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“By Tre, Pol and Pen shall ye know all Cornishmen” the rhyme used to describe people or places in Cornwall, many surnames and place names still retain these words as prefixes. I have visited Cornwall throughout my life from a small child to adult with my own family and it still remains one of my very favourite places to go on holiday.
Although the weather can be quite changeable, with sea mists in the morning, the climate is mild and sunny as a result of it’s southerly latitude and influence of the Gulf Stream, leading it to be dubbed the “Cornish Riviera”. But Cornwall is a county of contrasts with the dramatic Celtic coastline of the north and wide open sandy beaches favoured by the surfers to the more sheltered beaches of the south with courser sand and shingle immortalised by Daphne du Maurier in her novel “Rebecca”.
I holidayed in Cornwall this year with my family staying in a converted barn on the north coast overlooking the fishing port of Padstow in the Camel Estuary, part of the Camel Trail. This is an area I know very well, returning many times, but still we found new places to visit.
We arrived late afternoon and after dumping our luggage took a short drive into Padstow to find something to eat. Padstow is home to clebrity chef Rick Stein and unless you have booked in advance forget trying to get into his Seafood Restaurant, but do try http://www.rickstein.com/Steins-Fish-and-Chips.html which, although busy, does have fast moving queues and the food is great – traditional fish & chips cooked in beef dripping!
As the weather in Cornwall can be changeable you need to be prepared at all times for the beach, so if it looks like rain take your beach stuff with you just in case, as you will find that an overcast day suddenly clears! We found a beautiful beach a short drive from our cottage where you could park in a field and walk down to a wide sandy bay with craggy cliffs and rockpools, perfect for children of all ages.
A little further north is the coastal town of Tintagel and the castle associated with the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table. The village has become very popular with tourists, but is worth a visit. Enjoy a walk up the steep steps to look around the ruins of the castle and the magnifcent view of the coastline or rest awhile in an Olde Cornish Tearoom for the obligatory Cornish Cream Tea and a quick stop at Granny Wobbly’s Fudge Pantry http://www.grannywobblys.co.uk for some clotted cream fudge!
St Nectan’s Glen between Tintagel and Boscastle is another interesting place to visit, if a little hard to find. We parked in an unmade up carpark and walked following a stream though a wooded glen to the 60ft waterfall and ancient hermitage of St Nectan. The site is reputed to be in the top ten of the most spiritual sites in the country, dating to 500AD and attracts thousands of visitors every year. The sanctuary was built on the ancient sacred site beside the river in this exceptionally stunning valley and legend has it that the Knights of King Arthur’s Round Table went here to be anointed before and after their search for the holy grail. The Glen is still a place of spiritual pilgrimage, where people come to meditate and leave offerings. It is said that when you take photos that spirits will appear in the form of orbs!
We also travelled further down the coast towards Newquay stopping at Watergate Bay, which is a very popluar beach with the surfers, and if you’re feeling flush try Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen http://www.fifteencornwall.co.uk
From the Eden Project to the magical theatre on the clifftops at The Minack, Cornwall has something for everyone!
Photography courtesy of my daughter Jo Dendy