Sunday 19 March 2023

I have been to … Tiverton … again!

As I have reported on my previous visits to Tiverton and its surrounding area in detail in previous blog posts, I’ve decided not to write a blow-by-blow daily account about what we did and saw. Instead it’s going to be edited highlights.

Our journey to Tiverton using the M25, M3, A303, A358, M5, and A361 was much quicker than any of our previous ones, even though the weather was quite bad for most of the way. We arrived at Tiverton Castle at 3.45pm, having left home at 11.00am and having a stop about halfway to have a drink and to restore our personal comforts.

We were met by one of the castle’s owners, who gave us the key to the house we had rented for out stay, Castle Lodge.

Castle Lodge.
The tower of Tiverton Castle, which is just behind Castle Lodge.

By the time that we had unpacked and settled in, it had stopped raining and we spent until 7.00pm enjoying the restful atmosphere of the castle and its garden. Sue and I then walked into the centre of the town to have dinner in a newly-opened Italian Restaurant, the ‘Ponte Vecchio’. The food, ambience, and service were excellent, and we left feeling very full.

On the following day the rain had stopped and we walked past the local parish church (St Peter’s) …

… into the centre of Tiverton, across the bridge over the River Exe, and on to the factory shop attached to Heathcoat Fabrics. Sue was able to buy some great dress material at a much-reduced price, which made her very happy!

We walked back through the centre of Tiverton, buying a few things that we needed along the way. Our route back to Castle Lodge took us back through the Pannier Market, which was very quiet even though it was almost midday.

Sue and I decided that we fancied lunch at the seaside, and by 1.00pm we were parked on the seafront at Exmouth. The Pavillion Bar and Cafe was open, …

The Pavillion Bar and Cafe, Exmouth.

… and we were able to eat delicious, freshly-caught cod and chips.

During the holiday season the seafront is usually very crowded, but on the day we were there, there were very few people about and the beach was almost deserted.

The seafront at Exmouth, looking upriver.
The seafront at Exmouth looking sewward.
The tide coming in met the flow of the River Ex going out, resulting in considerable turbulence.

The next day was interesting in that we were able to see the crew of HMS Enterprise exercise their right to march through Tiverton.

HMS Enterprise is the second of two Echo-class multi-purpose hydrographic survey ships. Her sistership (HMS Echo) was decommissioned in June 2022, and HMS Enterprise will follow her at the end of March 2023.

The ship was granted the freedom of the town when she was first commissioned, and as she is about to be decommissioned for the last time later in March, this was a somewhat poignant occasion.

The ship's company paraded at one end of the Pannier Market place ...

The ship's company of HMS Enterprise.

... and they were supported by the Band of the Royal Marines from their base in Lympstone.

The Band of the Royal Marines, Lympstone.
The percussion section of the Band of the Royal Marines, Lympstone.

After the parade and an address by the mayor, the ship's company, led by the band, marched around the centre of Tiverton.

The march around Tiverton was led by the Band of the Royal Marines, Lympstone.
The Band of the Royal Marines, Lympstone, ...
... followed by the ship's company of HMS Enterprise. These were led by the colour party, which was followed by a group of armed sailors, the ship's officers and senior Petty Officers, the rest of the ship's company, and the local Sea Scouts.

Unfortunately, Sue and I were unable to stay to see the who thing as we had an appointment to meet my nephew for lunch. He is the general manager and licencee of the 'Lord Poulett Arms', a gastropub/bed-and-breakfast hotel in Hinton St George.

The Lord Poulette Arms, Hinton St George.

It took us just over an hour to drive there, and we had a very enjoyable lunch with him in the pub's excellent restaurant.

The following day we went to Taunton to meet some old friends of ours who had moved to Congresbury in Somerset two years ago. We had a very enjoyable lunch in 'The Brazz', the brasserie restaurant that forms part of the 'Castle Hotel' in the centre of Taunton, and we were able to catch up on everything that had happened to us since we last met up.

The Castle Hotel, Taunton.

Our journey home on Friday started off quite well, but an accident on the M25 caused a long tailback of vehicles onto the M3. As a result of this and several further holdups and bad weather, our journey from Tiverton to home took us nearly six and a half hours ... nearly two hours longer than our journey there!


  1. Bob,
    Thank you for this post- very interesting- your stay in the delightful Castle Lodge would have been great. Certainly an area where you can dine in splendor. We have nothing like Tiverton here- the UK has a lot of History. Best Wishes. KEV.

    1. Kev Robertson (Kev),

      It might have been an even better short break if we could have ‘borrowed’ a few degrees from your current heatwave! It was quite cold at times, and on one day I actually bought a pair of thermal gloves because my hands were getting so cold.

      We sometimes forget just how much history we have almost literally on our doorsteps in the UK. I live less than half a mile from Watling Street, a road that was originally built by the Romans and less than a quarter of a mile from a Neolithic round barrow … which are very rare and which may predate Stonehenge. (By the way, we drove past the latter on our way to and from Tiverton.)

      All the best,



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