Back in 2010 when I was grounded in London to recuperate from a tropical disease I had contracted on a worktrip, Lil’sis and I had a most successful two night trip to Cornwall – my first visit (that I can remember) to the county, and although it did rain a little, we found much to love. We stayed at The Scarlet in Mawgan Porth, walked along the cliffs for the obligatory National Trust cream tea and regretted only that The Scarlet was at that point a dog-free zone.

We loved it so much, and had such an enthusiastic response from readers as far away as Japan,  that when I received an email a few weeks back from the PR for Visit Cornwall asking me if I would like to return to check out the local produce, and various other things, we leapt at the suggestion.

Not least because lil’sis had such a wonderful time in Marrakech and was so much better physically when we were away: it’s clear to me that one of the best ways I can contribute to her welfare is to take every opportunity to remove her from her quotidian reality of feeling like crap, shuttling between doctors, hospitals and the sofa.

So, using their suggestions as a foundation, I have put together a tentative itinerary for five days at the end of March.  And this time we are taking the dog. We will take the train to Newquay from Paddington, (I thought about driving but it’s five hours by car & I can work on the train), pick up a hire car (so cheap – £99 for the duration!) and stay at The Scarlet for a night – now accepting canine guests. I’m thinking I may go walking along the cliff tops in the morning with the rat, whilst lil’sis wallows in The Scarlet’s spa.

The we will remove down the road to a dog-friendly Beach Retreats self-catering apartment at Watergate Bay. This is the point where we go all food-obsessed. There is a spring Cornish farmers market on the 24th March, supported by Fifteen Cornwall, where we can meet local suppliers & buy the ingredients to cook supper, the possibility of taking a pasta-making workshop at Fifteen Cornwall, and maybe brunch there too on Sunday.

Then we will dive down to glorious- looking The Lugger hotel on the Cornish south coast, spend a day at the Eden Project, (I’m very impressed with their Accessiblity scheme – they even have wheelchairs on site, common in the US but practically non-existent in the UK), and maybe visit some more gardens. Then the train back from Truro to London Paddington. We are thinking about taking the First Great Western overnight sleeper – has anyone done it, and could recommend it?

Really, it couldn’t be more perfect – lovely hotels & local restaurants, sea views, dogwalks, gardens, wonderful Cornish produce and fresh air. Holidaying in Britain has never seemed more alluring.

And, if anyone has any suggestions of things to do that fit in our itinerary, we’d love to hear them…

Photo: The outdoor natural reedbed pool at The Scarlet

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We go to Cornwall most summers in our 1969 vintage VW campervan. One of our favourite places to go is Chapel Porth, which is looked after by the National Trust. It is a great place for walking, chilling on the beach and the beach cafe, like no other, serves amazing food; various posh croque sandwiches and the famous hedgehog ice cream which is a cone with a scoop of vanilla and a scoop of clotted cream rolled in toasted and crushed hazelnuts….divine and well worth a visit just for the cafe alone 🙂


I live in Falmouth which is beautiful (a 30 minute drive from Truro, if you get a chance to visit you must go to the Gylly Beach Cafe where they sell amazing Cornish food in a beautiful setting, your dog would be welcome too) but a garden near Truro that I would recommend if you are up for some more plant viewing after Eden would be Trewithen Gardens, they have some record breaking trees and a grand house that you can pay extra to look around as well as being dog friendly. It is very flat there (unlike most of Cornwall!) but I’m not sure if they provide wheelchairs and the gardens are quite large.

I have been to Watergate Bay on holiday before but off of the top of my head I cannot think of any recommendations except avoid Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, it’s very over priced and local businesses in Newquay are superior.

Finally, my favourite place in Cornwall is St Ives. It’s not too close to the towns you are visiting but if you fancy the drive it is well worth it. I posted a few photos from a visit last year on my blog. Just down the road in Carbis Bay there is an amazing vegetarian restaurant (all local food again where possible) which doesn’t look much from the outside but is wonderful.

I hope you enjoy your stay here.
It’s been very warm lately, today my friends were at the beach in sunglasses and shorts! My mother in London is unimpressed as she said it has been a grey day there.

Kate x


@Kate Hughes: What a wonderful list! Thank you SO much; goodness I wish we had double the time. The gardens near Truro sound especially interesting. I’ll be packing my Hunters AND sunglasses then!

I take your point about the prices at Fifteen, but I have done some reading up, and I think it’s important to note that:

“Fifteen Cornwall is owned by the Cornwall Foundation of Promise (CFoP), registered charity no.1119341. The Foundation is pivotal to Fifteen Cornwall’s success. For a start it owns the restaurant. It also runs the training programme and looks after the welfare of the apprentices during their time here. Like the name suggests, The Foundation is in place to give disadvantaged young people in Cornwall a platform to discover their true potential. But there’s a double meaning. The Foundation is also a promise to these young people that it will do everything in its power to help each one create the productive, successful life they’d like to achieve.

Its principles and thinking mirror the Fifteen Foundation set up by Jamie Oliver and whilst Jamie remains the figurehead for the group, a dedicated team in Cornwall runs the CFoP. They do an outstanding job.

Since May 06, the CFoP has enrolled over 120 apprentices. Seventy per cent are still cheffing today. Whether or not an apprentice makes it to graduation, the Foundation works tirelessly and seamlessly to create the environment needed for these young people to flourish. ”

Which surely must be a good thing?



@Kate Hughes:

Love St. Ives as well. Farrell’s bakery is the business. Very retro with lovely saffron cakes and buns, plus delicious many different sized pasties.
So many ice cream places to try! We stayed in Downalong which has immediate access to beaches in the daytime, before the tide comes in. The main road by the harbour is quite flat as well. I love the immediacy of stepping out of the cottage we stayed in and being in the thick of it. Everyone was good natured. We did go off season though at the end of September. Lots of dogs out with their owners to admire.


I am wildly jealous. We spent all our childhood holidays at Watergate Bay and even though I now live in Australia with access to boundless, gorgeous beaches, the seaside still means Cornwall and Watergate Bay to me. I loved reading about the Scarlett when you wrote about it before so look forward to hearing about this trip.


@nancyblackett: I’d just like to say that I love yr Swallows & Amazons user name! LLGxx


@LLG love swallows and amazons!


A drive north from Newquay. Harlyn Bay is stunning for walking and surfing and then further up the coast to the Camel Estuary. Walk along the coast path from Padstow or the ferry over to Rock. Ignore the reputation, the time you are going it will be blissfully quiet. It is to me the most beautiful place in the world.


Looks beautiful 🙂


Sounds amazing – I’m off to Cornwall the month after you, also with hound in tow. I wanted to take the train but don’t think they allow dogs on the sleeper. Shame as it would have been ideal.
Have fun x


@Jessica: Ah. Thanks for this. P Bad is lil’sis’s disabled companion dog, so I will find out if she’s allowed. (I looked on the website and it said assistance dogs in cabins, all other dogs in carriers in the guards van) LLGxx


I’ve always, always wanted to go to Cornwall. Famous Five novels etc.


Perhaps you’ll run into my brother & family on the beach! They live in Camelford and are at the beach nearly every weekend. He will be the only Jersey Boy with a gaggle of blonde British girls with him at Newquay. They also do organized activities at the Eden Project with the little ones. Enjoy!


So many glorious places to visit and things to do I don’t know where to start.. here’s a few lovely ideas for North Cornwall.

– Polzeath and Rock for surfing (Wavehunters) or sailing, a glorious coastal walk, stunning views down the estuary finishing up with tea & cake in the Mowhay Cafe Trebetherick.
– Port Isaac / Port Gaverne for a potter amidst quaint fishing villages, enjoy fresh crab/lobster from Fresh from the Sea.
– Explore the Camel Trail under pedal power – hire bicycles Padstow end and head to Wadebridge, stopping for tea and cake enroute courtesy of ‘Treats on Trikes’. Pick up fresh veg in The Vine for sustenance and cycle a further 3 miles to Bodmin where you’ll find the Camel Valley Vineyard enjoying picturesque views through the valley. A couple of glasses of Cornish wine later and its time to head back to Padstow to enjoy a takeaway portion of Stein’s Fish & Chips.
– Hire a vintage MG from Cornwall classic cars and put-put along the fabulous coastal roads that stretch from Padstow to Sennen – some of the most stunning diverse scenery, ooh love.

Hope this helps! For more info, do have a peep at my little site – an insider’s guide to lovely things to do, each recommendation is shared and discovered by our rather marvelous community and curated by us to ensure you enjoy only the very best insider knowledge. We’d love to hear about your favourite finds on your return!


Sounds like the perfect itinerary, we’re planning to go in June, haven’t been for nearly 20 years since uni days! I just read about The Scarlet but with a toddler in tow thinking Self catering is a better option, sadly. Look forward to reading about your trip and your recommendations!

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