Cornish Adventures

Ten Top Tips For Self-Catering In Cornwall During the Summer Holidays

Summer is a wonderful time to visit Cornwall and self catering gives both privacy and freedom. However, years of holidaying with children, relatives and friends has proved the following tips can make for a happy experience for everyone.

  1. Information is power: check out your venue’s website. This should help with everything from what you pack to planning days out. Our website has descriptions of the bedrooms so you can have the arguments to hand about which is best for you. The chief booker gets a handbook with information on all appliances and how to use them and it’s a good idea if someone in the party reads it before arrival. If there are any concerns, for example asthma and bedding, it is much better to email beforehand so special requests can be dealt with.
  2. Set off very early. Later the motorways are going to be jammed, literally, so shove the kids in their pyjamas in the back of the car at dawn and just go. With luck, they will sleep all the way and you can wake them for a late breakfast in Cornwall. In self catering, check in will be in the afternoon (ours is at 4pm) but this is a chance to explore near your accommodation. We recommend a relaxed wander around Heligan Gardens. You can feel extra smug as friends and relatives send text announcements about delays, engines over-heating and children rowing.
  3. For those who choose to leave later in the day, have some fun games for keeping the kids amused as they will be awake the entire way saying, ‘When are we going to be there?’ We used to play ‘Spot the caravan.’ How we laughed. It’s a good idea too to have bottled water for long delays on hot days and the empties are useful for small boys who are caught short between service stations.
  4. Take a map. Vital for when the SatNav breaks down and there’s a diversion on the motorway, particularly if the driver is male so it’s a point of honour to never, ever to stop and ask for directions. A map is also vital for your stay because there may be no mobile phone signal and SatNav will not show that the shortest route is down a narrow winding lane where your car’s paint work could suffer along with your nerves.
  5. Nothing leads to bad temper faster than hunger and low blood sugar, so have your first meal sorted. We are happy to take supermarket deliveries before guests’ arrival, so you are well stocked up, and welcome guests with a Cornish cream tea. Our Property Manager Amanda Craze does yummy ready to cook meals or there are delicious fish and chip takeaways in Mevagissey. A good supply of alcohol is also vital to sooth frazzled nerves. Do not plan a mega trip the next day for the children as the first night can turn into a party.
  6. While having the basics delivered from a supermarket is sensible, self catering is an opportunity to enjoy local produce. Not only will it be fresher, it will add to the experience of being somewhere different to home. In Cornwall, this can mean anything from bakery Cornish pasties and Kelly’s ice cream, to bbqs with farm shop meat and vegetables or visiting harbour fish stalls to pick your fish of the day. There are also plenty of local drinks to choose from, including Cornish Orchards juices and cider and the famous Camel Valley sparkling wine.
  7. To give the head chef a break, plan some meals out. Cornwall has wonderful restaurants, but if you want to get in at Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw or Paul Ainsworth, book well ahead. It can also be more relaxed to visit restaurants and pubs you can walk too. No worries about drink driving and if you are in a mixed age group, there’s also the flexibility of splitting if some want to head back to base while others enjoy another coffee or nightcap.
  8. Eating out can be expensive though and self catering is perfect for stepping back in time to the more frugal 1950s and taking a picnic for the beach. Those innocent Enid Blyton escapades can amuse even the most sophisticated teenager because of their novelty. Just be careful you pick a less popular beach so they don’t bump into their cool friends when they are rock pooling and have a total melt down. The less popular beaches do involve driving down narrow lanes or walking from the car park across fields but you’ll feel you deserve your picnic after the effort.

  9. Deciding what attractions you really want to see is good in terms of both finances and time management. A few carefully selected days out can heighten the holiday mood but no one wants to over spend or feel they are on a tread mill. Factor in distance, parking and pre-booking tickets for popular destinations like the Minack Theatre or Eden Project. It’s also a good idea to check their websites to see what’s on. We once set off at dawn to visit the St Ives Tate – four adults and five children – to arrive and find an obscure Japanese artist was being featured rather than Alfred Wallis. Not quite the Cornish experience we’d had in mind.
  10. Take a chill pill. You are meant to be on holiday so this is the time to turn off social media and ignore emails. If you feel you can’t, then select a once a day slot for checking out what’s happening and stick to it. Don’t fret about everyone being ‘together.’ Family time is precious, but it can be a shock to be 24/7 with your nearest and dearest. A little time apart can make it sweeter, whether it’s going for a solitary pint, indulging in a long, hot bath with your favourite author or couples heading off to make use of their National Trust membership. When you gather for meals there will be more news to exchange. And don’t forget to play some board and card games or do a jigsaw – nothing says holiday more than that.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please follow us on Instagram or Facebook to get daily updates on life in Cornwall and notices of when the next blog will appear.

Amandasig

Autumn in Cornwall

The departure of one million visitors means Autumn is time for the Cornish to take back their county again, while those of you who are holidaying here can savour the colours and mild temperature and enjoy the attractions more easily. No more having to plan when you travel and avoiding using a motorway on changeover days or worrying about finding a car parking space. Many of the beaches also relax their dog restrictions once the summer is over too.

Watergate Bay in Cornwall, England, UK

Our local attractions of the Lost Garden of Heligan, which you can walk to from Mevagissey, and The Eden Project still buzz with activities, but try exploring further afield. Trebah Garden at Mawnan Smith has a lovely walk through tropical gardens to a tiny beach. Dramatic rolling waves on North Cornwall beaches make a change from South Cornwall’s calmer waters. Fantastic if you are keen on surfing or fancy strolling along Watergate Bay, with breakfast at The Beach Hut or lunch at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant, where tomorrow’s chefs are trained.

trebah

Lovely St Ives also has a swathe of golden beach, but it is most famous for its artistic heritage. Only about an hour away in Autumn, it is still vital to check websites before visiting. We turned up at Tate St Ives once anticipating fisherman painter Alfred Wallis, only to find an obscure Japanese artist on show. Not the celebration of Cornwall’s culture we were hoping for. Opening times for many places may also have been changed, as illustrated by Tate St Ives being closed until Spring with around town art tours substituted.

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Just down the road from Tate St Ives, The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is still very much open though. While in an intimate setting at her former home and studio, it is a world class collection of her work with a fascinating history of her life and tragic end. Like so many museums today, it is also family friendly with a Hepworth Family Activity Trail, a great idea which means today’s children have a happier introduction to the art world than those of us with memories of being dragged around galleries.

falmouth

Throughout Cornwall there is a fantastic collection of museums, including Helston Museum on social history – they also welcome dogs – The National Maritime Museum  at Falmouth and The Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro. They all work hard to provide interesting exhibitions and interactive events that make a first time visit fun and a return visit worthwhile. So no excuse for sad faces if the weather turns and beach time is not an option. Although they do say in Cornwall there is every type of weather every day and as the county with the longest coastline, there will be a beach near wherever you have a day trip.

Cornwall is also increasingly famous for its artisan food and drink producers and the Cornish Winter Fair in Wadebridge on Saturday 19th November is a great family day out. Taste samples at the array of foodie stalls and either treat yourself or start your Christmas shopping at the craft stalls stocked by talented artists of all types. There are plenty of farm animals, including the prime stock show, and you can have a go at milking a (mock) cow or grooming a pony. Entry is free, so you can go for as long or as short a time as suits you without feeling you have to get your money’s worth.

Every budget can be catered for at this time too for those who want to experience the creations of Cornwall’s exceptional chefs. It is easier to get reservations and there are special menus which explore seasonal produce and are very good value for money. In Padstow, Rick Stein’s St Petroc Bistro has three course charity lunches for £12.50, while Michelin starred Paul Ainsworth at No 6 has three course lunches for £26. Fans of Nathan Outlaw should sign up to his Grub Club on line before visiting his Port Isaac Fish Kitchen to find out about special offers and get ten per cent off meals.

Autumn really is a fabulous time here: truly accessible in every way.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please follow us on Instagram or Facebook to get daily updates on life in Cornwall and notices of when the next blog will appear.

Amandasig

A Visit to Cardinham Woods

img_6882Holiday makers to Cornwall dream about beautiful beaches, wide coastal views and historical tropical gardens, but Cardinham Woods is a lovely hidden secret waiting to be discovered.  Set in a lush green valley near Bodmin and imaginatively managed by the Government’s Forestry Commission, the multi-coloured mixed woodland makes a perfect day out for all the family, including dogs.

Explore four winding waymarked walking trails, identifying trees, the remnants of the old mine and clapper bridge across a free flowing stream, using the free ForestXplorer app (available for iOS and Android). Alternatively hire mountain bikes from Trailmunki and take their advice on the best routes for your fitness level through miles of quality single track left by the mining industry.

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For children and parents, Badger Forest School and Outdoor Learning is a great introduction to new types of play, adventure and skills, including campfire cooking. They will even teach you how to light your own fire using just a steel and lighter. Great fun as either another holiday activity or for an unusual birthday party.

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The woods have a large car park, loos and children’s playground at the entrance, with plenty of seating for picnickers and free barbeques for those who want to create their own feast. Alternatively, try the charming Woods Café, nestled below soaring trees. In winter, they have a roaring fire indoors, while their large outside seating area makes a lovely spot for dog walkers to enjoy cakes and coffee or a cream tea.

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We had a lunch of pea soup with feta cheese, followed by sausage rolls made from well seasoned Cornish pork, a seasonal salad and homemade spicy apple chutney. There is a selection of drinks, including local bottled beers, but glasses of tap water are freely available (and the Cornish tap water is very drinkable.) It was an absolute bargain at £5.95 a head – unlike many tourist locations where a catering monopoly is an excuse to rip off visitors. The water bowls for thirsty dogs were appreciated too.

It is so easy to sit and relax at the café that we recommend site seeing and exercising are best taken before a refreshment break. It is a lovely way to end a visit by treating yourself to some fresh homemade food using the best of Cornish produce while chatting about your latest discovery. This is definitely a place which justifies return visits, particularly as the woods reflect the season changes. There are also specially designed activities, with the Autumn Activity Trial now open and a woodland community canvas to display the natural materials you discover on the forest floor.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please follow us on Instagram or Facebook to get daily updates on life in Cornwall and notices of when the next blog will appear.

Amandasig

Our 5 favourite cornwall blogs

When planning a holiday in Cornwall, a long term move to the county or just indulgencing in escapist day dreams, there is a blog to suit everyone. Here are our favourites.

www.visitcornwall.com

visitcornwall1Created by Cornwall’s tourist board, this is the go to site for everything about the county. Particularly good for its What’s On calendar which covers the huge variety of events from country walks and nature to theatre and music. There are also plenty of useful sections covering different groups, be it families with children or people with dogs, and they even – very honestly – have suggestions for rainy days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


www.seasaltcornwall.co.uk

seasalt1Seasalt is a successful fashion brand but their blog is much more than just a puff for their clothes. The Meet The Bloggers section gives a clear idea of the personalities ‘shouting out about life in Cornwall.’ With a strong and long connection to the county, their Cornish love affair comes across, whether discussing the trendy Port Elliot festival, behind the scenes of photo shoots or gig rowing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


saffronbunny.wordpress.com

saffron1Freelance writer Rachel Wilson-Couch’s highly individual take on the ‘frustrating glory’ of living in Cornwall should be read by everyone who imagines life here is all surfing, blue skies and pasty eating. Whether giving her view of childbirth, the Four Best…Moans About Cornwall or why nolonger a foodie, she always has something interesting to say – even if you disagree with her opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


thecornishlife.co.uk

cornishlife1As a copywriter and designer, it’s to be expected that Anna Clark’s blog would be beautiful and well written, but it is also fun. She may rave about living in Cornwall, but why would anyone be reading a blog about Cornish life unless they felt something positive about the county? There are also plenty of quirky points of view under her section Rants And Ramblings and useful advice such as What To Pack when visiting Cornwall.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


cornwall-uk.blogspot.co.uk

cornwallblog1A long running and newsy blog about what is going on in Cornwall with a whole range of subjects from filming of Poldark to festivals and bicycle hire. Well laid out with a useful side section on the most popular posts and clear titles for the archives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hope you have enjoyed this blog and I am always interested to get your feedback under comments on our polpier_penpol Instagram. Do follow if you are interested in daily updates of life in beautiful Cornwall and notices of the blog posts.

Amandasig

Welcome to our blog

I am thrilled to start our blog by sharing some of our fantastic guests’ reviews. From family parties (www.independent.co.uk) to silver panthers (www.high50.com) and stylish trend setters (suitcasemag.com), they all found something to love about us and Cornwall.

Inde_review

Based in the Cornish Riviera surrounded by miles of stunning beaches, I am looking forward to letting you know our news and highlighting the events and activities which make holidays here such fun – fun that includes dog guests. In addition, as it is a famous foodie county, I will be passing on recipes that make the most of our wonderful local produce.

Weddings and parties are also a big part of our life and, after several years’ experience, the team is happy to offer tips of the trade to help make such special events joyful. Every celebration is unique, but we know planning cuts the stress and makes all of them run more smoothly.

I would be delighted to get your feedback and suggestions on information for making your visit to Cornwall a great one. Leave a message on our Facebook or Instagram page and I will do my very best to feature your request in a future blog post.

 

Amandasig

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