A weekend in... Cornwall
Resident travel blogger, Anna Parker kicks off her series of 'A weekend in....' blogs with Cornwall.
Mr P and I are big fans of the long weekend. In just three days we find we are as relaxed and refreshed like we’ve been on a longer holiday. So a new series… Better still, we can fit in multiple short trips each year.
A weekend in… Cornwall
October is often the best time for a weekend away in the UK. Typically warmer and sunnier than forecast and certainly quiet. The water is at its warmest which makes for pleasant beach walks too. My favourite place to visit in the UK is Cornwall and as the warmest place in mainland Britain autumn is a good time to visit! If it does happen to rain then if you are on the south coast you can be guaranteed the north coast will have different weather and vice versa. But this is the time of year that we get the end of the Caribbean hurricanes so the air moves pretty quickly and it doesn’t stay inclement for long!
Don’t try and fit too much into one weekend – while Cornwall looks small on the map, winding roads and tractors will slow any travel plans. Pick one area and enjoy a slow pace of life. I’ve set out below two of our favourite options, but really all you need is National Trust membership and their map as you can be guaranteed that they are some of the most beautiful spots in the county (all their car parks seem to be in prime locations)!
The clue is in the name but this area is picturesque and dotted with gorgeous gardens. Head down on the Friday and stay at The Lugger in Portloe. It is a picture postcard 17th century inn located in a pretty little fishing village. Local food, a roaring fire in the lounge for a chilly evening or a sun terrace if it is summery. A lovely surprise at bedtime is the story and hot water bottles left in the room. There’s also a real lack of 3G and wifi – a perfect rural idyll by the sea. En route I would stop at Charlestown. It will take you back in time with tall ships parked in the dry dock.
On Saturday head to The Lost Gardens of Heligan. A magical place to spend a morning. Mystical and full of flowers, animals and views as well as a suspension bridge and mud art. Take an afternoon stroll around St Mawes after lunch at one of the new waterfront hotels. Afterwards, enjoy a walk with a view off the Carrick Roads and Fal Estuary, maybe parking at St Just in Roseland. Or hop on the ferry to Falmouth – excellent shopping, great coffee at Espressini and sip a beer with a book at Beerwolf Books.
On Sunday pull on your walking boots and head west along the coast from Portloe. The coastal path is excellent for a gorgeous day walk to Portscatho and back. There’s a cute place on the beach called The Hidden Hut that may still be open in the Autumn.
A visit to The Eden Project on the way home is worth the expensive entry price. The bio-domes are incredible – on a cold wet day a trip to the rainforest or Mediterranean is a top idea!
We have returned here time and again as the scenery is epic. I would recommend a cottage in this area - it is rather remote and so you are better off filling the fridge with food and drink and enjoying the peace and quiet. There’s an out of town Marks and Spencer just on the outskirts of St Ives that we often stop at but that isn’t keeping things local! If you want local Cornish fayre then Etherington’s farm shop just off the A30 near Redruth is a favourite (and has great pasties), or perhaps arrive via the Great Cornish Food Store in Truro. There are a couple of lovely cottages at Boho Cornwall that can be booked for short breaks. Once you arrive on the Friday, drop your bags and head straight to the sea. The Kenidjack tin mines are just down the lane and you also have a stunning view of Cape Cornwall and the sleeping giant island. If time (and daylight) are on your side I would recommend walking over to Cape Cornwall – it is spectacular.
On Saturday I would suggest an early start to head north along the coast. Your target is Portheras Cove which I promise you will be empty given it’s a scramble to get to it! The walk is littered with tin mines and engine houses from the different eras of Cornish mining. Some may be familiar from Poldark too – Poldark mine is actually called Botallack. Further along are Levant and Geevor mines – far more modern, in fact the newest of them you can take a trip down the mine if you wish! Before you arrive at the beach you’ll come across Pendeen Lighthouse – of course the views from here are extensive! It’s too far to walk round to St Ives from here in the same day – but I’d recommend driving round for a mooch and a visit to the Tate Gallery. Another option could be supper at the Gurnard’s Head pub. The coast near here is just a short walk from the car park – craggy and exposed, incredible in a storm!
Keeping with the walking theme, head to Porthgwarra on Sunday. This is a truly sleepy fishing village and it has the cutest little cove that must have been rife with smuggling once upon a time. There’s even a cave! Park in Porthgwarra and stop first for coffee at the little shop in the hamlet. There’s an ever friendly dog that will climb on your lap for a cuddle. Once you are fed and watered make for Porthcurno. The coastline is beautiful and particular highlights are the scramble down to the empty Porthchapel beach which is perfect for a picnic. Another highlight is the Minack Theatre set high on the cliffs. If you time your visit well you might catch a show, but if not then you can just enjoy the setting and imagine how romantic watching Romeo and Juliet would be at twilight!
On the way home I would recommend lunch at the Old Coastguard in Mousehole followed by a stop off in Marazion. If you have timed it right it will be low tide and the causeway over to St Michael’s Mount will be navigable on foot. A particularly nice view of Mounts Bay is found at the Mount Haven hotel – always a good place for a drink in the sunshine. Both Mousehole and Marazion have some stunning gift and craft shops if you need some nautical things to take home! Or if you just want to sit on the beach – Sennen is a stunning white sand strip always worth a visit!
Fancy a bit of added glamour en route?
To really add glamour to the weekend, why not stay at The Pig in Gittisham en route? It’s only a matter of minutes away from the A303. We visited before it became a Pig hotel and the setting and house was already stunning. It’s on our list to visit it now it has had The Pig treatment!
If you want some other ideas for Cornwall, get in touch and I’ll pass on more of my Grandpa’s good local advice!