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Travel guide: Cornwall, England

Staycation is the new vay-cation. 

It may seem a little strange to be talking about travel plans at a time of crisis. However, restrictions are starting to lift and let’s face it; everyone wants a break from staring at the same four walls for the past five months. 

Many of my friends, family and colleagues are making new plans for some time away. Still, it’s pretty challenging to navigate with the rules about which countries we can and can’t visit continually changing. Staycation to the rescue! 

Cornwall is the new ‘hot’ destination this summer in the UK, and I’m not surprised with its gorgeous beaches, walking routes, award-winning restaurants and microclimate. Having shared some recommendations with a few colleagues recently, I wanted to compile those into this travel guide for anyone heading to the South West of England this summer.

Cornwall: summer holiday destination 2020 

My family and I have visited Cornwall several times, usually during the October half-term, and we love it! There’s so much to see and do for all the family. I know we’re talking about summer holidays here but as an aside, we find that October is an excellent time to go – it’s not too busy yet you get relatively good weather, and the sea has had the summer to warm up which means when we go surfing it’s bearable. I don’t know about you, but I hate the cold and even with a wetsuit on the sea chills my bones! Whether you choose to go in the next few weeks, or months, there will be plenty of things to keep you busy.

Cornwall is a vast place, so a little disclaimer here. I’m sharing just some of my suggestions and the places I love based on my experiences. We tend to stay in Rock and spend a lot of our time in the Padstow and Polzeath area so if you’re heading that way then here’s my list of top things to see and do.

Padstow  

Padstow is a cute little fishing town (I’m obsessed) and is home to many famous restaurateurs including Paul Ainsworth and Rick Stein. You can spend your day exploring the town, walking the narrow cobbled streets coffee in hand, browsing in the local independent shops or you can take a walk along the coastline. The real draw here though is the fantastic food! If you’re a foodie like me, then you don’t want to miss out on these gems. 

Paul Ainsworth at Number 6
This is Paul’s Michelin Star restaurant, located in a beautiful Georgian townhouse in the heart of Padstow, serving British food with a focus on locally sourced Cornish produce.

Cafe Rojano 
Italian being my all-time favourite, Cafe Rojano is not to be missed. This restaurant is slightly more casual in style to reflect its Italian roots, with a menu to die for.

Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant
We were so impressed with Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant. A classic, serving deliciously fresh seafood in a lovely, bright atmosphere – perfect for a special dinner by the seaside.

NB: I would recommend checking their websites for updated guidance surrounding COVID,19 and it is probably worth booking as I know they’ll be super busy! 

The other thing we love about Padstow and Rock is the ferry that takes you from one to the other. Departing regularly throughout the day, and at a small price, you can quickly get across from Padstow to Rock (or the other way around) on foot which means you can enjoy that afternoon beer or glass of wine! 

Rock

We love to stay in Rock, just across the water from Padstow… a quieter town but equally as beautiful. Here you can pick up freshly baked goods from the bakery in the morning, and they have a couple of little clothes and home shops to explore. After walking the dogs in the fresh air, we like to stop at  ‘The Mariners’, another of Paul Ainsworth’s delights, for a cold drink and sometimes snacks although we’re often then tempted to stay for a full meal because it’s so lovely! It’s more casual than some of his other places and is great fun – it feels like you’re down your local pub with friendly faces there waiting to greet you on arrival. 

There are also loads of beautiful walks along the cliffs, and you can get down onto the beach to do watersports should you wish! Another little gem is a cafe called the Blue Tomato down by the shore – they serve a gorgeous breakfast, and the hot chocolate is ‘award-winning’ in my sister’s eyes. They even serve up dog treats for your furry friends. 

Polzeath 

Polzeath is well known for it’s surfing. The waves aren’t massive, which is great if you’re a beginner (which we are) so we enjoy it. You can hire wetsuits and have lessons at Surfs Up, and there are plenty of cafes on the beach for the spectators. You’re also guaranteed to see families and couples out walking their dogs here, which is adorable! 

There is a gorgeous walk that we religiously do with the dogs along the clifftops which I highly recommend. If you walk out to Pentire Point and The Rumps you’ll be able to get some breathtaking photos. 

That’s my travel guide to Cornwall. I appreciate there are so many other gorgeous places to visit, but I would highly recommend some of the above if you are in the area – it is truly breathtaking. Who needs the South of France when you have Cornwall? Wishing you all a lovely holiday wherever you may be and let me know if you do visit – I’d love to hear your travel stories and further recommendations for places I may have missed!

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