Over the August bank holiday weekend Sam and I took a trip down to Cornwall, which is one of our favourite places in the UK. We’ve been many times before but absolutely love it down there and always take any excuse to go back.
We stayed just outside of Padstow, in a small campsite in St Merryn. It was the perfect location; great transport links for Padstow and Port Issac, and on the way home we were able to stop in at Tintagel and Boscastle too.
Padstow is a beautiful Cornish village. It is situated on north coast and has a wonderful little harbour. The shops are quite commercial; the typical surf and fudge shops I’ve come to expect from Cornwall, but I think its the restaurants and cafes that entice the visitors in. Pubs, gastro-pubs, up-market restaurants and nook-and-cranny cafes, all serving fresh delicious sea food. You can buy freshly-dressed crab and mussels from stands around the harbour – as well as the traditional Cornish pasty if you fancy something more meaty! Padstow is quaint, but you really don’t need more than a couple of hours there. I would definitely recommend going in the morning if you can, as by lunch time and the afternoon the crowds are immense.
Harlyn Bay is where we did our coasteering. My parents had bought us a voucher for Christmas and we were so pleased as it meant tying in a new venture with a trip to the coast. I’ve wanted to do coasteering for a couple of years now (perhaps in an attempt to still feel young and fit despite my advance towards the big 3-0!) Sam is not a confident swimmer so I was a bit unsure whether or not he would enjoy it or would be too apprehensive – but he LOVED it. Coasteering is a meander across the rocks and seaweed along the coast, jumping into the sea and rock pools at designated spots. I would definitely recommend it for those of you who want to do it but have reservations. We filmed a little video to show you just how good it is – so you don’t have to take our word for it!
This was the hottest day of the summer – about 28 degrees. I thought we’d be bundling up in jumpers and blankets for the short drive back to the campsite but how wrong I was. I kicked back with some snacks back at the car and sunbathed!
Port Isaac in my view, is a cuter, lesser-known alternative to Padstow.There is one car park at the top of town and from there you can do a short walk along the coast, round and down to the village. It has a wonderful little bay with fishing boats (very active fishing boats judging by the amount of fish we saw in the market). We stopped for a Cornish cream tea
in a quirky little cafe where everything from the jam to the scones themselves were homemade. A perfect respite before we continued on up the hill and enjoyed a welcome break overlooking the bay and soaking up the sunshine. Don’t forget to call in at the little fish market on your way through.
Some people may be familiar with Port Isaac as it is where Martin Clunes’ Doc Martin is filmed, but I’m pleased that, for the most part, it has not become too tourist-y.
Tintagel. Famous for the ruined castle and Arthurian legends of Merlin and the round-table. This village has really take on the myths surrounding the village as many (little) shops contained everything from dream-catchers to figurines.
Just to the left of a Cornish-pasty shop is the very steep walk down to the bay. But don’t worry – you don’t have to walk back up! There is a Landrover service for a small surcharge, or you could cheat like us and walk via a quaint church on the headland. We didn’t pay to go into the ruin or down to Merlin’s cave as it was sooo hot and there is not much shade, but we did enjoy it from afar and had a lovely walk back around on the coast.
Make sure to stop for a Cornish pasty in town – they’re well worth it! You only need a couple of hours here – perhaps a few if you are going to go across to the ruin.
But then you can take a short drive to Bossiney Bay. Park up in a car park just off the road out of Tintagel and take a short 5 minute hike half way down the cliff. You should come to a cross road (ahem, cross path), and if you continue for a few yards there should be a parting in the hedgerow, giving you a clear view of the bay below. The rock formation here is quite famous as it looks like an elephant with its trunk dipping in to the water. Its also quite a safe bay to paddle in when the tide is out.
Boscastle was our final stop on our little tour of north Cornwall.
Just a couple of miles up the road from Tintagel is this little village. There aren’t any shops per se, but several pubs and cafes and a thoroughly enjoyable walk alongside the river, leading out into the estuary. You can walk along the river wall right out until you view the sea; but walk on the right not the more publicised left-hand side as the views are more impressive.
The tide was out when we arrived and we were able to see the chains staking the boats to the seabed, seaweed snaking along it and over the rocks. Well worth a visit and again, only a couple of hours are needed.
If you are planning a visit to Cornwall – enjoy! And if you want any recommendations of where to go or stay just comment below.