Holiday: National Trust’s ‘Strode House’ (Day 2)

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A slightly later start to the day as we realised that the travel clock we use for holidays was an hour behind the rest of the UK. I suspect it wasn’t changed the last time the clocks went forward. No matter, our mission for today is quite simple! – drive to Honiton and then grab the train to Exeter. After yesterday’s visit to Selworthy Beacon, today is mainly a bit of ‘retail therapy’ – I think it’s down to both of us having spent (far) too many years working in retail on a Saturday!

I’ve never been to Exeter, so everything today would be a new experience!

Things started well as we arrived in Honiton in good time after the thirty-minute drive from the Apartment. It looked quite a large town based on the amount of shops in the high street, but the railway car-park, in contrast, was tiny – 30 spaces max! After taking our pick of a parking-space, it was a quick trot over the bridge to the ticket office where we managed to get two return tickets to Exeter for the very wallet-friendly total sum of £10.10!!! A bargain! To add to the good news, we only had to wait 5 minutes for the train – perfect timing! (as they only run hourly on Saturdays).

On-board, we soon found a seat – a very comfy one at that! – for the thirty-minute (ish) journey to Exeter Central. Free wi-fi too, so one of us is ecstatic! On arrival, the good news continued as the station is handily located on the outskirts of the shopping area in Queen’s Street, so it was only a short walk into the main shopping strip.

First stop though, was a bit of culture in the shape of Exeter Cathedral

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Wow! This place was in great condition and a real joy to look round. It felt large too, and unlike a lot of cathedrals, it was very bright inside. Fabulous!

With the cultural stuff ticked-off, it was off to our own ‘retail-cathedral’ – the newish (2012) John Lewis (Exeter) just a few minutes walk away. Yummy! this had floors and floors of good stuff, and for once us blokes don’t have to scale to the top to see the latest TVs – they’ve thoughtfully put the AV department on the lower-ground floor!

But before any serious shopping, sustenance was in order, and an obligatory trip to the JL Café was our first destination…

Suitably refreshed, in the next hour, we gave the store a good workout before taking a slow walk in the direction of our reserved table at the local Café Rouge…

Service was excellent, as was the food. The bonus for us was that I’d received a voucher recently from Café Rouge for a free bottle of Prosecco as a birthday gift, and it would have been rude not to use it even if it is three days before ‘the day’!

I needed something to soak up the alcohol as even though Ann was driving back, we were determined to get our money’s worth and not to leave any behind. I really needed something to soak up the booze, so as my main course, I chose the new (to the menu) Lamb Tagine –  it was absolutely delicious and acted as the perfect culinary blotting-paper!
Smile with tongue out

All-in-all, we made lunch last just over an hour-and-a-half (well, it took a while to sink my five glasses of bubbly!). Then, after a few more shop visits, we took the short walk back to the station, saying goodbye to Exeter’s retail scene and catching the 3.30 back to Honiton.

By 4.45, we were back at the Apartment and we’d had a really good day. It was great to look round the Cathedral and our short dose of ‘retail-therapy’ was very welcome!

Tomorrow we’re off to:

I’m exhausted already!
Winking smile

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