Honfleur – mecca for travellers? Plus green wellies and hunting dogs

Is there a collective noun for motor homes or campervans? What would you suggest? A drive, a herd, a colony? A caravan, a wagon train, a nuisance? What about a meander, a journey or a wander? A hold-up, a fleet or a flotilla?

A fleet or a nuisance of camper vans?

Whatever you would like to call them, when we arrived in Honfleur in the Normandy region of France, we came across the largest number of campervans that I’ve ever seen in one place! There were literally hundreds of them.

Just a few of the hundreds of campervans parked at Honfleur

What draws so many “kings of the road” (hmm, that would have been a good blog name for us!) to this pretty harbour town? Well I suppose part of the reason must be that they are made so welcome, with loads of overnight spaces at low cost, but surely that couldn’t be the only reason?

There were plenty of yachts too

Well I have to say, the reason I think that it is such a mecca for travellers is because it is such a delightful harbour town with a stunningly beautiful port.

Such a delightful harbour

Overlooking the old docks on three sides there stand distinctive high, narrow, timber-frame and slate-clad houses.

There were many distinctive high, narrow, timber-frame and slate-clad houses

At the bottom of the tall houses there are fantastic restaurants in nearly every building spilling out on to the dockside, interspersed with tourist shops selling all those things you didn’t know you needed such as stripey t-shirts, fishermen’s sweaters and all kinds of headgear.

There were so many waterside restaurants lining the old dock
Hello sailor! Seen outside one of the tourist shops
Lots of striped sweaters on sale!

Down by the newer docks we were very taken with the tiny fishing boats and of course all the yachts – there were sail boats everywhere!

One of the oldest fishing boats in Brittany, Sainte Bernadette
This must have been on of the tiniest fishing boats in Honfleur
There were pleasure boats too
Just so many boats of all shapes and sizes

Wandering round the town away from the harbour we found some lovely, narrow laneways, lots of delightful architecture and many more great restaurants.

There were many lanes to explore
… with interesting architecture
…and with lovely restaurants
Of course we had to try some local produce

It was a very short stay in Honfleur but we will definitely return there to see more of this enchanting port.

The Honfleur “Eye”
We liked all the flowers and greenery
More restaurants!

From Honfleur it was just a short hop to Calais where we boarded the ferry for the English port of Dover.

Another interesting building
The famous composer was born in Honfleur
Boarding the ferry at Calais

Our first stop in England was with our good friends Mike and Sheila in Bournemouth. It was great to see them again and also to meet up with their guests from Canada, John and Doris who we had a great outing with to Corfe Castle and Swanage.

The village of Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle was built by William the Conqueror in the 11th Century and was one of the earliest castles in England to be built at least partly using stone – when the majority of castles were still being built with earth and timber.

The castle ruins

During the English civil war it was one of the last remaining royalist strongholds in southern England but in 1645 it fell to a siege by the Parliamentarians. In March that year Corfe Castle was purposely damaged on Parliament’s orders.

Another view of Corfe Castle
Swanage pier – looking very smart!

After a few days in Bournemouth we visited various family and friends, first in Suffolk, then in Cambridge, Beckenham (South London) and East Grinstead before heading to a small village in Hampshire called Tichbourne where we were able to overnight in the car park of the delightful thatched pub, the Titchbourne Arms.

Lovely to meet this little fellow for the first time
Wild horses at Knettishall Heath, in Suffolk
The Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds
A medieval gateway in the Abbey Gardens
Britain’s smallest pub The Nutshell in Bury St Edmunds
Built in Victorian Times, the pub can only manage a few customers at a time!
Popped in to the iconic Liberty store in London’s West End
Christmas decorations were already available in this beautiful store
Stocking present for someone you know?
Everything was gloriously glittery
Our GPS took us through the most hair raisingly narrow lanes to get to East Grinstead
Friends for well over fifty years!

To give you an idea of this very English rural spot, we overheard one customer saying to another at the pub entrance “I went back to collect the partridge from the table but they weren’t there. I think Nigel must have picked them up.” Yes, it was very much green wellies, waxed jackets, cocked rifles and gorgeous looking gun dogs running underfoot.

The Tichbourne Arms

Inside the cosy pub there was a distinct smell of wet dog but that didn’t spoil the excellent partridge pie that was served or the delicious “real ales” selected from the wide range on offer!

Mmm wet dog smell!

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

2 thoughts on “Honfleur – mecca for travellers? Plus green wellies and hunting dogs”

  1. Honfleur looks delightful – I must go there! But then so do the lovely places you’ve described in the UK in this blog. The partridge pie sounds delicious!

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