Our Cornish escape

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This was our holiday of the year. Or of course for husband there was the Iranian holiday of 4 weeks, which stretched into a few months due to Corona travel chaos. But even if it was just for 3 nights it felt like a proper holiday. We actually had to cancel our first plan because the weather forecast was so bad, but as the weather improved, we rebooked. So when we once got there it felt like going abroad.


We both completely fell in love with Cornwall and can't wait to go again. Although I doubt we'll go anytime soon. It is a painfully long drive, so not worth popping over for just a quick visit.

We left on Friday after midday. If it was just me, I would have got up at 7am and started at 8am, arrived in the afternoon and had time to look around a little bit. But this is not the way to start a holiday with morning grumpy husband, I have learned. So I let him sleep and do his lengthy morning routine at his own pace. I didn't rush him once, even if it nearly killed me. I didn't say for instance "you could have packed last night, like I suggested". 

I made us breakfast and when I said at around midday that breakfast was ready he told me to stop rushing him. Maybe he reads my mind (or face) because I really hadn't said anything rushy. We left the house a little before 1pm. I had filled the tank the day before because husband has an annoying habit of trying to get as far as possible before filling up. "It won't finish just like that" he says when we've driven 50 miles with the fuel light on. To his credit I don't think he ever has run out of fuel.

The drive was pretty uneventful. Husband had a McDonalds on the way and we got stuck in quite a bit of traffic and saw lots of lambs and windmills. We arrived at Mill House Inn near Tintagel at around 7pm. It was raining so we just checked in and had a lovely dinner in the hotel restaurant.

The Mill House Hotel in Trebarwith, Tintagel


My grilled garden, it was nice but I regretted slightly not going for the fish and chips. But generous husband let me have some of his.

The next day didn't really start very promisingly, husband hadn't slept very well so decided to trade breakfast to a bit of extra snooze time. I love breakfast, so I went, took some fruit and yogurt for husband, had a little walk around the hotel and sat out in the morning sun reading my kindle-book, giving husband a chance to sleep until checkout time.

It used to be a working mill, there is a little stream running past the building. 


My full veggie English


Leaving the hotel we made a wrong turn in the first crossing. Of course there was no mobile signal so we couldn't really navigate, and the roads are really narrow, which I hate. If you come across another car one of you has to reverse to a passing point. I was already thinking that this will be an absolute disaster, when we actually arrived on a lovely looking beach area. We had time before our booked entry time to the English Heritage site we were going to visit so we parked the car and walked to the beach to have a look. There was even a friendly black labrador who got all concerned when I tried to climb a rock and wanted to give me a helping paw. Aww. And best of all we even found a little cafe and got a cup of tea for husband. That's always a guaranteed way to boost his mood. 

Trebarwith beach

We found our way to the pretty Tintagel village, where we got husband a croissant and walked towards Tintagel castle. There is not much of the castle left, some ruins, but it's an amazing place to see. The legend says Kind Arthur was born there. And it is a spot of majestic natural beauty. 

I have a mild case of fear of heights, which makes me treat husband like a 3-year old. "Stay away from the ledge." "Come here this instant." "If you don't come here this instant we will not go on a holiday again." And that of course makes husband behave like a 3-year old, climb everywhere and completely ignore me. Anyway, I managed to pretend calmness most of the time and it was a great afternoon. We spent a couple of hours there exploring the ruins and remains on top of the hill and making our way all the way down to the beach and the caves, one of them called Merlin's cave. 

I


The bridge through which you enter the island really is quite high up.


A famous view from when you leave the hilltop and start the long descend to the beach.


Merlin's Cave


The old post office in the pretty little village of Tintagel





Remains of early medieval settlement



King Arthur himself

We had a late lunch in a pub in the village, King Arthur's Arms, Chicken burger for husband and ploughman's lunch for me and we then started our drive towards the south end of Cornwall. Our next stop was the beautiful beach town St.Ives. We walked past the Tate gallery and husband said "Oh they have Tate like in the UK", to confirm that it really did feel like being abroad.

We watched the surfers in their wetsuits on Porthmeor beach and walked across to the harbour beach and hung out on the wharf witnessing some very pushy seagulls going after people's seafood. We stopped for drinks and sat outside a little restaurant in the warm evening. We headed back to the car before too late wanting to get on the road before it got too dark. We were not far from our hotel in Penzance, but didn't want to be (me mainly) stuck on those narrow roads in pitch black with no mobile signal. You see, I can create a scary scenario out of the smallest of concerns. Actually the roads were not bad around were we were. 

Little cobbled street of St. Ives


Porthmeor Beach

St. Ives Harbour





Half way down husband spotted some eerie looking ruins and decided to make an unscheduled stop. In the darkening evening the ruins loomed all gothic alone on a vast lonely moor. We walked around scaring each other with stories about what the place might have been, what could have happened there and little girl ghosts. Later in the hotel I found out that it had been a tin mine abandoned sometime during the 1920s tin slump! Nothing more sinister than fluctuating world economy killing a business. 
 
Giew tin mine. No little girl ghosts discovered.

So we made our way to Penzance which I knew was not going to be the most idyllic spot, but due to booking so late there were not many hotel options. Hotel was ok, although room was freezing and we had to ask for extra heaters, which they brought. And there was no food to be had, not even crisps at the otherwise very cozy hotel pub where we took shelter while our room was being defrosted. Husband wanted to go out and find a takeaway or something, but we couldn't really see that there was anything interesting still open nearby. I kept advertising the apple and bag of mixed nuts I had in the hotel room. In the end after the hotel pub closed we shared the apple and nuts in the room.

Next morning after the hotel breakfast we drove to Marazion, just a few miles drive. We stopped on the way to get husband a cup of tea and admire the views towards Saint Michaels Mount which was where we were headed as soon as the tide would allow us to cross the bay on the causeway. We saw a hardy group of John o'Grouts to Land's end cyclists and several very excited labradors anticipating some serious fun splashing to the waves after a stick of a ball. 





In Marazion we parked by the beach and after about 100 photos and going live on Facebook twice husband was ready to cross to the island. I've always wanted to visit the place and one day would love to visit its much larger French brother Mont-St-Michel in Normandy.  We had a fantastic day first touring the terrace garden which was amazing and for someone who understands a bit more about flora would have been probably even more exhilarating. But we did appreciate all the exotic plants and how beautifully everything was designed. The views to the sea were amazing too. 









Our Cornish cream tea


After a picnic of tea, espresso and scones with jam and clotted cream of the lawns we headed for the castle, stopping on the way for some Cornish ice-cream for husband. "Ice-Cream is my favourite food" he declared happily scooping in his cornish fudge and vanilla. 

Lots to see in the castle on the very top of the mount, dramatic views to the sea, the bay and Marazion. Interestingly the horrid war-mongering Nazi-nightmare Ribbentrop had had plans to make this his UK home after Germany had won the war. No such luck for the guy and of course he ended up hanging after the Nuremberg trials. 


Terrace garden and views to the sea







Marazion seen from one of the cantle's balconies



But banish those gloomy thoughts on a beautiful late summer's day. After seeing all there was to see on the little island we made our way back towards the mainland while tide was still low. We got into the car and decided to drive down to Land's end stopping at Sennen Cove.

The tranquil looking Sennen Cove

At Land's end we walked on the coastal path and saw the famous Enys Dodnan Arch from a very scary cliff top. We didn't walk far enough to get the perfect shot showing the full arch, we would have needed to walk probably a few miles further to the other side of the rock. But we saw a lovely little farm with goats, lamas, ponies and met an old local guy walking with his cat Felix. They do a walk everyday Felix following his slightly eccentric human like a dog. "C'mon then Felix" he encourages the cat along the path.

There's quite a lot going on around the Land's End Hotel, lots of little touristy shops. We had drinks on the terrace of the hotel overlooking the Celtic Sea and had a quick look at some of the shops. 






Enys Dodnan Arch


The sign where you have to be photographed. 

We then headed back to Marazion where I'd booked us a room in a B&B right in the centre of the little town. The welcome wasn't great. The owner, who we after several door bell rings and a call to the hotel phone number managed to lure to the door barefoot in his dressing gown, didn't have our booking and insisted on calling me Jane, which is not my name at all. He finally admitted he had a free room (the one we or perhaps the mysterious Jane had booked) and let us in going back to watching his charity football game. I would like to point out that it was around seven o'clock, so expecting a B&B proprietor to be sober and fully clothed wasn't completely preposterous. 

Our luxury room as advertised of course was not very luxurious at all, I think I heard husband muttering something about army beds, and indeed it was a twin room with two quite narrow metal framed beds. The bathroom door wouldn't close properly and I wasn't very convinced about the cleanliness. But it was warm and we had a view towards the mount. 

We'd booked a table for dinner at the Godolphin restaurant across the street and we had a lovely evening. They'd run out of most of the seafood, which I probably would have gone for, so we both had the Cornish steak with chips, which was very nice. And we had a couple of glasses of very nice red wine and shared a lemon posset with ginger biscuits for dessert. 






In there morning we woke up early to some unappetising smells coming from the kitchen below us. Breakfast was a bit grim and after some confusion about payment we started our long drive back to London. 

I wanted to stop at the Jamaica Inn, the same as in Daphne du Maurier's famous novel, but we missed the exit. I saw the roof of the building as we zoomed past. Never mind, I'd much rather see Manderley really, but of course unfortunately it doesn't exist. And if it did it would only be a burned ruin. 

We took a different route this time and did a little detour in Sidmouth where I spent 3 weeks on a language course when I was 13 mainly eating vinegar crisps and screwball ice-cream, I don't know if it exists anymore, the plastic cone with ice-cream and a bubble gum in the bottom. I remember learning the word "fuse" and embarrassingly crying in front of the family I stayed with after speaking to mum and dad on the phone, because I was home sick and then pretending my eyes were red because we had been swimming in the salty sea water. 

So we drove through the town, the street I lived in, Temple street, but I couldn't recognise the house, and along the sea front parade where we used to hang out in the afternoons after school. There was s little ice-cream shop in the same corner on the Esplanade as when I was there, the one of the screwballs. 

We continued on towards Lyme Regis and parked by the beach there. We had been so spoiled by the beauty of Cornwall that Lyme Regis failed to make a massive impression on us. But we found a little Italian restaurant - husband had had his share of burgers and fish and chips. He had a nice pizza and I had a very disappointing seafood linguine. 

 
Disappointing tasteless frozen seafood in a seaside town restaurant, I suppose if you're in a prime location in Lyme Regis you don't have to try very hard. 

Lyme Regis's pretty Marine Parade




We had another stroll on the marine parade but decided to continue our long drive back without further exploration of the town. I of course would have wanted to walk to the end of the Cobb where the French Lieutenants Woman used to stand, but since it was drizzling I gave it a miss. 

On the last stretch home we saw Stonehenge from the motorway

All in all I can warmly recommend Cornwall. People are really lovely and friendly, apart from one surly B&B owner. The scenery is breathtakingly dramatic and everything is well kept, clean and tidy. There is so much history and many interesting and unique places to see. And of course the sandy beaches are probably the best in UK. There is still much there for us to explore, so farewell for now beautiful Cornwall, we hope to return soon.

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