AT long last, there’s been time to have a happy landing at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton in Somerset — and with time to stay as long as such a superb attraction deserves.
That’s all thanks to having a handy place to stay overnight nearby, allowing plenty of time for the sort of tour the museum deserves before the long drive home.
Our sanctuary at Hawk House was the result of a trawl online, casting around to find a place not too far from the M5, yet giving us chance to maybe explore a part of the country we haven’t visited much.
This family-run B&B is smack on the A303 at its junction with the B3151 at Camel Cross, West Camel, and plenty of other people seem to have latched on to it as well, with good reason. There are six spotless en-suite bedrooms, with all the mod cons we have come to expect, including now-essential WiFi, along with a flat-screen TV with Freeview and integrated DVD viewers; facilities to make a brew, and rather swish toiletries. If you’re travelling with a few friends, there’s a small communal lounge as well, complete with TV and a selection of books and games, so there’s no need to jam into one room if you want to have a natter.
You can also wander next door to the adjoining Wayne’s Bar and Bistro, where you can also enjoy a varied menu all day and into the evening, from soup and sandwiches to three-course meals, and also featuring American-style burgers, pizzas, steaks and quite a bit more, with a carvery to have a go at on Sundays. Only one small minus point on our visit for dinner — small coloured down-lighters near the windows gave some of our food an interesting hue, which wasn’t altogether wholesome!
Breakfast is also served in the bistro and is a real treat — it’s a good job there are tables reserved for B&B guests, as lots of locals and drivers also reckon it’s a great place to tuck in between 7am and 11am, before lunch service then gets under way.
A splendid full English takes pride of place for me, but as well as this all-time classic with bacon, sausage, egg, tomato, mushrooms, baked beans, hash brown and fried bread or toast, there are also interesting items like German bockwurst and senf (mustard to me and you) with a crusty roll and butter, or Strammer Max — fresh ham and eggs on rye bread.
Add a few more options, like smoked salmon with scrambled or poached eggs and all manner of items on toast or bread, plus fresh-made coffee or tea and you have as good a reason as any for booking a return trip, whether you’re going to the Fleet Air Arm Museum or just passing through Somerset.
It couldn’t be handier for the museum, either, with RNAS Yeovilton visible over the fields and the main gates only a few minutes’ drive away.
And the marvellous museum itself? Well, that deserves a special review of it’s own, which follows shortly!