Bodmin to Totnes

Clutching his 1930s Bradshaw's Guide, Michael Portillo reaches Bodmin en route to Totnes as he explores the West Country from St Ives to Salisbury Plain.

Out on the rugged moor, Michael hears how the celebrated author Daphne du Maurier captivated readers between the wars with her tales of smuggling at the Jamaica Inn.

In Devon, Michael takes the plunge at Plymouth's beautiful art deco Tinside Lido. At Ivybridge, he boards a vehicle like no other to cross the causeway to Burgh Island, where a 1930s playboy built a splendid art deco party palace.

One stop further on the line, Michael arrives in Totnes, at the medieval Dartington Hall, which at the time of his guidebook became a haven for artists seeking refuge from the dictatorships of Europe. Michael discovers the wealthy couple who owned the estate drew many musicians and controversial choreographers to it. The spirit of modern dance is hard to resist.

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