North Devon D-Day commemorations are taking place this June and the region is going to be hosting some fantastic events to mark the occasion. The centre piece, and a unique North Devon holiday experience, will be a two day event on the wonderful Saunton Sands which will see the beach transformed into a snapshot from a different era on the weekend of June 15th/16th.
For many years, North Devon’s unique contribution to the D-Day landings was something of a hidden history. Between 1943 and 1944 it was the temporary home for over 10,000 American GIs who were mostly billeted in and around the villages of Woolacombe and Braunton.
However, the annual Saunton D-Daycommemoration event has helped to put the region’s WW2 past on the map. In the past couple of years has attracted big crowds – with its mix of living history, period vehicle and airplane displays and educational activities – attracting visitors from around the country and beyond.
This year will have added attraction as the event marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and organisers are promising ‘one of the biggest battle displays’ the South West has ever seen! This is the only large scale living history event of its kind in the UK – taking place as it does at an actual WW2 site.
North Devon’s D-Day History
How did they end up in North Devon? The D-Day invasion required an expeditionary force and final assault on mainland Europe that had no historical precedent. Launching attacks in occupied France from the UK’s south coast was a massive gamble that required intricate planning and coordination.
By the time the USA had committed to the exercise, the ‘best’ training spots were already taken up by the British and Canadian armies. They were offered a stretch of coastline that was deemed totally unsuitable for training – the beaches of Woolacombe, Croyde and Saunton and the sand dune system of Braunton Burrows.
It was here that commanding officer, Brigadier General Paul Thompson established the Assault Training Center and worked on a blueprint for the impending invasion – training troops for the task of assaulting heavily defended beaches, which required mastering new weapons such as the bazooka rocket.
As fate would have it, North Devon’s coastline turned out to be more than suitable for the task, with the steep dunes of Woolacombe in particular serving as a remarkably similar substitute for the terrain the GIs would encounter in northern France that fateful day in June 1944.
The vital role the coastline played was reflected in a wonderful quote from Brigadier General Thompson, who once noted; “If Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, surely the sands of the North Devon beaches contributed importantly to the success of the assault over the Normandy beaches”.
North Devon D-Day Commemoration: What to Expect?
The Saunton D-Day weekend is not the only event taking place to mark the 75th anniversary. In the month leading up to it, visitors can enjoy a D-Day inspired North Devon holiday experience thanks to a wider programme of events. The Devon D-Day initiative involves museumsacross the district, from micro exhibitions to special walks and talks with WW2 historians.
The Carlton Hotel, in Ilfracombe provides the perfect base to immerse yourself in the wartime experience, its high class en suite bedroomsproviding first class comfort after a day spent trudging on the front line of the D-Day North Devon holiday experience. Quite a change from the days when it accommodated billeted US troops from the Pay Corps during the Second World War!
And one doesn’t have to stray too far either to get a taste. On the doorstep, Ilfracombe and Mortehoe Museums host D-Day RememberedandWartime Woolacombe and Mortehoeexhibits. The Carlton is also just a 20 minute drive from the main Saunton beach event.
Ilfracombe celebrates its own contributions to history with two events that have become permanent fixtures on the North Devon What’s On calendar. Throughout the month of June, the town will take its annual walk back in time to celebrate the Grand Victorian and Steampunk Festival which enjoys a reputation for being a great spectacle.
Later on in the summer, The Carlton is supporting the Sea Ilfracombe Maritime Festival (the weekend of August 31st/September 1st) with our own special sea food dishes contributing to a celebration of all things sea based.
If you have an interest in history, especially 20th century and the WW2 experience, North Devon this summer provides a unique destination to visit. Contact the Carlton to book a stay and do it in style! Give us a call on 01271 862446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For that special birthday surprise. For that symbolic anniversary. For that reunion, you’ve been waiting years for. For that extra special wedding day. For that first baby shower. For that family gathering & Sunday roast. For that show stopping foodie treat. The Carlton is the perfect place to make your event sparkle and celebrate those special moments with loved ones that last forever for
Now fully refurbished and open all year round, The Carlton remains a great value venue for any occasion. With private dining for that special birthday surprise, or symbolic anniversary, or reunion that you’ve been waiting years for. The hotels fresh and well designed facilities are equally perfect for weddings, formal dinners, as well as smaller gatherings. Event spaces at the hotel have a capacity of up to 90 guests formal sit down, and flexibility to allow for dancing and entertainment.
Call us today on 01271 862446
or email email@example.com book your table or special event.
If you’re at home on the range or looking to pick up a clay for the first time, there is great fun to be had by rounding up a posse and heading down to the West Country for a clay pigeon shooting break.
The Carlton Hotel in Ilfracombe, North Devon has been hosting clay pigeon shooting parties for many years and stands out proud from the pack thanks to its association with two of the best sited shooting grounds in North Devon.
Offering the completepackage – for novice and pro shooters – the Carlton plays host to clay busting individuals, couples, a handful of mates or full blown clay pigeon shooting breakparties. High quality 4* standardrooms (the hotel has recently undergone extensive refurbishment) promise a great night’s sleep after a day spent in range of the traps.
The Carlton Hotel’s facilities include a dedicated gun room with individual gun safes, drying room to cater for shooting break parties, an excellent bar and restaurant (dinner deals available) and all the facilities you would expect from a top class hotel, from high speed broadband to private gym.
As a destination, Ilfracombe provides all the ingredients for a great weekend or mid week break away, with sea view restaurants serving up fresh catches of the day and local pubs serving regional ales and ciders.
Pulling Power on the Doorstep
The Carlton Hotel has two fantastic shooting grounds in North Devon as partners for our clay pigeon shooting breaks, both of which are just minutes away. The North Devon Shooting Ground
and South West Shooting Schoolboth offer a wide range of packages – from ‘Have a go’ specials to activities and programmes for corporate and larger clay pigeon shooting parties.
With the sport increasingly attracting new participants, both shooting grounds cater for all ages and abilities (with family friendly options too) and can provide shotgun hire on site. Some shooting parties visiting the Carlton like to make a real wild West Country weekend of it and also book in stops along the way at shoots in Tauntonand Holsworthy.
From the Traps: A Brief History of Clay Pigeon Shooting
The clay (pigeon), as we know it, began life in America in 1880 and soon found its way onto British shores, it’s flight ‘somewhat resembling the flight of a partridge’ according to The Field (or Country Gentleman’s Newspaper) at the time.
Trap shooting, as an event, promoted by the rather uninspiring sounding Inanimate Bird Shooting Associationsoon grew in popularity and by the turn of the century there the 1900 summer Olympics witnessed clays flying around the skies of Paris!
As the Twentieth century progressed this popular alternative to live game shooting became a sport of its own, adapting to the demands of its participants as the clays coming out the traps took on a new life of their own with tweaks to trajectory, speed clay size and distance.
Fast forward to the present day and clay pigeon shooting parties are no longer just the preserve of older country gentlemen as evidenced by increased participation by women as well as the younger generations.
It’s all About the Bird Talk
For such an inanimate and inoffensive object (essentially a fragile clay frisbee), there’s a ferocity to much of the terminology used around clay pigeons. Released from ‘traps’ with a shout of “Pull!” from those in the ‘stands’, the ‘birds’ (clays) are first seen at the ‘pick up point’ before being dispatched in the ‘kill zone’.
While such jargon is every day speak for pros,it can be confusing for novices trying out for the first time. Unless gifted with a natural marksman’s eye – or incredible beginner’s luck -one thing most novices will experience is the obligatory shake of the head at the sight of a ‘bird away’ (missed clay), not to mention letting loose the occasional curse word (fortunately no one will hear you as it is mandatory to wear ear and eye protection while shooting!)
Challenging, addictive and jolly good fun to be had in the country, clay pigeon shooting is one of those sports, a little like golf, where somewhere between the extremes most shooters experience good days and bad days and the occasional day when ‘sometimes the magic just happens’!
If you’re looking to get away for a clay pigeon shooting break that combines high class hotel accommodation with access to excellent shooting grounds in North Devon , contact Ilfracombe’s Carlton Hotel by emailor telephone (01271 862446).
Grow your team, grow your business is one of those clichés that is periodically rolled out in business event planning sessions or by business magazines and consultants, but what does that actually mean?
Google the term and you will find pages devoted to the topic, filled with jargonese chatter about onboarding, feedback loops or gardening metaphors that wax lyrical about the team progressing from seed to flower!
The phrase is of course a catch all intended to give the boss team building ideas, along with tips on how to increase productivity and profit…while really aiming to nudge the reader to click the link in the vague hope of finding out something they don’t already know.
Business Event Planning in North Devon
In Ilfracombe, North Devon, the Carlton Hotel brings its own slant to business event planning and the burning question of how to grow your team. It involves dispensing with the jargonese and getting ‘back to basics’. Not in a John Majortype throwback to the past, but by simply stripping away all the white noise that goes with the daily grind of life in the office and seeing things from a different angle.
In this respect, the Carlton provides much more than a conventional venue with meeting room hire – although meeting and seminar rooms (fully equipped and ready to cater for groups of 5 – 150 people) it also happens to have! Thanks to its fantastic location on the North Devon coast it offers far more in terms of team building ideas than most destinations.
The Carlton’sEngage business packageoffers unique opportunities for companies to get away from the office for a 2 day midweek break in Spring or Autumn where the art of business can be combined with pleasure in ways that are intended to grow the team as human beings. As most of the afore mentioned articles agree on one thing; people are the cornerstone of any business.
Bathing With Your Boss?
Growing one’s business is so often a case of working effectively with who you have rather than complaining about what you don’t (just ask Jose Mourinho!). This is something that some bosses fail to grasp when considering team building ideas – hoping that just by putting on an away day the team will magically fall in line and come together regardless of the activity.
There are plenty of bad away days you could drag your team through, such as ‘naked relationships’ otherwise known as bathing with your boss, which is apparently a popular bonding activity in Japan! So here are some far more appealing options from the Carlton’s Engage business package which makes the most of the beautiful North Devon coast.
Let’s start with the sea, which lends itself to kayaking, coasteering and surfing – cue a bracing, bonding and fun filled experience splashing about off Atlantic facing beaches such as nearby Woolacombe (which regularly crops up in the list of the world’s best beaches).
For confirmed landlubbers the action can easily switch inland – on the golfing green, off piste on a quad bike or even in mid air (as the clay pigeon flies!). If this sounds like far too much expended energy then gentler pursuits – from chocolate workshops to barista making by way of beachcombing on secluded beaches – can be arranged.
Bespoke Activities and Business Quality Accommodation
The Carlton has a reputation for working with members of the firm responsible for business event planning to come up with activities that will fit the company and the people that make it. Add to a programme of bespoke activities superb business class quality rooms, excellent in-house diningand meeting room hire thrown in for free (to ensure some business motivated moments in the break) and this is a winning combination for growing your team’s appetite for growing your business.
With Engage business packages starting at £100 per person, per night, get in touch by emailor telephone (01271 862446) to find out what the Carlton Hotel can bring to tour team this year (and, just for the record, a longboardingsession is far more memorable than an onboarding session!…).
The problem with modern life is that it just doesn’t stop! There is a lot of research out there regarding office worker health, urging us to switch off and de-stress, but we just don’t seem to get the time to get round to it…
This is something of an irony seeing as the first bit of advice given when our technology stops functioning as it should, is to turn it off and give it a reboot!
Stress is part and parcel of business. It is the adrenalin fuelled engine which drives aspiration, ambition and achievement. But it is a double edged sword. Stress can lead to burn out and also be detrimental to the office environment and the business as a whole.
Many businesses use team building exercises and business away days to take their employees out of this environment. Business away days are an opportunity for the team to de-stress and connect on a different level . Bonding over something other than the shared use of the water cooler is beneficial to office worker health, but frequently business away days are over too quickly to fully enjoy the benefits.
Team Building Exercises to Beat Stress
That’s why the Carlton Hotel in Ilfracombe, North Devon, has seen a swift uptake of its two day Refresh & Energise business breakpackages this Spring. The midweek business breaks combine opportunities for team building exercises with a programme of relaxation activities for the team – from massage and Tai Chi sessions to outdoor coastal pursuits and a specially prepared Wellness menu that’s big on taste but healthy too.
Carlton Hotel owner, Eliot Seabourn-Wren, says, “There is a lot of uncertainty in the UK at the moment and many companies are waiting for the green light on some kind of direction, but this is also taking its toll on the office. Our Refresh and Energise breaks are proving popular because bosses are seeing the benefits to office worker health as well as promoting focus for what’s coming next.”
The Office is Bad For Your Health
It seems obvious, but research has been drawing attention to the negative impact of sitting for up to 8 hours a day. So the solution is to get a stand up desk right? Not necessarily! Standing for any length of time brings its own problems (from conditions such as plantar fasciitis – foot swelling to lumbar spine pressures).
A positive contribution to office worker health (aside from making efforts to bring more mobility into your day) comes through the power of massage. Massage techniques – from head to full bodyto feet massage – will flush out the muscles, put knotted muscles back in place and remove accumulated tension.
The ancient art of Tai Chi has also enjoyed a revival with its clear benefits for the modern office worker. Carlton Hotel ‘s Tai Chi partner, Paul Maxfield. “Tai Chi can be used in various ways such as for strength, flexibility, and mental wellbeing. It has obvious advantages for management and company employees. In day to day business, life can be stressful, and where decisions have to be made with a clear head, Tai Chi brings calm and focus.”
While massage and Tai Chi are more specialised features on the Refresh & Energise business break programme at North Devon’s Carlton Hotel, team building exercises don’t get any less formal than just taking a stroll on the beach! Walking is good for our health and everybody is saying it (hands up if you’ve done your 10,000 steps today?!)- and nowhere is this more pertinent than in relation to office worker health.
Guaranteed to boost the mind and energise the body is a coastal walk, or pleasant time spent combing the beach and marvelling at the power of the elements and the mighty Atlantic ocean – just the kind sight to help get things into perspective. It may be the simplest and most informal of team building exercises on a Refresh & Energise business break package, but it’s an effective one!
And of course a good walk builds a good appetite too. The office is a magnet for poor eating habits; grabbing lunch on the go, snacking on quick fix sugary and salty snacks, being too tired to rustle up anything other than a ready meal in the kitchen at the end of a long day…
The specially prepared Wellness menu at the Carlton appreciates the importance of fuelling correctly for maximum performance. Eating well is just another element of the hotel’s Refresh & Energise two day business break (from £102 per person, per night) – the perfect opportunity to hit stop, reset and prepare the team’s focus for the year to come.
For more information about the Carlton Hotel’s Refresh & Energise package, get in touch by emailor telephone (01271 862446).
Let’s celebrate in the new The Carlton Bar!
After a few weeks of disruption we are new ready to unveil The Carlton Bar area to you.
Moving the bar from one side of the brasserie to the other has allowed us to open up the dining area and create a more contemporary and relaxing environment for you.
The refurbishment gave us the opportunity to update all the lighting and interior decor which is now in keeping with the rest of the hotel following the upgrade of the rooms.
We are delighted wth the finished result at would love it if you could pop and join us for a drink or something to eat and see for yourself.
We are open for dinner and drinks during 7pm–9pm all week. Light lunches are available 12pm–2pm
Coffee, cakes and pastries are available anytime.
Don’t forget that if you pick up a Ilfracombe art trail, you get 20% discount off all food & drink* – and a whole lot more!