If you’re after a stay-cation in the U.K. and you want soft, sandy beaches, good food, rich history, an abundance of activities, and warm weather (it’s one of the sunniest places in England) then look no further than Cornwall.
Actually, you can’t look any further than the very bottom of England.
The county of Cornwall forms the tip of the south-west peninsula. It’s surrounded by ocean on three sides, meaning you’re never too far from the beautiful Cornish coast, and it is beautiful. Golden beaches stretch out to clear blue waters, fading into the deep blue sea. You’d think you were somewhere far more tropical if it wasn’t for the wild, granite cliffs, so distinctively Cornish, that loom behind them. Then it’s rolling, lush, green farmland as far as the eye can see. Some of the beaches are so splendidly isolated, amid secret coves and bays that cut deep into the ragged cliffs, only the locals know about them. It’s easy to see why, centuries ago, Cornwall was a smugglers haven.
The best part about Cornwall is the amount of activities available to you: wind and kite-surfing, paddle-boarding, hiking, zip-wiring and surfing are usually a stones throw away. For those rainy days there are museums, National Trust houses to visit and cute Cornish towns to wander but honestly, poor weather doesn’t seem to stop the local folk getting out and about. You’ll still see them hiking the coastal paths and braving the icy sea waters, rain, hail or shine.
We were staying a mile or two away from the town of Port Isaac, on the North side of Cornwall, in a big, beautifully restored farmhouse. For any ‘Doc Martin’ fans, Port Isaac is where it’s filmed. This was a combined family and close friends trip for our last week in the U.K. so there were nine of us all up.
We didn’t explore too far from our area, as we spent most days surfing or body boarding at Polzeath beach, a few miles away. Although, we did head over to Padstow one day, on the passenger ferry, where we gorged on Cornish pasties and Mum, Hils and Marvelous ogled the listings in the windows of estate agents.
And we squeezed in a paddle-boarding session before the tide left Rock Harbour…
Polzeath is a quintessential surfer town, with beach wear shops, cool cafes, surf schools and rentals dominating the local business scene. We weren’t out the back like Tim riding the big waves but at least we looked the part… or at least Lauren and Gorgeous G did with their shaggy blonde barnets.
We tried to catch a fish supper with Marvelous but sadly, no bites. Fishing is a relaxing sport though so we didn’t mind spending a morning down at Port Gaverne, braving the rough seas.
It was lovely being able to spend some quality time with family and friends. The week went too fast and before you knew it the last supper and sunset were upon us and we were saying our goodbyes.
And we were off back to London.
We went to see the ‘Graham Norton Show’ being filmed at the ITV studios. As part of the audience, you’re there for about 2 hours as they interview the guests, so you’re privy to “cut” conversations, edited out of the broadcast version. We were lucky to get such a good guest list – although the line up is usually good on that show – with Mark Wahlberg, Woody Harrelson, Andy Serkis, Tom Holland, Sienna Miller and music from Alison Moyet. If you get a chance to watch the episode we’re sitting in the centre, to Mark’s left, when he introduces the show!
The last two days were hot. The heatwave returned. I have to say, we’ve been so fortunate with the weather. I’d love to tell Tim that this is what England is always like but that would be a massive lie. We had a chilled day in Brockwell Park, catching up on life admin, listening to podcasts and generally doing sweet F.A. That was great.
We met Lauren for a drink at ‘Pop Brixton’ where we lapped up a freebie bottle of Cava. I’ll say no more…apart from the best things in life are free, right?
Mum met us in Tooting, just along from Brixton. Lauren and I were born in London and our first house was in Tooting, so we wanted to take a trip down memory lane (no pun intended)…except Mum couldn’t actually remember which one was our house! The dementia is setting in. We took a photo outside what she thinks was ours.
We then went to get a proper English dinner, a curry. You can’t go to Tooting and not get a curry. It’s the less touristy version of Brick Lane.
The final day in the U.K. we headed up to central London and met our lovely friend from NZ, Bernie and her sister. We met at Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Guards but what we didn’t realise was that we had arrived on the day of the Queen’s annual birthday parade, the ‘Trooping of the Colour’. All of the Queen’s troops parade down the Mall, comprising of soldiers on horseback, on foot and musicians from 10 marching bands while she and the rest of the Royal family, watch from the balcony of the palace. There were thousands there to watch, some dressed to the nines to show their respects, some waving union jacks, and some (like us) who weren’t too sure what was happening and relied on the eavesdropping to figure it out.
What a very British event to stumble upon, to end the U.K part of our tour.
Check out some more photos from Cornwall and London.