We’re in love with Cornwall from the sandy beaches to the coves and harbours. To the salty tang of the sea that coats your lips to the seals that bob up near fishing boats to the smell of warm Cornish pasties and sand castles on the beach. Let’s face it there are probably one million reasons to love this wonderful tip of the UK but here’s my personal five to kick things off…
1) THE BEACHES
Newquay is a second home to me and so its beach, Fistral, deserves a special mention. It’s a wide expanse of golden sand and is best known as a hub for surfers. In fact, August is a busy month particularly with the Boardmasters Festival where you can watch surfing or catch up with live music. The next festival is being held 9-13 August 2017. Check out Boardmasters.co.uk for more information. Other fabulous local beaches worth a visit include Porthcurno, Kynance Cove, Watergate and Porth.
2) THE FOOD
If you love seafood then you’re in luck. You could head straight to Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow and eat fish to your heart’s content. But if you’re more a cheap-as-chips-on-the-beach person (like me) you could head to Rick Stein’s at Fistral where you can get takeaway fish and chips and sit on the beach watching the sun set. They also do curries, oh yes indeedy, I’ve had a Rick Stein’s vegetable curry and very nice it was too. And then there are pasties of every kind. Yes, you could go for plain beef on day one but the rest of the week you could try something new from Mediterranean vegetable to apple and custard to balti to cheese and onion and a big breakfast. (I’ve had a gluten free vegetable pasty from Perranporth, if you want gf.) Basically, you’re never far from a hot lunch because there’s a pasty shop on every corner. Another thing you’ll find on every corner is the cream tea. And before there’s any debate I’m firmly with the ‘jam on first followed by a big dollop of clotted cream’ brigade. Yes, the folks of Devon will disagree but since this is about Cornwall we’re going Cornish all the way. If you enjoy a fix of clotted cream where ever you can get it try it on ice cream too. Head to the best ice cream shop, Jelberts, in Newlyn which is owned by the family of Olympian, Helen Glover. Their ice cream with clotted cream is a winner in my opinion! Gold medal standard, in fact!
3) THE PLACES TO VISIT
Bored in Cornwall? Bored of life, I say! There are so many places to go. If you love to stroll around gardens get to The Lost Gardens of Heligan or Trebah. There you can wander through camellia and rhododendron pathways before sweeping down to the sea. Or visit the Eden Project and enjoy the biome housing the largest rainforest in captivity. For those that like pottering around visit Padstow, St Ives, Fowey, St Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Falmouth and Penzance or make the trip to the Minack Theatre at Porthcurno. It’s an open-air theatre constructed in the rocks. Future productions include The Merry Wives of Windsor (August 22-26) and Frankenstein (Sept 5-9). And since I’m talking about Cornwall I cannot leave out the brilliant Daphne Du Maurier. You can enjoy the Du Maurier Festival which is a platform for writers, performers and entertainers. Or you can have afternoon tea at The Fowey Hotel where Du Maurier had meetings with her mentor. Or take a trip to Jamaica Inn for a cheeky little drink. Maybe a cider? (And while I’m talking about apple based drinks you could visit Healey’s Cyder Farm and sample their ciders.)
4) THE RELAXATION
Cornwall can be as busy or as relaxed as you like. Even if it’s not hot and sunny (but Cornwall usually has a mild climate) it’s always perfect to walk along the beach. We love it on misty winter days as much as we love summer days. We talk, make plans, gather shells and draw on the sand (you’re never too old for that, right?). This summer, after finishing an edit on book three, I treated myself to a head massage at the Headland Spa, Headland Hotel, Newquay. Now, I could tell you all about it but I was so relaxed I was bordering on falling asleep. That, my friends, is total relaxation. I was in the comfiest chair breathing in wafts of calming aroma oils, sandalwood based, I think. Basically, it was the ultimate treat and after my head massage I had a hand massage (well, after typing out 65,000 words I thought they needed a bit of TLC). Next, I visited the relaxation lounge where I lay about on fluffy blankets while eating Turkish Delight. It was like the White Witch from Narnia was tempting me and I’m not going to lie, my hand was in the glass jar more times than Edmund’s. Another little joy about Cornwall is finding time to read. Curl up in a cosy corner or on the beach and get your books out. I’ve brought a few with me, including A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle and The Famous Five, Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton. Think mystery. Think magic. Think adventures. This book could totally be set in Cornwall.
5) THE MEMORIES
Cornwall is full of happy memories for us as a family. But it’s not just that, there are new memories to be made. There are new places to discover. There are new people to meet. No matter how many times we come here we never fail to stand on a beach and think how beautiful it is. And recently I did a school talk at Goonhavern Primary School and I got to meet wonderful, enthusiastic children and teachers. It’s a huge privilege being able to go into schools. At the end of my talk I was given a big bunch of sweet peas and I breathed in the heady scent and added this memory to my collection of memories of Cornwall. And maybe, just maybe, one day when the kids remember their school days they might have a memory of me too.
Perhaps you’ve visited Cornwall and have your own memories and if you haven’t come here and make some new ones. There will be a welcoming pasty waiting for you!