Sunday, 1 June 2014

2014 - Day Out 04: Exeter and Exmouth

Date: Sunday 25 May 2014

Day two of Weymouth break 2014, today sees us visiting another English county and a long time on the buses.

The King's Statue, Weymouth
I wake up early and not having a good sleep, I head outside for some "fresh air" before going back to my room and having a lie down and watching the news before getting ready to meet Mr UKBuses for breakfast before we head out for the day. We meet in reception just before 8:00am and make our way to the "Breakfast Room", which is in fact The Lodmoor public house. Its our first breakfast in Weymouth and as is the case when we stay at Travelodge Docklands, it is an all you can eat breakfast so we can pile up as much as we want on our plates. To start off with I get the Cranberry Juice and Mr UKBuses wants some too, I get this for him whilst he gets his coffee and he makes his toast ready for the feast. While Mr UKBuses waits for his toast, I make my way towards the bacon, and I pile on loads of bacon, sausages, hash browns and beans to fill me up for the day ahead. I start whilst Mr UKBuses gets his selection of food and after finishing the feast, I make my way to the yogurt and help myself to a couple including Strawberry and Vanilla flavours. With the Vanilla being very tasty I get a couple more and it looks like I'm nicking all the yogurt when Mr UKBuses yells across the room to get him a couple. With breakfast finished, we let it go down whilst Mr UKBuses finishes his coffee, and before going back to the rooms to get ready for the day ahead, I have some "fresh air". Once we are ready, we meet back up in reception and make our way to the bus stop opposite the hotel.

Which one is the dinosaur?
When we reach the bus stop, being a Sunday service, we find out that there are no services into Weymouth before we have to catch our bus from the Kings Statue, so we head onto the coastal path and walk by the sea, eventually ending up along The Esplanade and after about a mile we arrive at the Kings Statue ready to get our bus, before we do though, we head into the cafe for a bottle of pop to keep us refreshed on our journey ahead, which will see us cross the border from Dorset into Devon. I keep our place in the queue for the bus as it is starting to increase, whilst Mr UKBuses takes a few photographs. Just before 09:20am, our bus arrives and we board First Wessex's service X53 which will take us three and a quarter hours to get to our next destination. The X53 is branded for The Jurassic Coast and as can be seen in the picture right, there is a question to be asked, which one is the dinosaur? We head off into the direction of Bridport and I copy Mr UKBuses and decide to have a nap to try and catch up on sleep that I lost out last night. Before we arrive at Bridport, we pass through Burton Bradstock and West Bay and whilst I'm enjoying my nap, a passenger next to me decides to wake me up to say how wonderful the views of Chesil beach are as we pass it, thanks a lot I was enjoying catching up on my sleep. Wide awake now, I keep my eyes open whilst Mr UKBuses snores away and just over an hour after boarding the bus, we arrive in Bridport coach station. The driver turns off the engine and shouts down the bus that we will be stopping here for about five minutes, so we can get off the bus and stretch our legs if we want. A perfect opportunity it is then, so I decide to alight and grab some "fresh air" as we have another two hours on the bus before arriving at our destination. Break over, I board the bus and retake my seat and we depart Bridport and before our next destination, we pass through Lyme Regis, Beer (yes, there is a place called Beer!) and Seaton before arriving at 12:32pm at Exeter Bus Station. We have about eight minutes here so I grab some "fresh air" whilst Mr UKBuses pops down to the lower level, as being a Sunday there are a lot of Stagecoach vehicles not in service and parked up.

We make our way to Stand 8, and at 12:40pm on time, our Stagecoach South West service 57 bus turns up, so we board buying our Explorer Tickets and take a seat for our journey of just over half an hour, where Mr UKBuses catches another nap before we arrive in Exmouth at 1:16pm. The sun is shining and seeing as we have been on the bus most of the day, we decide to have a break and Mr UKBuses takes me to J D Wetherspoons, "The Powder Monkey" for a drink (even though he took me there, it turns out to be my round!!!!), Mr UKBuses waits at the bar, with my money, to get served whilst I make use of the facilities, and when I return he still hasn't been served even though there are five members of staff behind the bar. Mr UKBuses copies me and makes use of the facilities and when he returns, we are still waiting to be served. Eventually we do get served and seeing as it is a nice day, we decide to sit outside soaking up the rays of the sun in the beer garden located at the entrance to the pub. Drinks over, we go on a short walk and to Stagecoach's depot in Exmouth, taking a few photographs. Photographs over, we head back into town and to the bus stop, we are ahead of schedule and decide to catch the earlier bus back to Exeter so we can spend more time there before travelling back into Dorset.

We board Stagecoach's service 57 again at 1.58pm and make our way back to Exeter, arriving earlier than planned at 2.35pm, which means we have just under an hour to spend in Exeter. Mr UKBuses takes some more photographs and on the plan is a map showing the locations of two J D Wetherspoons pubs in the city. We head off in what we think is the right direction and even though we have walked halfway around Exeter, we are by the Cathedral where one of the pubs are supposed to be located but we cannot see it and give up the search and head for a pint in "The Ship", where we take a seat and give a little fuss to a black Labrador sitting with his owner on the next table. Rest over we make our way back through the city to the bus station and after taking a bladder break (another three and a half hour journey ahead!!), we make our way to Stand 14. We know when our bus will be turning up as we can see it parked up on the lower level and when it is nearly time, we can see it moving and coming up to the bus stop and we board and take our seats ready for the long journey back. We head back through Lyme Regis and have a bit of trouble in Beer when an old bus is at our bus stop where we have to turn around, the bus moves for us and causes a bit of problems for the traffic, once we pick up the passengers, we are on our way and arrive at Bridport at about 5.30pm, where the driver stops the engine, so I make a bolt for the door and whilst he is in the outstation, I get some "fresh air", before boarding and retaking my seat. The driver has been gone a long time and Mr UKBuses worries that he has done a runner and that we are stuck in Bridport, I offer to drive us back but before I can get in the cab, the driver turns up and we are on our way again and just over an hour later, we arrive back at the Kings Statue in Weymouth, where we alight and run up to the next bus stop which means that we catch First Wessex's service 4 back to the hotel, arriving back at 6.53pm.

Cheers From The Chapelhay Tavern
We have just under half an hour at the hotel, so we quickly freshen up and meet up in reception and make our way to the bus stop opposite where we catch the final bus of the day into Weymouth, First Wessex's service 4, with the same driver who took us to the hotel previously and being as this is the last bus, it doesn't take him long to arrive at the King's Statue dropping us off before going back to the depot around the corner. We are feeling hungry so we head to J D Wetherspoons "The William Henry" and we make our way to the top bar, Mr UKBuses gets the round in and I search for a table. Two trips around the pub and there are no tables available so it looks like we won't be eating here until Mr UKBuses spots people leaving and faster than a bolt of lightning I get the seats before anybody else has the chance to. Mr UKBuses brings the drinks over and we peruse the menu before I go to the bar to order the food. Mr UKBuses opts for his usual BBQ Chicken Melt "Without the melt!" and as I have a sore tooth I need to eat something soft, so I surprise Mr UKBuses and opt for the Scampi and Chips. Seeing as the pub is quite busy it does take longer than usual for the food to arrive but when it does arrive, we soon get to work devouring it. We give it a few minutes to let our food go down and once we finish our pints we head out and sample a couple of our favourite pubs in Weymouth, we make our way down to the bridge and stop there a few minutes as there is a music festival going on, we then continue over the bridge and up the steps to our first pub, "The Chapelhay Tavern". When we arrive the pub is quite busy and Ringwood's Forty-Niner is ordered and we are pleased this year as the pub is being used a bit more and the beer doesn't taste like vinegar, see picture left. We take our seats close to the bar and listen to the coastguard radio.

The Boot, Weymouth
We spend a bit of time here and give the pub's German Shepherd dog a bit of fuss, she is starting to look a little old now, hopefully she will still be around when we visit next year. Drinks supped and we leave The Chapelhay behind and take a short walk to our next favourite pub and a few minutes later we are walking down the hill and we can see "The Boot", see picture right. As the sun is till shining, we decide to take a seat outside and I go into the bar to get the round, which seeing as it a Ringwood's pub we opt for the Forty-Niner again, when I come out I realise that I have purchased the last two rounds, here and at The Chapelhay, so no wonder Mr UKBuses has to get a seat quick, as his wallet must be getting heavy for him to carry around. In the space opposite there are a few people enjoying the sun and the pub must have been and still is quite busy with live music blaring out from the pub, seeing as it sunny and also a Bank Holiday tomorrow the people are celebrating the fact and this can be seen with the people enjoying themselves opposite. Whilst we are outside it is rude not to have some "fresh air" and once the break is over we finish off our drinks and head to the next favourite of ours.

The Globe, Weymouth
We make our way down to the harbour bridge and also try and spot where the webcam is situated and across the bridge we go and down one of the side streets where we come across another one of our favourite pubs and it is also our second visit this year to "The Globe", see picture left. Mr UKBuses purchases the drinks, which are Dartmoor Brewery's "Jail Ale" and once I come round after passing out when he got his wallet out, the pub celebrates his purchase and seeing as his "Stan" stool is not available tonight, we spot the pool table, so decide to have a game. With the balls racked up, we have a good game which sees me being victorious. Whilst we were playing, a young woman put her money on the table and seeing as I was the winner, it is up to me to take her on. She breaks and she gets off to a bad start, but as the game progresses, she starts potting her colours and eventually she gains the win, Mr UKBuses is in the corner having a giggle and being the true gentleman, hands are shaken and congratulations are handed out to her. It is starting to get late now, so Mr UKBuses and myself decide to finish our drinks and make our way back to the hotel,

Cheers from The Lodmoor, Weymouth!
As there are no buses running to the hotel on Sunday nights, it is decided that we get a taxi and I dial one and we only wait a few minutes before it arrives. I also know what to look out for as when I ended the call to the taxi office, a text came through telling me what colour and kind of taxi is coming to pick us up. We get in the taxi and it doesn't take too long for us to get back to the hotel. With the taxi driver dropping us outside "The Lodmoor", we decide to have a final pint of the night in the Brewers Fayre chained public house, see picture right.  With the bar not closing until 11pm, I decide to have one more for a nightcap whilst Mr UKBuses retires to his room. I bid him goodnight and after I finish my drink, instead of going straight back to the room, I cross the road and take a seat by the sea and have a final "fresh air" break listening to the waves and looking at the lights in the town. Once my fresh air has gone, I make my way back to the hotel room, where I decide to keep Mr UKBuses awake by coughing as I pass his door. I get into bed ready to get some sleep for the next day and I am glad to say that the sleepless night the previous evening had caught up with me and I went straight to sleep and had a good night's kip and due to the later start in the morning it was good knowing that I could have a lie in.

With brilliant weather and a visit to some favourites on the evening, day two has been a brilliant day, and better sleep was had that night.

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