Padstow: Cornish pasties, Padstow beer and all the fudge
Today is National Fudge Day and not only did I promise to write a fudge-related post in my latest Monthly Musing, I also said I would write about our holiday to Cornwall (which we’re now on) and so here it is, my first travel/food/life post. I’m so incredibly pleased that I’ve managed to prise the fudge from my hands for long enough to actually open my laptop and start typing that I’ve lined myself up an extra helping of the sweet stuff to eat once I’ve finished!!
Now, we couldn’t travel to Cornwall on National Fudge Day and not partake in a little Cornish fudge sampling, could we?! So on our first morning on the south west coast, I dragged the troops through a rainy Padstow (have you even been on a British holiday if it doesn’t rain at least once on your trip?!) to Buttermilk, one of Cornwall’s oldest fudge shops.
A family run business, Buttermilk’s Padstow shop opened in 1964 and its award-winning fudge – still made using copper pans over open flames – has become so popular over the years that they now have a second shop in Port Isaac and a Buttermilk Kitchen in Bodmin. Naturally, we bought three packs (and will no doubt be going back for more…), but my favourite by far is their Cornish Butter Tablet which literally melts in your mouth.
Fudge is one of those foods that, for me, holds the same kind of seaside nostalgia also reserved for fluffy candy floss and the traditional stick of rock (for those of you who don’t know, rock is a hard stick of boiled sugar that you can find littering seaside souvenir shops across Britain). Unlike the aforementioned, however, fudge neither sticks to everything it comes into contact with nor threatens to break at least two of your teeth on consumption and so, for that reason, it ranks as highly in the seaside nostalgia stakes for me as fish and chips on the pier and ice-cream on the beach.
There was no beach or pier for us today though. Instead, we enjoyed our fudge in the beautiful fishing port of Padstow as we gazed at the boats and wandered through the pretty streets. Although our stop was brief (our 5:30am wake-up call from the little one meant that a lunchtime nap was calling to us all!), we definitely hope to return later in our trip to explore the area in more depth. Naturally, tucking into a portion of Rick Stein’s fish and chips is very high up our to-do list, but for now we’ll have to make do with the fudge…and the Cornish pasties (from the incredible Chough Bakery)…and the Padstow beer…no wonder I need a nap!
Polzeath & Port Isaac: crab sandwiches, creamy ice-cream & true British grit
You know you’re on holiday in the UK when you’re eating ice-cream on the beach with your coat on and still wishing you’d worn more clothes! I just love the spirit of British holiday goers in summertime – you’ve booked a week on the coast and no matter what the weather (in this case heavy cloud, considerable wind and the odd bit of drizzle) you’ll grit your teeth and sit on the cold sand shivering in the shelter of your windbreaker until, eventually, you decide it’s time to go home.
That was the scene yesterday on Polzeath beach in North Cornwall. Suffice to say, we decided against spending the whole afternoon there and instead rolled up our trousers and briefly dipped our toes in the (freezing) water. As a heavy mist gathered over the headland, wet-suit clad surfers were taking advantage of the windy conditions further down the beach and it was slightly eerie to see this cluster of dark figures bobbing around in the hazy distance. If the weather brightens whilst we’re here, I’d love to return and explore the village of Polzeath further and perhaps spend a little more time in the water.
Earlier in the day, we’d stopped off for lunch in Port Isaac (pic above), a small fishing village made famous by the ITV drama Doc Martin. Port Isaac is tourist-heavy (many hoping to spot Martin Clunes, no doubt!), but it’s certainly worth a visit if you’re in the area as it has some lovely little shops and eateries. We settled down for lunch at The Golden Lion and, as is customary for us when we visit the coast, we ordered some local crab which we enjoyed whilst looking out over the harbour from the pub’s small balcony. With its narrow streets, beautiful old buildings and stunning views, Port Isaac is an Instagrammers dream and is definitely one of the most attractive places we’ve visited so far!
Though the past few days have been a little unsettled on the weather front, Cornwall is still a wonderful place to visit and even in the rain there’s plenty of things to see and do. Sunday morning was a particularly wet one for us so we took shelter in Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium. This place is great for families (our little one loved it) and the underwater tunnel (home to sharks, rays, pufferfish and more) is truly spectacular.
Today we’re heading off to Tintagel and, with a bit of luck, there might be a glimpse of sunshine through the clouds. If not, I’m happy to console myself with more crab sandwiches!
Tintagel: a photographer’s dream
Tintagel is such an extraordinarily beautiful place that I thought I’d take a break from the usual written content that I’ve been posting about Cornwall over the past week and instead showcase a handful of images taken yesterday afternoon on our visit to the castle.
Here’s a little info about Tintagel from English Heritage. If you’d like to find out more, please visit their website.
Occupied since at least the late Roman period, Tintagel became a thriving Dark Age settlement and port. In the 12th century, Geoffrey of Monmouth named it as the place where the legendary Arthur was conceived. It was almost certainly this link to the legendary hero that inspired Richard, Earl of Cornwall, to build his castle here during the 1230s.
Here’s a little tip for those visiting the area – nearby Tintagel Brewery is much quieter than the village and their food is tremendous! Whilst you’re there, make sure you sample a few of their ales (if you’re not the designated driver!) or pick some up to take home. They also have a lovely outside area with stunning views and play equipment for children.
NB: (I would’ve loved to have taken my DSLR on this trip, but having a toddler in tow means that there’s barely room for my toothbrush in my suitcase let alone a huge camera so sadly these pics have all been taken on a Samsung Galaxy S8.)
Rock & St George’s Cove: cream teas, Cornish mizzle & post holiday blues
The last two days of our Cornish holiday were spent gorging on scones in Rock and lazing in the sunshine at St George’s Cove. I wish I’d taken a photo of the cream tea we had in Rock (another stunning fishing village in North Cornwall) because it brightened what was turning out to be a pretty grey and miserable day.
A fine rain was falling as we drove the short journey from our cottage in Wadebridge and by the time we arrived in Rock a thick mist was slowly enveloping everything in sight. In a weather-related grump, we took shelter in the Blue Tomato Cafe and tucked into a cream tea that was easily one of the best I’ve ever had. As I said, I wish I’d taken a photo, but my priorities were elsewhere as I wolfed down the warm homemade scone and thick Cornish cream within
Don’t let the Cornish mizzle put you off spending an afternoon in Rock particularly if you’re interested in water sports or enjoy a relaxed afternoon on a sandy beach. Due to the poor weather on Wednesday, we decided to cut our trip short, but Rock is definitely a place that I’d like to return to someday (perhaps when the weather is a little brighter!).
Our final full day in Cornwall saw us heading over to St George’s Cove, a beautiful small beach just a short walk from Padstow and one that, in good weather, is clearly visible from Rock. The sun was shining (finally!) and as we’d so far failed to spend any significant time with our feet in the sand, we decided that Thursday had to be the day!
As families all around us wisely huddled against the cliffs for shelter (it might have been a sunny day but it definitely wasn’t a warm one!), we hammered our windbreaker into the sand and laid down our blankets. The crystal clear view of Rock from across the Camel Estuary (a dramatic change from the day before when we could barely see Padstow from our seats in the Blue Tomato Cafe), combined with the enticing turquoise-blue shade of the water and the light golden sand made St George’s Cove a blissful place to be.
We paddled our feet in the water, built sandcastles and ate Cornish pasties (again!), but eventually the cold wind got the better of us and we headed back to Padstow via a coastal walk that took us up to the war memorial at St Saviour’s Point and offered beautiful views across the Camel Estuary. I’m sure on a warmer day, St George’s Cove would be the perfect place for a spot of sunbathing and I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for an attractive place to lay your beach towel.
On Friday, we headed home and (typically) this was the one day on our whole trip that we woke up to a gloriously blue, cloud-free sky. I often suffer with post-holiday blues (don’t we all?!) and I have to admit being stuck in delays on the motorway really tested my limits, but as I sat scrolling through my hoilday snaps, I realised how much we’d manage to do in just a week and in weather that was extremely changeable. Holidays are always special, whether they turn out to be what you expected or not, and I know this one – our first family holiday – will be remembered for so much more than the Cornish mizzle.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our trip – I’ve certainly enjoyed sharing it with you. If you’re a travel blogger or you enjoy adding a little travel-related content to your blog, please do let me know – I’d love to hear about your adventures!