Our team member Trina went to visit Cornwall in September and walk parts of the South West Coast Path.
We asked her about some of the best reasons to visit Cornwall for a walking or cycling holiday and she shared with us the 5 most impressive viewpoints, 5 dishes or snacks to try, 5 favourite pubs, the top 5 villages to visit, and 5 of the best beaches in Cornwall. To learn about them all and find out where to go in Cornwall, have a look at her recommendations!
5x Cornwall’s Interesting Food
1. cornish pasty
It is only fitting that a local bakery, the Chough Bakery in Padstow are the 2016 Cornish Pasty World Champions. This traditional bake was carried down the mines by the tin miners. Originally some had one side savoury with a fruit or jam end for desert. The crimpled side was held onto but then discarded uneaten as it would be tainted by toxins on the hands from the mining operation especially arsenic. Today you can eat it all!
2. treleavens ice cream
They have produced ice cream using traditional methods in Cornwall for the past 15 years: ingredients include milk from Trewithen Dairy near Lostwithiel and Tamar Fruits for berries. Flavours include After Eight, Gooseberry Fool and of course the classic Cornish Vanilla. Their ice cream is sold in shops and cafes throughout Cornwall.
3. Starey Gazey Pie (if you dare)
A pie with pilchards or sardines’ heads looking at you from the crust. It is most notably linked to the village of Mousehole, where pies are prepared on the 23rd December in memory of Tom Bawcock. The romantic story goes that one winter after storms had kept the local fishermen on dry land, the villagers were close to starving. A local widower, Tom Bawcock, decided enough was enough, and that he would take out his boat, along with his crew, and faithful cat Mowzer, to brave the rolling seas. He returns home with 7 different types of fish to feed his community; the landlady of the Ship Inn created a pie for the families, and the infamous dish was born.
4. Fish & Chips
Again a staple in Cornwall! One of the best places is ‘Roland’s Happy Plaice’ in Porthleven, named one of the ‘best places to eat Fish & Chips in Britain’. The ’Plaice’ has an eccentric range of Cuckoo clocks, which instead of Cuckoos coming out, have elephants and cows and other animals. If you're on the stunning Roseland Peninsular and you're looking for fish and chips track down the Atlantic Fryer van. He's in Portscatho every Tuesday and Friday. The fish and chips are simply mouthwatering, amazing cod loin fried in an amazing light batter cooked in beef dripping accompanied by great chips.
5. Cornish Cream Tea
It is different to the Devon one as the cream is on the top of the jam! In Cornwall, cream tea was traditionally served with a "Cornish split", a type of slightly sweet white bread roll, rather than a scone. But nowadays the scones and clotted cream used throughout tearooms in both counties are very similar and therefore the main difference is how you choose to have it. However, for Cornish Cream Teas it’s easier to spread and you can taste the cream better on top! You wouldn’t put cream on the bottom of a fruit salad, would you?
5x Impressive Viewpoints on Your Walks in Cornwall
1. Above Zennor Cove
A beautiful rugged cove described by D.H Lawrence as: "At Zennor one sees infinite Atlantic, all peacock-mingled colours, and the gorse is sunshine itself. Zennor is a most beautiful place: a tiny granite village nestling under high shaggy moor-hills and a big sweep of lovely sea beyond, such a lovely sea, lovelier even than the Mediterranean..... It is the best place I have been in, I think".
2. The View Above St Ives Harbour
Looking down across the crystal waters to beach and bay and the archetypical whitewashed terraced seaside town is a beautiful outlook.
3. Kynance Cove
A stunningly beautiful spot. Formed from the distinctive geology of the Lizard peninsula. Clear greeny-blue waters, white sand and a collection of stacks and islands projecting out of the bay make it easy to see why it was so popular with Victorian artists.
A sandy beach set in an amphitheatre of weathered granite, Porthcurno is also known for its turquoise waters. As if that wasn’t enough, overlooking the cove is the open air Minnack theatre built by Rowena Cade and friends in the 1930s, hewn into the cliff top.
5. Coverack Cove
The view over the beach and sea to the notorious Manacle rock, and over the village's little houses and quaint harbour, will be in your memory forever.
5x Cornwall’s Best Pubs
1. The Golden Lion
in Padstow is the most famous inn in the town and essential for the 'Obby 'Oss' ceremony. The inn dates back to the 14th century and is the oldest in Padstow. It is a friendly oldie-worldly pub, with an open fire and parquet flooring in the public bar.
2. The Old Albion Inn
in Crantock, is a 400-year-old English pub. An entrance to a smugglers hole which passes under the village and is now blocked in for safety’s sake, may be found under the blue stone fireplace in the lounge, originally the kitchen. Both main fireplaces have an original pasty oven, and until a few years ago the house drew its water from a deep well under the old bar.
3. Seaford Cafe
in St Ives, not exactly a pub but is a popular place as you can enjoy fresh seafood caught that day. On the harbour of St Ives you can also find the 'Sloop Inn', a 14th century pub - a bit of a squeeze but it has a great ambiance!
4. The Tinners Arms
in Zennor near St Ives. The pub was built in 1271 to accommodate the masons who constructed St Senara's Church, which is famous for its mermaid. With its open log fires, stone floors and low ceilings it has changed little over the years and now offers a traditional pub experience with real Cornish ales and carefully prepared food using the best of local ingredients.
5. Ben’s Cornish Kitchen..
restaurant in Marazion was the Good Food Guide 2016’s Restaurant of the Year in the South West region and was Voted Best Restaurant in the South West at the 2013 Food Magazine Readers Awards! Ben’s Cornish Kitchen restaurant is a chilled out place to eat. Dress up – or down – it doesn’t matter. The food will always be fabulous.
5x Towns to Visit in Cornwall
1. St Ives
This famous little town began life as a tiny fishing community in prehistoric times. Its name is believed to derive from St Ia, an Irish Christian missionary of the 5th or 6th century who is said to have sailed across the Irish sea on a 'leaf'. This is possibly a fanciful reference to the vessels of the time, which were often made of interleaved animal hides. During the Medieval period St. Ives prospered, mainly from pilchard fishing, an industry that has done much to shape the context of Old St. Ives and the enchanting area of 'Downlong', that clusters around the harbour. When the railway reached the town in 1877, it became a magnet for early tourists, and for distinguished artists. As fishing declined during the early 20th century, tourism along with the town's growing international reputation as an art 'colony', transformed the old fishing port into one of Europe's most distinctive holiday resorts, within which the enduring character of a much older St Ives still survives.
Dylan Thomas (1930) described Mousehole as 'the loveliest village in England'. Mousehole developed around its harbour (and of course the fishing fleet that sustained it), appearing in the record books as an important fishing port from as early as 1266. There are very few places that can be found in the United Kingdom that have retained their original character and charm in the way that Mousehole has. Pronounced "Mowzel", it has a stunning collection of yellow-lichened houses. A few hundred yards along the coast from the village lies a huge cave, which, some people say, gives rise to the name of the village (Mouse Hole!).
This is one of those places where you can still sense the 17th and 18th centuries: you can almost smell the wood smoke at this most attractive former smugglers’ haunt. There are some resplendent cottages nestling together around a creek, surrounded by woodlands and steep slopes.
Although the town is nothing out of the ordinary by Cornish standards, the real star is the view and visit to the iconic St Michael’s Mount, with its low tide causeway. Marazion also has two fabulous beaches and magical sea views and has some claim to be the oldest settlement in England.
Something completely different are the harbour and buildings of Charlestown developed in the Georgian era as a new town. It was built to facilitate the transport of copper from nearby mines but its main function became the export of china clay from the region's quarries. By the early 1990s the china clay trade declined and the harbour was hardly used. In 1994, it was bought by Square Sail as a base for their ships. Much of Square Sail's business now involves using the harbour and their ships as film sets. The place can look so interesting with the square riggers, and the twisting harbour wall is unique.
5x Cornwall’s Best Beaches
1. Whitsand Bay
A short walk over the cliffs from Land's End, Whitsand is a long, sandy beach that offers excellent swimming and surfing opportunities. At low tide the beach joins up with its neighbour to provide over a mile of golden sand, so that even on hot summer days it is usually possible to find plenty of space to spread out.
2. Porthmeor Beach
In St Ives, Porthmeor Beach is a long stretch of beautiful beach with white sands and turquoise seas. Even on a wet rainy day it still looks stunning. Porthmeor is also St Ives’ most dramatic beach facing the full force of the Atlantic Ocean and is flanked by rugged headlands.
3. Godrevy Beach
The northernmost and most dramatic section of the three-mile long sandy beach that stretches from Hayle to Godrevy Head should definitely be mentioned here. The beach terminates with a low rocky headland that offers great views of Godrevy lighthouse, which was the real-life inspiration for Virginia Woolfe's novel To the Lighthouse.
4. Praa Sands Beach
The mile-long sandy beach of Praa Sands is backed with sheltering sand dunes and its easily accessible position is enjoyed by families having fun in the shallows, while further out the surf brigade take on some surprisingly big waves. There are some pretty good stop off points to sit back and soak up the fun seaside vibe.
At low tide, the beach at Watergate Bay becomes a vast expanse of unbroken golden sand backed by high cliffs. Watergate can be considered the first of a succession of fabulous beaches leading to Newquay. The bonus is with its size and distance from the town (2 miles) you can still find a quiet piece of sand to yourself.
For more information on Cornwall you can download the trip notes on the page of the holiday you are interested in or if you like to speak to Trina and our team, you can contact us by phone or email.