Charlestown and Fowey, Cornwall
With stretches of unspoilt beach, fishing towns with quaint cottages clinging to maze-like streets, endless coastal heritage sites and some of the best fish and chips on the south coast - a staycation in the UK can serve as food for the soul.
We headed down to the Cornish riviera to switch off and reboot…
WHAT TO PACK
Cornwall is so relaxed. Comfy shoes are essential if you’re hoping to make the most of the coastal paths, and even fancy dining out requires little more than flats and a pretty top. A lightweight travel towel comes in handy for all the hidden coves and beaches, plus a roomy beach bag and a wind/ waterproof jacket.
Zara shorts, £19.99, www.zara.com
Cos jacket, £125, www.cosstores.com
Faithfull The Brand bikini, £149, www.net-a-porter.com
Anaskela towel, £57, www.anaskela.com
The White Company bag, £75, www.thewhitecompany.com
Nike trainers, £135, www.nike.com
Grace top, £87.50, www.londonteadresscompany.com
In one of Antonia’s Pearls - a collection of sensitively restored properties in the harbour village of Charlestown which also happens to be a UNSECO world heritage site. Antonia’s Pearls marry all the hotel feels - think crispy white linen, fluffy The White Company towels and a REN emergency bathroom kit - with cosy home comforts. We stayed in The Cottage, a beautiful Grade II listed house complete
with log burner. Price approx £200 per night based on two adults.
In Charlestown The Longstore is definitely worth at least one visit. You can dine (below chandeliers made from mussel shells) on the likes of smoked fish chowder and St Austell Bay mussels. Remember to book. They also own Short & Strong, a Cornish Deli & Café located in front of The Longstore which serves great coffee and delicious chocolate brownies.
Once a RNLI lifeboat station on Polkerris beach, Sam’s is now a sea-front haven for foodies. With an always-buzzing atmosphere the custom-built wood burning pizza oven churns out artisan slices of heaven, while the kitchen serves traditionally exceptional seafood. During the summer, the windows open, and you can laze on the terrance with a cocktail, too. Booking essential.
Set on the edge of Restrongeut Creek this 13th Century pubs is possibly our favourite in Cornwall. It’s the charm of the thatched roof, low beams and flagstone floors, the handling of fresh local produce and the stunning waterside location.
It's a bit of a drive, but on a sunny day, there's no place we'd rather be.
Readymoney Cove, Fowey
Just South of Fowey (pronounced Foy), this tranquil cove is flanked by the St Catherine’s Castle and the coastal path on one side and Dawn French’s beautiful Grade II listed stone villa on the other. It’s a sandy beach with a floating swimming platform and has a little beach shop serving essentials like coffee and ice cream.
A sheltered sandy beach, Porthpean is also home to a sailing club so expect to see plenty of windsurfing and small sail boats. There are rock pools to the west and you can enjoy a beautiful coastal walk to Charlestown - or vice versa - to the east.
Hire a boat. There are so many options but Fowey River Hire rent ribs, paddle boards and kayaks. Taking to the water is the perfect way to soak up some sun and just enjoy the magic of the harbour. You can also sail the short distance across the estuary to Polruan for a drink (Polruan gets the evening sun).
Visit the Eden Project. The Biomes house the largest rainforest in captivity, and endless flora and fauna. We’re all still learning when it comes to the environment and this is a spectacular way to do so - especially on a rainy day. They also host summer concerts.
Tickets from £26.
Take time to read. Fowey was the birth place of romance novelist Dame Daphne du Maurier - make sure you swot up with a copy of Frenchman’s Creek, Rebecca or Jamaica Inn. There is also an arts and literature festival in May.
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY
Fowey’s winding streets are filled with galleries. We reignited our love for art at the nameless gallery which occupies a space under Upton House bed and breakfast - best to call for details.
Across the road you’ll also find Any Old Lights - a locally run company specialising in reclaimed lights. They source vintage nautical lighting (amongst other things) off decommissioned ships and give them a sparkling new life. If you're inspired by all the oil lamps and nautical paraphernalia around, you won't leave empty handed.