Tuesday, 18 December 2012

I have been to … Dunster

Friday 14th December: London to Dunster
As soon as we returned from our recent cruise we had to drive over 175 miles to Dunster in Somerset to attend my niece’s wedding. This turned out to be a somewhat trying – and tiring – drive that took over six hours.

The reason for this was due – in the main – to two main causes. The first was the weather, which was very windy and very wet and reduced the maximum speed at which it was safe to drive. The second was the sheer weight of traffic on the motorways we had to use. At one point we were sat in a 20-mile tailback on the M25 that stretched anti-clockwise from the M4 junction, the road we were going to use to drive to the West Country. This was causing a predicted ninety minute delay, and our attempts to avoid this involved taking a detour along the M3 and A322 via Bracknell so that we could join the M4 at Reading. This might have ensured that our journey was a little quicker than it might have been had we sat in the tailback … but not by much.

We finally arrived in Dunster at 8.30pm, checked into our Bed and Breakfast accommodation, the Spears Cross …


… which was excellent, and then went for a meal at the nearby Stags Head Inn.


The latter was outstanding, and it is easy to see why its food has won awards. We then returned to our B&B, unpacked, and went to bed. It had been a very long day, and we were both very tired.

Saturday 15th December: Dunster
After an very good night’s sleep we had breakfast … which was one of the best I had ever eaten, with lots of local, high-quality ingredients. We then went for a walk around Dunster, and it soon became apparent why it is so popular with visitors, photographers, and filmmakers. It looks like the archetypal village/small English town.

It has a castle, …



… an ancient priory church (where the wedding took place), …



… a tithe barn (where the wedding reception took place), …


… a dovecote, …


… a medieval market (the Yarn Market), …


… a memorable main street, …



… and other picturesque roads with cobbled pavements, …




… and numerous unique buildings.



The wedding started at 12.30pm in the Priory Church of St. George and we were in our pew about ten minutes beforehand. My niece arrive almost exactly on time – something that is almost unique in my family where timekeeping never, ever, seems to be important – and the wedding ceremony was a very jolly affair that was led by one of the local clergy. Many members of my were able to attend – including my maternal aunt who is in her late 80s – and it was great to be able to see them and spend time with them.

After the numerous photographs were taken the bridal party led the guests to the Dunster Tithe Barn, where the reception and subsequent festivities were held. My wife and I stayed until 10.30pm, and the party was still going strong when we left to go back to our B&B.

Sunday 16th December: Dunster to London
After yet another excellent breakfast we packed our luggage into our car and set off for home not long after 11.00am. Unlike the drive to Dunster, the drive back was in good weather and the volume of traffic was always quite reasonable even on the normally crowded stretches of the motorways. As a result the return journey took just of half the time the outwards journey had taken, and even after stopping to do some much needed shopping, we were home by not long after 3.00pm.

8 comments:

  1. Dunster is also where the 19th Foot - the late lamented Green Howards - was raised, by Francis Lutterell, in 1688.

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  2. Alexius,

    Thanks for the information. I must admit that I saw that one of the local pubs was named The Lutterall Arms but did not make the connection.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Bob, I am always amused when one of my British friends reminds me that they have pubs older than my country's Constitution. The village is beautiful, just what makes so many Americans want to visit.
    -Steve

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  4. Beautiful, and I'll have to add those lovely places to my list...

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  5. Steven Page,

    Dunster is beautiful ... and full of old buildings ... and I would certainly put it on a list of places to see if you want an idea about what the whole of the UK used to be like.

    It is funny how ones perspective changes relative to where one comes from. When I was in Rome I was gobsmacked by the number of really ancient monuments that seemed to be round almost every corner in the centre of the city … and yet I live in a city where we have many buildings that are well over 250 years old and are thus older than the US.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  6. Littlejohn,

    I would ceertainly recommend a visit to Dunster ... and also the Essex-Suffolk border. The latter is where John Constable painted many of his famous paintings, and it is often said that his paintings are what shape many peoples ideas of what England used to be like.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Hi Bob,

    Seeing views like these makes you feel proud to be British! It also gives me a minor twinge of conscience in that I have not seen as many of them as perhaps I should have done.

    I also feel guilty about the neglected ECW section of my library....;-)

    All the best,

    DC

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  8. David Crook,

    It is a great example of what a British village or small town can look like ... and it is little wonder that it attracts so many visitors.

    All the best,

    Bob

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