Thursday, 10 September 2015

6 Cornish Towns in 15 Hours

Travelling is quite a massive part of my life, I work hard but I try and make sure that I make time to enjoy life aswell. Being self-employed (or indeed employed to any degree) can mean that you have to use time off very wisely and make the most of every single free minute. You might have seen on Twitter that I've had a really busy summer (which is why Girl Up North has suffered a little bit over the last few months) so I've been itching to have a few days away now it's quietened down a bit.

I've been wanting to do Cornwall for a while now, I've heard lots of people rave about how beautiful it is and the weather is often far better than what we get up north so Jason and I decided to take the plunge and book into a hotel for a couple of days. A couple of days sounds a bit mental considering that it's a 6 hour drive on a good day but we were both so desperate to get away it didn't matter.

We set off at 12.30am on Tuesday morning, straight from the pub to get a good run down to St. Austell which was our base for the couple of days and we arrived 6 hours 5 minutes later at 6.35am. We knew we wouldn't be able to check into the Premier Inn so we grabbed some breakfast and had an hours snooze in the car before we set off on our travels at 9.30am. This is where it became a bit of a whirlwind.

First stop was Newquay and the beautiful Fistral Beach

It's true what they say, Cornish beaches really are stunningly beautiful. Fistral Beach is a surfers haven with up to 4ft waves perfect for riding (not so much on the day we visited, it was pretty calm). I couldn't believe how clear the water was, it was honestly like being somewhere in the Mediterranean. I can totally understand why this gets so busy on a hot summers day. Thankfully it was quiet when we visited probably because it was still fairly early in the day and most of the kids had gone back to school. I expected Newquay to be very commercialised but I was pleasantly surprised and would definitely want to spend more time here.

Next we moved onto one of the places on my travel bucket list; Land's End

If you ignore the massive commercialisation of Land's End, (and it is very commercialised, presumably because it's actually privately owned) the views out to see are quite breath taking and to think that directly across sea the next bit of land you'd hit would probably be America is quite fascinating. There is a way to escape the commercial aspect of Land's End; you could do a coastal walk but we just took the obligatory photo of the sign and pressed on.

We did consider going to the Minack Theatre but when we saw the massive walk up there we decided to give it a miss as the only real reason we would be there would be to take a photo and move on.

Next stop: a rather cloudy St Michael's Mount

When the tide is low you can actually walk over to the island but as you can see the tide was pretty high so we looked and took a photo from afar. We did grab a quick overpriced drink from the little shop there but moved swiftly on to our next destination which was St. Ives.

You could easily spend at least half a day in this lovely little picturesque town. With it's narrow streets it's not advisable to take cars down there so we parked at the leisure centre and took advantage of the £1 shuttle bus there and back; after seeing how steep it was we decided it was the best couple of quid we'd spend in a long time!

The harbour is beautiful and the streets are full of quirky little shops, restaurants and obviously pasty bakeries. I may have partaken in a Cornish pasty or two, be rude not to wouldn't it?! When the sea is right you can hire your own boat and take a little trip around the harbour or you could hire a deckchair and soak up the sun on the bit of beach.

St. Ives marked the last place we would visit on our first day and we finally checked into our hotel at around 5.30pm, had some tea and got some much needed sleep.

We woke up the next morning and decided to take it a little bit easier; Port Isaac was our first calling place, the home of Doc Martin.

Port Isaac was a beautifully quaint little place, again with very steep, narrow roads which you had to walk down. You can jump on a bus to take you around the Doc Martin sights or you can grab a freshly dressed crabs from one of the popular little seafood shops. We both found Port Issac really beautiful and you can take another short coast walk where there's some stunning views out to see.

Our final call of the day and indeed the break was Padstow. Slapped quite hard by the hand of Rick Stein it's another commercialised little town which is very popular with tourists desperate to get a taste of what they think is Rick Stein's handy work either from his Fish & Chip restaurant/takeaway, posh seafood restaurant or little patisserie. We gave all three a miss, settled for a quick coastal photo and a short walk around the Lobster Hatchery and headed back to our hotel for some food and a well earned rest.

After realising that we wouldn't get in anywhere for tea we decided that another nights stay in St. Austell wouldn't be very productive so we set off homeward bound at 8.45pm to try and ensure another clear run home; we were home in our own bed for 2.30am which was absolutely heavenly.

We both really, really enjoyed our few days away and we've found some places that we'll definitely visit again (Newquay, St. Ives and Port Isaac) and some that we probably will never see again but I can safely say that even though we crammed a lot in in a short space of time we loved every minute and it was just what we needed.

Where are your favourite places in Cornwall?

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