Photo: Beach in Charlestown
This is the second part of my article about my 2019 trip to Cornwall which was indeed unforgettable (you will find the first part here). Read more about this unique travel destination in the Southwest of the UK and - enjoy!
Time to leave West Cornwall and head East. We have lunch in Charlestown, another lovely village steeped in history right on the beach. I admire a few guys in wetsuits who jump from a platform in the harbour into the pretty cold sea. “If you want to go for a swim, come back between July and October,“ says Jon. “The sea will be much warmer then,“. That`s a deal, my friend!
Photo: Back somersault ... not me!
Next stop: Launceston, a rather less-known town between the high moors. What a beautiful drive through the pretty wild landscape with the famous Bodmin Moor ponies and grazing sheep and cows all over the place. Great to see all these happy animals here.
Photo: Soooooo beautiful, the Bodmin Moore ponies
Launceston Castle is the ultimate highlight of this historic little town, located on a hill and offering breathtaking views. Richard, Earl of Cornwall, had the castle constructed in the 13th century in order to control the access to Launceston. You can climb the ruin and get a feeling of this place which served as a prison for a long time. Not the nicest history but just enjoy the breathtaking view from the top and appreciate your freedom. Don`t miss taking a stroll through the beautiful town with many authentic boutiques, cafés, galleries, and restaurants.
Photo: Spring in lovely Launceston
For your sundowner, I highly recommend the historic Eagle House Hotel where I also stayed overnight (and very much enjoyed it). A brand new terrace overlooking the smooth hills while sipping your favourite cocktail – can life get any better? Make sure to enjoy a gin tasting evening at the hotel – lots of fun!
Photo: Welcome to the Eagle House Hotel in Launceston!
Photo: Sundowner on the brand new terrace of the Eagle House Hotel in Launceston
The next day is filled with already known experiences – a marine excursion with Padstow Sea Life Safaris, starting in the picturesque village of Padstow which is already pretty lively in May. This time I am hoping to spot a few dolphins or maybe even a basking shark but no … I have to accept that a safari is not a zoo visit. However, a few cute seals and many sea birds, including the colourful and fast flying puffins, make up for it. And the landscapes you get to see from the boat are second to none, and in addition to that I got a little tan on the boat.
Photo: Caves and an incredible colour of the sea
The visit to Prideaux Place close to Padstow could not be a bigger contrast. An Elizabethan manor in a beautiful park with grazing tame deer around. Location for a myriad of movies, including the soap operas of the late Rosamunde Pilcher which are so popular in Germany. Elke, a nice German lady who came to Cornwall years ago for a romantic reason, tells me a lot of insider stories of this stunning place. “The Prideaux family has owned the castle for over 425 years. They always made sure that the male family members only married rich girls. If they fell in love with a poor one, they were in trouble.” Oh well.
Photo: Oh my deer ...
The mix of memorabilia such as paintings, photographs, porcelain, and antiques is remarkable – to say the least. “You should come for one of the typical Cornish garden parties such as the open garden day which raises money for the Children's Hospice South West.” says Elke. Clotted cream scones are, of course, a must at these events. I learn that in Cornwall the jam is put first, then the clotted cream. In Devon (just “next door“) it`s the other way round. Rumours say that the Cornish way is preferred at the royal garden parties at Buckingham Palace. Maybe this has to do with the fact that Prince Charles also has the title Duke of Cornwall. Anyway, I have a nice lunch in the café with delicious salads and a very nice service – surrounded by mostly older Germans who come here to see a location they have already admired on TV.
Photo: No, you cannot buy this awesome property - Prideaux Place
Where to sleep? My choice is the Brookfields B&B, a lovely little place in a very quiet and rural area. I almost fall in love with Sue, the charming lady who owns this place with her husband Ray. The view of the garden and the wide open spaces is spectacular. Don`t be surprised if two sheep come along, they are Sue`s best friends. She is a big animal lover. And her homemade breakfast is second to none, just perfect after a wonderful sleep.
Photo: I love the Brookfields B&B!
You are in the middle of nowhere, literally. Make sure to have dinner at the pub in St. Kew (best to drive from the B&B), a place that I would not even call a village. A church with a cemetery, a few nice houses and the pub – that`s it. Should you need a bit more life, drive to Port Isaac or Wadebridge which are just a few miles away.
Photo: The only pub in St. Kew
The next day we are joined by Bergit and Adrian who own Barnett Photo Studios. Bergit came to Cornwall eight years ago - again for romantic reasons (Adrian in this case). Both have successfully set up a mobile photo studio and go the extra mile for their clients. Should you come to Cornwall and need creative photos over and above the usual tourist selfie shots, get in touch with them. They know Cornwall inside and out and will give you their best recommendations for awesome locations. You will get an idea of the quality of their images which are marked with their logo.
Photo: Start of the photo shooting with Adrian and Bergit at Daymer Bay
Our tour begins at the stunning Daymer Bay with St. Enodoc, a little chapel that dates back to the 12th century. Located amid the sand dunes, it became completely submerged in the sand in the 18th century.
Photo: A very special church - St. Enodoc
From there, walk to Daymer Bay. Another spectacular sandy beach with impressive rocks and a very walkable footpath along the coast. Perfect for that unique Instagram photo.
And did I mention that 44 Cornwall beaches were awarded the blue flag, the highest EU standard in 2016?
Photo: Can I please sit here for hours? - Daymer Bay
Next stop: Port Quin. Again, not a village but rather a few houses and a van where you can get coffee and snacks. Jon tells me the story of an 80-year old gentleman who comes here every year for rowing. Brits are tough people, hats off!
I was shown hidden former homes of fishermen, now totally covered by shrubs. The story about this place is rather sad – many fishermen lost their lives on the rough sea. Oh yes, life in Cornwall was tough centuries ago when people even did not know the term tourism. Great to see how times have changed.
Photo: Sitting and enjoying again ... this time in Port Quin
"On our way in to Port Quin, we just had to stop at Doyden Castle, a little fortress on the cliffs with incredible sea views all around. You should not miss this place!
Guess what - you can rent this charming folly castle and feel like a king or queen - like Samuel Symons, a bon-viveur who entertained his friends in this stunning building in the early 19th century. Gothic windows, a cosy open fire and even the original wine bins in the cellar, with breathtaking views on top.
Photo: Castle with a view!
Photo: View of Doyden Castle - simply magic!
If you love long walks, you can hike along the coast path to the very popular surf beach of Polzeath, I understand it’s the favourite place of the former British Prime Minister Dave Cameron, and both Prince William and Prince Harry.
When travelling through Cornwall, you cannot do without Doc Martin. This internationally renowned TV series is being produced here, mostly in a picturesque fishing village called Port Isaac. Driving down here with a van is not big fun, to say the least. Leave your car somewhere on the hill and walk down. Port Isaac is already pretty busy in May. A fishy smell is in the air as this is still a working harbour. People are sitting outside and feeding fat seagulls. Don’t do this, feed the seagulls, as this is frowned upon by the locals. Hey guys, get out on the sea to get your meal (I mean the seagulls, not the tourists).
Photo: One of the many seagulls in Port Isaac (they do not care where to sit...)
Many people are climbing up to Doc Martin`s house. Luckily, there is no film shooting today so it was great to be able to stroll around this charming fishing village without being caught on the camera - although it would have been cool to meet some stars. And there are talks about another production of a Pilcher romance for the second German National TV channel. Cornwall, the ideal movie destination!
Photo: This is not Doc Martin, just his house in Port Isaac
Photo: Bergit and KHL taking a break in Port Isaac - who brings coffee?
Our day ends up in Boscastle, another pretty village (and natural harbour) with some good restaurants and tea rooms such as the Riverside Boscastle (excellent reviews on TripAdvisor!). You can walk along a small path to a creek between giant rocks. Time for a perfect Instagram shot!
Photo: Lovely walks in Boscastle
Photo: Stunning views in Boscastle
The Pendragon Country House, a five-star guest accommodation, is a great choice to stay overnight. Located in a house built in 1871, this place is run by a nice young couple and open all year round. Make sure to have dinner during your stay, the cuisine is just excellent. Pretty cool: the cosy self-service bar where you can help yourself with your favourite drink.
Photo: Simply lovely - the Pendragon Country House
Jon had promised me that I would visit the Blue Tomato Café in Rock again, right on the coast and opposite Padstow. A very fancy place which is just perfect for (a second) breakfast. Run by young guys, it is a real hotspot for both, locals and tourists.
Photo: Beach in Rock - just next to the Blue Tomato Café
Could sit here for hours but…! No rest for someone who wants to explore Cornwall. At least we have some time to have a look at the Beach House, a nice boutique for clothes and accessories. I can`t resist and buy one of those comfy and fancy shirts. To my surprise, it`s not expensive given the fact that Rock is a pretty upscale place. Famous British chef Gordon Ramsay has bought an impressive house here – not only to live in but also to produce his TV shows I understand. Not the worst place to do this…!
Photo: The joys of shopping ... in Rock!
Have you ever stayed on a farm? If not, try The Olde House next to Chapel Amble. A totally rural area with bleating sheep and mooing cows. Two of them had a lot of fun on a meadow … no details as I am sure you know what I mean. The Olde House provides high-end self-catering cottages (make sure to buy your food in Wadebridge which is roughly 5 km away), an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts and lots of animals for kids (and adults, of course). Here I have seen the largest pig ever – ugly, grunting and eating grass all the time. City boy got very impressed although big piggy did not pay any attention at all!
Photo: Comfy farm cottages at The Olde House
Photo: Here it is, the giant pig - did I exaggerate?
From the Olde House, you can easily walk to „downtown“ Chapel Amble. A few houses, a pub and a little shop with a post office, that`s it. Needless to say that I had a look at the store. Oh my gosh, this reminded me of my childhood. Imagine the contrary to a meaningless big supermarket. A charming older lady comes out and helps me to buy a few basic things. I should have brought a postcard to get a stamp … back to the 70s, why not?
Photo: Shopping in Chapel Amble!
The local pub pleasantly surprises me. A British pub to me means a lot of people having fun after work - and a lot of beer. The Maltsters Arms is a very cute place where a model-like girl welcomes me. What on earth is this beauty doing in this remote place? Anyway, she seems to enjoy it. The food is just excellent, including veggie options and a great selection of wines. Surprise, surprise and thumbs up for Chapel Amble!
My visit finishes with a stroll through the lovely town of Wadebridge and a walk on the Camel Trail just next to this town. Relish is a perfect place for coffee and snacks, you can even watch how they roast the coffee here. I had biked the trail along the river Camel last year so I decide to walk this time. Pristine nature and friendly bikers and walkers, singing birds – in short, a perfect place to unwind.
Photo: Perfect for biking - the Camel Trail
So here ends my second visit to Cornwall. The more I see of this region, the more I fall in love with it. And before I forget: Cornish people love your best friends! You can see people on holiday with their dogs everywhere. And they have their own little water bowls in almost all cafés and restaurants. And doggies love Cornwall, of course. No wonder since the beaches are ideal playgrounds for them and for their owners too of course.
Photo: Yes, doggie enjoys a bath in Boscastle
I would love to go for a swim one day, later in the season perhaps. And do some yoga on a beach. By the way, Wavehunters are offering this and other cool fitness lessons outdoor. So two of many good reasons to come back to Cornwall in late summer/early fall. See you again soon!
A special thanks to Jon at freemapsofcornwall.com for being a fabulous guide and photographer!
Watch out for my blog post in fall - it will all be about charming accommodations in Cornwall! From luxury bed and breakfasts to historic hotels and self-catering cottages.
Photo: Country life at its best in Chapel Amble
Photo: Typical place in Cornwall - the Pendragon Country Home
Photo: Can I ever get enough of these views?