Cornwall is roughly 5 hours drive from London so it’s as far as Italy for us. In late June, despite the weather being generally nice, it was surprisingly chilly on some days. Think jeans and thick windbreaker rather than shorts and tees. Cornwall is relatively big geographically for a 4-day weekend but we managed to visit a number of seaside villages.
We first hit Looe, a small fishing village on the coast with cobblestone alleyways, independent shops and cute cafes. A population of around 5,000 people gives you a sense of how tiny the village is. Interestingly, its population is also older than the national average (which was the sense we got in many Cornish villages). We had lunch in Daisy’s Cafe, a tiny cafe with few tables and decorations such as polka dots tablescloths, colourful crockery and signs like “sprinkles are for cakes” in the washroom. We shared scrambled eggs on toast. Overall, food was very delicious with generous portions. Only fault was that the coffee was too milky for our tastes.
The next village we visited was Polperro, another coastal village which felt even smaller than Looe. It has a fishing port and we spent a good part of the afternoon sitting at the harbour watching kids play in the water. The day we went happened to be the congregation of the new mayor, with seemingly the entire village out celebrating. Shops closed, signs such as “closing early for new mayor’s announcement” and “find me across the street” suggest that there is a great sense of community in this village.
Further south, we visited Padstow, a touristy seaside town made famous by chefs like Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw. Padstow had a very special seaside vibe; turquoise water, fresh ice cream, seagulls everywhere and people dining alfresco (which, to mention, we couldn’t resist indulging in ourselves) were all features adding to it. Although we don’t usually have much desserts, we couldn’t resist ice cream flavours such as “peanut butter and chocolate crunch” and “blackberry and apple crumble”. After a 25km cycle from Wadebridge to Padstow and return, I was pretty shattered by the last 8km. Ice cream and cream tea never come easy.
The next seaside place we visited was St Ives, a popular holiday resort town consistently ranked as the best UK seaside town. There are several beaches here famous for surfing and and it was a gorgeous view to take lunch by the beach, at the Porthmeor Cafe, with fresh crab sandwiches and steaming mussels. St Ives was by far the busiest town, as proved by the difficulty in finding parking. Not to mention that driving through the narrow streets was a bit of a challenge.
After a scenic drive from St Ives to Zennor…
We arrived at Marazion to see St Michael’s Mount, a giant castle in the middle of an island. The castle has been owned by the St Aubyn family since approximately 1650 and today it is managed by the National Trust. At low tide, it is possible to walk from the mainland to the castle. It wasn’t possible for us to walk through so we just hung out on the rocks and watched this amazing castle with the ocean in the backdrop. And attempted to take photos on rocky surfaces without a tripod.
Our final stop took us onboard a small fishing boat, the (superb) Emma Kate II, for mackerel fishing. We set off from Padstow where our captain, Lee, was extremely knowledgeable in taking us to the hottest spots off the Cornish coast! We weren’t to be disappointed as within minutes we had hit multiple shoals of mackerel. Our (hardly) efforts were rewarded when we returned home and cooked up a delicious meal of grilled mackerel. Straight from the treasures within Cornwall.