The South Downs. The Canary Islands. To the end of the world.
Words & Photography Kirk Truman
50.7338° N, 0.2415° E
This car is the most fun you can have without taking your clothes off, and thats saying a lot. The G63 looks as if it has been pulled straight from the 1970’s when Mercedes originally launched the G series. Its tough and rugged, sharp on the edges and loud as hell. Taking this into consideration, you may wonder why the G63 were to be my perfect companion while visiting the South Downs of Sussex.
The G-class was developed as a military vehicle from a suggestion via the Shah of Iran to Mercedes, later offered as a civilian version in 1979. The first military in the world to use it was the Argentine Army beginning in 1981 with the military model 461. The G-Wagen (Geländewagen) was face-lifted in 1989 for the 10th anniversary of the G Model. 30 years on, persevered in the G63 iteration is much of the rugged and tough soul which helped forge the reputation of the original G Class. This companion to the end of the earth bares the interior and technology to rival the Bentley Continental GT, and a frightening off-road multi-terrain durability to rival any of the Range Rover iterations. Above all, what defines the G63 is its unmatched charisma. Picture Sean Connery in 1964. He’s ruthless, ready to explode at any second, and underneath all of this he’s a gentleman, charming and the best dressed man in the room with an accent and words that could kill. Thats the G63 entirely; a little misunderstood, and totally enviable.
SALTMARSH FARMHOUSE, EAST SUSSEX
50.7756° N, 0.1533° E
71 MILES FROM LONDON
Saltmarsh Farmhouse is a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of the Seven Sisters Country Park. Founded by Nina Mastriforte, the hotel is a beautiful 16th century farmhouse with guest rooms and a café set in the marshland of the South Downs. The produce on offer is sourced locally by the proprietor from the neighbouring villages and towns. All the rooms are carefully curated, as is the guests lounge; as a result, Saltmarsh Farmhouse feels more like a home away from home than a hotel. Happy guests seem to concur. The hotel is also something of a rarity in the area, as there are few places to stay overnight in close proximity to the Seven Sisters. As dusk falls, the area becomes a stargazers’ paradise, with zero light pollution for miles around, making an evening stroll to the English Channel a must.
LEICESTERSHIRE, EAST MIDLANDS
50.8303° N, 1.7011° W
104 MILES FROM LONDON
The quiet country lanes and hills of Leicestershire are where I grew up, so it’s an area I know better than most. Leicestershire is a landlocked county in the English Midlands, more than 100 miles in any direction to reach the ocean; as a young boy, I dreamed of the sea. But coming back, it’s a fascinating landscape; much of it is littered with former slate mines which became disused when cheaper slate became available via the railway lines to Wales. Since then, they have flooded to become dark, forbidding waterholes.
The county borders Nottinghamshire to the north, Lincolnshire to the north-east, Rutland to the east, Northamptonshire to the south east, Warwickshire to the south-west, Staffordshire to the west, and 102 Derbyshire to the north-west.
Bentley Continental GT
As you leave London behind, if your pockets are deep enough, Bentley’s £151K (OTR) new vision for the Continental GT offers an ideal way to travel. As you make your way onto the quieter roads beyond the M25, the Continental GT comes into its own, and it’s soon apparent why this is perhaps the most elegant British grand tourer on the roads today.
Originally launched back in 2003, as its name boldly implies, the Continental GT is a Bentley that’s built to carry passengers across continents in as relaxed a manner as possible. It’s a thing of beauty on the outside, and fun to drive, quick, comfortable and extensively luxurious on the inside.
The interior is laden with more leather and wood than you’ll find in Soho House. There’s a feeling of tradition about the interior that perhaps only a Bentley is able to deliver. Chrome buttons and knobs feel appropriate for the cockpit of a Spitfire, not to mention the revolving dashboard and old-school dials that are completely hidden behind a large wooden panel at the touch of a button. It’s a fitting homage to Bentley’s 100-year history.
This is not a Ferrari or an Aston Martin. There’s something startling and practical about the Continental GT that makes you feel as if you could drive it every day. In one light, it’s monstrously powerful, and in another, elegant and startlingly economic if you switch to Bentley Mode. A must for escaping the capital and enjoying the open road beyond.
FUERTEVENTURA, CANARY ISLANDS
28.3587° N, 14.0537° W
1751 MILES FROM LONDON
One of the Canary islands off the coast of West Africa administered by Spain, Lanzarote is known for its year-round warm weather, beaches and volcanic landscape. Timanfaya National Park’s rocky landscape was created by volcanic eruptions in the 1730s. Cueva de los Verdes has caverns formed by an underground river of lava. East-coast resort Puerto del Carmen is home to whitewashed villas, beaches and dive centers.
28.3587° N, 14.0537° W
AUTUMN IN THE HEAT
La Oliva is a town on the island of Fuerteventura, in Spain’s Canary Islands. It’s known for the Colonels’ House, an 18th-century building with crenellated towers. Nearby, the protected Malpaís de La Arena Natural Monument features diverse flora, a 10,000-year-old volcanic crater and lava formations. It’s close to the island’s extensive beaches and dunes, like those in the Corralejo Nature Reserve.