With levels of uncertainty around international travel still present – and with the rules and allowances changing so frequently – it’s natural that many of us are abandoning going abroad in favour of a UK ‘staycation’ for their holiday this year.
A few weeks ago we went to Weymouth for a long weekend, and had a really lovely time discovering new beaches, going for long walks and eating perhaps one too many ice creams by the harbour. Next on our ‘to visit’ list is a getaway to Cornwall – which holds many of my favourite places to visit in the UK (not least because I was actually born in Cornwall, so it will always hold a special place in my heart).
If you’ve settled on a trip within the UK this year but haven’t decided where, here’s five reasons why I think you should consider making it to the land of Cornish pasties, Poldark, great surfing beaches and ginormous seagulls.
1. The prettiest villages
If pretty, harbourside villages are your thing, then Cornwall has more than its fair share. Think dreamy, painted fisherman’s cottages with tiny wooden doors, cobbled side streets, the smell of pasties wafting through the air and brightly coloured boats bobbing in the harbour. One thing I love about so many of Cornwall’s picturesque villages is that there are so many hidden gems to discover – you’ll always find independent cafés and restaurants, eclectic gift shops and art galleries (and of course no shortage of fish and chip shops – it’s a Cornish rite of passage to eat salty chips right from the paper whilst watching the boats come and go. Even more authentic if you do so in the rain!) Some of my favourite villages to visit are Polperro, Mevagissey, Looe, Mousehole and Port Isaac.
2. Stunning rocky coastlines
Cornwall has more coastline than any other county in Britain, and boasts miles and miles of stunning clifftop views as well as beautiful sandy beaches. I’ve always been a fan of the rugged coastlines of north Cornwall – there’s something quite romantic about spending a windy day striding along the clifftops and gazing down at the rippling turquoise waters below. You’ll also find lots of opportunities for watersports in Cornwall – particularly surfing. Polzeath, Gwithian, Porthleven and Fistral (near Newquay) tend to be popular surfing spots, as well as offering the cool, laid-back vibe that you often find in towns popular with surfers.
3. Cornish pasties
No visit to Cornwall would be complete without a pasty – traditionally this would be filled with beef, potato, onion and swede; encased in pastry and crimped at the side (my Cornish Mum is very proud of her own crimping abilities!) Search online and you’ll find hundreds of articles claiming to list the definitive best pasties in Cornwall, all I can say is follow the queues or ask a local! You just can’t go wrong with a warm pasty on a chilly (often rainy) day. Of course if you’re wanting to try more traditional Cornish fare, you have to have a Cornish cream tea (jam first!) and wander the streets with a Cornish clotted cream ice cream in hand.
4. Art and culture
As I mentioned before, so many of Cornwall’s villages have lovely art galleries or shops and stalls selling local crafts – I love hunting around for bespoke treasures and trinkets to take home. You’ll also find several larger galleries across Cornwall such as the Tate St Ives. No visit to Cornwall would be complete without stopping at the iconic Minack Theatre near Penzance. The Minack offers the opportunity to watch open-air shows in seats carved into the cliffs with views over the Atlantic – even if you’re not seeing a show it’s an incredible sight to visit.
5. Great pubs and Cornish drinks
From craft beers and real ales to traditional Cornish ciders, Cornwall is well known for its great breweries, many of them independent. It’s also home to several thriving gin distilleries – you can even buy clotted cream flavoured gin! Of course, along with the many breweries and distilleries, you’re spoilt for choice for spots to enjoy a cold glass of cider or gin and tonic at the end of a long day spent exploring. For views to St. Michael’s Mount, a beer garden fringed with palm trees, and excellent food, try the Old Coastguard in Mousehole.
If you’re considering taking any trip this year – even in the UK – please check local and national guidance, observe social distancing, take precautions and check terms and conditions before you book.