“Newquay?“ The nice lady at the Eurowings counter at Düsseldorf Airport looks at me with an astonished face. Her colleague doesn`t know this destination either: “Is that in the UK?“ My answer is yes, it`s in Cornwall! Ok, this route is just opening up for the summer season but … anyway, just a little anecdote. I am happy there is a direct connection from my home city Düsseldorf to Cornwall. After my visit last spring it was crystal clear that I had to return. I had promised myself to spend more time in nature so what better choice than this beautiful region in the South West of the UK?
Photo: Hooray - back to Cornwall!
The flight takes just 90 minutes before landing in Newquay, one of the smallest airports I have ever seen. “Kernow a´gas dynergh“ – welcome to Cornwall. Only 3,500 people (out of 540,000 in total) speak the old Cornish language - so no worries, you get along well with English ! - Jon is again my tour guide for the next week, and I can hardly imagine a better one. This guy produces (free) maps of Cornwall and knows every little spot in his home county. You can download the maps for free at freemapsofcornwall.com.
Photo: A great team - KHL and Jon Cooksley - Barnett Photo Studio
Our first destination: Falmouth, the largest resort on the South coast of Cornwall. With its natural harbour, Falmouth has a long history in shipbuilding although today tourism is the most important industry. “Due to its university, Falmouth is open all year round, also in winter,“ says Renate, a tour guide and one of the owners of the charming 5 star bed & breakfast Dolvean House. A perfect place located between the beach and the town centre.
Photo: Welcome to Dolvean House, a five star B&B
“We have so many events here such as the Sea Shanty Festival, the Tall Ship and the Spring Festival – and 30 restaurants.“ Sounds good. Even better are the beaches and the beautiful public gardens. I stroll through the lovely centre with its international gastronomy and have my second cup of coffee at the chic Gylly Beach Café the next morning - after a wonderful breakfast at Dolvean House. Active people all over the place (after all - it`s Sunday … and a gorgeous day in May on top) – runners, paddlers, surfers. Looks like Cornish people are in great shape.
Photo: Lovely views in Falmouth
Photo: Falmouth marina - a great place for coffee
And I have already learned two things: Brits love the term “lovely“ and the difference between “city“ and “town“ is the fact that a city has a cathedral. Having said that, Truro (the capital city of Cornwall) is the only city in the county. We never stop learning, do we?
From Falmouth, it`s only a short drive to Mylor, a quaint marina located in a beautiful bay. “This is one of the best places for sailing, “Many well-off people from London come here,“ says Jon. I have a look at the rates of beautiful yachts, displayed at an agency. Just a little bit too expensive for me, so I take a stroll around, admire the palm trees and have a lovely lunch at Castaways restaurant.
Photo: Aerial shot of Mylor - ©Mylor Yacht Harbour, Aerial Cornwall
Photo: Posing in front of Mylor harbour
The Chyheira B&B is a great place to explore all these sites on the Lizard and to hike the famous South West Coast path. 110 years old, this cosy little place is offering three rooms for guests. “We get enthusiastic walkers here,“ says Roy who owns this heritage house with his wife Jane. Their breakfast is fantastic, by the way!
Photo: Chyheira B&B, my home away from home in the Lizard
And where do you go for dinner? No doubt, the pub at the Cadgwith Cove Inn is the best choice. Good local food (my recommendation: the catch of the day) and a group of shanty singers. I had to remind myself of “What shall we do with a drunken sailor“ – a song that we had learned at school. A maritime atmosphere at its best, including the smell of the salty sea air.
Photo: Fairtytale-like houses on our way to the Cadgwith Pub
The next day, we enjoy the services of The Elite Duchy Touring, a luxury touring company founded in 2018. Pete, the owner and driver, was a police officer and worked in corporate security before deciding to set up his own company. This tall guy has been a bodyguard for pretty well-known members of the British Government and the Royal Family. On top, he is a great storyteller and a fantastic driver. “I want to make my clients feel like VIPs,“ says Pete who has three rules for driving in Cornwall:
2.Know how to reverse (given the partly very narrow streets)
3.Master the thank you - a friendly salute with a small raise of the index finger (I love this one :-))
Pete has clients from all over the world. If you don`t travel by car to Cornwall or if you are tired driving every day, he is your man. Ask him for a tailor-made quote.
Photo: With Pete and his comfy van in Botallack
Our journey continues to the Lizard, the most southern place in the UK. The name has nothing to do with that little reptile, it derives from the Cornish expression “Lysardh“. Spectacular rocks and breathtaking beaches. And the sun continues to shine over a blue sky! Ah, did I mention that Cornwall has one of the best climates in the world for me? I can just feel the difference after a few days, so good!
Photo: Another breathtaking scenery in Southern Cornwall
Time for an espresso and no better place than the Wavecrest Café. Located on a cliff at the start of the South West coast path (in old times used by smugglers) from Lizard point to Kynance cove at the most southerly tip of mainland Britain. And offering the probably best espresso North of Milan ;-). Very friendly staff, good coffee, and a breathtaking view – can I please sit here for hours? No. Jon is relentless. “There is so much more to see on the Lizard peninsula.“ And he is damn right.
Photo: Espresso with a view - can it get any better?
Kynance Cove where Queen Victoria travelled to in 1846 – that year marked the beginning of tourism, can you believe? Church Cove where people love to get married just next to a surfer`s beach. St. Michael`s Mount – a hill with a castle now in the care of the National Trust - the family who gave it to the Trust were given a 999 year lease to live in the castle. You can walk over there when the tide is low. And make sure to stroll through the village of Marazion and enjoy a pasty at Philps,, THE Cornish specialty with options for vegetarians and even vegans.
Photo: Bon appétit - the pasty (yes, without an "r") was delicious!
We continue our drive to one of the absolute highlights in West Cornwall, the Minack Theatre. Quite frankly, I have never seen anything similar. No wonder it is rated as “one of the world`s top 10 open-air experiences“ by Lonely Planet. Make sure to take your (very instagrammable) photos on the cliff first (with a beach that reminded me of the Caribbean, just unreal…) before entering the open-air theatre. 5 GBP entry fee is more than worth it. The theatre is sitting on a cliff. Seating is on concrete or grass terraces, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The performances for this summer include classics such as “Romeo and Juliet“ but also musicals such as “Sunset Boulevard“. “Lovely“ would be a strong understatement – this is breathtaking and an absolute must-see!
Photo: Porthcurno - I let the photo speak for itself...
Photo: A very special place to enjoy culture - the Minack Theatre
Can it get any better? Next stop is Botallack, a former mining area (copper and tin) until 1896 which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as looking at the industrial engine house ruins you get one of the most spectacular views of Cornwall, overlooking a bay surrounded by rocks.
Photo: Botallack - a former mining area has turned into a travel destination
So, this was the first part of my 2019 trip to Cornwall. Did you enjoy the read? The second part with more breathtaking landscapes and cosy accommodations will follow soon. Stay tuned!
In summary, following are my personal 7 reasons to consider Cornwall as a travel destination:
1) Gorgeous and partly exotic nature
2) Breathtaking landscapes
3) Sandy beaches that are not crowded in the shoulder season
4) Picturesque and historic Cornish villages
5) Cosy little hotels and bed and breakfasts
6) Many sports possibilities such as hiking, biking, water sports
7) A breath of fresh air - one of the best climates I have ever enjoyed
Photo: One of the places I will talk about in my next article....