Last month we took a much anticipated week-long break in Cornwall. Having never been there and loving all things water-related, I was looking forward to walks on the beach, amazing seafood and beautiful weather. After a long drive down in the wee hours of the morning this was the scene that greeted us when we parked up in Padstow. My first thought was, oh boy I completely packed the wrong wardrobe.
We took the South West Coastal path out of town towards the Camel Estuary, revelling in the mild weather and warm sunshine.
We were terribly excited at being on the beach and stripped shoes off to our tootsies before sinking them into the damp sand, ankle deep in the water. We sunned ourselves on the rocks for a bit watching the world go by before heading back into town.
We meandered through the little alleyways and shops, passing alms houses and the Lifeboat shed before looking for lunch. If you’re in Padstow and your hero is Rick Stein, then the obvious pilgrimage spot is his fish & chip shop.
Unfortunately the queue was a little too long for our starving stomachs but we did drop by the shop next door and G came away with a gorgeous jute shopping bag.
Instead of fish and chips, we filled up with another food must-have: Cornish pasty! And from the famous Chough Bakery, no less.
Probably the best pasty I have ever had, this warm pocket of goodness was filled generously with large chunks of steak instead of the traditional mince, with potatoes and onions. The pastry was thin and crisp but firm enough not to crumble during eating. No soggy bottoms here!
Carnewas and Bedruthan Steps was our next stop off on our southwest adventure. This was one of the places I definitely wanted to visit after reading up about it online.
Dramatic clifftops surround the beach way down below, peppered with stacks of rock carved by the waves through the ages. This was amongst my favourite beaches we went to, and we were lucky to be there at low tide and to be able to explore the beach and caves thoroughly.
The walk down was a bit hairy though… G chuckled as I made my way gingerly down the stairs.
But the views made it all worthwhile!
We got a little excited at the abundance of ‘mussels’ on the rocks before realising they were barnacles. There were plenty of rock pools to wade in and little and large caves to explore. We climbed through very sharp rocks through a tunnel to get to the other side of the beach and continue our exploration. It isn’t hard to see how Cornwall was a smuggler’s paradise back in the day.
We enjoyed ourselves so much we didn’t want to leave but as the shadows started to lengthen we made our way back up the cliffs towards Newquay.
Neither of us realised how long the warning light for the empty petrol tank had been blinking and so began the race against time to find petrol before the car broke down. This involved stopping at Mawgan Porth to get directions, and again at a very kind lady’s house to get more directions. I had faith my little red car would see us through to our salvation though, and so she did when we finally found the petrol station. By then, the blinking warning light had given up and we literally had 0 miles left on the dashboard.
With much relief, we checked into the Great Western Hotel in Newquay. The room and bathroom were comfortable and well-appointed, and with a view like that, who wouldn’t be happy. I had planned a little surprise for G and had packed a bottle of whiskey and glasses to give him on our first night there. He loved the gift and proceeded to open it with ceremony to officiate the start of our Cornwall adventure.
Dinner was at Rick Stein’s takeaway at Fistral Beach and I’m very sorry to say, the less said about it the better. After such a long day, we crashed into bed early that night.
The next morning I woke up at dawn and snuck some pictures of the sunrise over the cliffs. We started the day off with a satisfying full English at Oceans Cafe. The owners very happily tell you their recommendations for good restaurants in the area. After passing by shops selling all manner of beach paraphernalia, we found ourselves on Towan Beach.
What a fabulous house that is, perched on the island rock and linked to the mainland by a graceful suspension bridge. Apparently a famous scientist called Sir Oliver Lodge used to live there.
Leaving central Newquay, we headed on to Perranporth, just a 20 minute drive away. This is a beach dominated by sand dunes, some still crumbly and soft like brown sugar and some further back made more solid and compact with time.
We perched on the dunes for a bit before the wind rose and the clouds rolled in.
Back in Newquay we relaxed in the room for a while whilst G caught up with some work. After a shower we headed out to the Red Lion for some food.
It’s a convivial place with a fire going in the corner, a pool table round the back, good food and friendly service. G had the beef & Double Gloucester pie with homemade gravy which was all a pie should be – comforting, rich and oh so satisfying. The ale flavour really stood out for me. I had the slightly healthier sea bream en papillote which was a most excellent conglomeration of fish, prawns, mussels and clams in a lemon and white wine sauce.
We chatted away excitedly about what we’d got up to in the day and our plans for the rest of the week. Of course, all healthy vibes went out the window when I ordered this for dessert:
The salted caramel cookie sundae was an epic creation and even drew oohs and ahhs from our neighbouring table when it came out. Filled to the brim with chocolate torte, chocolate brownie, marshmallow, honeycomb, vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce and topped with whipped cream, this was manna from heaven.
We left the Red Lion a little more roly-poly but happy with our meal and with life in general.