Highlights

  • Experience the elegance of living in a castle for six nights
  • Exclusive stay for The Wayfarers only
  • Explore the landscape and history of Dartmoor National Park
  • Spectacular walking on the banks of the River Tamar
  • Visit Sir Francis Drakes home and Plymouth harbor, where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail

Live like lords and ladies on our six sumptuous nights at Pentillie, reserved exclusively for The Wayfarers. The elegantly restored Pentillie Castle (built 1698) on the banks of the Tamar River (which forms the border between Devon and Cornwall) provides a springboard for visiting the pick of the best features in both counties. The week encompasses a tour of historic Plymouth (Pilgrim Fathers, Spanish Armada), coastal walking, wild walking on atmospheric Dartmoor (home of the Hound of the Baskervilles) and a visit to a former home of Sir Francis Drake. Gentler coastal estates include Tudor Cotehele with its own quay and stewpond, and Mount Edgcumbe with its Grade I Cornish gardens. A highlight of the week is the chance to visit some of the key locations on Dartmoor used in the filming of Steven Spielberg's adaptation of War Horse including the Narracott farmhouse and the field where Joey learned to plow.

Sunday Overnight: Pentillie Castle

 We rendezvous in Plymouth for a walking tour of this proud city. We will see the Mayflower Steps where the Pilgrim Fathers embarked for the US, and The Hoe, where Sir Francis Drake was playing bowls when the Spanish Armada was sighted. We embark (tide and weather permitting) on our own voyage of discovery – along the River Tamar to the private landing stage at Pentillie Castle, our home for the next six nights. We meet for drinks on the terrace overlooking the river and its valley before an Introductory Talk and Welcome Dinner.

Monday Overnight: Pentillie Castle

Today’s highlight is a visit to Cotehele, a wonderful Tudor house with many stories and legends, festooned with tapestries and adorned with textiles, arms and armour, pewter, brass and old oak furniture; a magical experience as little has changed over the years. Outside, we wander through the formally planted terraces, the Valley Garden, which includes a medieval stewpond and dovecote. We may climb the 18th-century Prospect Tower folly, with fantastic views. Cotehele Quay is the home of the restored Tamar sailing barge 'Shamrock'. The Discovery Centre tells the story of the Tamar Valley. We return to Pentillie for Afternoon Tea and relax in the lovely surroundings. Before Dinner, we enjoy a Talk on the history of Pentillie and on the work of Humphry Repton who created the magnificent gardens.

Tuesday Overnight: Pentillie Castle

A gentle day’s walking as we explore the Tamar Valley, once a hive of mining activity, with copper, tin and silver among the many metals extracted, and later a well-known area for market gardening. Apples, cherries, strawberries and fresh flowers were sent from here to Covent Garden in London and to other cities. This industry benefited considerably from the coming of the railway, though the age of the train spelled the end for Calstock as a thriving port although, as we shall see, it has lost none of its charm. We spend time in Tavistock, an ancient Stannary Town with a flourishing market well worth a visit.  Afer lunch, we then drive to Endsleigh  - for a tour of the gardens and Afternoon Tea. The gardens are yet another design by Humphry Repton, whose work is a feature of the week. We return to Pentillie for Dinner.

Wednesday Overnight: Pentillie Castle

Today, we depart by private ferry (tide and weather permitting) for a day on Rame Head. We will visit Mount Edgcumbe House, set in an 865-acre coastal estate. Sir Richard Edgcumbe of Cotehele built a new home in his deer park at Mount Edgcumbe in 1547-53. Miraculously the walls of his red stone Tudor House survived a direct hit by bombs in 1941 and it was restored by the Earl of Edgcumbe between 1958-64. It is now beautifully furnished with family possessions, including paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Irish Bronze Age horns, 16th century tapestries and 18th century Chinese and Plymouth porcelain. The Earl's Garden was created beside the House in the 18th century. Ancient and rare trees including a 400 year old lime, a splendid Lucombe oak, and a Mexican pine are set amidst classical garden houses and an exotic Shell Seat. Colourful flowers and heather grace the re-created Victorian East Lawn Terrace, which has spectacular views over Plymouth Sound. After lunch, we spend time at Antony, an 18th century mansion with a fine collection of paintings, furniture and textiles. The grounds bordering the Lynher estuary were landscaped by Repton, as was the garden at Pentillie Castle. Antony was used as the film set for Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland. For those looking for more vigorous exercise, there is the option of an afternoon walk around Rame Head – a wild and windy walk with sweeping sea views overlooking the waves rolling in from the Atlantic. This evening we dine out at a well-known, popular local hostelry.

Thursday Overnight: Pentillie Castle

After breakfast, we leave for a day on Dartmoor, the rugged and romantic home of the Hound of the Baskervilles; we may see the “drifts” when the famous Dartmoor ponies are rounded up for the annual sales. Here we explore ancient stone circles and old tin workings, and learn about the folklore, farming and unique way of life in this bleak landscape. There will be an option for a gentle or a more strenuous walk but we will all get together for a pub in a moorland pub. In the afternoon, opt for more walking or transfer for a visit to the High Moor Visitor Centre and the famous Prison Museum before continuing to Saltram House to view the wonderful interior, paintings and furnishings. We return to Pentillie for Dinner.

Friday Overnight: Pentillie Castle

We take the scenic train from Gunnislake, over the great viaduct above Calstock, down the peninsula to Bere Ferrers. We will walk along the Tavy estuary, where we may see avocet and curlew on the mudflats, to the 16th century Who’d Have Thought It Inn (voted one of the 50 best pubs in Britain). After lunch, we visit Buckland Abbey, home of Sir Francis Drake, the intrepid sailor who circumnavigated the globe in the 16th century with enormous faith and few maps. Once a Cistercian Monastery, the Abbey now tells the story of how two seafaring adventurers – Sir Richard Grenville and Drake himself – changed the shape of the house and the fate of the nation. We return to Pentillie Castle for our Farewell Dinner.

Saturday

After Breakfast, we leave for Plymouth and our onward or homebound travels.

Easy-Moderate
"Pentillie Castle was wonderful - the food, the wine, the rooms." S & CM
Terrain: Pastoral countryside, coastal footpaths, estuaries, woodlands, wild uplands and open moorland. Some hills. 3-9 miles walking per day, with options for more or less.

TRIP DETAILS

6 nights from
$4,195.00
Per person, Double Occupancy
(Single Supplement $)
Our Wayfarers friends' Price is $3,985.00

Dates

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Arrival and Departure: Plymouth

Activities

Walk Culture
Pentillie Castle Map

Hotels - Where we stay

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What Is Included in the Price of My Vacation

  • Full-time services of two staff - a Walk Leader and Walk Manager
  • A backup vehicle for resting walkers and moving luggage
  • Comprehensive Travel Information Package and Reading List
  • Diverse itineraries with an emphasis on history, geography, culture, peoples, flora and fauna
  • Demonstrations, wine tasting, admissions to museums and historic sites
  • All ground transfers (ferries, cable cars, trains, etc.)
  • Maps and unique souvenirs to commemorate your trip
  • First-class accommodations with cultural and historical interest
  • All meals - with choices - (Special dietary requirements? No problem!)
  • Wine with dinner
  • On-trail snacks and refreshments
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants