Saturday, 26 September 2009

Memorable staycation?

One of the things that 2009 will be remembered for is the Great British staycation. I wouldn't say that I’m already looking forward to next year’s - but, hey ho, my Bank Holiday staycation in Cornwall was fun at the time... And I discovered that you don’t have to spend a fortune to appreciate nature’s treasures, good food and simple local pastimes. The far South of Cornwall is quite a fair distance though – by car, it’s at least a five hour journey from London and can be up to seven on a Bank Holiday weekend - so, is it worth the drive?

I'd say yes, but only if you’re staying somewhere really cosy and inviting, so at least you can escape from those pesky torrential downpours and dry off properly before venturing out again. If you’re curious, like me, you’ll be familiar with the unpredictable weather patterns of our ‘temperate’ climate: It's probably best to take an eclectic mix of clothing to cover yourself for all eventualities, (for the average weekend, around a dozen different pairs of shoes, flip-flops, sandals, boots and trainers should be sufficient!)

In my opinion, it’s worth spending a little bit more on a nice hotel, a luxury holiday cottage, and/or some fancy meals out - just think of all those savings you’ll be making on the fare, new beachwear and the numerous spray tanning sessions you'd have needed to prepare for maximum exposure on distant shores.

I can strongly recommend the Driftwood as being one of the most warm, comfortable and friendly hotels in Cornwall. The cliff-top location is breathtakingly beautiful, with pretty gardens leading directly down to the sea.

The adjacent beach is scattered with rocky granite outcrops and quirky little smugglers coves to snuggle up in out of the wind

What I really like about this hotel is that the décor is so authentic: taking full advantage of natural, locally sourced materials like shells, stones, fir cones and, you’ve guessed it… driftwood. Plus the food is great too.

It’s also a useful base, with lots of interesting things to see and do nearby.

If you want to avoid the queues at the Eden Project, why not spend a day crabbing at Place Manor instead? You can take the ferry from St Mawes – though be prepared for a choppy crossing at any time of the year.

As well as visiting tourist attractions such as stately homes, I’m always curious to check out local events - like sailing regattas, art gallery exhibitions, antiques fairs and treasure hunts. Traditional British Bank Holidays can be interminably dull, especially if the weather’s bad, but there’s usually something interesting – possibly even entertaining – going on somewhere.

I stumbled upon the bunting festooned streets of Portscatho, where crowds of people had gathered to watch the regatta and participate in a grand sand castle making competition. All proceeds raised from the event were donated to charities like the RNLI.

As well as the dinghy racing, there were some amusing games to occupy the kids and this group of groovy rockers (left) were playing in a makeshift concert dome, conveniently erected outside the local pub.

Alternatively, you might like to go for a windswept walk along the coastal path, or do a spot of rock-pooling. Another practical pastime is collecting stones and shells as memorabilia of your adventures by the sea - and, if you're feeling really creative, you could even use them to make your own piece of design art.

Buying small souvenirs of your trips, or as gifts to take back to your friends and loved ones, is also a way of remembering happy times. Rather than splashing out on something trashy, why not look for a collectable curiosity to remind you of your travels - like a vintage shell box, or, if you’ve been on holiday to Spain, how about this quirky ceramic jug (left) from ShopCurious.

Your chosen keepsake may cost a bob or two, but the memories come totally free of charge. Now that’s what I call a real bargain.

Do you?


my wonderland said...

I want to be there!
were those pics shoot by you!
if so youre a good photographer

Susan said...

Yes, very amateur photos, but I'm working on it... Love your blog about Coney Island!