Mention Cornwall to a lot of Brits, and watch as their eyes mist over with memories of many a childhood Cornish holiday. It is up there as a favourite holiday destination for the staycationers amongst us for so many reasons…
Even Mr R became misty eyed when someone suggested Cornwall after a family discussion about where in the UK we should visit next. The small people had stipulated beaches were mandatory, and surfing should be involved if at all possible – so it seemed a natural choice!… As his Grandparents lived in Cornwall for a chunk of his childhood he has many fond memories of endless visits to Rock beach, tales of smugglers in days of old, decent fish and chips, cream teas, and copious amounts of ice cream (funny how most of his holiday memories revolve around food!)! In stark contrast to his memories, I had my own of one very rainy trip to St Ives as a small child, where I almost knocked myself out slipping on a seaweed covered rock, and had to be carted off the beach by my worried Father… But with beaches and surfing in mind, we agreed on a half term visit just up the road from Rock, and a stone’s throw from Polzeath, hoping for the sunny weather and ice cream type of memories instead of any painful ones…
You know you’re in Cornwall after the roadside verges suddenly graduate from plain old green, and start to fill with gorse and wild flowers, the sea can be spotted in the distance, and the roads grow narrower still. But thankfully after the lengthy drive from Cambridge, all this soon meant we were about to find our home for the next few days – in the picturesque little hamlet of St Minver – the aptly named St Minver Cottage…
We’ve had a run of good luck (she types, touching wood!) when it comes to holiday cottages recently, what with our little fisherman’s bolthole in Norfolk, and our home from home in the Peak District, and thankfully St Minver Cottage didn’t disappoint either. This place comes with a wood burning stove at the heart of its pretty sitting room (always on my wish list whatever time of year, just in case!!) and comes complete with an AGA in all its comforting glory (great for taking the chill off after sea dipping days!). I can’t say we had much success cooking with it (*makes mental note to learn how to use my Mum’s*), but with so much excellent local produce available, we weren’t planning on doing much cooking anyway, plus it proved worth its weight in gold with its excellent clothes drying capacities… We loved our time here, and would recommend it to those looking for a family cottage in a good but quiet and peaceful location.
We spent most of the next few days on the beaches of Polzeath and Rock (for old time’s sake for Mr R!). The Small People (baby included) were enchanted by these pristine stretches of sand with their clear water and huge skies (you can spot lots of wildlife in both by the way, there are even dolphin pods and if you are really lucky whales to be seen off these waters)…
Rock beach proved great for inspecting sea life in its calmer waters, and the Small Boy was even joined for a spot of crab fishing by a Saint Bernard (called Bob), and Polzeath proved great for surfing lessons (more on that later!)…
It’s funny watching the Small people become accustomed with little English seaside traditions – they were intrigued as to why English people take funny coloured fences to sit in on the beach (I don’t think they’ve seen windbreaks before!), and even though they have since learned that seaside rock isn’t some kind of pavement chalk, made me laugh wondering why on earth Cornish Pasties had a savoury filling rather than a sweet one (didn’t see any “pudding pasties”, but a distinct possibility surely?)…
Our plans were curtailed slightly when we woke up to a rash covered baby one morning, but thankfully the friendly staff at Wadebridge Medical Practice were able to put our minds at rest (on closer inspection it turned out to be an extreme post viral rash!), so later on we were able to head to Tintagel for a look at the infamous castle (don’t spend hours queuing at the very first ticket office, there are a few more at the bottom off the hill before the ascent to the castle (incidentally, there’s a truck that will happily give you a lift for a couple of quid if you aren’t a walking fan!). As the rash covered baby was in a distinctly grumpy mood, we will have to climb to the ruins next visit, but we did manage a thorough examination of what has to be the oldest post office in Britain, which is very sweet and definitely worth a look… We were even able to advise some German guests about the best pasty to go for with our new-found knowledge (and stunted language skills!)…
We made it to Padstow on our very last evening, although sadly not in time to catch the National Lobster Hatchery (who else loved sea monkeys??), and we blew out Rick Stein’s famous fish and chips thanks to the queue, and settled instead for the most delicious crab sandwich in The London Inn instead (after an unsuccessful spot of crustacean catching…). We won’t talk about the drive home and how someone accidentally left the roof box open and all the buckets and crab catching equipment (and one flip flop) disappeared forever (we did go back to retrieve the few squashed things we could find)… The Small People have all said how they won’t forget this trip for that reason alone, but I am sure they now have so many other things to add to the Cornish family holiday memory bank besides…
Things on the list for our next visit (and there definitely will be a next visit), the Lobster Hatchery, Mr Stein’s Fish and Chips, a proper look at Tintagel Castle, and a boat trip to Lundy Island in search of puffins, oh and catching up with my old school friend who we weren’t able to see this time thanks to the grumpy blotchy youngest member of our family (you might want to check out his Instagram account for some stunning images of beautiful Kernow!)…
Cornwall really is popular for good reason. It’s beautiful, super family friendly, and there’s just so much to see and do. If you are planning a summer trip, here are some suggestions from a few friends of mine to help inspire you…
You could admire stunning views at Carnewas at Bedruthan , or visit one of the most scenic working harbours in the UK – Polperro; Need somewhere pretty luxurious to stay in St Mawes? Here’s the perfect answer… Fancy a week in Truro, and want some ideas of what to see and do? Here you go… Whilst we are on the subject of somewhere to stay, here are twenty more baby and toddler friendly accommodation options for Cornwall too, and while we are at it, you might find this list of “25 Things to Do in Cornwall with a Baby or Toddler” handy too! Another thing we absolutely must visit next time is the majestic Eden Project, but if the kids are looking for something more adventure park-ey, there’s Camel Creek in Wadebridge?…Not a fan of adventure parks, how about FootballGolf? Fancy exploring Tintagel castle, here’s a closer look; And finally, ever thought about visiting the Lizard? Here’s seven amazing reasons why you should…
Catherine Green says
Cornwall was the inspiration for my Redcliffe novels series, more specifically Looe and Polperro. While I have not yet been able to take my children on a holiday down there, it is certainly on our return travel list. Thanks for sharing your experiences!
Wow, thanks Catherine! I hope you get there soon! :)
Trish @ Mum's Gone To says
The couple of Cornish holidays I had as a child (Crantock beach) were fabulous but the trip we had when Rory was a toddler was beset by bad weather. I just wish It wasn’t so far away from East Anglia as maybe we would go more regularly, rather than stop when we get to Devon!
Great story about the roof rack though!
One day Trish, one day! Yes, quite typical for us!! :D x
So beautiful place and i am glad that you had a good time. Kids are so cute.
Thanks Shirley! :)
I’m glad you had a great time and that the rash didn’t spoil it. I definitely want to explore Cornwall more with my children too. x
It is just so beautiful, and so much fascinating folklore and history too! Thanks Emma x
We love Cornwall although haven’t been for a few years and not really explored the top end properly. Glad the rash was only a post viral one, it’s always a worry. Love reading your adventures re-acquainting your family to British life!
Thank you for reading them Kizzy! :) x
I love Padstow and the whole of Cornwall. It’s such a beautiful part of England. We enjoyed getting the ferry over from Rock to Padstow, that was a lot if fun.
It did look fun… It didn’t look like a very long crossing either!! :D Thanks Mari! x
Sarah Ebner says
Gorgeous post. Actually we always went to Devon on holiday when I was small, so Cornwall was new to all of us when we went last year. There is so much to do there and the beaches are wonderful – so huge and clean and beautiful. Thank you for including us in this too!
Thanks so much Sarah. We love Devon too! :)
I love visiting Cornwall and am ashamed to say we still haven’t visited Tintagel Castle – it is an excuse to go back though, isn’t it?
Definitely a good excuse! Thanks Kara! :)
Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me) says
Those Agas are tricky, aren’t they? We struggled with ours in an AirBnB in Norfolk. But that aside, this looks like a fabulous trip. Great to educate the smalls in the joys of coloured fences and savoury pasties!
They need to learn these things! :D Thanks Nell! :) x
Jen Walshaw says
We have friends with a holiday house in Polzeth and it has been a long time since we visited. I have many fond memories of visiting over the years.
Such a beautiful place. Thanks Jen! :)
Cathy (Mummytravels) says
I do love Cornwall – have been a few times with my daughter too. Love the idea of pudding pasties and windbreaks are an odd thing when you think about it!
Especially because I don’t think they really work do they?? :D Thanks Cathy! :)
Cass Bailey says
We’ve never been to Cornwall but I really want to go this Summer x x
You must Cass, it’s so beautiful! :) xx
Suzy McCullough says
Yup I’m that person too. We had lots of lovely family holidays in Cornwall while I was growing up. I haven’t yet had the chance to take Jamie but I am sure we will one day. It’s our favourite place to visit in the UK. The place you stayed looks lovely and well done on finding the crab
Thanks so much Suzy! I am sure Jamie will love it! :)
This makes me miss the beach so much! Those rocks! I also love marinas, funnily enough.
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and we went to the beach almost every summer. Now I’m in the Southwest of the US, and I felt a little landlocked when we got here.
I had a pasty for the first time a few weeks ago. There’s a food truck that makes them just outside of a brewery in one of the arts districts here. It was amazing. The pastry was light and fluffy, yet crisp at the same time.
Are you planning any other vacations this summer?
We definitely have a few more trips planned, we just have to get a new passport organised for one of our lot now before we can confirm anything! :D I LOVE that you have had a pasty, that’s fabulous! Thanks Marina! :)
That cottage looks so pretty! You’ve made me hanker after a Cornwall holiday now. It’s a few years since we’ve been, and on a good week there really is nothing better. I’m not a surfer at all, but I love watching the kids and waiting with towels and a flask of hot chocolate for them to come running back full of exhilaration!
There’s definitely something to be said for being the onlooker when everyone else is off surfing! Thanks Helen! :) x
Kate Williams says
Ahh, we live round the corner from there but recently went on a weekends holiday to St Minver just because it’s so nice! We like the Rick Stein cafe in Padstow too which is really good with kids.
St Minver is fabulous! How lucky you live so close by! Thanks Kate! :)
Louise Edwards says
Cornwall is such a special place – your photographs are stunning! Soundslike you had a magical time. My husband’s seaside holiday memories always involve copious amounts of food too! x
Thanks Louise! :) x