As seen on TotallyTourists.com June 2015
Cornwall has always been on the bucket list but with our Northern Irish Summer lasting about 3 days of the year I’ve always favoured more southerly destinations for guaranteed sunshine. Thankfully, for my short break, the weather gods looked upon us favourably and gave us 4 days of blue skies and sunshine.
Our base for our 3 nights was the Lugger Hotel on the south coast. Situated on the harbour in the fishing village of Portloe the hotel offers stunning views of the cliff sheltered inlet. Very much a working harbour, it’s a delight to watch fishermen sailing out on their boats for the catch of the day from the restaurant or terrace.
The hotel could easily rely on the surrounding area of outstanding natural beauty and the chocolate box cottages to content its residents but the staff go that extra mile with deliveries of afternoon treats, evening hot chocolate and even a bedtime story.
The food in the AA Rosette restaurant offers a fine dining experience of local quality produce such as brown crab ravioli and scallops served with blood orange. The Flat White and Espresso martinis are a nice alternative to an after dinner coffee, enjoyed on the terrace wrapped in a blanket gazing at the stars – the perfect end to an evening. And of course when in Cornwall it’s a must to order a cream tea complete with Cornish clotted cream.
The Lugger hotel is situated right on the South West Coastal Path, you can take a right towards Carne Beach or left towards Portholland. We set out on the 4.2 mile walk to Caerhays Castle and Estate on round the heritage coast from Portholland . The walk with stunning views of the coastline, will take you through a field or two, past tree swings and across sandy coves. Comfy trainers or walking boots are a must as the path is rugged and has steep inclines in parts, the downhill bits are a nice reprieve but there are a few harrowing cliff edges for those afraid of heights!
The Caerhays Castle and Estate, built for the Willams family by the famous architect John Nash, at the beginning of the 1800s is still a family home today. Our tour guide Michael offered us an insight into the prominent mine owners and the fascinating artefacts on display, including the prestigious collection of minerals. The gardens filled with magnolias, camellias and exotic trees are at their best in spring but still offer a pleasant walk in summer. The estate’s own beach provides the perfect picnic spot but no need to bring your own, we sampled the Beach Café‘s pulled beef brisket washed down with a local cider, very tasty and just the refuelling we needed for the walk back. And sure you can disregard the calories as, according to the iPhone health app, they’ll be burnt off after 22,000 steps and 167 “floors” climbed!
The following day we took Michael’s recommendation to visit St Agnes on the north coast of Cornwall. To get there we passed through the town of Truro, here we sampled Cornish pasties from Warrens Bakery, the oldest Cornish Pasty producer in the world no less. Then it was off to the misty shores of Trevaunance Cove, one of four beaches in St Agnes, for rock pool investigations.
While in Cornwall we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the Eden Project, albeit for a whirlwind tour en route to the airport. Admission prices initially seemed a little hefty but if you are a UK Taxpayer and choose to gift aid the fee you are eligible for the annual pass. Even if you don’t return within the year it’s immediately evident that your donation is more than worth it. The best place to truly grasp the scale of what was once an old quarry is in the biomes. The rainforest biome is hot, humid and full of exotic plants and fruits. Take the canopy walk and you may even catch a glimpse of a Roul Roul Partridge or Sulawesi White Eye. The Mediterranean biome is awash with colour and strong scented plants against white washed walls. You can even dine inside capturing the feeling of dining alfresco as the sun beats through the huge dome panels. The Core, replicating the sunflower, demonstrates how the earth and people work and interact together. A huge sculpture made from one single piece granite and beautifully crafted into a seed lies at the heart. Our fleeting visit was a great end to a wonderful few days in the south of England.
There is so much to see and do in Cornwall, from the breath-taking coastline and scenic villages to water sports, horse riding and rambling it’s impossible to fit it all into a few days. And best not to try. This small corner of England is so picture postcard perfect it’s worth taking a moment to really appreciate it. Cornwall is a stunningly beautiful part of the world and one I look forward to revisiting.
To get there: we flew with Flybe from George Best Airport to Exeter.