I love the sea. There is something incredibly majestic and exhilarating about being by the ocean. When I am sitting by the sea, breathing in the fresh air and listening to the sounds of the waves, there is nothing in the world that could faze me. When I was asked where I wanted to go for my 30th, I said that I didn’t care as long as I was by the beach; that is literally all I wanted.
Low and behold, I was gifted Cornwall.
For those who have not had the pleasure of visiting Cornwall yet; you must. It is a world of its own. Delicious Cornish pasties, ice cream and scones aside; it is hands down my favourite place in the U.K. There is no other British county quite like it. In fact, in 2014, Cornwall finally won their much fought battle for recognition as more than just an English county – it was officially recognised as a national minority. Therefore, Cornish is now as much of an individual national identity as the Welsh, Scottish and Irish.
When I visit Cornwall, I feel like I have flown to a beautiful seaside country in Europe; on a beautiful sunny day, you could easily be on holiday in Spain or Italy. Cornwall offers the beauty of being abroad, but in the comfort of the U.K. It is a county that boasts incredible natural beauty, seriously yummy food and some of the friendliest people I have encountered. Even though Cornwall has become such a popular tourist destination, it has still retained its wonderful level of magic and tranquillity throughout each little town that makes up the Cornwall we all know and love.
For my birthday, I stayed in a lovely place on the sea front in a little village called Mousehole. There are so many incredible places to visit in Cornwall: I could not do them justice in a single post. So, for those who are still yet to experience the wonders of the magical town of Penzance and surrounding villages; below are some popular attractions.
You cannot visit West Cornwall without visiting Land’s End.
At a mere £6 car entry fee, you can enjoy a full family day out at Land’s End.
They have a selection of attractions that can be purchased at a group price of £30 (for a family) or purchased individually for £4 per person. The attractions can change depending on the season, but currently the attractions include Arthur’s Quest (which has a mirror maze), Shaun the Sheep Interactive Experience, The Lost World 4D Cinema Experience and you can even visit the farm animals at Greeb Farm. These are all optional, so if you would like to visit Land’s End purely for the coast line… you will only need to pay £6 entry (cash only).
You’re never too old for a mirror maze!
Although great fun: as mentioned, these attractions are optional and not the primary reason to visit this beautiful place. Walk past the First and Last Inn (stop here for food etc.) and you will witness some remarkable views from the cliff tops of the westernmost point of Cornwall. You can have your picture taken next to the famous Land’s End signpost landmark, and on a clear day, you can even see the Isle of Sicily across the enchanting shores.
St Michael’s Mount
St Michael’s Mount is a small tidal island in Mount’s Bay. This island is connected to the mainland town of Marazion by a man-made pathway of large granite slabs. At low tide, you can walk across to the island, however, at high tide, the pathway is submerged and boats are provided to ferry passengers back and forth between Marazion and St Michael’s Mount (£2 per adult, £1 per child – cash only).
The queues during high season can become excessively long; so if you want to miss the summer rush, I would aim to arrive at Marazion first thing in the morning. We arrived at 12 noon and the queue was winding through the streets of the town. The queues do move fast, however, and with 7 boats; we were on the island within the hour. I would recommend wearing shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty or wet, should you want to walk across the pathway or beach during low tide.
St Michael’s Mount is an impressive island. The views from the top of the castle are breath-taking and on a beautifully clear day, you can see ocean for miles. It is absolutely stunning. You can walk through the medieval castle and uncover the history of the St Aubyn family. I thoroughly enjoyed viewing the library room, taking photos of the books that covered every inch of the wall and imagining the residents sitting in front of the fire reading in the 17th century.
The gardens are not always open for viewing, but if they are closed; you can view these from the castle.
The food is what I would consider to be upmarket. If you are visiting with the family, you may wish to bring some classic ham sandwiches and a picnic blanket to enjoy lunch on the grass verge outside the castle. I would always try to carry cash with you wherever you go in Cornwall; there are still many places that have maintained their traditional beauty and only accept cash.
If you wait until low tide, you can walk back to Marazion across the cobbled path, and maybe even enjoy an ice cream along the way. It is truly such a lovely day out.
Minack Theatre, Porthcurno
The Minack Theatre is another absolutely beautiful experience; it is an open air amphitheatre, carved into the cliff and overlooking Porthcurno Bay. The views are magnificent and on a clear sunny day, it is a unique must-have experience where you can watch a theatre production while the waves crash in the background.
The majority of shows are Shakespeare productions that generally change every couple of days. We went to see The Comedy of Errors. It was an incredible experience, and I would definitely recommend this to everyone, however, if I am honest, the Shakespearean language lost me at times. Beware if you are bringing children.
The view is sensational and I would definitely do this again; however, these are my top tips to make this experience as relaxing as possible:
- Bring a blanket and warm clothes: it gets cold by the cliffs at night.
- Rent a Minack Theatre seat with back support: you will be sitting on the cliff rocky steps without support otherwise and your back will start to ache fast.
- Be prepared for queues: you will be queuing with everyone to leave the carpark and then queuing down the winding country roads. We skipped out a bit earlier to avoid the crowds.
- Get tickets in the lower seating area: you will be closer to the stage and will get a far more personal experience.
- Arrive early: the doors open an hour before the show starts – it is worth arriving early so that you can park near the exit, as well as choose a good seat. Your seats are not numbered; it is first come first serve in your area.
- Eat before you go: they sell food on the grounds, but if you can eat before you go, it will be cheaper and a lot less hassle.
- Purchase a program: if you haven’t already read up on the show, get yourself a program – it is worth the investment so that you can understand the storyline and the characters.
- BYOB: if you want to drink, you can bring your own booze (BYOB) with you. A couple in front of me brought a bottle of red with them and were having a delightful time sipping their wine and relaxing during the show.
Overall, it is an experience that you shouldn’t miss. Our tickets were about £15 each. If you cannot get tickets to the show, then make sure you visit the amphitheatre during the day and/ or the beach at the bottom of the cliffs. It is an absolutely stunning area and worth putting on your to-do list.
Cornish Food Delights
Although this is not a place to visit, the food is an integral part of the Cornish allure, so make sure you enjoy the full array of Cornish culinary delights.
Cornwall is renowned for their Cornish pasties, Cornish scones with a generous dollop of traditional clotted cream, creamy Cornish ice cream and, as mandatory in any sea side town, their locally caught fish and chips by the beach.
You are likely to find homemade food in most pubs and I would recommend pre-booking a table in most places during the busy season.
If you have food allergies, never fear; I am intolerant to gluten and I easily found gluten free scones, as well as a fish and chip shop that offered a range of gluten free food.
Put Cornwall on your trip list; no visit to England is complete without it.
If you’re British and it is too expensive to take your family abroad during summer holidays – look no further. Grab a tent and head down to the magnificent coast of Cornwall for a holiday you’ll smile about for years to come.
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