A Summer spent in the UK and an Autumn spent reflecting on it. It feels a bit late in the day to be still talking about what we got up to in August but sometimes you need a little time to reflect and collect thoughts, or even the need to keep it to yourself as long as you can just to allow it to last a little longer…. Or perhaps real life gets in the way and time flies….both I feel. The positive about writing about a trip in the UK is it doesn’t have to be seasonal, we may have travelled around the South West of the UK late August, early September but everything we got up to can be experienced in the middle of Winter (perhaps not the sea swimming but that could just be me) So if you are thinking of taking a little escape in October or Christmas, here is a little run down of what we got up to….
Penzance was quite a journey for us, we had many a plan to stop off at various points but then in the end we blasted it all in one go, 5 1/2 hours done….you just want to get there I feel. We stayed at the beautiful Artist Residence, which is in my opinion, at the end of the quirkiest and prettiest of streets in Penzance, Chapel Street. Even the previous residence of the Bronte sisters is just a few steps away. We were lucky to be able to find parking on the streets near the hotel, which was free, hurrah! and also allowed for a wander around the little street, nooks, house spy, garden spy and get to know the area. Gardens with palm trees in are my absolute favourite. Having stayed at The Artist Residence in Oxford and Brighton we felt very lucky to get to rest our heads at the Penzance Residence too, which did not disappoint. As quirky and beautiful as its sister hotels, in a `Georgian house, designed by local artists and designers. Cosy yet stylish, welcoming but chilled…. the perfect spot….perhaps the buried treasure the pirates were protecting.. We were also so very lucky enough to get upgraded to the Chapel Suite, the most beautiful bolthole, full of artwork, a kingsize bed, a stunning free standing brass bath and a huge Georgian Window looking over the street, hmm…maybe this was the pirates treasure! The Cornish Barn was also a perfect spot, we sat tucked away by the window supping on Margaritas and feasting on steak the first night and in true indulgence holiday mode we ordered up the best fish taco to our room the second night…..amazing! How we left the room I have no idea but the sights of this special part of Cornwall were calling.
We were only in Penzance for a couple of days but actually managed to see quite a lot, with it still feeling lovely and relaxing. The good thing is once you are in the Penzance area everything else is really easy to get to by car, 20 mins to Lands End, beaches, Mousehole etc…. but for us at first we dropped off our bags and had a walk into Newlyn. About 30 minute walk along the coast, looking out to St Michel’s mount, on the hunt for ice cream, of course, with Jelbert’s ice cream parlour ready to fill a void. Obviously in these Covid times the shop wasn’t operating as fully as normal but they had huge tubs of Traditional Newlyn’s vanilla ice cream, £2 for 2 scoops in a tub and yes 2 tubs please, this was no time for sharing. It is known to be the best ice cream in the Cornwall, I may go as far as the UK. Do go if you are able to…it is a ‘not to miss’. Newlyn’s also has the very cool Mackerel Sky Bar Seafood Bar, which offers a small taster plate menu, with the freshest and local fish, it looked super chilled and the food looked delicious, the only downside is you can not book and it is a first come first served….we couldn’t quite fit this into our trip and honestly I am not sure Wes could have dealt with a hungry, disappointed Laura queueing to not get a seat in the end….but if we had had more time we would have definitely gone for it…..all the more reason to go back!
The beaches were what I was most looking forward to. I can, and do quite easily dismiss the UK for Europe for all its beautiful bays and beaches but I was completely surprised by what this special part of the world had to offer. As the hot sun beat down on us, there were times I really felt I was on an Island in the Balearics… turquoise water, rocky bays, soft golden sand, sunshine and a good book. The water was clear, clean and sparkling, and breathtaking, breathtaking for pure beauty but also for the temperature, but once you were in it was delightfully refreshing and hugely addictive. After a quick visit to Lands End, you can not, we spent the morning on Porthcurno beach with a breakfast of sausage rolls and coffee we picked up from the Porthcurno beach cafe. We then took a walk up the steps from the beach to Porthchapel beach. Passing the Minack Theatre, which unfortunately was closed (again another reason to go back) and walked about 25 minutes along the track down to the bay. Headed here after midday for a few hours. We were actually on our way to Porthgwarra but Porthchapel seemed too beautiful to miss. I think we were completely lucky with our timing a few hours later the tide would have come in and we would have missed the opportunity to go down there. A good a couple of hours of swimming, reading, snoozing on repeat and we were ready for afternoon tea.
Mousehole, pronounced ‘mowzel’ the chosen spot for a little afternoon refreshment, is about a 30 mins drive from Porthcurno beach , a beautiful, small fishing village, a real British seaside spot. Have a little wander, sit and watch the swimmers and boarders with a coffee and cake from the local shop. Or do what we did and take a 3 minute stroll to the oh so lovely Rock pool and tuck into an afternoon tea looking over Mousehole to our right and the sea ahead of us …..heaven. The Rock Pool Cafe is perched on the rocks above the sea pool, the cakes and scones are delicious and I think this may have been my most favourite moment of the trip, or was it the beaches ..too hard to choose!
On our last morning we took a trip to the Jubilee Pool and well what a place! Well when the sun shines down on this 1930’s century Art Deco pool there would be no better place to be. With candy coloured changing rooms, a huge fresh water pool, you could not get anymore quintessentially British, especially with Wesley happily swimming about in the rather cold water in the not so warm sunshine…. nothing that a hot cup of tea couldn’t fix after. I was just disappointed I didn’t have a period style two piece and head scarf to complete the look…..although at least then I didn’t have to go in. There is a coffee shop and areas to sit, if you like me are happy to take it all in by staying warm from the heat of your tea cup, there is still an experience to be had. A beautiful, beautiful undoubtedly British Lido, over looking the Cornish Sea, a some what refreshing and memorable end to our time our Penzance…I hope you get to visit too!
We booked the Artist Residence through Smith Hotels
Just a few extra things: You need cash for all car parks, we got caught out a few times which can add to the stress of it all. However most cafes only card. Be prepared have both at all times. We booked the Jubilee Pool in advance .
Thank you for reading xx