Road tripping the UK
One of my favourite pastimes when I was still living in the UK was to hop on a plane, train or coach to explore more of my guest country. I’ve had roughly 3,5 years to do so and made most of it!
Obviously, being dependent on public transport limits your options as to where you can go. Cornwall had always been high on my wish list, but I’d never made it there due to what would’ve been a nightmare train journey. So when my friend asked me to join her and two of her friends on a road trip (by car!), I didn’t have to think twice!
St. Michael’s Mount
Our first stop after the six-hour car journey from London was St. Michael’s Mount. Think Mont Saint-Michel in France and you’re there. Quite literally, as Mont St Michael originally was a Cornish counter part of the island in Normandy. The island south of the peninsula is a civil parish that is linked to the town of Marazion by a man-made causeway which is only accessible at low tide. However, if you decide to stay on the mainland like us, you can take some pretty good shots of the chapel on the island from the beach as well.
The village with the fascinating name of Mousehole is a true gem. Cornwall has the best climate in the whole of the UK, and locals make good use of that fact: palm trees are lined up along the beaches and surf-style cafes are dotted around this little village. We enjoyed a delicious cream tea (the Cornish way: jam first!) at the Harbour Coffee and Cafe and were treated to the best coastal views. With the right light, the water of the harbour is bright as day and the cute fishing boats complete the picture. Art galleries and souvenir shops aplenty here too.
The Minack Theatre
Our next stop on our Le Grand Expat Tour, as we’d baptised our road trip, was the Minack Theatre. With two theatre buffs (myself included) in the car, this was an obvious choice. The story of how this open-air theatre perched on cliffs high above the Atlantic Ocean came about, is perhaps even more interesting than the location itself. A local lady called Rowena Cade decided in 1931 to create a place for local drama enthusiasts to perform Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Together with her gardener, Billy Rawlings, she performed the almost impossible task of building the stage and lower terraces of the theatre between 1931 en 1932. Today, the theatre is still very much in use and it’s on my bucket list to perform here one day!
Land’s End is officially Britain’s most south-westerly point and one of England’s most famous landmarks. This is quite noticeable by all the attractions that surround the location, including a West Country Shopping Village with restaurants, arcades and souvenir shops. But if you look past all of that, the location is a must on any trip through Cornwall. It features stunning coastline views and is steeped in history and legends. In Greek times, this part of what is now Cornwall was called Belerion – the shining land. It’s also said that about 130 shipwrecks were found on the coast. Quite an excessive amount, suggesting that there’s more to Land’s End than meets the eye…
The Cornwall tourist board calls St. Ives a ‘sub-tropical destination’ and I tend to agree with them. There’s so much natural beauty surrounding this bustling town on the west-coast, but this one’s also for the art lovers. Since English romantic painter J. M. W. Turner and English sculptor Henry Moore visited St. Ives, it’s become a magnet for some of the world’s greatest artists. It’s therefore not surprising that one of the four Tate’s (renowned art museums) is located here. We also very much enjoyed strolling around the alleys which feature a wide range of boutique shops, cafes and art galleries, as well as the loveliest of white-painted houses with light-blue shutters.
I know there are many more places to visit in Cornwall, but we simply lacked the time. Have you been to Cornwall? Share your favourite places in the comments!