A couple of weeks back we headed on a road trip to Cornwall to celebrate our two year wedding anniversary. We had wanted to head down to The English Rivera for some time and couldn’t wait to pick a car, fire up the GoPro and soak in some seaside.
A small search for ‘the best hotels in Cornwall‘ threw up some links to the rather glorious Mount Haven hotel in Marazion in the south. Just outside Penzance, it sits on the coast that overlooks St. Michael’s Mount. A quick email via their website and we had arranged a superior room on the top floor that looked out directly to the sea and the great view of the island. They even arranged for us to have a bottle of champagne on arrival. We were able to get a fairly cheaper rate as we booked out of season, but you’ll probably want book way in advance if you want to bag a great room in the summer.
We hired a big Vauxhall Insignia to take us down to the south west. We wanted a really lovely car with all mod cons so that we could enjoy the drive. You can see some of the scenery in the video below which we filmed using our new GoPro. Not all of our videos will be just the drives, but were still really excited to be using it.
It took us around six hours to get to Marazion, taking as many ‘A’ roads as we could. We stopped at Stone Henge on the way just to see how close we could park. Bad news: not very! Visitors are now directed to a visitor centre and pay £14 entry with a small history tour and buggy to the site. We felt it was a little against the values that we have about mass tourism. There’s so many people who want to see the same thing that it has to be organised and catered for in this his way, but it seems to take away some of the spirit of how we’d really would like to see Stone Henge. Maybe we’ll come back at Solstice (for free). King Arthur kind of agrees.
As we got deeper into the south west, we left the main highway and drove through green scenery and mild sunshine. Sadly, we were to leave the sunshine behind in London and it never really got any brighter. That wasn’t on our minds though as we hit Dartmouth and it got darker and darker. By the time we found the hotel, it was pitch black, but thankfully the hotel staff were welcoming and there was enough light to see St. Michael’s Mount as we sipped champagne on our balcony. We took short walk into the small town at the bottom of the hill and ate a pub dinner in The King’s Arms.
So what can you do with two nights in Cornwall out of season? We were teased with what the area would become in the summer as we drove through Penzance the next day. Six months from now the beaches and promenade would be heaving. Chips shops would be open and the candy floods machines would be working. Sun would beat down on the brightly painted houses and hotels, making them look a lot more attractive than they did now with their backdrop of grey skies and boarded up frontages.
We had decided to drive to Land’s End, the most south westerly point in England, seeing as we had done the same thing in Ireland the year before. The end of the land and the view was amazing, but you have to walk through what can only be described as a fairground first. Once again, as with Stone Henge, we totally understand as to why things are organised: car parking, toilets and food. This is a popular place! However, how relevant is Arthur’s Quest, the “interactive experience that uses the latest interactive technology and special effects to conjure that mystical Dark Age of Arthur, Merlin and, of course, dragons.” This is the end of the country, not know for being medieval. Why waste your money. People out there agree!
We would have loved to have walked to St. Michael’s Mount afterwards, but the tide was back in by the time we got back, so we finished our day with Vicki having massage and Josh watching a Bond film (well it was a Sunday) enjoying tasty food at Mount Haven and chatting way into the night. That is what an out of season day in Cornwall should be about, sights under a grey sky, good food and relaxation.
We headed back to London after a gorgeous cooked breakfast, stopping in the town of Glastonbury on the way. Josh had been looking forward to this for along while as he always had pined to go and climb the Tor whenever we went to the festival. This time, we were climbing it! The sun retuned to us once we had scrabbled to the top (Vicki more out of breath than Josh of course) and we reflected on the great British countryside and a rather fabulous weekend away by the sea.
We hope you enjoyed reading this. We have lots more UK road trips coming up this summer, but we’d love to know where you’re heading to. Tell us below in the comments. Until next time…