Cornwall is a sort of home from home for me. My grandparents lived in Roche together for over 20 years before my Grandad passed and my Nan downsized to a bungalow. Being a home from home I forget Cornwall is actually a holiday destination. That is until I’m there during the summer and roads are jammed! It means I actually know the back roads to get around which is very handy when what feels like half of the UK try to bring a caravan down. Honestly though, I can’t even blame them. Since I’ve been coming here over 20 years I’ll start with some places I’ve been that I actually have photos of.
The Eden Project
First off is probably one of the most famous spots, the Eden Project. I had wanted to go here for years but it was expensive so we never did. They do much cheaper local passes for people living in Cornwall and Devon, around the £10 mark. We bought a yearly Senior Pass for £70 at the time as the locals pass is only available to purchase between April and June and we were looking into it in August. Also two tickets would have cost over £70 so at least this way she had unlimited access for the year and could bring one of her granddaughters when we’re over to visit her. They had mobility aids for people with reduced mobility but to say they’re awkward to steer is an understatement. My Nan wanted to leave it in the Dome because the steering was so hard. They do have them though and there’s obviously no charge for using them. The walk down to the Domes is lovely, lots of birds flying around with all the nature and all. There’s two domes, Mediterranean and Rainforest.
The Mediterranean is literally like stepping into some island in the Mediterranean. The heat, the flowers, the colours. The patio furniture and a Mediterranean style restaurant. If you’re looking for that delicious heat and enjoy nature walks you’ll enjoy this. The gift shop is really cool in that it’s heavily focused on environmentally friendly made products and I would have bought loads of the kids books for my friends’ kids if I could have! The rainforest dome I was more worried about heat wise, as it was in the mid 20s outside but it was amazing. Whatever way it’s set up the humidity is heavy in the air, it felt like Australia hot rather than Europe hot if that makes any sense. There were pineapples and bananas and all other sorts of fruit growing in there and a beautiful waterfall up at the top with cool rope bridges. The descent up is fairly gradual, and optional. You don’t have to go up to see the waterfall and can still really enjoy it there. There’s also tropical birds and their babies who are used to, but cautious around people. Overall, it’s really cool that you can feel abroad when you’re not. Would recommend it.
Padstow is a beautiful little seaside village that I recommend getting the bus to. Parking is expensive and fills up quickly. Bring your appetite, get the fish and chips and give yourself a few hours. There’s an area for outdoor performances where local singing groups and bands can plug in amps or speakers and there are benches opposite to have an ice cream (Kellys Cornish Ice Cream) and enjoy the view out over the harbour. The water is so clear you can see fish swimming around.
The shops here are really cool and cute so bring some money or you’ll go home with regrets
Another really cute seaside town, some nice leather shops, amazing fish and chips and a lovely place to have a meal and watch the sun set. Similar parking situation. The towns in Cornwall really weren’t built for tourism at all and the locals have a permanent pain in their face just trying to get around.
Unsurprisingly Cornwall has some stunning cliff walkways and Bedruthen is one of my faves. You could spend hours here taking photos, on the beaches between the cliffs. Recommend for a good long walk and blowing the cobwebs away!
Hot air balloon rides
I bought tickets for this as 1) one as it was my Nans Christmas present and 2) it was on her bucket list of things to do before she ‘pops her clogs’. Hot air balloon flying is simply THE best way to travel. My Nan’s afraid of heights so she was nervous she really wouldn’t enjoy it but she absolutely loved it, as did I and we did not want to go down. We used this company, who were brilliant. Nan, being 82 at the time was not able to climb up the basket and down on the inside so they offered to do what they do for people with reduced mobility and they topped the basket on its side and she was able to lie down and kind of hoosh herself in, with a wee push from me!
A few things you should know. Booking a day is fine but hot air ballooning is entirely weather dependent. If it’s too windy, it’s not safe so they’ll cancel. I was flying from Ireland for 3 days to do this so had asked what happens if my flight is cancelled and I have to fly back a few days later. They said in this situation they would do their best to get us on a flight the next day, exceptional circumstances and all that. I thought this was very accommodating and was pleased. You should also know they can’t steer, so they’ve no idea which way they will fly, which direction or how fast. Again, all weather dependant. This means that you don’t know where you’re going to land. The pilot explained that they had an arrangement with (most) of the local farmers with the understanding that they MAY land there sometimes and it can be a bit beyond their control. Most farmers are fine. I asked what about the farmers who refused consent. He said we just pack up a lot quicker and run!
There’s a go pro attached to the outside, you won’t even see it but it’ll take some deadly photos of you all in the balloon (16) and you’re gonna want them. The company will sell them for £20 on a memory stick. If for example, one person was to buy them, they could then, if they wanted, email them to their fellow passengers. If they were that way inclined. All I’m saying. I definitely didn’t do this…
Landing was kind of cool and very gentle, bit of a bump and the balloon came down to the side and not on top of us thankfully. We had landed in a muddy, shitty field (wear sensible shoes!) and climbed out one at a time. Also bring handsan for after. It was a beautiful sunny morning and upon landing the other staff member had set up a table with glasses of champagne. It was fabulous. You do have to help collapse, get all the air out of and finally fold up the balloon after, which is not so fun but when everyone chips in it’s quicker. Still one of my favourite experiences and a wonderful way to see how green and lucious Cornwalls countryside is.
We did this as kids and as a HUGE Harry Potter fan I was amazed to be able to meet the real life Hedwig. You can do the falconry stuff here, that is have them fly and land on your arm. I’ve no photo because I was about 13 and had a Nokia 3310 for a phone but it was a good day out.
Speaking of stuff for kids we visited this theme park so many times I can still find my way around it in my head. I went on the rollercoaster, my first one, over 20 times. Irish kids have longer summers, 3 months instead of 2 so the park would sometimes be very nearly empty when we were there which was great!
I remember it fondly, but it’s no Thorpe park, so manage your expectations.
This place turns out had been up the road and a hidden gem! Beautiful forestry, a garden centre and a really old fashioned stately English home. Think of Downton Abbey but slightly less grand or modern. They have motorised chairs for people with reduced mobility which my Nan had great craic on! We didn’t have very long here but could have spent the day. Don’t remember their being places for food, maybe there was but it’d be a beautiful spot for a picnic.
Cornwall hotel and spa
We’ve been here twice for pampering days and love it. We haven’t been since Covid but have strong plans to go back. Think we got a weekday couples package and so much cheaper than what you’d pay in Ireland for the same.
I’ve only really been to the beach here as a kid but it’s a beautiful beach and full during the summer. A good spot to perve I’m surfers too, just saying!
Things on my list:
- The Lost Gardens of Heligan. I’ve not been here yet but I’ve heard magical things. Google the pictures if you’re looking for some inspiration. A lot of walking, so be prepared and have sensible shoes.
- The Minnack theatre, this is an outdoor theatre, looking out over the ocean. You can see a show here or just visit to enjoy the view.
- Pendennis Castle
- Trebah Gardens
- Titagel Castle
- St Michael’s Mount
- Wistmans Wood.
If youve been, anywhere else you’d recommend?
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