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Visit to Cornwall | The South West Coastal Path | Holiday

Porthcurno, Cornwall
Cornwall. Britain's most southwestern county, rich in rugged landscape, beautiful hidden coves all lapped by stunning turquoise waters. The same hidden coves were once used by Pirates smuggling contraband (wine, spirits and tobacco) after high duties were imposed by the government.

The South West Coastal Path, Cornwall
We must be mad heading down on one of the busiest most notorious road trips in all of England but being kiwis (or just plain stupid) we'd never let a bit of distance deter us, we're used to 26hr plane flights to New Zealand after all! This is only our second trip (of many) down to this stunning part of England. The last time we stayed in Rock & biked the Camel Trail from Padstow-Bodmin-Padstow and had pretty bland food from Rick Steins main restaurant in Padstow. To be honest, if you go to Padstow or 'Padstein' as it is consequently known, (due Rick Stein's monopolisation of the towns food & drink venues) just stick to his fish n chip shop - a much better place to eat is Nathan Outlaw's restaurant in Rock.

The Minack Theatre, Cornwall 
When planning to do a trip down to Cornwall it takes around 4.5-5 hours from London to the south west part of Cornwall - we travelled to Porthleven in this time. Porthleven is a small coastal town and perfect spot for our entrance to the South West Coastal path - I'd planned to do a 10 mile hike along the SWC path from Perranuthnoe (pronounced peran-NEWTH-no) to Porthleven to take in some of the stunning scenery. Our first night we headed to The Ship Inn and really enjoyed their local Porthleven ale, they serve very good pub cuisine - we had the steak and it was perfect. It has a fantastic atmosphere and great views outdoors.

Green Finger threat on the SW Coastal Path, Cornwall
Of course while in Cornwall one must try the seafood, so we had booked a bib gourmand restaurant in Porthleven called The Square Restaurant. There we ate the most delightful monkfish with mussels. The chef had perfected the monkfish - the texture of the meat was almost identical to lobster tail. The restaurant looks out to the harbour, its also wonderful in summer with al fresco dining. Food outlets are however, very limited in Porthleven. You can get caught out as most places are closed on Sundays, and the restaurants & cafes are only open lunch 12-2pm and then 6-9pm. However, The Square, The Ship Inn and Twisted Currant Cafe (breakfast) were all superb and serving great food, be sure to book The Square at least a week before you head down.

Smugglers coves like these were used by Pirates, SWCP, Cornwall
We stayed at a small apartment style cottage called the Artist Loft just above the Twisted Currant - they are beautifully presented rooms, bad for noise from other patrons due to no sound proofing - you are literally all staying in separate ensuite rooms in the same house and wifi? a lost cause I'm afraid. However, it was great for location, convenience and I really appreciated how well they had presented the room. They were in touch right away after booking & gave excellent instructions for room access and parking which is less than 1 min walk from the room.

Group of Rock Climbers, SWCP, Cornwall
The coastal walk was fantastic, we took a local bus from Porthleven to Perranuthnoe and walked from the A road into the village to the Beach Cafe where we joined the SWC path. Along the way we saw large sandy beaches, remnants of copper and tin mines, beautiful coves, we managed to spot a few seals swimming just off the coast with another hiker who had also seen a pod of dolphins earlier in her hike.
Post walk meal, Cornish Pasty, Cornwall
We came across the local bobbies riding around on horseback, and an interesting trespass sign on a local's gate - their garden did look inviting, it must be that view. A group of eager rock climbers, I thought they were mad - this picture doesn't show the rest of the group actually climbing around the other side of the rock, it pretty much drops down to rocks and water. It took us around 4.5 hours to do the walk, by the time we got back we were pretty hungry so we did an obligatory Cornish pasty. 

One pence coins placed in a fence post, SWCP, Cornwall
The following day we headed to Penzance to get supplies and then around further to Porthcurno beach and home to the famous amphitheatre built into the cliff - the Minack Theatre. The theatre was actually constructed by one incredible lady, Rowena Cade who built a house at Minack Point for her and her mother. She was assisted by her gardner and another builder in constructing of the theatre, which at that stage, was her garden. 
Monkfish with mussels, The Square, Porthleven
A story goes that at one point she discovered three large abandoned logs at the beach below, thinking they would be perfect for her Theatre, she single-handedly hauled all three logs up to her construction site (its quite steep) and subsequently used the logs as timber frames for her stage. A short time later the local authorities visited her, enquiring if she had taken three missing logs from the beach, at this stage she was in her mid 50's and replied 'do I look like I could haul three logs up here?'. Apparently they didn't enquire any further and left. She maintained that she never lied. Now that's true tenacity.

Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall
Porthcurno beach is stunning, its not an easy road to get to this spot but it is worth it. I would recommend going to during a quiet period just before the holiday season starts in summer - late May, park down the bottom by the museum car park. On our way back we made a trip to Green Pig Farm, an outdoor Tea Room who's tables have beautiful vistas out to the farmland and sea. They do a wonderful Cream Tea with graciously sized teapots. The clotted cream was divine. We left Porthleven the following day and had a significantly long drive back, traffic was a nightmare  (Easter weekend, people falling off their motorbikes, closed roads, detours, rubbernecks at Stonehenge, toilet stop, too much coffee, toilet stop again etc etc) I know they are working on making the roads better, so the sooner they do that the better! 

Cornish Clotted Cream, Cream Tea from The Green Pig Farm, Cornwall

We stayed at:
"All the World is a Stage", Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, Cornwall
The local bobbies, SW Coastal Path, Cornwall


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