GUEST POST FROM KIRSTI BANYARD, we would like to thank Kirsti for this great post about all that Cornwall has to offer, written from a holidaymakers perspective.
Cornish cravings: sun-kissed faces, salty air, family fun and lifetime memories…
Every year for the last thirteen, we’ve visited Cornwall several times throughout the year; each season brings with it a different allurement, increasing my dream to one day own a home in Cornwall where I can feed my soul with the peace and tranquillity that I find there.
For now, we rent a cottage or barn and make a home for ourselves for a week or two. My children, for as long as they can remember, have had the Easter Bunny and Santa pay them yearly visits in many different gardens and houses; regularly in the county of Cornwall. What draws us back time and time again, and keeps my two energetic and lively boys entertained, happy and content in the same place?
Well, I think it’s because when in Cornwall, life is quite literally a beach: with nearly 300 miles of stunning coastline, there are many fantastic shores to discover, each with its own unique appeal. Three that I think should make anyone’s list are:
Situated in the South of Cornwall, Godrevy is the first beach that I really fell in love with. I was, and still am, captivated by the steep cliffs that are home to a variety of birdlife, and the seascapes which—with views out to the lighthouse—have inspired writers and artists alike, and continue to prove exhilarating today. Godrevy is also great for surfing and swimming, and the rocks are ideal for rock pooling, but there’s an amazing colony of seals that can often be seen at Godrevy; especially during breeding season. If you’re lucky enough, you might even spot the dolphins that seem to be using the bay as a passing playground.
North Cornwall’s Constantine is a real family favourite: the sand is powdery and golden; the sand dunes provide great opportunities for games of hide and seek or cops and robbers; and in the summer season, there’s an ice cream van (which you can also get a great cappuccino from!). Dogs are allowed on the beach year-round, so it’s ideal when you want every member of the family to enjoy the shore. Of course, as one of the best beaches in Cornwall for surfing, my children usually have a lesson or two with Waves Surf School—Windy, the owner, is a great guy, and his team make lessons fun and safe. Budding surfers will be standing up on their boards and learning tricks in no time! Windy also owns a great bistro in St Merryn, a fantastic place to hang out and enjoy good food in a relaxed atmosphere.
Just along from Constantine, you’ll find what I consider to be my very own piece of heaven on earth: Trevone. Beautifully sheltered, this bay is a perfect family beach: it never seems so busy that you are on top of others, and the children can have freedom yet you’ll always know they’re close by. Madrips, a beach café just a few minutes’ walk from the beach, is great: older children can wander up for ice creams or cups of tea for thirsty parents. This summer at Trevone was particularly hot, and the water was incredibly calm: good for body boarding and surfing, we even encouraged my eldest son and his friend to take a kayak out on the sea. They were out for a least a couple of hours enjoying exploring this beautiful bay, and as they soaked up the sunshine, they enjoyed the freedom that comes with being at sea. There is also a large, rocky beach which is fantastic for rock pooling: we have caught some crabs here (large and small!), and picked mussels which we have then had for supper. There is a large natural pool which provides hours of entertainment for the kids. We have special memories here and look forward to making many more.
Cornwall is a hub for creativity: the Cornish light, coastal landscapes and beautiful moorland inspires and attracts many artists. St Ives and St Just are renowned for their art galleries, and North Cornwall’s Camelford and Wadebridge galleries showcase a variety of artists’ works and hold solo exhibits once a month. Excluding London, Cornwall is thought to be home to the largest number of working artists in the country.
Not only has Cornwall seduced many artists, however, but also many great chefs. The likes of Rick Stein, Jamie Oliver and Paul Ainsworth have all found inspiration in the local produce and fabulous fresh sea food. If you fancy a real treat, head to Number 6 in Padstow: it was awarded a Michelin star in the 2013 Michelin guide, and is listed as one of The Sunday Times top 100 restaurants. Here you can enjoy a relaxed modern atmosphere, and sample fantastic food prepared with local produce and a passion for excellence. Number 6 also has a great wine list, so you’ll have no problem in finding something to complement your meal. Of course, you will find many excellent local restaurants all over Cornwall, and most use the abundant local produce to create great food.
When it comes to family fun, I would recommend cycling the Camel Trail for either its entire length or just part: it’s fairly flat, wide and safe, so little legs will manage a least a few miles. Flambards, meanwhile, can take you back in time with its Victorian Village, Air Museum, Britain in the Blitz and many other exhibitions. My husband used to visit Flambards as a child himself, and its quaint charming appeal has seen us visit several times with our own children. The Eden Project and its iconic pods are also well worth visiting: the stunning gardens and education exhibitions are in themselves a good reason to make a trip, but we enjoyed an evening aerial acrobatics show here, and it was amazing to say the least.
These are just a few of our own personal highlights, but take a trip to Cornwall, and I guarantee you’ll leave with your very own Cornish cravings…
Written by Kirsti Banyard, a travel writer.