After 20 weeks of being locked down at home on our tiny island (just half a mile wide and 1.2 miles long), we finally managed to escape across the sea to the heady heights of Cornwall! Our trip had been booked for many months but we were fully expecting it to be cancelled due to our accommodation being hotel based, but as our room had a separate terrace entrance, we were told we could go ahead! JOY!
Obviously living here on Bryher we are slightly sheltered from reality and after reading news reports that Cornwall was sold out and going to be completely inundated with tourists, I was slightly apprehensive but what we found was something very different... a tourist reliant industry doing everything they can to make their businesses work. It was incredibly quiet everywhere we went and was actually quite sad to see. Beaches were deserted, restaurants and cafe's, having spent so much money on improving their outside offering, couldn't fend off the incredibly cold winds that were keeping customers away even though the sun shone. It was actually heartbreaking at times. High streets desperate for foot fall after months of closure, food outlets with limited menu's so as to prevent waste at a time when every penny counts - these businesses desperately need our help!
So, don't be put off by news reports - if you are lucky enough to grab some accommodation in beautiful Cornwall over the next few weeks, then get out there and spend a bit of money. Book surf lessons or kayaking, buy a bucket and spade, an award winning pasty or cream tea and support these wonderful businesses that are at the core of the great British seaside holiday.
We stayed for 3 nights at The Pig Hotel in Harlyn Bay - a beautiful boutique style hotel based around a beautiful old building (currently closed) but outlying buildings with separate terraces, like our room (room 20), and all of the gorgeous Shepherds huts are open. Their restaurant on the outside terrace and their Lobster shed were both covered, heated as much as possible and open for business serving gorgeous fresh food from their 25 mile menu. Breakfast was delivered in a picnic style box each morning and a piece of cake each afternoon.
We visited so many gorgeous deserted beaches and had some beautiful cliff top walks around the North coast. I would highly recommend Harlyn Bay very near to The Pig, which has a surf school, lots of parking and a great place to grab some lunch and a coffee (The Beach Box Cafe). The cliff walk to Trevone is beautiful and mainly flat - my husband also ran this route and would recommend for all runners out there. There is an open natural form swimming pool amongst the rocks at Trevone which had a couple of hard core women in there determined not to be beaten by the cold!
Padstow, just a few miles along the coast was almost deserted! To many this would be a dream and I must admit it was kind of nice being able to park easily in the central car park but, once again, so sad for all the struggling businesses. After a good mooch around, we grabbed some fish and chips from Rick Stein and sat like proper tourists in the car overlooking the beach as we ate them. Bliss.
Further up the coast beyond Padstow and Rock is the pretty village of Boscastle, which many may remember suffered extensive damage back in 2004 due to a flash flood. The village is so pretty and may be my favourite on that part of the coast. -There is a lovely restaurant/bar called The Rocket Store which serves delicious food and an extensive menu of drinks. Once again, they were doing their best to heat the patio to keep everyone happy and doing a good job of it. There are also a handful of tea rooms, pubs and shops but would definitely recommend wasting a few hours here and just taking in the lovely calm atmosphere and pretty cottages.
On the way home we popped into the Duchy of Cornwall nursery in Lostwithiel for a delicious cream tea - another lovely place to mooch around and the cafe uses all the gorgeous stripy crockery from Cornishware and if you don't follow Karina, who owns this business on instagram, then you are massively missing out! She is always a ray of sunshine!! Follow her instagram HERE.
Kiln has recently moved from Port Isaac and has a lovely studio full of gorgeous homewares. Sue the owner designs and paints the most exquisite pieces of china which are also available online - please do take a look, My home is full of pieces from here.
Jo & Co Home is a mix of fashion, homewares and furniture - it is a gorgeous mix. I bought a few pieces for the holiday cottages but could have pretty much bought half of the shop! They too are online, so please do take a look at their website and check it out if you are in the area.
So in short, we had a lovely break away - after a last evening of eating 'Piggy Fours' by the heat of the restaurant heater, I feel refreshed and ready to get back to work with lots of new ideas and a renewed enthusiasm that holidays can give you. I love being away, but that first glimpse of the islands I get every time I fly home is one I look forward to and feel utter joy that I live where I do.
I urge you all to please support the small businesses in each of our seaside towns this summer - be kind to staff and owners, even if you are frustrated over something, they are really doing their best and have been hit by the pandemic harder than most. They need us more now than ever.
Follow Sarah on Instagram @sarah_dmlondon