Cornwall, where the heart beats like a drum (travel journey)
"After some of my journey I showed the pictures to my friends, many of them completed the otherwise panegyric words with the suggestions, that Cornwall is the place that really worth a visit... For my question "where more specifically in Cornwall?", nobody could name a specific location... So, that was how Cornwall became more mystical and more challenging for me"
These were the first sentences from my travel journey after I came back from my two days discovery trip. I decided, that next to my travelogue I will start to build up a travel journey as well and I will set aside the dazzling scenes of England, be it the sea-side or even London. The first travelogue will present Cornwall obviously.
Cornwall, England's tropical county with a fairy atmosphere is perfect first of all for summer holidays, on the first hand because of the distance and on the second hand because it's fabulous sites. From London, it can be reached easily by car, bus and train also.
The bus departs from Victoria Coach Station at 11 pm and train from Paddington Train Station at 6.35am. According to what kind of summer holidays we're planning to have, Newquay and Penzance are the ideal destinations using public transport. Both towns give easy access by local buses to marvellous nearby locations.
If we'd like resting, swimming, or just having fun in a dazzling, but teeming little town and if we would like to discover the nearby small towns only for one or two days, like Porthcurno Beach, Pedn Vounder Beach, Minack Theatre, Land's End and Kynance Cove, then it's advisable to find an accommodation in St. Ives.
In case we choose the active recreation and we'd like to reach Cornwall's Northern sites, like Lost Gardens, Eden Project or Tintagel, then Newquay is the perfect match. The hotel prices are skyrocketing, but de hostels, campings, apartments are on a quite reasonable price.
St. Ives, walking on it's narrow, cobbled stone streets, covered with flowers and having a Mediterranean atmosphere, it gives you a feeling that you're not in England anymore. It resembles on the Croatian, Greek or Italian summers.
The harbour gives you a stunning view at the reflux, you can take a sunbath on the sandy shore, take a refreshing bath in the shallow water, you can rent a boat or a surf, or you can buy a ticket for one of those boats which will take you on a seal or whale watching tour. It's an ideal place to visit for kids as well.
Porthminster Beach, St. Ives's Blue Flag award-winning seaside with its clear water and sandy beaches can be reached from the port walking either on the promenade surrounded by seagulls, either on the streets packed by shops, restaurants, cafeterias and lots of visitors.
The depth of the water is ideally good and although the temperature of the sea is colder then in the Southern countries, our body can accommodate quite fast and we can swim and enjoy the sea on inflatable mattresses just like everywhere else. On the shore, you can find safeguards, buffets, toilets, vestiary, palm trees, parks and you can rent sunbeds and surfboards.
From St. Ives you can reach every little sea-side village and location, including Porthcurno and Land's End by the open top, double-decker boat, Atlantic Coaster. If we choose to drive, both locations have a huge car parking area just next to the bus terminal.
Land's End oddity is the road sign that shows you how far you are from New York or from the Scilly Islands, but if you'll pay for a photo, you can see on the sign your own town's name and distance too.
On the pedestrian path, we can go round the parks, we can admire the rocks obsessed with an elemental force by the Atlantic Ocean or we can buy souvenirs in the little shops at the end the world.
Heading back to the bus, or car, we pass by inviting buffets, cafeterias, gelaterias, like they would know somehow, that our next target will make us forget to eat, so feel free to let yourself seduced by a Cornish pastry, or just by a hot dog.
If we'd choose only one scene while wandering in Cornwall, then that must be Porthcurno, although only the untouched nature would wait for us. You can find a beach here as well, Porthcurno Beach, with its clear water and sandy shore. Looking down from the balconies of the Minack Theatre, you can admire all the three beaches: Porthcurno, Carn Kizzie and the utmost Pedn Vounder with it's tropical feeling.
Getting off the bus is advisable first to visit the Minack Theatre, this is the easiest field, you can go out on an asphalted road, the only thing you must pay attention is the cars. Free public toilets and restaurants can be found at the bus stop and at the theatre as well and at the latter a small souvenir shop and small horticulture too. If we come by car or motorcycle, we can find a parking area next to the bus stop and in front of the theatre also.
The word "astonishing" seems to be not enough to describe the open air theatre designed by Rowena Cade, to describe the view and the feeling that will welcome us. In this open-air theatre built in a rocky hillside covered by flowers and cacti, the performances can catch our attention day time and it's marvellous view during the night.
If we can take the plunge to say goodbye to the wonder created by men and nature, it's recommended to take the asphalted road on your way back as well over the shorter path down next to the theatre, cause you can advance faster. As soon as we'll be back to the bus stop, we can decide where to head next: Porthcurno Beach or Pedn Vounder. The first one is an easy trip with its teeming beach, clear water and a lot of sunbathing locals and tourists.
The quality and the depth of the sea is the same as in St. Ives, you can find lifeguard too, but you must bring your own drink and food, cause there are only one ice cream stand and one cafeteria.
If we crave for an authentic tropical atmosphere and we are quite determined, then we can include Penn Voundert in our trip as a whole day program. This beach requires a necessary preparedness, cause it's quite challenging approaching it. It is strictly not advisable to approach it without having the necessary drink and footwear and especially not with children under 10.
The first phase of the path is ascendant, later it will become horizontal, regular field apart of the necessary drinking of water doesn't really requires anything else. As we approach, the view will be enthralling and will make you use your photo-machine very often.
But what really makes Pedn Voundert unique is the reflux of the sea, in the retracting sea first a round-shaped island will show up, right before the whole bay will become totally dry. If we're visiting Minack Theatre from Porthcurno Beach reaching it on the hillside in the morning hours, then we could see this island.
In the high-tide the clear spot is well-visible, we can walk into it, or swim in the crystal- clear, blue waters.
As we come closer to the bay by the trail, the last sequence is really challenging, we must descend on an almost vertical, rocky hill-side, stepping or skidding on overhanging rocks, so the proper shoes are crucial equipment, just like the back-pack, so we have both hands free to hold ourselves, women should wear shorts instead of skirts for that day.
If we wouldn't climb the steep rocky cliffs, then with much care and organization, it can be reached on the shore also during the ebb tide, but you have to go back in time. The flux-reflux information is our best friend:
After swimming and having a sunbath in Porthcurno, on our way back it's a must visiting Marazion, about one hour drive for the St. Michael's Mountain. You can take the Atlantic Coaster to Penzance and from there by regular courses you can reach the sea-side towns of St. Ives or Helston.
At ebb-tide the bank is not covered by water, so you can even walk to the island, where you can find apart of the residential buildings, shops and cafeterias, a fortress built in the 13. century.
The tide information is useful this time as well...
Taking into consideration the opening times for the shops and that the last boat we could go back to the dryland, departs at 4 o'clock our visit to the island has to be very well planned. If in case we'll miss it, there's no need to be worried, at the ebb-tide at night we can walk back on the bank or on the sand to Marazion.
The bank will take you to the small island-port not so far from the shore, and while the high- tide will not cover it, the visitors can be taken over by boats here as well.
The sea here is shallow, not suitable for swimming, but this is no reason why we are here. The view, the speciality of the area will capture you and you'll feel like time just has stopped.
St. Michael's Gardens won't disappoint those who liked Minack's rocky gardens. Keeping in mind the time table, we have to pay attention to visit the area when the Garden is open.
If we're in Cornwall, it's inevitable to visit the most well-known and -after the British- the most beautiful sea-side: Kynance Cove.
There are two local bus routes taking you into the port. You can take U4 to Helston, then change at Seven Star to L1. The typical double-towered gate will give you a stronghold you can rely on, so you'll know when to request the driver to stop, as long as the name of bus stops are not visible.
Depending on how much energy and time we have for walking, we can ride till the bus terminus, which is Lizard, or to Kynance Cove stop then we can walk from there on the slaggy road to the parking lot than on the pedestrian path down to the shore. This route is so easy, that it can be done with kids and even with a buggy.
Getting off at the last bus stop we'll find ourselves in the heart of Lizard, with it's inviting cafeterias and restaurants. We can go in two different ways leading to the paths to Lizard Point and Kynance Cove. If we're here, must choose Lizard Point and have to walk to the shining white lighthouse.
The SW Coast Path runs exactly on the shore between Lizard and Kynance Cove, where we can have an approximately one hour long walk through marvellous scenes. It's not an easy field, but the threat worths everything. On this stretch, the ocean surrounded by rocky laces resembles Lands End, and after the landscape will change continuously.
If we have enough time and energy we can dare to descend to the ocean or just keep on walking on the path leading to fabulous landscapes.
Up to the hill, down to the valley, through creeks, the road will take us down on the stairs, through the rocks, so we need proper equipment -shoes, backpacks, and enough water beside our enthusiasm, but in return, we'll be rewarded by a breathtaking view.
As we explore the area, the landscape and the deep blue ocean will charm us, we just can't imagine something more beautiful, but as soon as we'll reach Kynance Cove we must change our minds.
In the distance, the small white houses, the cafeteria and apartment and the small islands heading upwards from the ocean and the green terraces are all visible. If we'd think that this is the maximum, we have to realize soon, that we're wrong. As we'll get closer a natural painting will wait for us.
We have to walk balancing on huge screes -some of them of the size of a ball-, to the tourist accommodation in the valley, or to the sandy beach. The shallow water is just perfect for swimming at summertime.
If we'll get hungry or thirsty let's go up to the cafeteria, where we can find wooden tables and chairs and even deck chairs, offering an astonishing view.
Having satisfied our thirst, let's continue our trip and climb up to the terrace, from where at the ebb tide we can see the sandpad linking the dryland with the island.
In the transparent, shallow water is good for swimming at summer time, we can discover the caves hidden in the rocks, can walk in the sand or just having a sunbath in the middle of the grassland on the terrace.
If we'd like to see this fairy tale landscape during the sunrise or the sunset, planning it at the beginning of the year we'll have the chance to reserve accommodation as well in Kynance Cove Cottage.
We can go back to the car park on the pedestrian path just behind the cafeteria, and from there to the intersection of Kynance Cove where we can take a bus. The bus stop sign is missing, but standing exactly in the intersection, we can hail a bus, just as we do it in London. On the opposite side of the road there's a car park and we can take the bus to Lizard from there.
For the lovers of surfing, active resting, festivals, parties the ideal journey is to the Northern side of Cornwall, in Newquay.
There are different kind of beaches, sandy and rocky shores, zoo, aquarium, aqua world and port as well in the town. The tides of the internationally recognised Fistral Beach attracts not only the surfers. From early morning to late night we can see the brave cavaliers of the tides.
The surfers battling with the 3 meters high waves of the Atlantic Ocean can be seen from the shore, so against the quality of the picture, I am trying to show them:
The Boardmasters Festival takes place on Fistral Beach every August, which considering the videos of the previous years' experiences, should be astonishing. The tickets aren't cheap, but we can decide, we'll pay only a day, or for the whole period. Be advised: on the official site of the festival, the videos can cause severe heartbeats and goosebumps. :)
The site contains not only the ticket prices, but the list of the programs and performers too, so it's up to us to decide which one of them we'll consider to worth a show.
If we can break ourselves away from the festival and we'll take a walk on the beach, the view of the shore and the ocean won't let us escape. The most beautiful of the hotels are right on the shore of the ocean, next to Fistral.
Either we arrive on the bus or by car in the city, it's worth a try to walk at least once from Fistral on pedestrian path to the port. The amazing view is guaranteed. Seeing Newquay it's hard to believe that we are actually there.
The tides of Little Fistral are quite similar to its big brother but the million years of work of nature can be felt here as well. On the sandy beach, we can sunbath and the more courageous ones can even venture in the sea also.
For those who'd like to marvel the huge waves of the Atlantic, can do it walking up to the top of Headland.
Here you can find benches just next to the pedestrian pathways, sitting on them we can admire the game of the tides, the breathtaking changes of their colours and the sunset as well.
Approaching to the port Newquay's huge beach, lined with rocks will show up, which can entertain you with its different festivals all summer long.
The Towan Beach, just like many other beaches around is one of the surfers' paradise nature and mankind created something astonishing here as well. The "island" is linked with the dryland with a suspended bridge.
In the Blue Reef Aquarium sharks, special fishes, crocodiles, manta rays, crabs can be seen and if we are lucky we can witness the shark feeding as well.
From Towan Beach, different beaches on the shore can be accessed during the ebb tide. The Great Western is a popular beach amongst the surfers and families, just right next t it Tolcane Beach is a holiday village.
Newquay can satisfy every need and lives an active life all year long. Kids, adults and the elderly find their best good time. A bunch of shops, pubs, restaurants, cafeterias, fish & chips stands, fast foods can fulfil the needs of the visitors.
Newquay could be the first stage of our trip to Cornwall, and apart of its many landmark locations, this is the right way to approach Tintagel Castle, the Lost Garden of Heligan and the Eden Project.
Penzance (TR18 2NG); Marazion (TR17 0BE); St.Ives (TR26 2EQ); Porthcurno (TR19 6JX); Lands End (TR19 7AA); Kynance Cove (TR12 7PJ); Lizard (TR12 7NT); Newquay (TR7 2NL)
More sites to visit will be added to this travel journey in the future, like Tintagel Castle, the Lost Gardens, the Eden Project, as soon as they will open Tintagel Castle again -to be expected in May- for the visitors.
London, 5th of April, 2019.
Written by and photos: Judy Tailor
English translation by: Huba Botond Simon