If you’re looking to stay and play in the U.K. this summer (weather forecasters promise us July and August WILL be sunnier), then Cornwall is the county for you. Unique in character, beautiful in stature and with plenty to please both adults and kids alike, there really can be no better place for your annual “staycation,” especially if the weather does improve.
We are now far more conscious than ever of our carbon-footprint and the brutal cost of Euro-based vacations, so Cornwall is once again enjoying its status as a British Isle favourite. And there is far more to it than locally-made ice cream and surfers.
Where to stay
Set within 43 acres of lush parkland resides the Cornwall Hotel Spa and Estate. Extremely child-friendly, this restored Victorian White House is a perfect family retreat and, for those wanting a total break, the Clearing Spa offers blissful treatment packages, sumptuous steam rooms and a large swimming pool in which to float away all stress. The real highlight is The Arboretum Restaurant. Non-guests would do well to stop in for afternoon tea, but those after some perfectly cooked cuisine should book in for lunch or dinner. Highly recommended after your meal is the local cheeseboard of Keens Cheddar, Cornish Smuggler and Cornish Millston: a wonderful finale to any hearty meal.
Where to spend a day
Opened back in 2001, The Eden Project is essentially two giant enclosures that emulate a natural biome and which houses the world’s largest greenhouse, vegetable gardens and sculptures. This is literally a perfect, man-made environment inside a gigantic steel frame and thermoplastic structure along the Cornish coastline, a symbol of environmental conservation and future preservation. It is a must-see for all who value our planet and children absolutely love it.
Where to eat
Rick Stein is synonymous with Cornwall. Stein’s Fish and Chips on South Quay in pretty Padstow has fish-lovers flocking, and with good reason. All the classics of deep fried cod or haddock reside on the menu, but the real clincher is the homemade tarter sauce. Perfection.
Where to play
Cornwall’s beaches have it all. There are over 150 of them so you won’t be short on choices, though different strips of sand mean different things. Falmouth beaches, Lusty Glaze and The Slab are just a few of those that entice surfers. Hayle Estuary is excellent at high tide if you want to crab fish and St. Ives bay is a gorgeous, soft and sandy beach that is perfect for those with children. It has sheltered areas (if it does in fact start to drizzle), there are lots of lovely places to buy local Cornish ice cream or grab lunch and it’s fairly big, so it’s popularity amongst surfers won’t interrupt a family swim.