This year our summer holiday took us to Cornwall. Have been before in our motor-home but with that now for sale (contact me if interested, no really!) we opted for a holiday cottage. Well two holiday cottages as we split our two weeks just as I am going to split this blog about the holiday. Cottage one was in the extreme southwest, almost at the end of the UK map. The second cottage was nearer the border with Devon. More on week two later. For now here is what we got up to on our first eight and a bit days.
Day 1 – Travelled from home to just north of Bristol. Stayed in a Travelodge in what seemed to be a industrial estate/retail park called Cribbs Causeway. The reason we stayed at a Travelodge is because they allow dogs. As it happens the dogs cost more than us! The accommodation was basic and a touch shabby but for one night you can’t really complain.
On first arriving at the hotel we took the dogs for a walk. In doing so we passed several rooms, which with curtains fully open, gave us a clear view of what was going on inside. Nothing too controversial other than the sight of one guest with one of these in their room. Not sure if he was cooking a chicken but I thought it was worth a mention!
Day 2 – Up early and enjoyed a full “English” at the pub/restaurant adjoining the hotel. For non Brits reading this a full English breakfast is a plate of fried things such as eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms etc i.e. very calorific but sets you up for the day as a one off treat! A lot of the British motel type places are built next to a chain pub such as a Brewers Fayre or a Harvester. This was the latter and the food was most enjoyable. After breakfast we set off south on route to our first cottage.
After a couple of hours we reached Penzance. Our cottage was another couple of miles south but we fancied a walk around town as it was such a nice day. At this point it’s worth adding that our holiday was taken while UK schools were still in. The Scottish schools traditionally stop for summer at the end of June while in England it’s around the third week of July. This meant Cornwall was likely to be a lot quieter than if we’d gone a month later. This is why we tend to take UK based holidays in June! A walk through the bustling streets of Penzance was followed by a trip to the nearest supermarket to get in provisions for the first few days.
With the clock ticking past three in the afternoon we made our way to cottage number one. Loweneck Barn was to be found down a series of narrow country lanes. Be warned, once off the beaten track in Cornwall most roads turn into single track with surrounding high hedges. Not for the faint hearted but once you get used to them it’s not a problem, as long as you are good at reversing! We were met by the barn’s owners who lived in the beautiful looking house next door. It was a very quiet spot with only the occasional passing tractor to disturb the peace.
A dog walk down by the stream across the road and after that we just enjoyed a relaxing first night in our home for the week.
Day 3 – Due to the travelling of the previous two days we decided to leave the car alone for the day. Instead we went on a walk around the local countryside. Nothing too testing. A few miles to breathe in the fresh air and get the legs moving. When back at the barn thoughts turned to where we would go on our first trip out.
Only other thing to add is the absolute thrashing I handed out to Deena at Scrabble. To be fair I did get all the good letters and in actual fact she did well to keep it as close as she did!
Day 4 – First place we decided to visit was the Telegraph museum at Porthcurno. Fascinating collection of artifacts from when Porthcurno was known as Cable Valley. Excellent presentation from a member of staff is included in the entrance price. Good for children too as there were plenty of buttons to press and bits and pieces to play with. As it was a wet and fairly miserable day the dogs were happy to snooze in the back of our van while we wandered round the museum.
After Porthcurno we went on a drive around the coast through the likes of St. Just, Pendeen and eventually St. Ives. Having bought something to eat we eventually parked in the neighbouring town of Hayle and chewed on our sandwiches. It was now dog time. They needed to run on a beach and have a swim. Unfortunately as we were to find out a lot of beaches in Cornwall have restrictions on dogs. Some they can go on, others not at all all and others only at certain times of the day or year. Today we seemed to find only ones where they weren’t welcome. Eventually we found a small stream leading into the sea which had a bit of sand. Almost like a mini beach and the dogs were happy enough.
If planning to visit Cornwall with pooches then this website shows you which beaches you should head for.
Day 5 – During our trip through Pendeen the previous day we noticed Geevor Tin Mine. The mine closed after an abortive attempt to recommence operations in 1990. Open since 1911 it produced over 50,000 tons of tin in its lifetime. What is now left is in essence a time capsule of the day it closed. At points it feels like the workers might walk back in at any minute. Fascinating place to visit.
Towards the end of the site walk-through you are given a guided tour down an old mine-shaft. This shaft was not part of Geevor and is one which was only discovered when Geevor actually closed. Be warned it is an extremely narrow and low ceilinged series of tunnels so if you are either claustrophobic or larger than the average person you may want to think before entering!
After around three hours our trip to Geevor was complete. We then had lunch on a picnic table in the grounds before a coastline walk to some more mine workings nearby. You can easily fill a whole day in and around Geevor and if you are visiting this part of Cornwall it truly is a “must see” attraction.
Day 6 – Today was the first of two days upon which we went to Falmouth. Somewhere which looked very interesting and well worth a visit was the National Maritime Museum. However, as it would involve leaving the dogs in the van we had to hope for a cool, wet day. As it happens it was probably the sunniest and warmest day of the entire holiday! We consoled ourselves with fish and chips from Rick Stein’s Falmouth cafe which was located near the Maritime museum within Discovery Quay.
Falmouth showed up well in the sunny weather and is somewhere well worth spending a day to fully explore. A brief stroll through the town and it was soon time to return to the car. We hadn’t finished with Falmouth yet as we drove up to a car park sitting just below Pendennis castle. From here you were rewarded with unbroken views over the English channel.
Day 7 – Rain was forecast so we decided to head back to Falmouth. When we got there it wasn’t raining but it was overcast and considerably cooler than the day before. Therefore it was all systems go for the National Maritime Museum. Was well worth the return to Falmouth as the maritime museum was a superb collection of items. A good couple of hours was spent touring its various sections. As we made to leave the heavens had truly opened. A quick dash around the shops within the Quay saw us purchase some much needed scones for the now obligatory daily cream tea.
On the way home we took a trip to Lizard but by this time the rain was bouncing off the road so we turned tail back to the cottage.
Day 8 – Our last full day at our south west base. Decided to not travel too far so first we headed for the village of Mousehole. Located just south of Penzance this village is an extremely popular destination for tourists. If coming by car best to park outside Mousehole and walk down as the streets are very narrow and likely to be filled with people. As we had just recently found out Mousehole was the home village of the Penlee lifeboat crew which was lost with all hands in 1989. We spent an hour or so walking round the entire village. One or two sea front houses caught our eye but not ones we’d be likely to afford! The harbour beach is not dog friendly so just outside of the village we were pleased to find a little cove which did allow the mutts a chance to paddle.
After Mousehole we made for Cape Cornwall which is to be found south of St. Just. This location felt like the end of the road in every sense. A climb up to the Heinz Monument provided stunning views out over the sea. A walk down the other side brought you to the volunteer run National Coastwatch lookout point. From here the seas are scanned for any signs of trouble. From Cape Cornwall we drove back through St. Just and Pendeen before heading home to the barn.
Day 9 – After breakfast and a tidy-up we left Loweneck Barn heading for our second cottage in the north of the county.
The second part of this holiday blog will detail what happened from here until we headed for home.