Covid-19 has undoubtedly affected many things in life – one of them being the ability to make plans and travel. Whether it be locally or stepping onto a plan to go further afield, I really enjoy planning mini breaks and love having an adventure to look forward to. With the uncertainty that Covid-19 has brought to the travel industry, I wanted to try a UK staycation break in 2020. Not only does it feel like a safer option for right now, but there are lots of beautiful places in the UK to explore and enjoy.
We had two locations in mind to spend a week away in the UK – the Lake District and Cornwall. I’m interested in the Lake District for the country walks, rustic pubs and beautiful landscapes, and Cornwall caught my eye for the exotic-looking beaches, cream teas and countryside walks. We researched both locations, and then my boyfriend found a great deal for a lodge with a hot tub in Cornwall – so it was a no brainer that Cornwall was the right choice!
We went to Cornwall for the week, and managed to jam-pack so much into a relatively short space of time. It was a great staycation and I can’t wait to go there again next year. Cornwall has been voted the most popular post-lockdown staycation in the UK, so I’m so glad we got to experience a little slice of it this year!
Where to stay
After a little research (mainly on Billy’s behalf as he’s good at finding hotels and accommodation!) we booked to stay at Mullion Cove Coastal Retreat, booked via Darwin Escapes / Hoseasons. The retreat has a little check in cabin, and then a number of different lodges. You won’t find any restaurants or entertainment on site as it’s a self-catered holiday, but the village is just a short walk away which has a Co-Op and a number of pubs and restaurants, and you’re just a 10-15 minute drive away from Sainsbury’s and Tescos.
We booked to stay in the Porthleven Premier Lodge – which was self-catered and fully fitted with an open plan kitchen and lounge, as well as a double bedroom and bathroom. We also had our own little terrace with a hot tub too! We paid just over £500 for 4 nights for the both of us, which was a great deal that we managed to snap up during Lockdown.
It’s worth noting as well that we felt completely safe staying here – the lodge was thoroughly cleaned and still had all the necessities there. We were worried that because of Covid-19, a lot of “high touch” items would be removed or the hot tub that we’d paid extra for would be out of use, but everything was still there, i.e. cooking utensils, scatter cushions, bedding, toiletries etc.
Mullion Cove is a great base to use to explore Cornwall. There’s no signal here at all though – so it’s a relief that they provide free WiFi to use! Mullion Cove is literally a 2 minute walk away; it’s a working harbour still to this day, which you can walk around and explore.
What to do
We had 4 1/2 days to explore Cornwall – and we managed to squeeze a lot into the time that we were there! I researched into quite a few places and luckily we managed to tick quite a few things off to make the most out of our staycation in Cornwall.
We went to so many beautiful beaches whilst in Cornwall – including Kynance Cove. It’s considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – and it’s easy to see why!
Once you’ve parked up and paid and displayed, there’s a short trek down to the beach (it’s quite hilly and rocky so I would recommend wearing suitable footwear for this short journey).
The beach is absolutely beautiful – you can get a fantastic view over the cove at a viewing point that is half way through the walk. There’s plenty of space to find a spot to relax here, and lots of cool caves, white sand and clear blue waters to explore. You’ll also find a cafe and toilets here, so you can spend the day here with all the facilities that you’d need.
Make sure to check the tide time prior to visiting here, as when the tide is in, the beach will completely disappear so it’s important that you don’t get stuck or get into any trouble here.
Poldhu Cove is an unspoilt sandy beach, popular with families and surfers, thanks to its turquoise sea and soft white sand. We visited the cove as it has a family-run cafe famed for its traditional pasties and ice cream sundaes, but we arrived there at around 1 and the majority of the menu had already sold out unfortunately.
We enjoyed some fresh skin on fries here and soaked up the sunshine – the beach seemed super popular though with families and surfers, so it’s a great little spot to check out!
Voted “one of the nation’s favourite seaside towns”, Newquay is famed for its surfing and beaches. The Boardmasters surfing championships take place here on Fistral Beach each year, which attracts competitors from all over the world.
We unfortunately didn’t have the best weather for our trip to Newquay, but we did enjoy walking along the seafront and walking up to the Towan Headland for picturesque views over the town, beaches and harbour. We walked past a beautiful spa hotel called The Headland, and walked past the popular Rick Stein beach-side restaurant. Despite the poor weather, we could still see how pretty Newquay was!
Healeys Cornish Cider Farm
Healeys Cornish Cider Farm is an award-winning Cornish cider producer and attraction. Tickets cost just £5 per person, which gives you access to the grounds, museum, distillery and cellars on a self-guided tour and a tractor ride! – quite a lot considering the very cheap price! There’s also an onsite restaurant and cafe here, and a gift shop where you can purchase a variety of Healeys and Rattlers products. I thought this was great value for money – and it was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours.
We picked up a branded glass each, Healeys Cornish apple juice for breakfast the next day and also a Rattlers cider each. I picked up the Peach one which is their newest flavour – it was sweet and so easy to drink! I think you can purchase their cider by the bottle in most supermarkets, but you can also order cases online for a cheaper price.
I’ve been to Land’s End quite a few years ago on a family holiday, but as Billy hadn’t been before, I just had to add it to the list.
Land’s End is the most westerly point in mainland Britain, and is home to beautiful scenery, cliff top trails and breathtaking views. You’ll find a variety of different attractions and eateries here, including The First & Last Inn; one of the most legendary inns in Britain since the 17th century.
St Ives is well-known for its surf beaches and art scene. The town is situated on a steep slope, surrounding a bustling working harbour and beach with plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy. Parking is a little tricky during covid-19 – the majority of the main roads in St Ives have been closed to make it easier for people to walk and keep a comfortable distance away from other people, so be sure to try and plan where to head to for parking beforehand.
The town is really pretty to explore, and reminded me a little of Brighton with the narrow cobbled streets and bunting hanging up across the shops. The harbour and beach was fairly popular on the day we visited (despite the not so great weather) but we had a lovely time exploring the pretty harbour town.
The Lizard is the most southerly part of Britain and is famous for the local serpentine rock and the Old Lifeboat Station, which was in operation from 1859 to 1885, before being moved to Kilcobben Cove, a safer location to launch boats from.
The Lizard, much like other locations in Cornwall, is absolutely beautiful with stunning views over the English Channel. We spent an hour walking around in the early morning sunshine, before having breakfast with a stunning view!
We had a flying pit stop at Porthleven Beach; as pretty as it was, the tide was coming in fast so we knew that we’d only have an hour (if that) to soak up the rays, so after a quick search, we were off to Loe Bar Beach which was the next beach along.
Porthleven Beach was pretty however, and seemed to be a lovely little holiday village with accommodation in cottages along the seafront which I’m sure would be popular with families.
Loe Bar Beach
Loe Bar beach is actually a half mile shingle bank, separating a large fresh water lake and the sea. We spent our last few hours in Cornwall soaking up the sun here, reflecting on the lovely week we had had.
Loe Bar can be accessed via a 10-15 minute countryside stroll, with easy parking. However, Loe Bar has a reputation for being quite a dangerous stretch of beach – there are powerful waves and a steep slippery shingle bank, so it’s a beach to be enjoyed whilst staying put on the shingle. There are plenty of signs up informing people that it is not a monitored or safe stretch of water to go into.
Where to eat
With a staycation to Cornwall booked, I just knew I had to try and eat as much traditional (and cliche!) meals and snacks as possible – including fish and chips, cream teas, ice cream, pasties and cider. As our lodge at Mullion Cove Coastal Retreat was self-catered, we made big breakfasts each morning and then ate out for lunch and dinner.
We found quite a few nice places to visit, however with Covid-19 regulations, a lot of places had to be pre-booked so we were unable to book a table at a few places we found – but that gives us more of a reason to visit Cornwall again next year!
It’s worth noting that each cafe and restaurant we visited had their own safety and cleaning procedures in place – some had separate plastic booths whilst others had socially distanced tables. Each cafe and restaurant we ate at took our contact details on file for 3 weeks, should they need to get in touch with us if an outbreak was reported. But I definitely felt safe and comfortable at each restaurant and cafe we visited, so nothing to worry about on that front!
Sandbar, Praa Sands
This was a great find by my boyfriend! The Sandbar Praa Sands came up top for local beach bars, so we headed here for dinner one night. We hadn’t pre-booked a table here, but there was plenty of tables free so once they’d taken our contact details, we sat down and had a look at the menu.
We both ordered fish and chips and we each had a cider. The fish and chips was pretty impressive – the portion size was massive and the fish was so fresh with a delicious crunchy batter. The chips were great too, with extra salt and vinegar. I tried my first Cornish cider here which went down a treat – so it was a good start to the week!
Cafe Cloud, Newquay
Whilst in Newquay, we found Cafe Cloud; a cute little traditional tearoom serving up breakfasts, toasties, waffles and cream teas. We popped into Cafe Cloud for our first cream tea of the trip, and it certainly didn’t disappoint! The scones were served warm with little pots of clotted cream and jam, which were so mourish to eat. I loved the traditional china they used as well, it added a lovely unique touch!
The Rum & Crab Shack, St Ives
We found out about The Rum & Crab Shack via a quick Google search the night before. We went for a short walk around the bay, and then decided to head to the restaurant to see if they had any availability for that day – it’s a good job we decided to have an early lunch as we were one of the last ones accepted in for a walk-in basis! We ordered a cider each (are you sensing a theme here?) and then shared some Cajun popcorn shrimp with a sweet chilli dip, and we each ordered a prawn & crayfish roll with fries. Both were tasty and we enjoyed them – next time we go to St Ives we really want to try the fresh lobster and crab dishes!
Wavecrest, Lizard Point
I think Wavecrest is the best cafe I have ever been to; it’s the coolest cafe sat on the Lizard Point, carved into the rugged Cornish coast with beautiful views out over the sea. We went here early on our final morning and were one of the first people there; we ordered a breakfast baguette to share, and we shared the best cream tea we have ever had! The breakfast baguette was tasty, packed with egg, sausage and bacon, but the cream tea really stole the show.
Billy and I shared the cream tea for one – which was a big portion on its own – and the scones were warm and crumbly, with the sweetest local strawberry jam and clotted cream with the thick crust on top. I’m still thinking about this cream tea now…… I would go back in an absolute heartbeat for one of their cream teas!
Ice Cream Parlour, Lands End
We ate plentyyyyy of ice cream during our time in Cornwall – but the Land’s End one stuck out for me! The ice cream parlour serves up delicious Cornish ice cream made Cornish clotted cream and local milk. On this occasion, Billy went for mint choc chip and salted caramel honeycomb, and I went for cookie dough and salted caramel honeycomb. Both went down an absolute treat – and I could certainly eat another one right now…
5 reasons to choose Cornwall for a staycation this summer!
- Stunning beaches – there are so many beautiful beaches and coves to explore in Cornwall. Some look so exotic that you could mistake them for being abroad, such as Pedn Vounder beach. We didn’t have the time to squeeze a trip there, but how beautiful does it look?!
- Outdoor activities – there’s something for everyone here – whether you’re interested coastal walks, lazing on the beach or want to try your hand at surfing, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here.
- Different accommodation – there are lots of different accommodation choices here, including camping, glamping, staying in a hotel or a self-catered lodge.
- Delicious food and drink – you can’t go to Cornwall and not sample the traditional cider, cream teas, fish and chips, pasties and ice cream!!
- Welcoming and friendly people – everyone in Cornwall (or at least all of the places that we went to) were incredibly friendly and welcoming, and made us feel comfortable and safe in these strange post-lockdown times.
Are you planning a UK staycation this year? Or are you planning a holiday abroad?