If you’re lucky enough to be in Cornwall this spring, and looking for inspiration of grown-up things to do, here are some of our favourite ways to enjoy the place at this tranquil time.
When it’s not too windy, head to St Agnes head. Incredibly picturesque with rugged coastline to explore.
St Agnes town has plenty of shops and cafes to occupy a rainy afternoon – with independent flowers and fruit and veg shops, a bakery, garden nursery and gift shops. The place attracts plenty of artists who showcase their work in local galleries, so you can pick up an original piece of art or jewellery.
In terms of eating places, the Driftwood Spars pub does wonderful food and Sunday roasts just by the beach, and even brew their own ale. The Cornish Pizza Company is another not to be missed where they use fresh dough and tomato sauce in their stone-based Italian oven to make delicious thin crust pizzas. Another favourite of ours is Lewsey Lou’s fish and chip shop serving locally caught fish and hand cut chips, and more original dishes such as sushi, cajun fish wrap and scallop salads. Also, don’t miss the Sorting Office for their artisan coffee, the Q Tearoom for their crab sandwiches and the Cuckoo Cafe hidden away in the Miners’ Institute.
And if you fancy stretching your legs – head down the coast to Chapel Porth and reward yourself at the National Trust cafe with a hedgehog ice cream or sausage sandwich complete with onions slowly fried with clotted cream.
Fowey, where Daphne du Maurier rented a house with her children, is a quaint harbour town full of beautiful fishermen’s cottages and terraced houses looking out to the bay. It’s a lovely place to get lost in, wandering through the narrow streets and exploring the sandy beaches.
There are a number of modern, independent shops and galleries full of unusual gifts to leisurely potter around in. For pick-me-ups we would recommend Lazy Jacks for delicious toasties and sandwiches, or the original Sam’s on the Beach for locally caught seafood and stone baked pizzas.
Across the harbour is Polruan, an ancient fishing village with a maze of narrow streets and alleyways. With only a couple of pubs and shops, it remains unspoilt and with a regular passenger ferry from Fowey is a great place to explore.
The gardens and historic houses dotted around Cornwall are beautiful. There is no better time to visit than in very early spring when the magnificent magnolia flowers are in bloom – sometimes the first flowers are seen as early as January, but usually they are rexpected between February and March. Gardens where you can find the Magnolia campbellii trees include the Lost Gardens of Heligan near St Austell, Tregothnan near to Truro, Trewithen and Caerhays Castle on the Roseland.
If you miss the magnolia flowers, you’ll still find Cornish gardens blooming with both native and foreign flowers and trees. Near to the hotel you’ll find Trerice, the Elzabethan manor house with traditional vegetable patches and knot garden, and Lanhydrock with huge rolling gardens, ancient woodlands and riverside paths.