Cornwall, 8 Day Diary.
We left for Cornwall at 4am, the car had been packed the night before and the kiddies were transferred straight from their beds to thee car which felt kind of mean but then on second thought driving with them wide awake for over 5 hours felt meaner. So off we went, stopping half way to Cornwall for coffee, a little stretch and nappy changes before getting on the road again, by this point both babies had only just woken and we knew the remaining 2 hours plus might be hard in the car with, plus we couldn’t check into our chalet until 4pm so there was no real rush. We decided to break up the last stint of the journey and headed to the capital of Cornwall.
Truro, which was a lovely little place with a town centre full of cool places to visit. We stopped for brunch, hit the shops and frolicked in front of the famous Truro Cathedral. I am always on the hunt for tiny lanes and alleys when visiting somewhere new because I love to find the hidden gems, Truro didn’t disappoint as we found quirky antique shops and tiny vintage shops bursting with retro goodies. Lemon Street market was a highlight whilst in the area as it housed a small collection of small businesses (right up my street) Now we were ready to find the beach, so we hopped back into the car to tackle the remaining 60 minutes to reach our chalet.
We made it to Hayle, which is where we had booked our chalet with Beacheside Holiday Park. We located our new home for the week but with still an hour or so before we could check in we googled nice places to eat in the area and found a lovely restaurant called The Bluff Inn, it was perfect as it had an arcade and outdoor play area to keep Oakley entertained but was also right on the beach. After dinner we got caught in the rain on the beach and finally made it to the Chalet, tired from traveling and exploring we stayed on the site for drinks and a takeaway. Just as the sun was setting Daniel took some beautiful pictures and we were excited to take the children out the following day.
Saturday and our first full day in Hayle, we had an extra toddler on board with us this day as we kindly offered to baby sit our nephew whilst our family attended a wedding in the area. The weather wasn’t great so we decided to stay local and find a fun day out for the kids.
We went to Paradise Park and Jungle barn, a zoo with over 650 birds and animals, a huge indoor soft play on site and a small farm area too, parking was free and we were surprised to find that children under 3 were free too. It was just under £30 for me and Daniel, so for a family of 5 on the day it seemed fair as that covered all areas. We saw everything from flamingos and penguins to wild squirrels and red pandas. Looking back I would suggest that anyone attending takes a look at the site to plan out the day better, the website has information about animal feeding and activities too so you really can make the most. As the rain got heavy we headed to the indoor soft play which Oaks lapped up for as long as he could.
On the way back to the chalet we made a pit stop for Mr Bs ice cream parlour, there is 2 of them in the Hayle area and after hearing lots of good reviews I couldn’t not take the boys for an ice-cream after our day had been called short due to bad weather. Yummy! Bellies full of ice cream we visited the local Asda, which was just minutes from us for all we needed to have the ultimate night in and Daniel made a comfy spot out of mattresses for the boys to watch Disney films until bedtime came round.
We woke to grey skies again, and it took us longer than I had hoped to make any plans but whilst we waited my mother in law cooked a huge breakfast in the chalet next to us (which made the waiting around a little easier) Oaks must have been hungry because he pinched everyone’s sausages.
We decided to head to St Ives anyway and drove to a local park and ride, we know from driving around St Ives to kill time on day 1 that parking was an issue as it was so busy. Plus it was so exciting for Oakley to experience his first time on a train (which he is now obsessed with) To leave the car for the day at the Park & Ride it was just £2, a return family ticket to St Ives from Hayle was just £8. Word of warning the train before dinner is crazy crazy busy but as we ended up heading there after dinner it was much calmer and easier to get on with a pushchair.
St Ives is so so beautiful we walked through the city centre bursting with shops, eateries and so many bakeries you are spoiled for choice. We had a look around and the sun was all of a sudden so hot and bright that it made sense to find the nearest entrance to the beach so we took the meringue’s that we had purchased from the famous St Ives bakery and headed to the sea. Buckets and spades at the ready, I had never seen sea and sand so beautiful in the UK, I was in love with Cornwall from that exact moment. We stayed on the beach for hours and hours, when the little ones were tired we left for a bar with a view, we watched the sun about to come down and I had Olive in my wrap with a glass of wine in hand and Oakley napping peacefully in his pram. Probably one of my favourite moments of the holiday as my heart felt incredible full. We only just caught the last train home, another day that ended with a takeaway in our chalet. Perfect!
We decided that today wee would explore some new places, just the 4 of us. I had so many recommendations via instagram that I had tried to research, some of which were too far in distance from where we were staying that we decided on a few that were very close together. Penzance had been recommended as it houses the country's largest swimming pool filled with fresh sea water, The Jubilee Pool was built in the 1930's I believe. Its located on the Penzance promenade and was the perfect pool to impress Oakley as he loves to swim. We soon realised whilst planning that Mousehole which was located only minutes away and was another highly recommended location so it seemed like a perfect chance to see more of Cornwall.
Mousehole was a highlight for me, Imagine the most beautiful and picturesque fishing village, quaint cafes, quirky little stores full of independent brands and wholefood and homemade delis (food is always so amazing in these kind of places) The beach is small but very private and safe, as Mousehole is a fishing village the beach is full of small boats which impressed Oakley no end. The village has retained so much of its original character, the architecture and history is clear and there are plaques dotted about the streets which explain Mouseholes past. We pitched up on the beach (after yet another ice cream of course, Oakley must have had several by now, please bare in mind we are only on day 4.) and made the most of the sun, after a few hours we headed to the Rock Pool Cafe, which we had spotted when we parked the car earlier. Its not the easiest place to locate, its not entirley double buggy friendly but on a sunny day its so worth it for the beautiful views. The boys stepped down onto the rocks to watch people crabbing whilst we waited for another cream tea and I called them up when it arrived. We loved Mousehole and didn't really want to leave, but Oakley was ready for his swim. Sidenote, on approaching Mousehole park the car sooner rather than later, the streets are extremely narrow and sharp so walk into the village as this will save you much hassle.
The Jubilee pool is unmissable, I saw it miles away and we all got so excited as it was bigger than we could of ever imagined. We arrived after 3.30pm which means that the cost is reduced substantially which was a nice surprise, even the inflatables that Oakley just HAD to have were so well priced and its always nice to see when places aren't completely ripping off family's during the summer. Despite the water being below freezing Oakley enjoyed it so much, there was a cafe there too which would make it an even better day out, we passed through it on the way out and I seriously wished I weren't still full of cream tea because the food counter was insane.
The kids fell asleep on the drive back home (it very much felt like home at this point) Me and Daniel both said how much we had enjoyed a day together just the 4 of us, so we decided to book into a restaurant for a family meal to continue the day we didn't want to end. After we all freshened up we headed to The Cornish Arms in Hayle, fabulous service, we didn't wait too long for our food and when it came it was faultless. The sun was still so bright when we left that we decided to take a stroll through the streets of Hayle on the hunt for colourful houses and admiring just how floral the front gardens were, we watched the bees on the lavender before calling it a night.
We had discussed with Daniels family who were in Cornwall too, a few things that we wanted to see and we all agreed that Kynance Cove was a must. Its a national trust beach and gets extremely busy during the holidays so its better to arrive very early. The walks to the beach from the carpark are long and steep, but those views made up for the achy back (I carried Olive in the wrap the whole way, which I probably wouldn't recommend) The views were so incredible, completely indescribable and the cafe was set even higher up the mountain making the views even better. We didn't venture up any other mountains for obvious reasons, we just didn't feel it was the right thing to do with the kids but after we let Oakley explore around the beach, teaching him to throw stones into the water and chase the waves. It was another realisation that our baby boy is growing up, as he looked so confident splashing in the water.
We headed back to our Chalet at Beachside Holiday Park, less than a minutes walk from our little holiday home is an outdoor play area and also an outdoor heated pool so we had a play onsite until our reservation at The Bucket of Blood was ready, now don't judge a pub by its name. I did! I was recommended this place to eat before we arrived and it just so happens to be next door to our holiday park so we thought what the heck lets do it... Best decision! The food has been on my mind since!
Another day for just the 4 of us, the rain was back and we almost decided to not bother with the drive to Newquay but knowing Daniel had told me that he wanted to visit months ago I suggested we stuck to our guns and not let the rain put us off. Although we did have a very slow morning in our pajamas first, I guess it felt like a novelty for the 4 of us to laze around in pajamas and we often lost the track of time whilst away which meant we headed out way later than we would of liked. I would of course moan but secretly I loved the slow mornings with my 3 playing silly buggars together to wind me up. We drove through the rain and by the time we arrived the rain stopped for long enough for us to enjoy a long walk.
We walked the streets, found colour walls for a quick photo shoot and shopped in all the tacky souvenir shops you find by the seaside which was perfect. Then stopped at what just happens to be Newquays number 1 family pub The Fort Inn indoor and outdoor play areas and not to mention the incredible view. As we ate lunch we cold see lots of people forming around a boating area, we assumed this was people queuing for boat rides but it wasn't. A family of seals were entertaining the tourists and I knew we had to make our way down there to see them, for Oakley of course not at all for me (cough cough) They were so beautiful, Oakley looked on in amazement but slowly the rain was back and getting heavier so we had to pull him away.
We had said that if the rain came back we would find somewhere indoors for Oakley, we made our way to the Blue Reef Aquarium and so did everyone else so the wait was long but the rain was getting heavier so we decided to wait anyway. It was fair priced and if you book in advance online you are able to get discounted tickets too. Oakleys mood wasnt the best so although it was fun we were happy to leave to find no rain so Oakley could let of some steam outside again. Next to the aquarium were some cute and colourful beach huts so we frolicked around them, talking about the colourful doors and who might own them. Before walking across the beach one last time before we headed home.
On arrival back in Hayle (post Mc Donalds run for a happy meal) we were greeted with the most intense sunshine, it was as if we shouldn't have left Hayle after all. Daniel had been desperate to teach Oakley to fly a kite for a while and the weather seemed perfect so we utilized the 3 mile long beach a stone throw away from the chalet. The kite flying was so much fun, for a few minutes before it became tangled AGAIN, but no seriously he loved it and Daniel relished in the father son bonding. The photos speak for themselves and the sunset was the icing on the cake.
The last full day, Daniels family planned to leave first thing the next day so we wanted to spend a little time with them on the beach. The winds were high so it didn't last too long but I must say Hayle beach was beautiful in a completely different way to the other beaches in Cornwall. It was simple, long and kind of peaceful, a hidden gem. The other beaches were full of character, surrounding by so much activeness but this beach was peaceful and there was so much space for Oakley to run wild.
Me and Daniel made a last minute decision to take the children to Lands End, we knew it was now or never as our plans for the following day were already made and after we checked the website we discovered that it was in fact children's day so it made sense. There was plenty of parking and plenty for the children to do especially for the older children, 4d attractions and experiences, a farm, and we noticed that they had a lot of themed days coming up. We managed a cheeky selfie with the Lands End sign, we weren't willing to do the ques for a proper one with a toddler and baby but seeing it from afar was just as interesting. We wandered around soaking up the views that were again so bloody incredible, there was several times during the week that I was practically speechless and now that takes some doing. It was worth the trip and we can tick it off the Cornwall bucket list. Food and drink was expensive but there was no stopping you taking your own. The outdoor play area was a hit with Oakley and it always makes me less guilty about the time in the car if he gets to do a little climbing.
We took advantage of the in laws this night and got a date night in, we went back to The Bucket of Blood as we had both had food envy a few nights previously at everyone-else food, again it was delicious and we kind of wished we had just one more night to eat there again. Rather than staying out we got takeaway ice cream and drove to the the little cliff at our holiday park, listening to the water, scoffing honeycomb and talking about how proud of children make us, they really did do us proud this week.
Our last day, booo hoo! We had to have checked out by 10am. Daniels family left really early to try and get home avoiding traffic. As we couldn't part with Cornwall just yet we planned a visit to Port Issac on the way home, I had been told so many times that Port Issac was a place that I would love so I was very excited to explore. Before we set on the road we had to pack the car (what a job! It seemed we had more things than we came with and a few rows later we were loaded and ready to go.) We found a beautiful spot for breakfast for our last hour in Hayle, Birdies Bistro was a hidden delight tucked away on a one way road, it was right by the train track that we had stood on to get our train to St Ives earlier in the week. This was our free entertainment for Oakley so we could eat in peace, well almost "CHOOOOOO CHOOOOO" The food was lovely and Daniels waffles were possibly the best waffles Ive ever tasted, the outdoor area was lovely for children, the decor was super Instagramable and they had crates of toys outside for children too. The baby changing area was so cute and Its always a winner for me when the small details to make it easier for parents dining out have been thought out.
Port Issac like Mousehole is small, narrow and steep, and I would again suggest that if you pay it a visit you park at the first lot of parking area you find and walk in. The walk was gorgeous as we took all the back streets along the cottages with walls of hydrangeas. A fisherman village, small beach, boats and endless fresh fish (the smell is strong) Famous for being the location of the filming of Doc Martin, its attractive to tourists so cafes, bars etc are busy so we bought fresh crab from the fishmongers and had some more famous Cornish pasties to snack on as we wandered. We visited Buttermilk famous for its fudge (which was delicious, I'm slowly realising that the holiday gain was very much deserved) and a beautiful shop called The Kiln, both shops wee highlights of the day (for me anyway) I could of happily lived in Port Issac, equally as picturesque as Mousehole, like a photo shopped postcard and I couldn't believe that some of the Cornish houses were lucky enough to back onto some of those views. Oakley had his last Cornish ice-cream before another outdoor play area and we waved bye to Cornwall.
Unfortunately a accident on the m5 called our travels to a holt, after speaking to Daniels family who had left that morning (who were still not home) it was clear we needed to put off the rest of our travels until traffic had eased. We didn't even really know where we were by that time but good old google navigated us to a huge children's center so we stayed until it closed at 7pm and then took advantage of the American diner next door, we ate and then got the children into there pajamas. Luckily the m5 opened just as we got onto it, and we were only affected by just 20 minutes. Olive slept the whole way home and I stayed in the back to help ease Oakleys trip home, we caved around 70 minutes in and we both slept the remaining stint whilst Daniel drove us home.