Cornwall: Day 1 – Finding my feet in Newquay, Truro, Penzance and St Ives.
Join The Faraway Bug as we take a whistlestop tour of the UK’s Cornwall. This three part series focuses on a different area of the Cornish county in each part as we uncover tales of centuries past, try local delicacies and take in some outstanding sights of natural beauty. This is a place with a addictively soothing pace of life, and the longer you stay the more catching it is. Cornwall is a place that has long been a favourite holiday destination for Britons and overseas visitors alike, travel with The Faraway Bug as we find out why.
I arrived in Cornwall fresh from my London flight and stepped abroad into my own Country excited to see my new surroundings. I was pleased to discover the airport was situated in the middle of the Cornish hills with no houses or buildings other than the one I had just walked out of. Catching the bus from the stop outside, I eagerly took in the green countryside as we wound our way through the roads to my Cornish home and the first stop on my tour, Newquay.
Newquay is a surfers paradise and firm holiday favourite for families and sports enthusiasts alike. With lots to see and do there is no time for boredom with shops, arcades, a zoo and aquarium all within reach of the Town centre. Stroll down the main street and you will find Warren’s bakery, the older pasty producer in the world, where a pasty tasting lunch is a must. Then you have the main attraction in Newquay, the beaches. With the golden sandy shores and a variety of sports, the beaches are a hub of activity where you can take part in or relax away from as much as you wish. Newquay’s main beach, being in closest reach from the town is slightly like tourist central, so if rest and relaxation is the name of your game, it will absolutely be worth taking some time to visit nearby beaches for less people-packed spots. Lusty Glaze is a pretty cove reachable from the clifftop steps beside Newquay centre and the village of Perranporth sits a short 2 mile walk away. In spite of its business I really enjoyed Newquay’s beach holiday charm, reminding me of family trips for my youth. I can see why families return here year after year.
Many of the hotels and hostels in Newquay are up on the cliffs within easy reach of the town centre and it was here that I stayed. This area is quiet and convenient and provides excellent access to bus services. So I dropped my luggage in and off I went to explore…
The city of Truro was the first and last place I visited on my trip as one of the main interchanges for buses and trains to other areas of Cornwall. The city centre sits around the towering gothic Cathedral and in spite of its historical past, this feels like a place young at heart. Known primarily as a market trading town, Truro is blessed with good social areas and you will enjoy open market squares, pretty shopping streets and a mix of bars, restaurants and clubs. This is a great city to throw the map away and find your own way from one place to another. Lemon street is the site of the weekly market, but the rest of the week the square is a popular place to stop for lunch or take a shopping break. Weave your way through Truro’s shopping streets and up to the Cathedral before learning of Cornwall’s engineering and mining history at the Royal Cornwall Museum in River Street.
The bus from Newquay to Truro takes approx 90 mins.
A flying visit to Penzance saw me heading straight from the bus stop along the coast towards the island of St Michael’s Mount. Cresting from its island location, the castle and chapel atop their island home out at sea looked akin to scenery from a well-known whitewall fantasy TV series, (8th season hurry up!). Even from a distance, I was visually in awe. One of over 40 tidal islands in walkable distance from mainland UK, the island offers visitors a chance to delve into its past as they explore traces of life dating back through the ages to the Neolithic period. The castle with its beautiful grounds as well as the chapel and local shops make for a pleasant, relaxing day of wandering before setting off back to the mainland.
Put a little thought into your trip to St Michael’s Mount. My tip would be to check tide times before you go and don’t forget that the island closes most of its doors to visitors on Saturdays.
Truro to Penzance train takes approx 45 minutes.
Bus from Penzance to Marazion takes approx 15 minutes.
St Ives is pretty as a picture, and then some. A busy fishing village, that tracks up the side of the Cornish hills comes complete with a port, independent shops, tea rooms, pubs, nearby beaches, beautiful views, the list goes on. The narrow streets house many boutiques, homewares and gift stores as well as a few high street names, but above all it has many of what is known as the Cornish sweet shop. Buy a fudge treat and wander-munch your way down to the quayside, where you can pitch a pew to watch village life as it happens all around you. With boats coming and going, people trading in the nearby shops, guests chatting happily as they walk from place to place, the port is the centre of St Ives for me. It is all going on but in the most relaxed way and you can’t help but feel the beginnings of yourself relaxing too. Porthmeor beach is another popular attraction in St Ives and is reachable via a short coastal pathway for a more natural twist to your day.
St Ives is the perfect place to unwind, it has beauty, history and plenty to do, and my treat to take home? Rum from John’s, a local Spirit and beer specialist.
Bus from Penzance to St Ives takes approx 30 minutes.
Where would I go if I had more time? A tour of the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno, some time to visit St Michael’s Mount up close and a pitstop for a photo at the Land’s End signpost would all be high on my list.
Place of the day… I arrived by St Ives by sheer fluke (I got on the wrong bus), and couldn’t believe how lucky it was that I did. To me this is quintessential Cornwall, the traditional fishing village with everything that embodies what we know as an English beach holiday destination. The beauty of St Ives makes you stop and take some time to simply look around, unrushed. Hmm, isn’t that just the definition of relaxation?