Don’t You just Love Cornish harbours…
Narrow streets and steep valley sides lead down to the centre of the old Mevagissey where the distinctive twin harbour provides a safe haven for the many fishing boats that land their daily catch of skate, lobster, plaice and sole. In typical picture postcard style, pubs, cafes, galleries and shops cluster around the harbour walls and line the pretty streets. Named after two Irish saints, St Meva and St Issey, the village dates back to at least 1313 and during the 1800s Mevagissey prospered on the back of the abundant source of pilchards out to sea.
Around the maze of streets you’ll find plenty of seafood restaurants that the village is renowned for and there is nothing more sublimely Cornish than tucking into some local scallops and mackerel and ending the evening with a walk along the harbour wall with lights of the village twinkling on the water.
Learn all about the history of the village at the Mevagissey Museum on the harbour. Stacked to the gunwales with memorabilia and local artefacts, the museum brings the history of the village to life.
Experience http://www.mevagisseyfeastweek.org.uk- a wonderful festival, though to be the longest surviving in Cornwall, with a blend of traditional and contemporary events which bring the community and visitors together to share in the celebrations.
Mevagissey Aquarium is full of fascinating marine life and is situated on the West side of the harbour.
At Mevagissey Model Railway any child is going to be fascinated by the dozens of trains whizzing past tiny houses and people set against a detailed backdrop. There’s an alpine scene, a harbour and Cornish tin mine and a Junior Junction layout featuring all the kids’ railways favourites. They can even have ago at operating some of the larger trains themselves
The Lost Gardens http://heligan.com once billed as the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ of horticulture, underwent its famous restoration after decades of neglect and now brims with an amazing array of sub- tropical flowers, trees and plants.
Swim at http://www.gorranhaven.org.uk A a few miles from the village. One of the attractive and safest places to plunge into the water, the beach here is secluded below high cliffs and shelters in a narrow gorge that heads down from the lush south coast countryside.
Cycle or walk on the http://www.pentewanvalleycyclehire.co.uk through to St Austell. An easy-going 5 mile round trip from the beach at Pentewan to the village of London Apprentice and back. The trail runs along the bed of an old narrow gauge railway which once took clay and tin ore to the harbour at Pentewan until it silted up and the railway ceased operation in 1916. Bikes can be hired at Pentewan.
Polmassick Vineyard was the first to be planted in Cornwall over 30 years ago and today its well established vines produce consistently good vintages. Enjoy a glass of local wine, take a tour and stock up with some of the Polmassick’s white, rose, red, sparkling and dessert wines. our neighbouring http://www.bosuevineyard.co.uk/ produce some award winning wines as well and give tours during the summer and early autumn.
Take the http://www.mevagissey-ferries.co.uk on a 35 minute trip up the coastline to Fowey. See the fabulous south coast from a bobbing boat while watching out for dolphins, huge basking sharks and seals sunbathing on the rocks
Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the town hangs off the west side of the Fowey estuary where the large, deep water harbour is a magnet for sailing fans. As you walk the ever narrowing streets of the old town where mediaeval and Georgian buildings cast shadows over each other, a vibrant maritime history comes to life.
Lining the main Fore Street you will find many small, independent shops selling unusual gifts, artwork, clothing and books. If you’re a foodie then Fowey is home to many bistros, cafes and restaurants where you’ll find menus offering the best in local produce – Fowey River mussels are a highlight.
Get an overview of the town and the beautiful harbour with a stroll out along the Esplanade passing the grand parade of Edwardian and Victorian houses to the medieval St Catherine’s Castle which looks out over the harbour entrance and Readymoney Cove.
See the town from the water with a trip on board one of the http://www.foweycruise.com/main.php that regularly depart from the Town Quay steps. Cruises take you upriver past the docks, where you will see huge china clay ships being loaded with cargo, and out to sea taking in the best views of the town.
Fowey Museum in the town centre holds an interesting collection recording Fowey’s rich and varied history. Includes Mayoral Regalia, costumes, old photographs, models of old sailing ships and postcards.
Fowey’s most famous resident Daphne du Maurier is celebrated at the Literary Centre where there is a small exhibition and film about her life and how her writing was influenced by this beautiful area.
Dedicated to St Finbar who passed through Fowey early in the 6th century, the magnificent St Fimbarras church was rebuilt in 1460 by the Earl of Warwick after being destroyed by French marauders. Situated in the heart of the town it is generally open to visitors during the day.
Pop into the charmingly old fashioned Fowey Aquarium on the Town Quay where you can literally get in touch with local sea creatures in the petting pool. A great nostalgic fishy fix
Take the passenger ferry across the harbour to Polruan and visit to the spectacular cliff side http://www.headlandgarden.co.uk Open on Thursday afternoons from 14.00 until 18.00/May to August. Admission is £3.00 for Adults and £1 for children. Cream teas are served in the garden. No dogs.
Take to the water yourself on an escorted river tripe http://www.foweyexpeditions.co.uk in an open cockpit canoe, perfect for observing the abundant river wildlife and a real adventure even if you’re a total novice.
There are many fantastic coastal and woodland walks around the area including The Hall Walk http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/item379352
The Harbour Side Of Mousehole
Described by Dylan Thomas as the loveliest village in the UK – it’s where he spent his honeymoon, Mousehole doesn’t fail to impress with its picturesque harbour side setting, narrow streets and thick set fishermen’s cottages. It’s said that the village was inspiration for Thomas’s Under Milk Wood and if you listen carefully to the author and poet’s most famous work, you’ll realise there’s a more than just a passing resemblance.
Along the harbour road you’ll find galleries, gift shops and restaurants while in the harbour itself there’s a safe sandy beach at low tide popular with families. Situated on the steep hill heading to Lamorna is the Mousehole Bird Hospital, a sanctuary for injured birds brought in from around the coast for treatment where you can visit the patients. The village is famous for its Christmas lights which illuminate the harbour in the depths of winter and for Tom Bawcock’s Eve, a traditional pre-Christmas celebration commemorating a local hero who saved the village from famine by bracing the stormy seas to bring back fish for the starving villagers. Locals mark the event by baking the famous Stargazey Pie made with mixed fish, egg and potato with fish heads poking out through the crust.
Charlestown harbour was built in the 1700s and is situated on the outskirts of St Austell, on the south coast of Cornwall. The original grade II listed harbour is split into two, separated by a lock gate which allows boats in and out of the two areas. The harbour has become a popular film set, showcasing its beauty in Alice in Wonderland, The Three Musketeers, Doctor Who and Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, just to name a few. There are pebbly beaches either side where visitors can enjoy the rugged coastal views and paddle, and there are small gift shops, galleries, cafes and pubs close by. This small harbour was my playground and where i learnt to Harbour dive. Its magic has drawn film crews from all over the world and can be seen on BBC every sunday night with the rather attractive Ross Poldark.
Discover St Ives
St Ives has been attracting artists for decades who come to capture the area’s undeniable natural beauty. It started with J M W Turner and the marine artist Henry Moore who first came to St Ives in the mid-1800s and since then the town has become a magnet for some of the world’s greatest painters, sculptors and ceramists.
Arrive in breathtaking style by taking the twenty-minute train ride on the popular branch line from St Erth to St Ives and be the first to spot the colourful fishing boats coming into harbour as the branch line snakes around the golden bays to the town.
Kick off your shoes and stroll along the white sand at http://www.porthminstercafe.co.uk where, out in the bay, you’ll see the dreamy view of Godrevy Lighthouse, inspiration for Virginia Woolf’s famous novel To the Lighthouse.
Visit the Barbara Hepworth http://barbarahepworth.org.uk/st-ives/ Museum and Sculpture Garden in St Ives where sensual sculptures by one of the country’s leading 20th century artists are exhibited in tranquil gardens. Wander along pathways through trees and shrubs and discover some of her most celebrated works in bronze and limestone.
Behind the 14th century Sloop Inn on the Wharf and the Harbour beach there is a maze of narrow cobbled streets and fisherman’s cottages. This is the heart of old St Ives, known to the locals as ‘Downlong’. Spend an hour or so delving into the life and times of bygone St Ives at the local museum. The large space is packed with memorabilia and artefacts that reflect St Ives’s long and varied history including fishing, boatbuilding, art and agriculture.
There are only four Tate galleries in the world and one of them is Tate St Ives. Opened in 1993 in recognition of the international importance of art in Cornwall and St. Ives in particular, the impressive gallery holds hundreds of works produced by the St. Ives School from the late 1800’s through to the 21st century.
Since the 1930s visitors have been taking the boat trip from the harbour out sea to watch the local colony of seals frolicking in the sea and sunbathe on the rocks. Located 3½ miles (6km) to the West of St Ives, the aptly named Seal Island is home to more than 40 seals who inquisitively like to say ‘hello’.
Enjoy a family day at the beach building sand castles, playing in the rock pools or if you’re feeling adventurous grab a surfing lesson from the local surf school.
Padstow is a charming working fishing port surrounded by glorious sandy beaches, at the head of the Camel River. Watching the everyday ebb and flow of harbour life is a perfect way to spend a day. This foodie destination with popular eateries such as Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, is the start and end point for the Camel Cycle Trail and a good base for water sports.
Enjoy a fun filled day on the beach with an abundance of activities to try, from rock pooling at low tide, body boarding, learning to surf with a local surf school and of course having a go at building a sand castle.
Get access to the beautiful Cornish countryside with a cycle on the famous Camel Trail beginning in Padstow and ending in Wadebridge
Known as one of Cornwall’s great foodie destinations, you can indulge in some of Rick Stein’s fish and chips, sit down in his famous fish restaurant or visit Paul Ainesworth at No.6 for some truly delicious food.
Padstow Museum houses an interesting collection of memorabilia giving an insight into the history of Padstow over the past two centuries. You can also discover the story of the famous ‘Obby ‘Oss, the ancient ritual played out in the town every May Day.
Take the ferry across the river to the village of Rock, popular with film stars, models and even royalty. From here there are some great walks along the coast to the spectacular beaches of Daymer Bay and Polzeath.
Leave Padstow behind in your wake on a white-knuckle ride on a fast speedboat. Pass rugged coastal scenery as you take an exhilarating 15 minute trip out to sea. The local coastal waters offer fantastic fishing on the rocky headlands not to mention the stunning views. For the more adventurous take a trip on a local fisherman’s boat which operate daily throughout the summer.