Checking out Christchurch

The drive from Findon to Christchurch is so pretty: green, rolling fields, stables and cobbles and pretty (affluent) villages.

Our experience in Brighton the day before, combined with other Christchurch, NZ, traveller’s stories of less-than-hospitable receptions when visiting the founder’s city, we didn’t have high hopes of this visit. This happens to be the perfect way to approach these things, because our Christchurch experience was fantastic.

The sun shone as we negotiated the very low height bar into the carpark (we chose to exit the same way as the gradient on the exit looked too scary and you can do that sort of thing when home is 12,000 miles away), people smiled at us in the street, there was a guy busking ON A HARP (!!!), the people at the Information Centre were very excited we were from their sister city, there was lots to see, and the lunch…sigh

After a diet of hamburgers, chips and sandwiches, we were ready for some vegetables so shunned all other gastronomic temptations and headed for a pub. Yes, we know this was a risky undertaking, but in this instance it paid off.

The food was amazing, it was served with real vege, the staff were attentive, knowledgeable and fun,Β  but most amazing of all was my slow realisation that the music I was singing along to was none other than Kiwi groovsters, Fat Freddy’s Drop,Β  a favourite of one of the staff whose Mum lives in Auckland. It’s a small world afterall πŸ™‚ So, this is a strong recommendation for a visit to The Thomas Tripp should you ever find yourself in Christchurch and in need of a “proper” meal.

Then it was back into the Homestead Holiday Mobile and UKDave, our satnav jokester (he loves hearing our shrieks as we negotiate those country lanes), was asked to point us in the direction of some henges. Then some of us (the ones who had decided to sample the suggested South African Pinot Grigio) saw very little scenery until we were pulling into Stonehenge carpark. Five minutes later, having seen both the queues and the entry fee, we pulled out again as we had already earmarked Avebury as a back up plan.

Again, this proved a happy choice. There was a distinct lack of tour buses, guides, and razzamatazz and we were very happy to wander among the henge, swapping theories with other visitors, and getting a good stretch of the legs in the process. If you find yourselves in the area and, like us, prefer the less glitzy, Avebury is the place for you.

The night was spent at the Exeter Holiday Inn because sometimes a bit of predictability, a touch of glitz, and a complimentary breakfast are just what you need.

Next stop: Cornwall.

11 thoughts on “Checking out Christchurch

  1. Glad your Christchurch experience was so pleasant, Avebury is very interesting, well worth visiting. Would you believe that in 1956/7 when i lived in Salisbury you could drive right up to Stonehenge and walk about freely among the stones. Wasn’t I lucky!

  2. Not letting the grass grow under any of those feet are you. A trip planned by Mike?? our friends will often call him north, south, east and west Mike, can you guess why? I understand the shrieks – how do they manage to drive on those roads and we had a little VW polo not a people mover.

  3. I think Avebury is nicer than Stonehenge by far. For a start, you can actually go up to the stones, touch and even sit on them. Stonehenge seems so barren and bleak.

  4. I saw Stonehenge when I was three – and actually still remember feeling the stones that day (it was windy and wet, so I principally remember the very uncomfortable raincoat, but still). When I went with my Gran when I was sixteen, one had to go through turnstiles, the buses were lined up as you menton and the whole thing was kept safe from people touching the stones by rope cordons. I very disillusiong experience. I am glad you went for the less travelled fork in the road, sound like a much better experience. And Christchurch – I’ve been there – lovely. We stayed furthe south in Avonmouth, a long time ago.

  5. I’ve visited Stonehenge and as you say, quite a sterile experience – but I’m glad I did it. I have never yet been to Avebury and I’m jealous!! It’s on my list but somehow we never travel in that direction. I’m so pleased you had a good visit to Christchurch!

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