Recently, we were lucky enough to spend four days (including travel) in West Cornwall. Our eldest son and his girlfriend, who is Brazilian and has always wanted to visit Cornwall, organised this last minute get away. We stayed in a stunning Airbnb, in the centre of Penzance, which was dog-friendly, meaning that Zeph could enjoy his first ever holiday and first time experience of the sea.
Our accommodation was in Chapel Street which is one of the most famous and oldest streets in Penzance. It has an interesting mix of buildings; independent shops, restaurants, pubs, galleries and more.
My fascination with doors remains!
We had an excellent drive down, with no hold ups and we were able to introduce Zeph to the sea on our first afternoon! He is quite nervous about many thing (cars, Bin lorries, trains…) but wasn’t fazed by the waves or their noise!
The highlight of the trip for me was a coastal walk from Porthcurno, via Land’s End to Sennen Cove. It was about 11km and took roughly 4 hours 40 minutes. It follows the South West Coast Path and is one of the best walks in Cornwall with stunning seascapes and rugged, granite cliffs.
We started the walk in Porthcurno where there is a wonderful beach which is owned by the National Trust. It begins with a steep climb (the first of many!) following the SW Coast Path up the cliffs. The photos below show Porthcurno Beach taken from the coast path. The sea was a stunning blue against the honey coloured sand. My pictures don’t really capture the true beauty of the scene.
We then passed above the sandy cove of Porthchapel, before reaching the wonderfully named Porthgwarra. This is one of many locations used in the recent Poldark series.
As the South-West Coast Path continues along the top of the cliffs, we were faced with some challenging (but still enjoyable!) walking. Fortunately, it wasn’t too windy! Needless to say, we kept Zeph on the lead, as we didn’t want him disappearing over the cliff edge and, to his credit, he walked beautifully!
Our next stop was to admire the breath-taking views at Nanjizal Bay. Here you can see the ‘Song of the Sea’ arch and we also spotted some seals. When we stared our walk it was bright sunshine but, as you might be able to see from the photo below, by the time we got to this point, a sea mist was beginning to roll in.
When we reached Land’s End, the visibility was poor, so we decided not to linger but to step out to our final destination, Sennen Cove. You can catch a glimpse of me descending to Sennen through the mist.
Apart from water breaks, we hadn’t stopped since we set off, so we were delighted to find a beach café where we were able to have a much needed, tasty cider!
The next day we still had several places we wanted to visit including the little town of Marazion. It is one of the oldest chartered towns in the UK. The first charter of incorporation was granted by Henry III in 1257 and was reaffirmed on 13th June 1595 by Queen Elizabeth Ist.
Being fascinated by language, I wondered how Marazion got its name. Apparently, it comes from from the important fairs and markets that were held here – the earliest recorded was in 1070. Marazion had two significant markets: Marghas Byghan (Small Market) and Marghas Yow or Jew (Thursday Market). Time has blurred the pronunciations to Marazion. Interestingly, the main street in Penzance is called Market Jew Street. Marazion was the major town in this area until the late medieval period when Penzance started to take over.
We had decided to have lunch in Marazion and found spaces outside the King’s Arms.
We were pleased to be able to have the same cider that we’d enjoyed at Sennen Cove! However, it turned out that the chef was unwell and no food was available. It was suggested that we if we liked pasties, we could buy them from the pasty shop opposite and eat them at the pub! When in Cornwall, it would be rude not to eat a pasty, wouldn’t it?! It was a good call as they were delicious.
One of the main attractions at Marazion is St Michael’s Mount. As the tide was out on the day we visited, we were able to walk along the causeway towards the Mount. As we hadn’t booked we were unable to visit the abbey but as we wanted to go St Ives as well, we weren’t too disappointed. Another time!
Our final port of call was St. Ives. It was a brief visit because we were meeting friends for dinner, that evening. We did have time to eat an ice cream, including Zeph!
Our last day included a trip to The Lizard. The Lizard is the most south-westerly point of the British mainland and definitely worth a visit. We parked in the National Trust car park next to the Lizard Lighthouse. The lighthouse is one of the largest in the world and was automated in 1998. It’s engine rooms are open to the public in the summer.
Below are some images from our Lizard walk.
Our final destination was Britain’s most southerly café, Polpeor Café, where we lingered over an amazing full English breakfast, in the sunshine, enjoying the stunning views. What a way to end our mini break in West Cornwall!