This Easter I decided to embrace school holidays, step away from my laptop, and take the kids away somewhere for a few days. Somehow, never in my 37 years have I ever made it to Cornwall, and although it’s a long drive from London, my mind was made up. We had to go!
The weekend before the holidays started (we are so last minute!) I had a scout around online for somewhere to rent and came across Cornish Horizons – whose website is quick and easy to use, and amazingly they had a few places available. One stood out immediately in Porthleven, which although was a place I’d not heard of (everyone seems to shout Padstow and St Ives when you say Cornwall!) after some frantic googling I discovered it sounded exactly like our cup of tea. A small fishing town with good coffee (essential for holidays with kids!) from Origin Coffee, a few lovely looking restaurants including, of course, a Rick Stein. There’s a supermarket, a couple of pubs, and a beach to boot – all within a stone’s throw of the cottage I’d found – Will’s Place.
All booked and paid with just days to go we were a little worried about the journey but settled on putting the kids in their pyjamas and leaving London at 7pm (rather than straight after school), in the hopes of, at least, a peaceful journey. As we set off Sat-Nav said 5 hours 10 minutes, and (for once!) she did not lie as a few minutes after midnight we pulled up outside the alley leading to the cottage – Will’s Place doesn’t have designated parking but we didn’t have any trouble finding a spot for the car – and a key safe meant we could arrive late at night without any issues. Tired but very glad and excited to have arrived, the rental was everything we had hoped and more – bright, gorgeously furnished, a twin bedroom for the kids, and the most comfortable super king bed for us that’s left us wondering how we manage without one! In the morning we opened the blinds to realise we could just about see the harbour from our room – it’s so close to everything, including just a 2 minute walk to the pub! Also to our delight there was NETFLIX! The kitchen is well-equipped and there’s a wood burning stove in the lounge. The only slight let-down was a not-very-powerful electric power shower, but it wouldn’t stop me staying there again.
During our stay we visited a number of places and highlights for us were:
- The Tate St Ives – not necessarily that relaxing with children who would rather run around, but it’s at least inside if the weather isn’t good, and we always love a gallery. St Ives is beautiful anyway and a good place for Cornish Pasties – just watch out for the seagulls!
- The Minack Theatre – this is my absolute must visit tip! The most incredible theatre built into the side of a cliff. They have plays on (including daytime shows for kids in the holidays, which ours loved) and it’s just an amazing place to visit. Do wrap up warm on cold days though as you are totally open to the elements.
- St Michael’s Mount – we made it across the causeway but didn’t have chance to explore the castle and gardens so we’ll be heading back here on our next trip. It’s also got a lovely beach and some rocks for the kids to climb on which were a hit. Make sure you check the tide times as the tide has to be out to get across the causeway.
- We loved Sennen Cove and had great fish and chips at The Blue Lagoon. There’s also a RNLI shop for a bit of gift shopping for a good cause, and of course, somewhere to buy ice creams.
- Our favourite beach though was Constantine Bay which we discovered on our way home. We’d gone to Padstow, which is lovely, but, for us, Porthleven is better. If you’re travelling without kids and can have a potter round the shops there’s lots of those to keep you busy, but otherwise you may struggle to keep your little ones amused (and out of the road!) – we didn’t quite understand the hype! But lucky for us that meant we headed for a nearby beach and stumbled on this total gem. Gorgeous sand and the best rock pools we saw!
Back at the cottage, Porthleven itself was heaven for us. An idyllic harbour with a sea wall that goes right out into the sea where the waves are incredible – this is where the serious surfers come – and early morning walks out there charged the soul! The local supermarket, Pengelly’s, had everything we could have needed, all the staples and lots of local produce, plus the gorgeous local beers we discovered from Skinners Brewery – especially the Porthleven Untameable Pale Ale. There are plenty of gift shops if you fancy a browse, and two pubs (one with a pool table which the kids loved having a go on!) – all moments from the cottage. For restaurants you’re absolutely spoiled for choice. We only managed to try Amelies which is relaxed but feels fancy – although an ill child meant our visit was cut short – and Go Nauti – the pizza arm of neighbouring ice cream parlour Nauti But Ice – which is perfect for a chilled but delicious family meal. It was the best pizza I’ve had in ages, and I’ve had some good ones! We were sad not to get a chance to also try Kota Kai which has a dedicated kid’s play room and a mouthwatering Asian-inspired menu. A few doors down is it’s sister restaurant Kota for more formal dining – both belonging to chef Jude Kereama.
There are better beaches in Cornwall than Porthleven’s, but it’s still a lovely beach for building sandcastles and doing a bit of rock pooling, and overall we loved the laid back feel of the town in comparison to others we visited. It’s small and perhaps a bit more rugged than others, but that made it feel more chilled, and it has everything you need – and all of high quality. For a first visit to Cornwall it was just the best introduction, and Porthleven is definitely our destination of choice for future trips!
We paid for everything mentioned above, I just wanted to share the love for some fab places 🙂