For a recent birthday ( I won’t let on which one) we drove down from Bournemouth to Lifton in Devon, to stay in a converted barn in a lovely place called Devon Country Barns about 2 miles outside of Lifton.
When we arrived we met the owner of the barns, a charming man called Richard, who mysteriously asked if I was ready for my ‘surprise’.
I was none the wiser and thought that a weekend staying in these high-spec converted barns was my surprise.
“Follow me,” he said and we walked down the entrance lane towards his garage where he showed me what my actual surprise was. A stunningly renovated RED E-TYPE JAGUAR V12.
“This is yours for the day tomorrow.”
Not only does Richard rent out the beautifully converted barns but he also hires out his E-Type Jaguars ( he currently has three).
“Shall we take it for a spin?”
I could scarcely believe that I was about to get into the car that had been my dream since the age of about 8! We drove along the country lanes into Lifton and Richard turned the car around.
“Do you want to drive it back?”
Did I ever! The weather was beautiful sunshine and I was somewhat inappropriately dressed in shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops. Richard didn’t seem to mind and the top was down and we set off back to the barns a little nervously as Richard went through what to look out for when driving this amazing car.
After a meal out and a sound night’s sleep in our high-spec stunningly converted barn, we woke at 8 to the sound of rain pounding on the roof. Richard popped over and explained that the forecast was good and the rain should stop by 9.30.
It didn’t. Well, not entirely. He kindly suggested that we could postpone the rental for another day but by then I just wanted to get behind the wheel. We decided to chance it and he advised that we head for Exeter where the weather was clearer.
We fastened the roof securely and headed off, windscreen wipers swishing away, initially going through part of Dartmoor National Park and with nothing on the road, I was able to floor the accelerator and feel the power from the massive V12 engine.
We decided not to take his advice and instead headed north towards Bude where we would village hop along the coast.
My first taste of what it was really like to drive an iconic car like this was when we stopped to let people cross the road.
“Wow, look at that car!” said one of the youngsters with his parents. I really did feel pretty special behind the wheel.
From Bude, we stopped at Widemouth Bay for a coffee and really to get a chance to park up and admire the car. I was getting used to the handling now and considering the age it handled incredibly well. I’d been briefed by Richard to take care when parking or turning because the bonnet is about half as big again as a normal car.
From there we headed along the North Cornwall coast road to Boscastle and by then the weather had changed, the top was down and we enjoyed the full experience of speeding along the country lanes in a convertible.
Boscastle is a very quaint and typical Cornish village. It has been sympathetically restored after devasting floods destroyed many buildings in 2004. The tiny harbour sits nestled in a deep valley and seems almost unchanged in centuries. Signs on buildings identify the old bakery, schoolhouse and harbour master’s house as well as others and the old cobbled streets are lined with tiny, fishermen’s cottages.
I was asked as I parked the car if it was mine…..I didn’t have the heart to say no!
From there we drove to Tintagel the believed home of King Arthur and the majestic ruins of Tintagel castle still sit high on a clifftop overlooking the sea.
From Tintagel, sadly, time had caught up with us and our adventure was coming to an end. But rather than follow the coastal roads back to Lifton I opted for an A road back towards Launceston to see what the E Type was capable of.
It was comfortable at 60-70 mph and whenever we were overtaken, the acceleration available in that massive engine made other cars on the road look like they were standing still.
We arrived back safe and sound after a day I will never ever forget. A day when my boyhood dream of driving an E Type Jaguar finally came true.
If you have someone with a special occasion coming up and want to spend a day in true style, I can wholeheartedly recommend a stay at Devon Country Barns touring the beautiful towns and villages of Devon and Cornwall and if you want to experience that little something extra…treat yourself to a day in one of the most iconic cars ever produced, the majestic E-Type Jaguar.