Glamping and flowers: May bank holiday weekend in South Cornwall
May 30, 2017
Hot sunshine, dramatic thunder and lightening, rain – we had it all this past weekend. Desperate for some Cornish air and a bit of a respite from London smog and needing some time out, we booked a last minute glamping trip to make the most of the longer evenings and to try out a new part of Cornwall. We normally stay on the North Cornish Coast but wanted to explore somewhere different and meet up with both new friends and family who were also heading down for half term. We decided to stay near Falmouth and get to know the bit of Cornwall which is just North of Falmouth but South of Truro, which I have vague memories of from sailing holidays as a teenager.
The yurt we stayed at was at Mylor Bridge and came complete with a camp fire where we did some fire cooking as well as some marshmallow roasting – there was also a wood burner in the yurt itself so we were pretty toasty all weekend despite a dramatic thunderstorm and heavy rain bringing the settled weather of the week before to a crashing end. We slept in a double bed with Pip on an airbed and Buster in his travel cot and by morning we were all glad of the extra blankets that we brought with us. Aside from blankets, we also had to go and acquire more kindling and matches and we were pleased we’d brought a light on a hook which made the late night washing up a lot easier.
Everything else was pretty much provided including a flushing loo (and loo paper) and shower with hot water in a tiny hut tucked away behind the yurt, washing up stand and station with bowl, liquid and tea towels. My only minor gripe was that there wasn’t an obvious drain and I didn’t love the fact that it wasn’t an eco liquid and I felt a bit of guilt at tipping all the bubbles into the undergrowth.
It was really easy to get to from the A39 and we were able to pull the car up to the side of the yurt and we also had exclusive use of the pitch – you could if you wished bring extra people with tents, which we thought would be rather fun – and I *almost* preferred it during the heavy rain, no doubt because I wasn’t the one that had to light the fire! It was extremely cosy sitting in the bed by the fire drinking coffee and planning where we would go for lunch and then dinner, listening to the rain drumming on the canvas with Pip and Buster sitting munching their cereal. The only downside of the easily accessible location is that we could hear passing cars during the day, and the Fal River festival evening celebrations during the evening were carried on the wind across to our site. It was definitely more peaceful than London but wasn’t *quite* in the middle of nowhere either.
We didn’t spend much time in Mylor Bridge itself although we did notice there was a kids playground and also an excellent village shop which was open every day.
This time of year is the perfect time of year for exploring Cornwall’s many gardens – we tend to think of Cornwall as beaches only but the inland bits are super beautiful too. We headed to Potager Garden for coffee and an early lunch – it felt rather undiscovered but perhaps that was just down to the weather – the heavy rain had stopped but it wasn’t exactly sunny. We were very happy though in jumpers to wonder around the gardens and even played a spot of badminton with the children and took it in turns to drink coffee whilst the other followed the children around ensuring no-one ate anything they shouldn’t.
Potager Garden, between Falmouth and Constantine for breakfast, lunch, tea and coffee. Parking free, entry free – takes card payments.
Polzeath and Surf Side
I think Polzeath and Surf Side are currently in running for my favourite beach/cafe/restaurant combo but the great thing about Cornwall is that there are so many new places to be discovered and I look forward to doing that over the summer holiday. Nonetheless, I’ve been dreaming of this place since we left last summer and the wait did not disappoint. I’d also been following the St Enedoc’s Asparagus on Instagram all winter and was pretty pleased to make it down the last weekend of the season.
We drove up to the north coast from Falmouth whilst Buster was having his post lunch nap – somehow it sounds more tiresome than it was – it was an easy hour’s drive and we were soon winding our way across the Atlantic highway and dropping down into Polzeath. Pip assured me she wasn’t bothered about surfing or swimming so we didn’t change either of them into wetsuits. Naturally she ended up soaking wet and eating supper in just a hooded towelling dress* (which I highly recommend by the way, perfect for salty children who don’t like towels much) but she wasn’t bothered and being on the beach, neither was Surfside.
I know it is strictly speaking not in South Cornwall but I wanted to include it as much as to illustrate how accessible all of Cornwall is from each other really…
I think booking is pretty essential these days as the restaurant has gone a notch above the usual sort of beach side cafe, but there are tables outside and the drinks and coffee is great too. Takes card payments.
Surfside, on the beach, Polzeath, Cornwall, PL27 6TB
This was a delightful find, recommended by an Instagram friend as a quiet place where we could meet up with the kids and have a coffee whilst our various offspring played together and ate cake. I had major building and rose envy – we managed to time our visit perfectly so that we were the first in the garden and we left just as the storms approached so we drove off in driving rain having spent the previous two hours outside chatting.
Enys Gardens, just off A39 north of Penryn (between Truro and Falmouth) open Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 2pm – 5pm. Sundays: from 11am-5pm. CASH only including entrance fee which was £5 per adult and £2 for over 5s.
We had Sunday lunch here with Pip’s cousin and M’s brother and his wife who were staying in Falmouth en route to their half term holiday further south. The views across the river to Flushing were beautiful even in the rain – this is an area which I love because we used to sail our boat down here some summers and we spent a weekend a couple of years ago on board my parent’s boat exploring Carrick Roads – they had sailed down from Portsmouth and we drove down to Falmouth to meet the boat. The lunch was good not exceptional but great value. We tried to get a table at the Ferryboat Inn at Helford but they wouldn’t take a booking for all 7 of us…
Maenporth Beach, Falmouth
Despite the rain, the kids were desperate for the beach. Being fans of the adage that there is no such thing as bad weather only inadequate clothing we togged up in wellies and waterproofs and headed for the nearest proper sandy beach to Falmouth – we have previously tried Gyllyngvase beach which is nearer to the town but less tempting in my mind as it is much more sedate. Maenporth is a little further but to my mind well worth it.
We should have learnt our lesson from the day before – all 3 kids despite wearing wellies and waterproofs to start with were straight in the sea and soon soaking wet and stripped to their pants. Buster ended up falling flat on his face because his wellies were so full of water he couldn’t lift his feet and had to be removed to the car to be dressed in pyjamas (a slight packing miscommunication meant we were woefully lacking in clean clothes for him – by the end of the weekend I was washing out things and drying them over the wood burner and the definition of clean took on a new meaning of simply not being wringing wet).
We rounded off the weekend with baked potatoes baked in the campfire with Cornish butter and Davidstow cheddar and Cornish yarg and then sat around toasting marshmallows until the light ebbed and we headed to bed.