    Mount Edgecumbe


    The Black Prince Festival in Milbrook, sending away the winter on a floral boat!

    Around four miles from Cremyll and Mount Edgecumbe is the little village of Millbrock. The day of May bankholiday, usually the first Monday in May, starts here a procession that will give you the chance to get to know the most interesting traditions of the area.

    Followed by a large group of Morris Garden, the Boat of the Black Prince is paraded around the street of Millbrook.

    The Morris Dancers are probably the most interesting piece of folklore of the area.

    It is an old English tradition, particularly of the South. Dressed with colourful clothes and armed by sticks and handkerchiefs they dance in group in a traditional and very coreographic dance.

    It is said that the tradition of the Morris Dancers was imported from Spain by British soldiers who witnessed the dangerous and quick dances with long sabres of the Moorish soldiers (from them the name "Morris") and they replicated a more safe version with wooden sticks when they came back home.

    The Morris Men and the Criers keep the public entertained and they lead the procession of a black wooden boat adorned by flowers from Millbrook to the sea: the Black Prince Flowers Boat.

    The Morris Dancers at Cawsand


    Cawsand, where the Black Prince boat takes the sea and a nice destination for a day at the sea.

    The most scenic part of this special day is certainly when the procession reaches the beautiful beach at Cawsand.

    Cawsand is a very picturesque fishermen village that is certainly worth a visit at all times of the year.

    Cawsand, overlooked by its fortress, is probably the prettiest village of the Rame Pensinsula.

    With its narrow lanes running along the beach, Cawsand conserves the feeling of an old village, where now beautiful pubs and restaurants make a special place for a day along the Cornish coast.

    It is a nice walk from Milbrook to Cawsand and the best is approching the village from the top of the hill along the road that run down to the sea and to the beach.


    The beach at Cawsand


    At the end of the procession, the boat reaches finally the beautiful bay of Cawsand in front of the old harbour. 

    The criers sing the launching song and the Black Prince's Boat is finally launched in to the sea (and collected few meters after, behind the rock, to be preserved so that the same ritual could be performed the following year).

    People exhausted after a day of dances and music cheer at the boat floating on the waves of the English Channel.

    So, in the end, what you can visit in Milbrook and why should you visit?

    1. Milbrook and Cremyll are two beautiful villages in the Rame peninsula, the first Peninsula you are going to walk along its coast if you are walking the Cornish Way all the way from Plymouth to Landsend in the region of Cornwall, South - West of England.

    2. If you are visit for Spring Day (May Day) you will have the chance to assist to the amazing procession of the Black Prince Floreal Boat in Milbrook.

    3. Milbrook and Cawsand make for a wonderful base for visiting Plymouth and the River Tamar Mouth. Read my post about Plymouth

    4. Cawsand is a very nice place for a Sunday at the beach near nice pubs, restaurants and in a picturesque fishermen village.

    This post has being made thanks for the help and support of Jo Tatam of Milbrook! Many thanks for you hospitality and your kindness Jo!

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

    Plymouth is city a to visit.

    The wonderful panorama along the gulf of Plymouth, at the border between Cornwall and Devon.

    When you are planning your next travel and you are looking to the map of a country you are always obliged to make choices:
    which places I should visit and which I should skip?

    If you are planning to visit Devon or Cornwall the name of Plymouth will most certainly catch your eyes, written in big capital letters exactly at the border within the two English regions, and you will certainly ask yourself: is Plymouth worth a visit?

    My opinion is yes: Plymouth is a city to visit if you are travelling in the South of England and United Kingdom.

    Why  Plymouth is a city to visit?

    Plymouth's atmosphere makes first of all Plymouth a city to visit.
    It is a young city with a young population and many University stundents, the faculty of Art seems to be the most popular here.

    Although partly modern, having being heavily damaged by the war, Plymouth is still have some very interesting parts to visit and it has an important role in history.

    Plymouth's history makes Plymouth a city to visit.

    The United States of America are born in Plymouth.

    If you walk along the Barbican in Plymouth you will immediately notice a Stars and Stripes flag next to the water and some steps, do you know why there is a U.S.A. flag there?

    Those steps are named the Mayflower Steps.
    From the Mayflower steps the Pilgrim Fathers are believed to have left England aboard the Mayflower, before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to settle in North America on 6 September 1620. Those were the pilgrims that, after a miserable passage in the high waters of the Ocean founded the first settlements that would become a day part of the United States of America.

    What is to see in Plymouth?

    The best way to visit Plymouth if you are going to visit Plymouth in one day is to always walk along the sea coast and you will manage to see the most interesting parts of the city.

    Start your walk at the Old Harbour called the Barbican. This old harbour is famous because from here the vessel Mayflower started his long journey to the U.S.A., it is one of the oldest areas of the city.

    Plymouth was heavily bombed during the Second World War and many beautiful buildings were destroyed, but the Barbican is one of the best preserved areas.

    Apart for the National Marine Museum the Barbican in Plymouth offers a wonderful series of bars, pubs and fish and ship and makes for a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the sun and the breeze air.

    The entrance of the Royal Citadel in Plymouth.

    If you keep the sea at your left and you start walking along the coast you will walk along the walls of an old fortress this is the Royal Citadel. The Royal Citadel in Plymouth was built in the late 1660s to protect Plymouth's harbour.



    The Royal Citadel was the most important English defence for over 100 years and it is still be used as barracks today by the 29 Commando Regiment of the Royal Artillery. It is possible to visit part of it and it is worth walking around its wall to see the entrance gate with the impressive monument to the English Commandos in front of the entrance.

    The Hoe is certainly the most famous sight in Plymouth.

    With his red and white lighthouse and with is beautiful views over the large bay the Hoe is unmissable, particularly at sunset and you will have the chance to see huge civil and military boats coming and going along the large harbour.

    This is all there is to see in Plymouth?
    Absolutely not!

    Keep walking along the sea (sea at your left) pass some modern bits of the town and finally head to the Royal William Yard Harbour.

    Definitely of the best kept secrets in Plymouth!


    What an amazing place is the Royal William Yard Harbour in Plymouth and what a wonderful example of intelligent refurbishment of a disused area!

    This one time military area is now one of the best places to go for a wonderful dinner al fresco, a drink in front of the sea and in the first Sunday of the Month for a wonderful Farmer Market of local products and particularly of local and traditional food (from the local honey wines to the Sicilian Cannoli!).


    The Royal William Yard Harbour was the major victualing depot of the Royal Navy in United Kingdom.

    The Yard was closed in 1992 and fall in ruin for years behind a house for squatters and homeless people.

    In 2006 The Royal William Yard Harbour became the object of a wonderful conservation and restoration work carried out by Gilmore Hankey Kirke Architects.

    Today you are still able to enjoy your visit to this huge military complex in front of the sea, admire its Georgian architecture, enjoy the sea breeze and have a wonderful time particularly at weekends.

    Is this all?

    No again! this is only the beginning.

    When you are in Plymouth you can also:

    - take a very cheap 5 minute ride by boat and cross to beautiful Cremyll
    - keep walking along the coastal path and start one of the most amazing coastal paths of the world all the way to Cornwall and Land's End and beautiful St Ives
    - take a boat to France and visit Brest the city that is the exact copy of Plymouth in French style (no wonder the two cities are twinned!): click here to read about Brest.