Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Padstow, Cornwall: A UK Family Travel Destination

A few weeks back we returned from a family trip to Padstow, Cornwall with all of Glen's immediate family for a week's stay at a beautiful, large and luxurious house 200 yards from Constantine Bay. I'd been longing to visit Cornwall for a very long time, (my last visit was in 1986, aged 2) and everything I hoped for was true, barring maybe the weather, but this is the UK so we were prepared for that.

The county is utterly captivating, and we did manage to take in a few of the interest points and different towns all with their own individual charms and nuances but I have to say, that Padstow itself was my favourite by far, and I was only sorry we didn't spend a day or two more there.

PENRICHPERFECT STAYS

Penrich, Perfect Stays, Constantine Bay

The beautiful house we stayed in was nestled just a couple of hundred metres from the beach at Constantine Bay. Penrich; a stunning four bedroom house that we booked through Perfect Stays, was a really modern, luxurious base for the week, and with Bridget only just two and our little nephew George just a few months old, it was ideal. Evenings were spent together over a meal, a cream tea, playing some of the provided board games or watching one of the TV's in either the living room area or the designated film and TV room.

Everything at Penrich was finished to the highest specification, and everything you could wish for was here - the kitchen had its own wine fridge, dishwashers and every modern convenience you might require. On arrival the fridge was stocked with locally sourced eggs, bacon, clotted cream, jam and a selection of scones too – a really nice touch.

A balcony looking out to the Bay, plus a back garden area with rattan furniture and barbecue provided - we didn't have the weather to make the most of this, this time around but we wouldn't hesitate to return.

Penrich, Perfect Stays, Constantine Bay

Penrich, Padstow, Cornwall

The master bedroom had a huge en suite with walk in shower and free-standing bath, and another of the double rooms also had an en suite. A shared bathroom sat nestled between the other two rooms; one a double, and one a family room with a double bed and two sets of bunk-beds.

PADSTOW

The small town of Padstow is inhabited by less than 4,000 residents, but has become a real foodie destination, thanks to the variety of Rick Stein outposts, the man with the midas touch for the town, plus a number of other high-profile chefs in the area such as Paul Ainsworth and just across the bay, Nathan Outlaw’s The Mariner’s Rock.

Reviews for meals taken in the likes of Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant, The Custom House, Rafferty's Wine Bar and The Cornish Arms (another Rick Stein venue) can all be found here.

Rafferty's Wine Bar, St Merryn, Cornwall

We also enjoyed takeaway in the form of Rafferty's Pizza - a delicious stone-baked pizzeria a few minutes’ drive from our house, which provided a delicious meal on two nights after two days out doing lots of sightseeing and driving. Our first night too, saw us enjoy fish and chips in from Rick Steins which was excellent quality too. And on arrival on the Monday, we had a couple of hours wait and so took refuge in The Farmer's Arms in St Merryn, very much what I would call an 'old man's pub'. We chose 'safe' options as wasn't sure of the quality of the food for a quick lunch, but needn't have worried. I had a ham baguette, and the ham was thick cut, home cooked and utterly delicious.

We made use of Stein's Fisheries excellent seafood counter in the town too, Glen's stepdad Bill bought a few fresh crabs from here for sandwiches, and one afternoon we bought some fresh prawns, scallops and squid from here and had a delicious seafood linguine back at Penrich. Before the long drive back to Essex we popped in again and collected a couple of crabs, some lemons and parsley which the shop happily boxed up for us with plenty of ice so it stayed fresh for the five and a half hours of our journey.

Stein's Fisheries
Cooking at Penrich with Stein's Fisheries produce

FAMILY FRIENDLY SPOTS IN THE PADSTOW AREA

Constantine Bay - we took Bridget for daily walks here from Penrich, and when her cousins, Lola and Pearl, arrived at the weekend, they enjoyed it as much as she did. A beautiful sandy bay with hundreds of sea shells scattered and ready for collecting and exploring, it was a paradise for children. We saw plenty of surfers and dog walkers here too, and it looked different every day, just gorgeous.

Constantine Bay, Cornwall

Bridget taking a stroll on Constantine Bay
Treyarnon Bay - just a five minute walk over a cliff path from Constantine Bay was this over sandy cove, more of the same and on the Sunday we walked here after a lovely meal at Rafferty's Wine Bar and there were tons of people here enjoying what nature offered up. One family had brought a pop-up gazebo and were enjoying a BBQ and birthday cake which was lovely to see.

Treyarnon Bay, Cornwall

Padstow Beach - we only admired it from afar as we had our own beach at Penrich which we enjoyed so much, but had we had the weather, it would have made a great change for a day spent on the beach.

Old MacDonald's Farm - a lovely farm on the outskirts of Padstow that had the likes of goats, chickens, horses, owls and other animals to enjoy as well as plenty more to keep the children entertained from pony rides, a train ride, go karts, trampolines and crazy golf; all included in the price of entry.

Old MacDonald's Farm, Padstow

OUTSIDE OF PADSTOW
Mevagissey 

Mevagissey

A pretty little fishing village with a small harbour and a bustling tourism, Mevagissey has plenty of shops selling nautical nick naks as well as some more boutique style outlets. Tina, Glen's Mum, was able to trace the houses of some of her ancestors too, which made the visit here all the more special. We enjoyed a lovely, informal meal at No 5, no bells or whistles, it was a laid-back place but the food did the talking, I enjoyed a delicious seafood salad that made the moat of local Cornish crab, prawns, mackerel and smoked salmon - lovely.

No 5, Mevagissey, C


St Michael's Mount

A National Trust protected island 500 metres off of Marazion, inhabited by just 30 people, and reachable only by sea path, that disappears as the tide rolls in. Unfortunately we chose the worst day for this bit of sightseeing, fog, wind and rain! We managed a quick walk over to the Mount, but visibility was poor and we had to hot step it back to avoid getting rather wet.

St Michael's Mount, Cornwall

There was a lovely adventure playground at Marazion which was ideal after Bridget had been cooped up in the car for a couple of hours.



Newlyn

Newlyn was an even tinier little fishing hamlet with just a scattering of shops but an excellent array of fresh fish shops, some of which offered mail order fish boxes, in the Riverford kind of way.

We enjoyed a traditional Cornish Pasty in Warren's Bakery (who claim to be the oldest makers of Cornish Pasty's) here though, which we were all excited to try. It was tasty, hearty and cheap, but didn't set our world on fire.

Jamaica Inn

High on the Bodmin Moor, Jamaica Inn, famous from Daphne Du Maurier’s famous tale of the same name, is a great tourist spot off of the A30, the main road into Cornwall. Full of gothic history, the Smuggler’s Museum dedicated to smugglers, pirates and of course Daphne Du Maurier, is in an annexe to the main building, which is still an operating guesthouse, restaurant and bar. Jamaica Inn was a must-visit for me, being a huge Du Maurier fan, and made a good meeting spot, it was where we met the rest of the family as Glen, Bridget and I had stayed in Exeter the night before, whereas the rest of the family travelled in from Essex on the Monday. It was a cosy bolthole, full of wood-burning fires and armchairs and a welcoming warming drink too.

The Smuggler's Museum, Daphne Du Marier's Office, Jamaica Inn

Land's End

Land’s End is the very end of the country; with its’ own little built up tourist spot around it. With usual views right out into the sea, which I'm assured are beautiful, unfortunately due to the poor weather, visibility was at an all-time low and so we could barely see five feet in front of us, but at least we can say we’ve been – John O’Groats next!

Land's End, Cornwall

There are plenty of places we didn’t manage to visit during our stay in Cornwall – such as St Ives, which I’ve been told is beautiful, Bude, Falmouth and Penzance to name just a few – there are also plenty of family attractions we didn’t make it to, which we would make a conscious effort to plan for if it was just our little family. 

Cornwall certainly has plenty to offer. The county truly captured our hearts in late September, when the weather was up and down and far from inviting. We will 100% return to Cornwall for a family holiday, especially now we have another little one on the way, and trips abroad will be that bit harder – until next time Cornwall, the ideal UK family holiday destination.

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