Last week we made our annual visit to beautiful Cornwall. We have been almost every year since TJ was born and now that we live in Dorset, we are only around 2 hours away from Newquay.
For the past couple of years, we have stayed at Gnome World Holiday Park which is in St Columb around 9 miles from Newquay. It’s a fantastic little site with ample sized pitches, electric hook up, water stations, clean facilities and within easy access of both the A30 and A39. In addition, its amazing value for money. We paid just £52 for 3 nights camping with electric hook up which, in the middle of August, is so reasonable.
We arrived on Wednesday morning with the weather scheduled to be pretty dodgy. After surviving Camp Bestival and everything that threw at us, we knew we would be ok. After pitching the tent (in a record 18 minutes!) we took a drive into Newquay to pick up a few essentials and to have some lunch.
We headed to the Concho Lounge for something to eat. If you’ve not visited a Lounge bar before, you really should give it a try. There are lots of them around the country. They are super relaxed, child friendly and serve really nice food. TJ and H had Mac ‘n’ Cheese and I had a ‘naked’ burger – all were delicious. With nice full bellies, we had a quick wander round the town picking up a wetsuit for TJ, some heavy duty tent pegs and some snacks for the evening.
First stop was Treyarnon Bay which is situated between Newquay and Padstow. The weather was starting to get pretty miserable and windy by this point so we wanted a beach to do some rockpooling in rather than go swimming or surfing. It was perfect. The car park was literally next to the beach and the tide was just going out leaving lots of rock pools behind. TJ had great fun clambering over rocks and we found quite a few little fish and a compass jellyfish. There was also a rather impressive hippo which someone had made out of sand.
After that, we headed to Padstow for a quick hot chocolate to warm up. Padstow is a really lovely little town but we’ve still never seen it in the sunshine!! It was absolutely pouring down by the time we got there and we decided that we wouldn’t be doing any more exploring so headed back to the tent for an early night.
On Thursday, we woke up to a glimmer of sunshine ready for our trip to St Ives. This year, rather than stressing about parking in the town (which is a nightmare) we decided to do the Park and Ride. This was a stroke of genius and very reasonably priced. We parked up at Lament Saltings (£2.80 all day) and got a group saver ticket to St Ives for just £8. The journey was lovely and took us past Hayle Beach, Carbis Bay and then Porthminster Beach. The station is a short walk from the town or the main beach and trains run every half hour which wasn’t too bad.
We didn’t realise that it was St Ives Lifeboat Day until we got there. TJ loved being able to climb aboard the boats and jet skis and we got to watch the new Lifeboat being launched which was great.
One of the reasons for visiting St Ives was to do a boat trip to Seal Island. Unfortunately, although the sea was really calm in the bay, as we ventured further out, it was very very choppy. The skipper decided it was too dangerous to continue to Seal Island so took us around the bay instead. Luckily, Sammy the seal and his friend were waiting for us in the bay when we got back and TJ really enjoyed the boat trip so it wasn’t a completely wasted journey.
We then headed to Porthminster bay for a spot of bodyboarding. It was great to see how much more confident TJ was in the water this year. He managed to catch a good few waves and absolutely loved it.
After a stress free train journey back to the car we headed to Porth to try to catch the sunset. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas and it was thick cloud when we got there. Nevertheless, we parked on the beach and stayed until it was dark exploring the caves and finding yet more jellyfish.
On Friday, we booked to watch a storyteller at the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno. The Minack is an outdoor theatre which is carved into the cliffs overlooking the sea. It’s absolutely stunning and the storyteller was really good retelling the story of A Midsummer Nights Dream which TJ really enjoyed.
After a quick cream tea in Penzance, we drove to Lands End to walk to Nanjizal – a beautiful bay which is only accessible by foot. TJ was an absolute star and walked the 1.5 mile journey without any fuss whatsoever. The walk goes very close to the cliffs but he made sure he was always holding onto one of our hands and was super sensible. The beach was a little disappointing as it was high tide and we couldn’t walk out to the archway but it was still lovely. The views are just amazing and we saw another seal having a little swim in one of the bays as we headed back.
Although we managed to pack quite a bit into the three days we were there, we were all quite sad to leave on Saturday morning. We have decided that next year, now we seem to be a bit more organised with the camping, we will stay for at least 5 nights so that we can explore more of what Cornwall has to offer.
Where would you recommend visiting on our next Cornish adventure?