Journal leaves London to wander and explore the beauty of England and the Canary Islands during the Spring months.
Words & Photography Kirk Truman
RANGE ROVER VELAR
THE COMPANION INTO THE TREES
I’m driving through our metropolis on route to the suburbs and the trees. My companion of choice was built in the midlands and designed in Coventry. The Velar looks a little like what you would’ve imagined kids in the 1980s would’ve thought a Range Rover would’ve looked in the 21st century. With its concealed door handles, its as sleek as you’d desire an SUV to be and I feel shows a new design direction for Land Rover; above and beyond, refined and capable.
Producing the first mass-produced civilian vehicles with doors, Land Rover is a reputable British icon and Royal Warrant holder which has become the motor of choice for both the British military and for families around the UK. Today, the Defender, Range Rover, Discovery and Range Rover Sport are icons of British manufacturing, motoring and design. Benchmarks for luxury off-road vehicles, Land Rover is famed worldwide.
My companion leaves me a little shaken and a little stirred for Journal’s Spring wander. The Velar’s interior is elegant and simple. From optional Configurable Ambient Interior Lighting to the split sliding armrests, everything has been designed, crafted and carefully thought out to maximise relaxation. As I leave the city behind and emerge into the trees, I sight the dirt track and the pines engaging the Mud Ruts programme. Nerved, I make the turn off road passing through the South Downs of Sussex. The Velar is durable and dynamic on and off road. Torque-on-demand All Wheel Drive (AWD) delivers outstanding on road performance and full off-road capability. The wheels pull me through the soil, the water and the scraps of flint rock which emerge from the dirt as a I approach the trees.
RANGE ROVER VOGUE SE 52.0298° N, 2.3875° W
KILLING TIME IN EASTNOR
Leaving our capital behind, after just over 3 hours behind the wheel I reach Eastnor Castle in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the same distance from the tripoint of the county with Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. Greeting me? The Range Rover Vogue SE at Land Rover's test centre; 66 miles of carefully managed trails, steep slippery inclines, articulation tracks, ruts, open ground and deep water. I am told that a special agreement has been reached between the family whom built Eastnor Castle and Land Rover, granting the Royal Warrant holder special permissions to refine and rest the off-road capability of every new Land Rover on this varied terrain for decades. Where better than to kill time with the Land Rover Experience.
Whatever the conditions, the new Range Rover’s exceptional performance and capability are undiminished while customers benefit from reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, along with entry to areas with restrictions on combustion engine-only vehicles. Peerless ride quality, regardless of the terrain or conditions, is a core part of the Range Rover experience. Its needless to say; the Range Rover even more pretty-faced covered in mud off-road. A class-leading suspension system combines poise and stability with exceptional ride isolation for flat, confident cornering and delivers a natural and intuitive feel behind the wheel. Comprising a lightweight front and rear design, the suspension layout perfectly complements the advanced aluminium construction. Its fully independent layout features a wide-spaced double wishbone set-up at the front and an advanced multi-link layout at the rear. Translation? This is a purpose built master of off-roading which for the average Londoner, will never see the dirt to its fullest capacity.
THE PAINSWICK, COTSWOLDS 51.7848° N, 2.1931° W
103 MILES FROM LONDON
Through the mullion windows of this Grade-II listed mansion you take in breathtaking panoramas of the lovely Painswick Valley. The Painswick is situated on a quiet lane behind the main street of one of the prettiest towns in the Cotswolds. Painswick’s famous church is a hop and skip away and the exquisite Painswick Rococo Garden is within easy reach. Decked in a medley of greys, blues and greens and with striking prints and graphic artworks on the walls, The Painswick exudes chic comfort. It has been a hotel since the 1950s and until recently was called Cotswold 88, a whimsical name matched by eccentrically avant garde décor.
In 2015 it was acquired by the Calcot Manor group, whose other hotels, such as Barnsley House, encapsulate gorgeous, easy-going luxury. After a major makeover it reopened in spring 2016, soothed, smoothed and devised as a more affordable option compared to the group’s high-end properties. The 16 bedrooms are individually styled and have retro-chic flourishes – an Art Deco table here, a 1920s-style lamp there. Seven in the garden wing are smaller than those in the main house.
BURLEY MANOR, NEW FOREST 50.8303° N, 1.7011° W
98 MILES FROM LONDON
Driving through the New Forest feels a bit like going on safari while making your way to Burley Manor. Built in 1852 by a Verderer (a custodian of the New Forest) this grand home became a hotel in the 1930s, and apart from briefly being requisitioned by the military during the Second World War, it has welcomed guests ever since.
A £1.8m refurbishment was completed in recent years, and Burley Manor relaunched as a restaurant with rooms. Competition is fierce in this area, though, with dining favourite The Pig and its sister property, Lime Wood nearby. The decor combines bold modern fabrics with traditional artwork, while some of the larger rooms in the main house have features such as roll-top baths in the bedrooms, or exposed floorboards. Out in the gardens, a small pool is open from June to September, with two spa treatment rooms inside.
Leaving Burley Manor behind, Burley village is lined with quaint shops, many of which play on the area’s witchcraft connections. But the real appeal of the area is the walking; there’s a great circular route that takes you from opposite the cricket club on the edge of the village, out across windswept moorland, and along a disused railway line guarded by gangs of ponies.
LANZAROTE, CANARY ISLANDS 29.0469° N, 13.5900° W
1809 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.
BARCELO, TEGUISE BEACH 28.9957° N, 13.4895° W
SPRING IN THE CANARY ISLANDS
After a major refurbishment in 2015, this boutique hotel in Costa Teguise Lanzarote stands out for having hot tubs in most of the 305 rooms, either inside the room or on the terrace. Inspired by the local architecture, this addition to Barcelo’s portfolio offers guests an avant-garde room by the sea, with all the light and tranquillity which Lanzarote has to offer.
The adults only hotel has also refurbished its bars and restaurants, giving it a new modern, state-of-the-art feel. In addition, many new activities and services for adults have been included, such as a magnificent U-Spa, 2 infinity pools and a fitness studio. The adults only Barceló Teguise Beach provides its guests with a special and unique experience, just like the island itself. An island of beautiful volcanic lands known as the “Black Pearl of the Atlantic”, which formed César Manrique’s way of seeing the world. This multi-talented artist said; Lanzarote is the most beautiful place on Earth and I am going to show its beauty to the world.