A Slow Week in Cornwall

Cornwall got under my skin. Salt on my arms, wind in my hair, sun on my face; I could instantly see myself living in this far-flung corner of Britain. It may be a staggering eight hour drive from home, but it was more than worth the long journey.  I’m already daydreaming of returning to my favourite spots and discovering more of the coastline next summer.

I’ve been toying with a few different ideas for how to present this blog post. I didn’t want to just throw out a list of recommendations that you could find elsewhere (although I am compiling a separate mini guide to Penzance) and wondered whether to post anything about this trip at all. This wasn’t an excuse to curate content for my blog, it was a much-needed slow holiday with my boyfriend and dog. Other than our Penzance stay (coming soon, I promise!) we slept in the back of our van in various campsites by the coast. I spent entire days lying on the grass reading, or just meandering along the coastal path. This was a slow getaway in every sense of the word.

One reason I really wanted to create this blog post was to get across the message that you don’t always have to go abroad to have a great holiday. I kept forgetting we were still in England as we visited beaches with crystal clear waters and spent our days lazing in the relentless sunshine. Yes, there were one or two rainy days and the 60mph winds towards the end of the trip meant not as many beach days as I would have liked, but it honestly felt like we were in another country. Aside from the obvious benefit of not having added to our carbon footprints by taking a flight to reach our destination, staying and travelling in our van was like having a home from home. We made the back all snuggly and cosy with an air mattress, our pillows and duvet and plenty of blankets, providing not only a comfy bed but a place to retreat from the midday sun with a book. I didn’t have to stuff my clothes into a tiny suitcase, instead hanging my linen dresses and jumpsuits from the ceiling of the van, where they also functioned as a make-shift curtain. I could bring along however many skincare and haircare products as I liked, regardless of the size of the bottles. And the best bit - our dog, Evie came along for the trip.

Before writing this post, I’ve been looking over my Instagram Stories from the trip and feeling all nostalgic. The days seem to be flying by this summer, and I can’t quite believe it’s taken me so long to write this. Memories of wandering down country lanes lined with wild flowers, sipping wine on clifftops, dining on fresh seafood and watching Evie run on the beach are all making me want to pack up the van and drive back down south. I’m finding myself daydreaming about living in a small Cornish village (near Pedn Vounder, please) and slowing down my days even further.

We rose late each day, not setting alarms but allowing ourselves to wake naturally. Most mornings evolved around a lazy breakfast sat on the picnic bench outside our van (I loved how every campsite had a bench per pitch) before heading off for a ramble along the coastal path. We spent one night sleeping in a little wooden hut on a campsite near Dartmoor, where we wandered through the woods in search of a beautiful old pub and spent the evening making our own campfire. Our second campsite was located close to Pedn Vounder; just a five minute walk down a pretty lane covered in foxgloves and small white and pink flowers. One day, we walked to Porthcurno along the cliffs, stopping for a light lunch before trudging up a hill in the sweltering temperatures to visit the Minnack Theatre. I’d love to return to watch a play here, in this beautiful open-air theatre that was built into the rocks by an incredible woman with a strong vision.

One afternoon, we braved the climb down the terrifyingly steep path to swim and wade in the crystal clear sea at Pedn Vounder. While this was one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever laid eyes upon, I’d recommend doing a little research before heading here. You basically have to rock climb to get down to the beach (and back up again!). I completely froze at one point on the way down, and honestly have no idea how I managed the descent. The view of the beach from the coastal path is just incredible. I could have sat there for hours, just watching the waves lap against the shore, admiring the different tones of blue in the water.

My favourite evening of the entire trip was when we took a bottle of wine down to the cliffs and sat on a rock, sipping our drinks while watching the sun set over the sea. Beside the rock that we chose to perch on, we spotted a cluster of artist’s brushes nestled into the undergrowth. I loved imagining the person who comes down each day to paint the landscape, leaving their brushes until they return.

For the final few days of our trip, we sheltered from the gale-force winds on the Lizard peninsula. My plans of long walks and evening swims were thwarted by the fear of blowing off the cliffs and the sight of the ten-foot waves, but this allowed for long and lazy days not doing very much at all. Other than braving the coastal path for a few short strolls and taking a wander into town for ice-cream, I sat in the sun and read my way through several books.

Rather than returning for the trip feeling frazzled from a chaotic airport experience, we spent the day slowly driving home via a few detours. I sank into my bed that night feeling fully rested and refreshed, allowing the scent of the sea to linger on my hair and skin for one more night before washing it away. Ever since Cornwall, I’ve been imagining scenarios that allow me to live there for a while, picturing myself sat in the window seat of a cottage, writing away. As I said at the beginning of this post, Cornwall got under my skin. I will definitely return.