A trip on The Balmoral steamer from Penarth to Clevedon

Back from Wales

Just returned from a fabulous short holiday in my hometown of Cardiff – and what a great trip I had!

On Saturday night I celebrated Cardiff’s mighty victory over Notts Forest (away) with a feast’o’pints in the Ty Mawr Arms, Lisvane with a full family contingent. The pub lurks off an obscure country road in north Cardiff and offers superb views of the city, with its huge lawns giving ample space for drunken dads to show off their much-declined footballing ‘skills’…

Sunday we took a trip to the spectacular Brecon Beacons in mid Wales and walked along the banks of beautiful crystal-clear reservoirs.

A steamer trip from Penarth to Somerset taking in the Bakelite Museum and a trip on the West Somerset steam railway

Monday saw us boarding the 1949 ship, The Balmoral from the pier at the small seaside resort of Penarth.

We then sailed across to the north Somerset port of Clevedon and disembarked on its delightfully restored pier – incredibly this graceful Victorian structure only narrowly survived demolition in the the 1970s. A 40 minute bus ride then took us to Bishops Lydeard station , the southern terminus of the fabulously restored West Somerset Railway, which runs 20 miles to Minehead.

The railway recreates the atmosphere of a Great Western Railway branch line, with authentic flower bedecked stations, signalboxes, steam engines and carriages. Lovely!

A steamer trip from Penarth to Somerset taking in the Bakelite Museum and a trip on the West Somerset steam railway

We broke our journey at Williton and walked up to the Bakelite Museum, some 15 minutes away – and it was well worth the walk! This uplifting labour or love packs in three floors of Bakelite beauties in a lovely old watermill. We finished off our stay with a satisfying cream tea (scones and clotted cream…mmm….!) before catching the steam train to Minehead.

The impressively-sized terminus in Minehead is almost on the beach itself, right in the middle of town, and it makes you wonder what kind of idiot it was who closed the line back in 1971.

Anyhow, this blog is starting to turn into a book, so I’ll just tell you about the sign proudly proclaiming a household’s 14ft sunflowers (“and still growing”) in Minehead harbour and that the day ended in the best possible way – after a pleasant journey back across the Bristol Channel, I turned on the radio to find that the mighty Bluebirds had just whipped Derby 4-1!

Now that’s what I call a great day!!!

See photo report here.