Oh Cornwall, you beautiful, magical place. We actually had a different summer break planned in Bournemouth, but circumstances changed so we had to quickly book a campsite the day before we were due to leave. We haven’t visited Cornwall since the girls were tiny, and we thought it was the perfect place for a budget break, making the most of the crazy summer heatwave.
It took us 8 hours (with 2 stops) to get down to Cornwall. Its a heck of a journey with kids, but doable and totally worth it when you get there. We only had 1 bout of car sickness and approximately 4 arguments so it was all good. Which was better than the journey home when a layby toilet stop saw one child have to strip off due to an unfortunate choice of jumpsuit as travel attire, and the other child misfiring pee all over herself and my feet. Plus our tempers frayed due to our old banger which has super dodgy air con!
We arrived too early to check in so headed to the nearest beach, Praa Sands, to kill a couple of hours. I ended up with weird sunburn on my hips from my dungarees!
We camped at Elysian Fields campsite in Ashton. The campsite was lovely, a big open field, park for the kids, and good facilities. It is their first summer of opening and there was a couple of teething problems (mainly involving the toilets), but Jackie the owner is such a kind lady and she dealt with the hiccups fantastically.
We opted for no hook-up as we like to camp old school style; sans electronics. The kids played on the park until it was dark every night and made some lovely friends whom they are staying in touch with as pen pals!
Funny anecdote, there was a couple of shady kids that played on the park (scarily they were actually younger than the girls). One evening the girls ran back to the tent to inform us that the boys had said some swear words. Now our girls don’t know any swear words, they were only aware that the boys had used this language because another child had pointed it out. I asked the girls what he had said, “He told me to ‘Fog Off’ Mummy!”. As it turns out we had nothing to worry about as the boys had thick Irish accents and the girls couldn’t understand a word they were saying. William headed to the park and asked the boys to tone the language down, they replied “What you gonna do about it Santa Claus?” you know, because of the beard… original and intelligent responses! For the rest of the week the girls referred to them as the ‘Swear Boys’.
We went to Heartlands which we really recommend as a place to while away a few hours, plus its free. It has a really decent park and water feature for the kids to play in and a free museum in an Old Tin Mine which was fun and educational.
In the afternoon we drove down the narrow Cornish country lanes to St Ives. We spent the afternoon meandering down the picture perfect streets, admiring the cottages, and creating some rock art. We ate fish and chips for tea on the beach. After which, the girls wanted to go body boarding. The sea was ice cold, but that didn’t put us off and we played until about 8pm, when we headed back to the campsites for a shower and hot chocolate around the campfire.
Since she was little Ava has always struggled to sleep. One of the things that has helped her, until recently, was listening to ‘The Mousehole Cat’ audio story before bed each night. She has always wanted to visit Mousehole, so we used this opportunity to visit. It is such a charming place and we found ourselves playing the Rightmove game to see if we could ever afford to live here (we can’t!). If you want to visit we recommend arriving early to get a parking space and avoid traffic on the very narrow lanes.
The weather started off grey, and then miraculously the clouds dispersed and the crazy Summer ’18 heatwave announced itself. We promptly stripped down to our swimstuff and spent the rest of the day jumping off the harbour walls and swimming in the harbour. Again the sea was so cold it tightened your chest and there was a lot of jellyfish bobbing around the harbour.
Before heading back to the campsite we wanted to take the girls to Lands End, but it has been turned into an overpriced tourist nightmare which is so not our thing. So instead we headed to Sennen Cove with the intention to walk to Lands End. Alas the girls were tired so we had a drink in the pub and watched the surfers, before heading back.
We ended the day with campfire cooked tomato pasta, and snuggles round the fire.
The Saturday was our 6th Wedding Anniversary. We no longer buy each other cards and gifts. We choose to put the money towards an experience together instead.
So we headed to Marazion and went Sea Kayaking around St Michaels Mount, then had a pub dinner and drinks in the evening. It was such a perfect way to celebrate our marriage.
My absolute favourite day of the holiday was this one, because the sea is my happy place! A full day at Porthcurno. This is a stunner of a beach, if very busy during peak holiday times, make sure you get there early to find a good spot.
We played in the sand, body boarded, swam to hidden coves, and swam out to rocks and jumped off them.
It was heavenly, such a magical day full of memories. And like all the very best times we only have this one photo to show for it.
Just to keep it real, Ava was adamant that she was stung by one of the many jellies. They both wanted pizza for tea. We drove to Penzance, bought 2 pizzas, and sat on the beach wall whilst the sun was setting. Sounds idyllic, and it would have been if not for the arguments over who could sit in the sandy boot to eat, and the girls deciding that actually they weren’t hungry. So shower and early night for us all, we were all fast asleep by 9pm!
The next day we had a bit of a lazy one. Will went for a run whilst the girls and I chilled on the campsite reading and painting.
In the afternoon we drove into Penzance, had a pub lunch and did a spot of crabbing in the harbour.
We make an effort to pick up litter wherever we are, particularly plastic. We picked up quite a lot in Penzance, people are disgusting. Saying that most of the Cornish beaches were very clean, except for the one sanitary towel wrapper in Porthcurno. I’ll reiterate people are disgusting!
There came a day of compromise when the kids approached us with a leaflet to Flambards. It’s a bit of a tacky outdated theme park but the girls really wanted to go. So we agreed and paid the hefty entry fee. To be fair it was a fun day, the girls loved the rides. The Victorian Street and Blitz Experience were the best part and really immersive for the children, it has sparked a renewed interest in the Victorian Era which is fab.
Late afternoon before mine and William’s heads exploded from the dizziness of the rides, we decided to visit Kynance Cove. The place of Instagram photo dreams. From the top it was absolutely stunning, but the walk down with tired kids and all your stuff is tricky, and it was so terribly busy in the cove it spoilt it. I imagined it as a dreamy, romantic secret place in the times of Poldark, before us hoardes of tourists descended upon the shores. We had a quick dip in the sea, but then decided to walk back up and around to Lizard.
I’ve always found Lizard to be a haunting place, yet calming too, like its the edge of the world. That afternoon a single ray of sun peeked through the clouds and I felt comforted, at ease and settled, which I haven’t felt much recently as life has been so busy.
Our house has now completed and this was our first get away as a full time travelling family. Our week in Cornwall has given us a small taste of what is to come and we felt more sure than ever that we’ve made the right decision. We don’t need a home, we don’t need all of the stuff and the screens, and the endless search for happiness through material possessions. Home and happiness is wherever we are together.