padstow

Discovering the exotic and elegant in Cornwall

Yes, you did read that title correctly. Even as the dimmer switch on summer is being turned down, there is still lots to be explored and enjoyed in Cornwall, the most south-westerly corner of England. This culturally rich and diverse county is famous for one of Britain’s most famous no-frills foods, the Cornish pasty. However as heartily scrumptious as they are, they’re not an accurate introduction to the region.

Let us begin with one of Cornwall’s most visited and loved towns: Newquay, a hub of laid-back surfer types, many of which are so convincing they wouldn’t look out of place at Bondi Beach or Byron Bay in Australia. When the sun shines on the golden sands of the iconic Fistral Beach, you could easily mistake your surroundings for an Atlantic coast beach in western France. But don’t be fooled, as this town is also home to some of the best English breakfasts in the county and hosts traditional British tea shops too, like Pauline’s Creamery, a locals’ and visitors’ favourite for that quintessentially British afternoon tea.

Image © Barry

Fistral Bay in Newquay, Cornwall – Image © Luke Andrew Scowen

Newquay Harbour – Image © Audi_insperation

Cornish Cream Tea – Image © Slimmer_jimmer

Other popular towns exuding hidden pieces of elegance include St Ives, proud home to not only miles of award-winning beaches, but also to a popular and civilised festival of the arts in September. Over on the southern coast of Cornwall is Falmouth, one of the county’s most picturesque harbour towns with row after row of bright white Georgian houses to take you back to the elegance of the past. Bude has elegant charm in its lines of pastel painted beach huts and Truro, the region’s only city, boasts beautiful Victorian architecture and lanes of stylish boutiques selling designer and independent brands. Spend an evening in the cocktail bar of Mannings Hotel in Truro sipping on something sophisticated before dining out on exotic dishes like the Tibetan or Nepalese curries served in Yak and Yeti.

Falmouth – Image © RPM

Arguably the most exotic spot in Cornwall is the Eden Project, one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. This world famous site for conservation is a collection of gardens and green spaces, providing homes for innumerable species of tropical and exotic plants. It’s only too easy to spend a day taking part in interactive displays or enjoying the music and arts often organised as part of festivals held here.

Image © Stuart Herbert

Image © Dysanovic

Cornwallalso happens to have more fine dining restaurants than it cares to flaunt, such as Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant at Watergate Bay near Newquay and Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. If these sound too much for your pallet or your wallet, then check out Porthmeor Beach in St Ives, a restaurant perched atop the sand serving tapas.

Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen (Cornwall) – Image © Andy G

 Fifteen Cornwall, Watergate Bay – Image © Andy G

And if hunger strikes after a long and fun day lost in the jungle of the Eden Project, head to the seafront at St Austell where you can eat some of the finest British food at the Pier House Restaurant with a view of the sea and a 19th century-style sailing ship docked in the harbour.

Padstow Harbour – Image © Barry

Padstow Harbour – Image © Barry

 Image © Barry

So whether you want to visit Cornwall for the gently lapping waves covering your toes, the cries of seagulls and the hot fresh taste of the world’s most famous pasty, or you are interested in a little more luxury and sophistication, Cornwall can offer the best of both.

So why choose?