Back in March hubby and I decided that their would be no foreign beach holiday for us this summer after the expense of last November’s honeymoon to the Maldives and that we would explore somewhere a bit closer to home ( If you count a 5 hours drive as close!) Lee has never been to Cornwall and I haven’t been there since I was about knee height, so we were both looking forward to doing a bit of the tourist thing, a bit of coastal walking and eating some fabulous food at some of Cornwall’s best restaurants. This post is a little bit about where we went and what we did, and some of the fabulous pics we took along the way. Hopefully it will inspire some of you to take that trip down to the South West Coast – we loved it!
For our first few days in Cornwall we set up base camp in a lovely little B&B in St Ives called Little Leaf Guest house – read more about that here! From here we planned to explore the lizard peninsula, and the coast in and around St Ives. On our first full day our first stop was the National Seal Sanctuary in Gweek. I love seals and most marine life and remember coming here as a child so I wanted to check it out again as an adult. For an animal lover it did not disappoint and I was as excited as the groups of school children who were also there! We watched feeding time for both the seals and the sea lions, and heard a little about how they had come to be at the sanctuary. We also had a good look at the penguins, otters, creatures of the rock pool and even managed to get a glimpse of a few week old newborn seal. A great way to spend a couple of hours, and educational as well as fun.
We then headed on down to the lizard peninsula, winding our way along the coastal roads until we reached Lizard Point. Here there is some dramatic coastal scenery and we sat down to a very traditional lunch of Cornish Pasty and Crab Sandwiches in the Lizard Cafe overlooking the coast to really drink this is in for as long as possible.
After this we made our way back up the coast stopping off at the absolutely breathtaking Kynance Cove where we had our first dip in the sea (freezing!) but refreshing after a clamber down the steep path from the cliff top. One last stop on the way back to St Ives and another gorgeous beach – Praa Sands. I really didn’t realise just how beautiful all the beaches and coves in Cornwall were – it helped that they were bathed in radiant sunshine, but even so!
That night we had some good old-fashioned Fish and Chips, eaten over looking the harbour, watched very closely by the inevitable intimidating seagull!! We also were lucky enough to catch the launch of the St Ives lifeboat, off out on an emergency call. I was amazed at the slickness of the team, and it was really amazing to watch all the volunteers work so quickly and efficiently to launch the boat.
The dawn of day 2, and another stunning day. We definitely chose the right week for the holiday (as everyone we came into contact with told us!) Having had a quick look at the tide times we beetled over to Marazion, where we parked up and walked over the causeway to St Michaels Mount, a tidal island that used to be a port for the tin trade to the rest of Europe. This place really was stunning in the early morning sun and walking over the granite causeway just as the tide was going out, still having to paddle through a few bits was great fun. I wish we had more time to explore the whole island, but our itinerary was packed! We then drove up to the Minack Theatre and the gorgeous surrounding beaches – probably the prettiest bit of coastline we saw in my opinion. The Minack is a famous open-air theatre with beautiful gardens and an amazing view, and to be honest, I was blown away. I wasn’t expecting quite such a dramatic landscape. After this, following a tip from our B&B host, we decided not to drive to Lands End (our original plan), and the tourist trap it has become, but to park a little way up the coast at Sennen Cove, and walk the couple of miles of coastal path to Lands End and back, avoiding the crowds. It was valuable advice, and the walk was beautiful. I would highly recommend this, and even for the ‘non’ walkers among us, apart from a steep scramble for 100 yards at the start, it’s a pretty easy walk. To end the day we drove back via Penzance and visited the lovely Outdoor Lido, overlooking the harbour. It was possibly colder than the sea itself, but was a revitalising dip after a long hot day. To bring our few days in St Ives and the surround to an end we ate at the fabulous Rum and Crab Shack – have a look at our review here.
On day 3, before we headed up the coast towards out next destination, Padstow, we did a bit of browsing and shopping in St Ives itself, picking up a lovely couple of bits of artwork, and strolled along the harbour one last time eating the obligatory Ice Cream. We stopped off for lunch at Jamie Olivers Fifteen at Watergate Bay, and although the view was fabulous, the food wasnt quite as good as we had hoped, have a look. Before we made it to Padstow and spent the evening getting to know our new surroundings, we also called in at another couple of coves, and explored some stunning rock pools – I longed for a net and a bucket to go fishing! Our next few days were just as packed as the first, and firstly we headed inland to take in the now world-renowned Eden Project. I did enjoy looking around, and the flowers and landscape were lovely, but I was left feeling a little bit underwhelmed on the whole, though I’m not really sure why. A highlight for me, being a doctor, was their ‘Crops for health.’ It was really interesting to read about all the plants that have been used in medicines, and to actually see them growing. After an early afternoon finish at the Eden Project we drove back to Padstow and spent the afternoon buying a few trinkets and gifts, including a few goodies from the Rick Stein shop, before dinner in his restaurant that night.
The next day we travelled north and took in the exceptional coastline that includes the towns and villages of Boscastle, Tintagel, Port Isaac (where Doc Martin was filmed according to my mum!) and Rock. Again, some just delightful views and scenery. While in Port Isaac, we fitted in a scrummy cream tea ( I was beginning to think I wasn’t going to get one..) before twisting our way back through the maze of roads back to Padstow eagerly looking forward to what was to be a fantastic dinner at Paul Ainsworth’s Michelin Starred Restaurant.
Our final day dawned, and no more sightseeing, we packed a picnic and aimed for a whole day on the Beach at Harlyn Bay. This is a lovely, safe, family friendly beach, and we had a fab day sunning ourselves, swimming and eating sand infused sandwiches! The culmination of our trip was a meal in the 2 Michelin Star Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, which didn’t disappoint and was an amazing end to a week in Cornwall which was better than I ever imagine it could be.