Cornwall for a weekend
South West of England has some beautiful places for a weekend escape, especially when you have long bank holiday weekend at your disposal. Or else if you want to discover England and spend good few days outside the capital, Cornwall will be place I could recommend!
Photo: Welcome to Cornwall
Cornwall is a charming part of South-West England that you should consider visiting if you want to see England outside of London. The best way to get to Cornwall is to rent a car, as the area is quite remote and you won't be able to get everywhere with public transport. You can get as far by train as Penzance but it will be difficult to access certain location as it is rural area.
We rented our accommodation around St Austell area which were mobile holiday homes for us and friends, quite a popular alternative to your standard accommodation. This was definitely the cheap option considering we visited during May bank holiday. The downside was that it was a bit chilly as it was beginning of May so we had times when we arrived to a very cold accommodation and had to put heating on and wait a while until it got warm. The good thing about those houses is that if you wanted to have a BBQ you had space outside as well as parking space. This location was our base. Depending on what you want to see, it may be important to choose your location wisely. We drove everywhere within one to two hours max on the south coast of Cornwall. Here are places that I think are worth visiting on the South side of peninsula:
Photo: Sitting on the bench devouring ice cream & Cornish Pastry
A fisherman town of Mevagissey is a beautiful port town that has a picturesque harbour. While you visit this port town, I will also recommend a fantastic restaurant “sharksfin “ (seen on the photo above) which serves fresh sea food and fish delivered daily by local fishermen. So if an item is finished, it's no longer available. Everything we tasted there was fingerlicking good! It was also great to sit on the bench outside and eat Cornish ice cream (they are the best) and endeavour in people watching and feel jealous of slow life they lead walking their cute dogs.
Photo: Pretty harbour of Mevagissey
While you are in Cornwall, I would suggest visiting Eden Project (ideally on a rainy day). It is a reclaimed china clay pit, it is kind of botanical garden with two biomes that has plants that are collected from many diverse climates and environments. It is located approx. 5 km from the town of St Austell. Save good few hours for this place. Not far away from Eden Project, you will find Lost Garden of Heligan which is a huge area of gardens, farm, estate and woodland where you will also find man made figures claimed by nature. It is a secret garden lost for decades with great photo opportunity.
Photo: Lost garden of Heligan
Land's End is the most western point of mainland Cornwall and England, situated about 13 km west-south-west of Penzance. It's just the location that attracts a lot of tourists because of being the most western tip of England and Cornwall, ans that's the reason why it is commercially prepared for that. If you need to skip a place - then you can easily skip this one.
On the other hand, Lizard's point is most southern point of Britain and south tip of Lizard Peninsula, you don't want to miss this location. We met a man who works at the Lizard Point who told us that you could see whales here if you are very very lucky! There's a lot of sea and bird enthusiasts around with their telescopes and big cameras. If that's an interest for you , then this place may give you great opportunities. Apart from being a great view point, this location has a Lizard lighthouse for maritime history enthusiasts and great view from the top of the lighthouse. It is as well a great spot for lunch. That's where we had traditional fish and chips as it just felt right to have this dish there.
Photo: Kynance Cove behind me, said to be most beautiful beach
Next place you want to visit is Kynance Cove on the eastern side of Mount's Bay. It is situated on the Lizard peninsula approximately two miles north of Lizard Point. It is said to be the most beautiful beach in the world (not sure who voted that, perhaps by locals?) with white sand beaches and turquoise sea surrounded by rocks, in fact you would not think you're in Cornwall. Don't get me wrong, it's unique for sure; the sea colour does not give you a typical association with British Isles beach look. However, it is really picturesque place and fantastic for walks.
Apart from having a great meal in restaurant we wanted to try local specialities. While in Cornwall you must try Cornish pastries which are staple food from Cornwall and I suggest you try it at least once! These are giant dumpling-like patties filled with meat and they taste really good - something different. I'm not a big fan of those but I had a bite from my hubby and it was worth trying. And don't forget the ice creams too - it must be the milk / cream they are using that makes them so creamy and delicious!
Photo: St Michael's Mount and a causeway at a low tide
Another stop and huge surprise for me was St Michael's Mount, a small tidal island accessible from Marazion town beach. It may not be a well known castle but it is as beautiful as Le Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy. In fact this castle was built by the same monks who built Normandy's castle. I guess one of the attractions of this place is that when the tide is low you can walk to the castle by a man-made causeway linked to the town, passable between mid-tide and low tide (water). if the tide is high you would need a boat ride to get to the island. You can visit the castle and it's grounds so don't leave it till the end of the day.
The Minack Theatre which is an open-air theatre perched on the cliffs above the Atlantic, it's a beautiful, almost romantic place. Little did we know that it's so popular, that we should book tickets for the show in advance. So we arrived at the gate to be told the tickets are sold out! Such a shame as on that day they played Shakespeare's "Midsummer night dream" at the sunset of a very beautiful day! It's only 4 miles from Land's End so you can combine seeing those two attractions. Nonetheless we enjoyed amazing descend to the beach with turquoise colour sea which looks like you're in The Med and not South of England.
Photo: Cute little streets of small Cornish towns
Cornwall is also a home to the cutest houses, little streets with pubs and small unique shops in every small town we have visited. I think it's a perfect weekend gateway or even a few day's trip. I would suggest that you consider it for your next London escape!