A vacation in Cornwall

Ocean view from Sands hotel

The ocean as seen from our hotel room

So it was off to Cornwall for a week-long Easter break. Forgive me, but I am barely catching up with myself. The vacation has left me in a lethargic frame of mind. Hence, the blog took a holiday too but has not come back with a suntan.

I’ve said this before – and I fear I am repeating myself – but holidaying in Britain is an experience akin to riding a rollercoaster in lashing rain. There are ups and downs and you are likely to get wet at some point. This is true of any time of year, including the summer.

As it turns out, there was no rain for our tour of south Cornwall, near Newquay. It was gorgeously sunny most days but a bit cold and extremely windy. The English Husband would tell me that this is dwelling on the negatives. I believe I am pointing out a few facts.

This is my third visit to Cornwall and it’s a beautiful place. There is something desolate about it – you have windswept views of cliffs kissing the sea. Waves lap at sandy beaches, and there are endless stretches of hills and green fields dotted by the bright, mustard yellow of rapeseed and some token sheep.

The view from our hotel room was breathtaking. I am used to staring out at my small patch of weeded grass from a cramped London flat, with the view of more apartments in the distance.

This was the world unfurled like a red carpet – where the sea meets the horizon. During sunset, there were violent purples, deep oranges and golds melting into the sea. It was the sky putting on its very best, jewelled gown every evening.

Mevagissey harbour boat

Mevagissey harbour

We had ice creams by the beach and visited a small and quaint fishing village with a long history called Mevagissey. We went at low tide, so all the small fishing boats were sunk in mud at the port. It’s surrounded by bright Cornish houses, looking down into its mouth.  

The Cornish are a proud lot, and Mevagissey has its own three-floor museum that goes through some of its historical highlights.

There are doll houses and old clothes, fascinating photographs, a timeline dating back to about 1085 and lots of fishing paraphernalia. There’s even a recipe for a Cornish stargazy pie.

The Raging Bull dug sandcastles at Perranporth beach with her shoes on and a coat, a peculiar English tradition. I stood on the beach with the girls for about 10 minutes before the whipping wind drove me to find shelter. We did not stare at the ocean from a car while eating our lunch, another English tradition.

Perranporth beach

Perranporth beach on a windy day

There were fish and chips and cream teas (scones with clotted cream and jam) – both of them musts if you holiday in Britain. But if you don’t eat meat, like me, you will find much of the food in Cornwall about as interesting as a traffic jam.

The children mostly behaved themselves. We took them to a place called Sands, an affordable family-friendly hotel. If you ever find yourself in this part of the world, I highly recommend it. The staff are very friendly and it caters well to people with kids.

There is baby listening in every room, so adults can dine each night (kid-free) if they so choose.

I had a few moments when I thought wistfully of a romantic European break, a warm whisper of a breeze, a balcony looking out onto a bustling piazza. No such thing here but there are other charms.

It’s no wonder author Daphne du Maurier (one of my favorite writers) set her gothic novels here. She ended up living in Fowey (a beautiful place) and found plenty to inspire her.

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3 Comments

Filed under holidays

3 responses to “A vacation in Cornwall

  1. Ooh I live in North Cornwall! Love Mevagissey too 🙂 Since you’ve mentioned Daphne du Maurier, have you seen the BBC’s adaptation of Jamaican Inn? Actors were good, but it wasn’t a very good one I’m afraid.

    • My husband comes from Launceston and remains very fond of the area. I recorded Jamaica Inn and was really looking forward to watching it but then it had so many complaints about dialogue and scenes being too dark that it kind of turned me off. Think I will reread the book instead. I sought out every book I could find by du Maurier after reading Rebecca. Absolutely fell in love with it.

      Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 16:59:18 +0000 To: parkscarla@hotmail.com

  2. Jeanelle

    It looks absolutely beautiful! In fact, I’ve wanted to visit there ever since I read ‘Rebecca’ a while ago as well as watching the movie. Of course, the book is by far more interesting, but as for movies, ‘Rebecca’ is my favorite of Hitchcock films. So glad you had a nice time!

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