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Travel & Holidays in later life

NORTH CORNWALL FOR BEACHES,
CLIFFS  AND  LEGENDS

In Padstow harbourNorth Cornwall is loaded with top holiday attractions, all the way from Padstow fishing harbour to Bude with its three miles of beaches. The pounding Atlantic rollers have transformed the coastline into magnificent rocky headlands, sandy coves and beaches. 

Padstow is a focal-point for day trips by holidaymakers in the region. As you join the daily queues into the car parks, you can enjoy the sight of something like umbrella pines which give almost a Mediterranean appearance. Trees are bent to the prevailing westerly winds. 

Along the harbour, working fishing boats are tied up, and on-the-spot shops sell the local product. Lobster pots are stacked all along the quayside.

 

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TRAVEL ESSENTIALS:

Annual Events

Padstow 'Obby 'Oss Day - a pagan fertility festival
celebrating the start of summer.

Mayday.

Steam and Vintage Rally at Launceston with market
stalls and a beer tent.

Spring Bank Holiday weekend

Royal Cornwall Show Wadebridge - a major
agricultural show with entertainment.

Early June


Padstow Carnival Week
Late July-Early August

Fowey Regatta Week

Mid August

Jazz Festival, Bude with New Orleans-style street parades.

End August begining of September (taking a year out in 2012 due to Olympics and other celebrations)

North Cornwall Visitor Information

 

 

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However, a dark secret: the shrimps and prawns are not caught around here. There are not enough to make it worth while. Those in the shops are deep-frozen imports from Iceland. 

Otherwise, locally-caught seafood is among Padstow's main restaurant attractions. You can experience the gripping world of The National Lobster Hatchery on South Quay, and can learn more about the local fishing industry. 

Padstow is well equipped to cope with the food and drink needs of the daily shoals of visitors. Along the quayside, a typical restaurant offers a choice between Cornish ice cream or fish and chips. 

Plenty of opportunities to cool offCornish cream teas are a favourite with scones, jam, clotted cream and a pot of tea.  Bakers feature 'Oggies' Cornish pasties. The Buttermilk shop produces fudge and truffle, marzipan and Turkish delight.

Padstow is full of intriguing little alleys. Older houses are built of rough stone slabs of various sizes and natural colours, to make a craggy wall texture. Ancient pubs are built of brick and half-timber, and offer a few b&b rooms up their creaking stairs.

Across the River Camel estuary is the up-market resort of Rock, reached by passenger ferry or by back-tracking inland via Wadebridge. Rock is a favourite watersport centre, with an annual programme of sailing events and a mid-August regatta.

All this was the favourite home ground of Sir John Betjeman, who wrote many poems that evoke the pleasures of the area. The North Cornwall railway line between Bodmin and Padstow was closed in 1967, and the level route is now the 17-mile Camel Trail, open to walkers and cyclists. Bikes can easily be hired. The former railway station booking office and waiting room at Wadebridge have been converted into a Betjeman Centre

If your pet dog wants a holiday, many of Britain's main beaches ban dogs between Easter and October. But the joy of North Cornwall's rugged coastline is that, with a good map, you can track down tiny coves where dogs are welcome to frolic. We always managed to find ideal dog havens with beautiful golden sands. 

An attractive feature of the rocky coastline is the series of bays and headlands, with steep climbs up and down along the South West Coast Path - a great challenge for walkers.


Staying at a centuries'-old Cornish inn, full of local atmosphere We specially liked Port Isaac, a tiny fishing village which formerly exported slate. Black and white cottages lean drunkenly against each other along the narrow one-in-five streets. You feel that if one fell, they'd all go down like dominoes. Lobster pots and rusty anchors decorate the harbour. It's best to park on the outskirts and walk down.

Cornishmen are famed for their independence. They have remnants of their own language, a set of Celtic saints to themselves, mysterious dolmens and menhirs from a distant past and plentiful legends.

Hence the popularity of Tintagel, famed for its dramatic ruined Castle, perched on a steep 270-ft headland with the sea forming a natural moat. The medieval remains in a spectacular setting offer perhaps the greatest views along the North Cornish coast. 

This English Heritage property is reached over a footbridge that has replaced the original drawbridge. Legend says that King Arthur and his knights dwelt here - though they lived 600 years before the castle was built in 1145.

However, Tintagel's tourist industry makes the most of the fables. Restaurant tables are round. King Arthur's Castle Hotel has an Excalibar. There's a Merlin's Cave, a King Arthur Bookshop and a Merlin's Gift Shop.

At King Arthur's Arms, heralded as a Family Pub, you can get tasty food from a range of Excaliburgers, or jacket potatoes which come in a King Arthur's spud with choice of medieval fillings like tuna and sweet corn. There's a Piskey Shop, and you can buy toy swords. 

At King Arthur's Great Hall you can experience the exciting story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. It is North Cornwall's premier experience in a journey through time, capturing the Arthurian atmosphere in laser lights, music and sound. 

Most visitors to Cornwall notice that the Gulf Stream does its bit towards ensuring a warmer climate for early flowers, vegetables and holidaymakers. It's also on the breezy side of Britain, and is prime kite-flying and windfarm territory.

Britain's first commercial windfarm was established in 1991 at Delabole, where blue slate was quarried even in Roman times. A visitor centre was located there for some years, to explain how windfarming worked. 

Beautiful sandy beaches for the grandchildren

 

 



Check out these alternative West Country destinations:

BATH - weekend in Jane Austen territory

CORNWALL - choosing low season

DARTMOOR - Freedom to roam and explore

DAWLISH - Pioneer railway age resort

EXETER/EXMOUTH - Tour base for South Devon

ILFRACOMBE & NORTH DEVON - The Heritage coast

LYNTON & LYNMOUTH - Devon's Siamese-twin resorts

SIDMOUTH - Devon's Regency gem

SOMERSET - Choosing a farm cottage for a walking holiday

UP THE OTTER IN DEVON - A winter cottage haven

 


Books to read - click on the links below

Explorer Map 0111: Bude, Boscastle & Tintagel - published by Ordnance Survey - the ideal map for anyone planning to explore the northern end of the Cornish coastline. 

AA 50 Walks in Cornwall by Des Hanningan - An ideal slim pocket volume for the walking enthusiast. 

A History of Cornwall by F.E. Halliday - Useful reading for those who like to understand the historical background.

Betjeman's Collected Poems by John Betjeman - A treasure for admirers of the Poet Laureate's verse.

 


 

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