The Weekly Getaway: Ride the Highway to the Sun, to Cornwall!
The very thought of a holiday in the UK would make many people utterly depressed. Nevertheless, I have to admit that when living in London there are many options for short trips away that can make you feel that you have travelled to the other side of the world.
A couple of years ago we travelled for our Easter break down to Cornwall. Knowing nothing about it, we faced scenery from another country. Hilly driveways, long sandy beaches, blue waters, inspired cuisine and healthily happy people made us to want to visit Cornwall on our every single occasion for a long weekend in the UK.
We left London via A303 (also known as the ‘Highway to the Sun’ because of its uninterrupted views of the English countryside) very early in the morning. Full flasks of coffee kept us going until our first pit stop at Stonehenge, the only reminiscent of the pre-historic Angleterra. A few shutter clicks later we were all on board fighting about the value of the ancient monuments in the world, being proud of everyone’s ancestors, and without even noticing, we reached Exeter just on time for a very late lunch at the banks of Exe. Soaking as much sun as we could, we rested a bit as we still had a bit to get to our final stop for the day.
We would not have complained a bit if we had known what to expect at dusk. The site of the picturesque fish town marina in the sunset colours was breathtakingly romantic and the move of the little boats on the dancing waters romantically dizzy. This is Padstow, the main town of North Cornwall being a particularly popular food destination because of Rick Stein, the chef behind ‘The Seafood’ restaurant, which lived up our expectations and ended our day in the most gastro-magical way.
You cannot have anything but Cornish pasty for breakfast, which you can find everywhere in the area with all imaginable fillings. Leaving Padstow behind we drove along the coastline to reach our next destination that it was all about surfing. Newquay is the main city in Cornwall where the airport is and where all the lads of the mainland organise their stag dos. Unless you belong to an occasion like this, I would recommend heading a bit more south and ride even better waves at the Fistral beach. It is the best place to learn how to surf - or just turf if you are not that keen on sports. The Fistral beach bar, not so similar to the ones we know, reminds us that, the music, the drinks and the mood is all what matters at the end. Unzipped up to waist wetsuits, surf boards and salty hair is all we care about right now. Exhausted as we were, we did head back to our home for the night. Surf boards as wall art, white deck, cocktails by the pool, and daybeds overlooking the golden strap of sandy beach welcomed us to this heaven on earth. Instrumental melodies took the sun by hand to its set point and we just fell asleep under the stars, like this. Wave beaten.
Our first experience riding the waves was enough for now and we decided to give our trip a more exploring essence. Woken up by a luscious brunch on the beach, we got on the wheels to ‘surf ‘the roads along the coastline to reach St Ives. Even more impressive than the thousands of photos you may have seen of the fishing boats lying on the land tided, St Ives is now also known for its recent cultural addition; the Tate gallery. With nice views and interesting permanent collections raised thoughts on how more places can get funding like this and driving to even watery places we reached the most soutwestern point of the English land, Land’s End. Stepping on slipping stones, we got as far as we could get away from the English land as if to touch the ocean. This is the point where England is most exposed to nature’s draughts; it is not Ireland or Scotland or mainland Europe to break the waves; pretty exciting, no?
Driving through routes lined by daffodils, we stopped for some more deep breathes at the Porthcurno Beach. Tall white cliffs, beaten and sculpted by the wild ocean during the winters, treated us with a view to green-blue waters when the sun shines and the wind gets warmer. Standing still like natural lighthouse keepers , receiving the very first winds of the country as they get on from the south, we decided to call it a night and escaped in our home for tonight in the fairytaly Mousehole.
This charmingly tiny fishing village in southern Cornwall create a safe natural harbour and you immediately feel welcome. All the locals meet by the water in the morning for fresh coffee and breakfast and we found ourselves wanting to file for divorce from our City lives and move here for good. Walking out of the village by the coast we reached Penzance just in an hour. Having heard a lot about this main town of Cornwall we were a bit disappointed as it ruined our village mood. We hid for lunch at the Cornish Barn and then we headed down to the St Michael’s Mount where we walked to the fortress impressed by the beauty of this piece of land lying on the ocean.
And there, overlooking across the water to the French land and having our last bit of the Cornish ice cream we made promises to come back soon…
- Rick Stein’s cosy hotels in Padstow
- The Watergate Bay hotel, Watergate Bay
- The Artist Residence Cornwall, Penzance
- Any self-catered beach hut
- Get a Cornish pasty for breakfast
- Try the Cornish cream, delicious!
- Get as much seafood as you can!
- Surf, ride the waves and then lie on the sandy beach. This feeling…