Welcome to another HUGE travel blog. This really is a big one so get cosy, grab a drink and get ready to read about our 4-day adventure to Cornwall.
We finally managed a getaway this year, it might not have been the epic journey to New York that we planned, and it wasn’t the road trip around Wales that we planned after that but when you see a tiny Shepard’s Hut in the middle of a field in Cornwall surrounded by cows, pigs, geese, and a lake…you gotta book it!
The first day, we actually left a day early to stay with my mum and dad for the evening. They live in Wiltshire, so it’s less than 3 hours to Cornwall for them, rather than us driving 6 hours all the way there. It was a great evening, we finally got to meet my parents' new pug; Milo…he is the personification of energy, he just wouldn't stop running around and wiggling every time you went near him, I brought him and our other dog Beans some new toys and treats and it was lovely to see them enjoying them. We had pizza together, had a catch-up, and then left for Cornwall late morning the next day, it was a great start. In case you haven’t seen the pictures of Milo I posted before we went away, enjoy this one.
We made it down to Launceston (our nearest town to the Airbnb) in the late afternoon and of course, it was pouring down with rain. We stopped at a pub and on the way out I saw this phone box full of books, it was a little book swap and I didn't have any books to swap and didn't see any that I was that interested in but I love this idea and I wish there were more of them!
We finally made it to the Airbnb at about 5pm (still pouring down with rain), the owners had kindly left a little trolley to pull all of our stuff down into the hut because you have to walk through a field and it would be annoying to have to go backward and forwards through there to grab your stuff but…my partner got a bit cocky and rushed trying to get out of the rain, I was shouting to him because he was getting dangerously close to the electric fence on one side, but the trolley hit a small pocket in the dirt and flipped over to the opposite side…down the bank into a river. You can imagine how we felt, thankfully although everything did fall out, nothing went into the river and the only thing that got damaged from the rain was a laptop charger, so I think we were very lucky! We (literally) picked ourselves up and carried on down to the hut, got everything inside, and just hid from the rain for an hour.
Fortunately, hiding from the rain meant we got to use the cosy log burner (which became my partners' new obsession) and sit all cosy and warm inside the hut, looking out onto the beautiful lake in front.
After we had (kind of) dried off, we went back out into the rain as we’d made reservations to have dinner at the famous Jamaica Inn, more on what that is later but for now, we’ll talk about food. It was really busy in the Inn, which was lovely to see, I ordered a vegan mushroom pot pie with a sweet potato crust and chips, my partner went for the complete opposite option and had a mixed grill full of about 4 different meats.
This pie was incredible! It was so creamy and filling and the sweet potato on top just balanced out the richness with a bit of sweetness, the chips were super crunchy, and as you can see I had a nice side of veg too.
For any meat-eaters here's the mixed grill, I think it was steak, lamb, chicken, and sausage with chips, tomato, mushroom, and the world's smallest side salad. My partner said it wasn't bad but it definitely wasn't the best, the meat was a little dry and fatty and maybe for the price (£25) it wasn't worth it.
It was getting late at that point and we really didn't want to have to try to make it through the rainy field in the dark, so we headed back to the hut, lit the log burner, and fell asleep ready for our next day!
We woke up at about 8.30 so excited to see what this day would bring, we started with a nice cup of tea and some scrambled egg sandwiches then went outside and said good morning to the cows and the geese.
In the morning we went back to the Jamaica Inn to visit its smuggling museum, farm shop, and gift shop. If you don’t know about the Jamaica Inn, it’s one of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions (and one of the most haunted), it dates back to 1750 and was used as a place for pirates and smugglers to come and trade their stolen goods as it was so far away from any towns or cities, the story goes that the landlord would look the other way as long as everyone kept buying beer and food. So you can imagine the feeling of being in a building that old that's still being used to eat and drink in, there are lots of ghost stories that I won’t bore you with now but I feel I'm quite susceptible to spiritual feelings in a room and I didn't really get anything there, apart from the fact that you could just feel the history in its walls.
We visited the smuggling museum, which served both as a memorial to Daphne Du Maurier, the author of the book “The Jamaica Inn” which is all about the stories of those pirates and smugglers that inhabited the Inn in 1700/1800s. The museum also had lots of artifacts that showed how people were smuggling drugs and alcohol overseas in really odd ways, you have to see this stuff to believe it.
After the museum, we went into the farm shop, got some snacks to have back at the hut, and then went into the gift shop where I got a fridge magnet. After lunch at the hut, we headed back out to go to our main destination of the day; The Eden Project. I’m sure many of you have heard of this beautiful place but if you haven’t it's a haven for plants and wildlife alike. This Eden Project (new ones are being built all over the world) opened in 2001 and the first time I went there in 2010 I was astounded. This place is unlike anything I've ever seen before, everywhere you look there's diverse plants and trees, and nestled in the middle are these incredible “biomes” that look like big honeycomb bubbles, they house entire rainforests just bursting with life!
We took a walk around the gardens outside first and a walk through a mythology exhibit that spoke about how mythology and nature are often linked, this section was full of public art that intertwined with nature, it was pretty warm that day and actually hadn’t rained (yet) so walking through these forests was a lovely break from the sun.
The Eden Project has two biomes; one rainforest biome and one Mediterranean Biome, each one housing an entirely different temperature, environment, and plant life. Here’s what it looks like inside the rainforest biome, I’ve never been fortunate enough to actually go to South America and visit the rainforests but I can pretend I'm there when you enter the biome.
After exploring the gardens, biomes and discovery centre we had finally seen everything. Just as we made our way to the gift shop the skies turned black over this oasis and we knew we’d better finish up fast before we get stuck out in the rain! We made it into the gift shop where I bought a 4-pack of Eden Project-made jams and marmalades (which we’re still eating at home) and a new notebook made of cork and recycled sea plastics.
We had an absolutely incredible time at the Eden Project, if you didn't already know I make my entire life about protecting animals and the environment so to go to a place that is also dedicated to that but on such a massive scale was really special for me, our ticket serves as an annual pass so we’ll be heading back to Cornwall sometime in June 2022 to visit all over again!
On the drive back to the hut we stopped at a Chinese takeaway in Launceston to get our dinner and on the walk back through the field the rain had stopped for 10 minutes and given way to an amazing double rainbow that arched right across the field! I took a panoramic photo for you to see.
After such an incredible day we were worn out! We said goodnight to the cows and geese, ate our Chinese, lit the log burner, and settled down for bed.
Today was another packed day, we set out over an hour and a half’s drive away right down to the tip of the country to Land’s End. This, much like The Jamaica Inn is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cornwall as this is the most southern point of England, I had been before but my partner hadn’t so it was exciting to see him witness it all. Once again, it was packed full of people so the first thing we did was have some lunch, I got a vegan pasty and my partner got some fish and chips.
I’m gonna be honest, I wasn’t blown away by this, the pastry was really good but inside it wasn’t a traditional Cornish pasty at all it was just curried vegetables, but it really got me thinking about how to make a good quality traditional vegan pasty, so I’m gonna try and have a go myself, look out for that on the blog over the next couple of weeks.
My partner had fish and chips which must have been pretty fresh as you’re only meters from the Atlantic Ocean. He absolutley loved the fish and chips, it was made to order and freshly battered, the chips were crispy and overall he loved it. After lunch we took a walk around the touristy bits of Land’s End, they have lots of shopping and an art and craft village which we didn't get time to see, but the thing I was most amazed at was that they now charge for your picture in front of the Land’s End signpost! If you didn't know, there’s a well known white signpost both at Land’s End and John O’ Groats (the Scottish version of Land’s End) that is great to have a picture under and prove you were there, I warned my partner that we might have to wait in a queue but what I didn't know was that they now charge £15 just to get within 30 foot of it! Of course, there were lots of people lined up and I felt really ashamed of the owners of Land’s End who were charging these people, some of whom were clearly from different countries just for a picture next to a sign. We didn't queue up for a picture. We bought a fridge magnet and a funny tea towel with seagulls on it from the gift shop and we headed to the nearest town; Penzance.
Today was the day that England played in the Euro’s to make their way to the semi-final, we had planned to go back to Launceston to watch it but knew we’d never make it back in time so we scoured the pubs and bars of Penzance to find 2 chairs that weren’t reserved and we finally found a quiet pub inside the Union Hotel. We had a great evening watching England win, drove back to Launceston for yet another Chinese takeaway, ate it back at the hut whilst saying good night to the cows and geese (and pigs that we’d met that day on the farm), and got some sleep before our last day tomorrow.
Day 4 (last day)
This last day was the one I was most excited about, although the Eden Project is my favourite place in Cornwall, I’d never visited the place we were going to today. St Michael’s Mount is a castle/ family home situated on its own private island off the coast of Marazion, Cornwall. This beautiful place dates back to the 12th century and can be reached by small motorboats and when the tide is out, you can walk along the half-a-mile brick causeway through the sea and back to the mainland. This day was the only day when it didn't rain, and I got BURNT big time, but I still wasn’t going to let that ruin the day.
We started the journey off with lunch once we got onto the island, I finally got the delicious traditional Cornish pasty that I'd been waiting for, mine had cheese and onion in it, I also had crisps and a sugar cookie, and my partner had the classic beef pasty, it was his first time having a “real” pasty made in Cornwall and he fell in love with it!
After lunch we made our way up the huge hills to the entrance of the castle, all the way around they’d cleverly placed QR codes that you could scan and read like a guidebook, it was fascinating to learn about the hundreds of years worth of history and the many different uses the castle has served in it's lifetime.
Much like everywhere else in Cornwall, it was a bit too crowded, but we made the best of it and managed to see the entire castle. We saw the beautiful gardens from high up in the castle but didn't go down and see them as we were pretty tired.
Towards the end of the day, I started to feel a bit down about the fact that we had to leave tomorrow and I really wasn’t looking forward to “getting back to normal” by going back to a job that had made me so unhappy for months on end (more about that in the July monthly favourites), we decided it was best to take a walk back over the causeway, go back to the hut and start our journey home that evening. Whilst sat in part of the gardens of the castle I took this picture while I was under a palm tree, when I looked back at it, it reminded me of being in the Caribbean so I thought I’d share that with anyone that’s missing friendly locals and sandy beaches.
We packed everything up back at the hut, took the trolley one last time through the field (without losing anything because I was the driver this time), waved one final goodbye to all the cows and geese, and made it back to London to our own cosy bed at about 1AM.
This is inside the hut
We had a really lovely time in Cornwall, it was the perfect getaway that we both needed. My partner said on the first day before we even got round to doing anything that he wants to come back to Cornwall because he loved it so much, we’re planning to go back sometime next year so we can make full use of the Eden Project ticket and carry on ticking off the attractions we haven’t seen yet.
I would recommend the Airbnb Shepard’s Hut we stayed in if you’re looking for a tranquil place to veg out for a couple of nights, it’s not suited to traveling back and forth every day like we did as it’s very far off the beaten track and it’s only big enough for two people who are looking to stay for a short amount of time as there’s no storage for your clothes if you have more than 1 bag, but despite those things, waking up every morning in a field surrounded by cows, geese, birds, and fish, overlooking the lake and not seeing a single other person is a real luxury that we were very grateful for.
I hope you enjoyed this super long travel blog and if you made it this far, thank you for persevering! I’m hoping the next one I can bring you will be about our travels around New York but we’ll have to wait and see!