Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Burgh Island

As promised, here are more photos from my Burgh Island Birthday Bonanza experience!  Better late than never.  The weather forecast was shocking, but miraculously as we drove ever closer to the village of Bigbury on Sea, the sky started to brighten.  As befits an island steeped in mystery, even arriving feels a little mysterious - there's poor mobile signal in Bigbury, so they ask you to phone from a village up the road to get the code to the gated garage.  We stopped to do so, and also did a classy getting-changed-in-a-car-park maneuver into our especially chosen "arrival outfits".  I rang the hotel and carefully noted the gate code in my Art Deco notebook, before we got back in the car and carried on our way.  As we turned the corner of the winding country lanes and saw the island for the first time, the view took my breath away.

The tide was out, so our transport over to the island was by Land Rover.  The luggage you see here is mid-century rather than deco, but the larger suitcase was rather apt as it is from the Amelia Earhart range.  Should have been British aviatrix Amy Johnson really (a room is named after her at the hotel), but you have to work with what you've got!

We were swiftly checked in at reception and informed that when we were ready, champagne would be waiting for us in the Palm Court.  I was desperate to get up to the room first and see if the view was as good as I hoped.  I'd spent ages analysing photos of the hotel and checking compass directions before I chose our room, Chirgwin.  (Some people might think that level of research a bit much, but my younger brother said that he does it too, must be a family thing), and was most pleased that it paid off.  The unobstructed sea view was really rather fabulous.

As for the room, it was spacious and comfortable, and the decor was very era-appropriate.  I felt most at home.  We headed down then for our glasses of champagne in the Palm Court, and felt ourselves start to time travel.

Afterwards, we decided to have a walk around the island.  The hotel isn't the only structure, there are also outbuildings that include further accommodation and staff residences, as well as the pub, and the ruins of a fisherman's watch hut at the island's peak.

The bracing sea air prompted thoughts of food, so we headed back up to our room to take our time in changing for dinner.  I had a bath with the window open, so that I could hear the roar of the waves.

I wore a black silk Fenn Wright Manson gown, with a black and white Topshop capelet.  To accessorise, I wore silver shoes from Faith, and carried a vintage black and white bag.  The tiara from my wedding day was the finishing touch, but even though they say it's impossible to be overdressed for dinner at Burgh Island, I thought that the veil may have been a step too far, and detached it.

My jewellery was a recent purchase from an antiques fair in Builth Wells - the very deco style necklace and ring were made by the much-missed shop Past Times (search 'Past Times marcasite' on Ebay and you'll probably find some pieces).  Once dressed, we made our way down for canapes and cocktails, stopping for a selfie en route.

Dinner is held in the ballroom, and we were there for one of their live music evenings, which adds nicely to the overall ambience.  There was a pianist, singer, and double-bass player, performing a range of songs from the 20s through to the 50s.  It was hard to draw my attention away from the food though - it was so, so good.  I enjoyed every morsel!

I didn't feel like twirling around the ballroom, so instead we retreated to the basement in search of our own entertainment.  We found the snooker room, and enthusiastically began our game.  We quickly realised how rusty we both were.  It then became the worlds' longest snooker game, we were desperate for one of us to win, but we were both so bad at it!!

The other guests had mostly disappeared by the time we emerged from the basement.  We roamed around the hotel a bit admiring just how lovely it was.

The next morning, a beautiful sunrise awoke us before our early morning tea delivery.  The staff are very hard-working - it was the same lady delivering our tea at 7.30am, who had been serving us dinner at 9pm!

After breakfast, we were told that the tides were very rough, and that there would be a delay in guests being allowed to leave the island.  That was fine by me!  I'd read in the hotel information that if you enquired at reception, you could play a murder mystery game.  I obtained the paperwork, and the chase was on!  We were literally running around the hotel and grounds, desperately searching for clues.  The challenge set was to complete the game within 2 hours, but I worked out in about an hour (so very, very satisfying).

Eventually the tides calmed down, and we were able to leave the island - this time by sea tractor, which was noisy and blustery fun, chugging its way across the sands.

The whole experience was incredibly memorable, and worth every penny.  I'd best start saving for a return visit, though I'm not sure I can wait until I'm 50!


  1. This looks like it would have been so much fun! I love the Art Deco design of the hotel. You were both so glamorous and fit right in to the setting. The billiard photos definitely have an old fashioned drama to them!

  2. Oh that looks lovely! Your room has such a good view. Given the rough tides, it's no surprise swimming was not on the cards.

    I love your dinner outfit - it's so elegant. All decades have something good about them, but there is an elegance to 1930s stylings that none of the others quite match.

    I was worried when it changed hands that the new owners would change it completely, but it looks every bit as lovely. Your photos have reassured me!

  3. It looks absolutely wonderful and I love your outfits and that gorgeous suitcase!

  4. What a dream birthday. This is now going on my list! Kx

  5. How utterly fabulous, I want to go too, and might drop some hints to Jos for when I turn 60! You certainly arrived in style (I loved that you changed in the car park!), but your dinner outfits are the epitome of elegance. Just wow! Oh, and I think I need that dressing table. The stuff of dreams! xxx

  6. What an incredible spot for your birthday! You both looked very much the part.


  7. Unbelievable! How gorgeous! Did the other fiesta look as beautiful as the two of you? And a Murder game!!! Oh yes, that is fantastic!

  8. What a feast for the eyes! I love how excited you both look.
    Love the dinner outfits, you should be in an Agatha Christie dramatisation looking so glam!
    The room is splendid and you're not the only one, I research stuff like mad (not a family thing though, my brother never investigates anything - he was in Copenhagen last week, packed winter clothes and came back with sunburn!)

  9. Oh it all looks so familiar from Evil Under the Sun (which I have watched a million times) Your room was amazing and your gorgeous dress! Thank you for sharing.

    Oh and I also still miss Past Times dreadfully.

  10. Oh my god, this place looks absolutely dreamy!!! I am adding it my list!


  11. WOW you two look like a pair of actors from the good old glamorous Hollywood days, what a couple!


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