T I P S F O R T R A V E L L I N G
At 18 I moved from Birmingham to Cornwall and I’ve been down here for almost seven years now. Living as a local (outside a student bubble) for around four of those years. It probably goes without saying that these two places are incredibly different and this difference was partially why I chose to move. I love the quiet green spaces, the light, the slower pace of life. I love that my free time revolves less around buying and consuming things and more around afternoons in the woods or evenings on the beach. But what I notice more than most things is the summer season. When Britain goes on holiday and the population of Cornwall goes from roughly 500,000 to somewhere around 5 million.
This quiet county goes from slow and serene to busy and bustling. From wild and rugged to shouty and shiny-faced. Fishing villages are filled with waterproof jackets and walking-pasty-munchers. And country lanes are filled drivers quickly learning their car is not as wide as thought it was.
In fact, the Cornish are known for their strained relationship with holidaymakers. Using derogatory terms like ’emmet’. Which technically includes me, as I’m not native. Although Matt’s mum does reassure me that now I’ve married Cornish, I’m good and safe and Celtic-enough. There’s also the acronym DFL which stands for ‘Down from London’. Either in reference to the exhaustingly rich second homeowners or the younger city-dwellers put-out by the absence of Uber, sunshine and diversity.
Personally, I’m not an advocate of these words. There’s no denying that as fish and tin become increasingly poor commodities, Cornwall’s income depends upon tourism. We need holidaymakers more than they need our cream teas. But I’d rather less acrimony during these months in between. So from someone who perhaps has a foot on both sides of the fence, here are some ways my perspective on holidaying has changed since experiencing life and other holiday-makers in Cornwall…
S T A Y I N A B & B
It’s probably safe to say that the property market (especially in comparison to average income) is wild these days. And Cornwall is no different in that respect. But down here the problem is exacerbated by properties being bought up to function as second homes or holiday cottages.
At present on the Lizard Peninsula (where we live) there’s only a handful of rental properties available, right alongside more than a handful of coastal villages that get pretty ghostly in winter months.
So as someone who would like to at least approach the property ladder one day, please stay in a B&B. It’s something I now intentionally do when I travel. And not only is it almost always a cheaper option. But it comes with a local person who gets to live in their home whilst earning directly from your stay.
And staying in a B&B doesn’t have to be basic. I’ve listed below a range of gorgeous locally-owned dwellings for every budget, taste and location…
F I N D T H E R O A D S L E S S T R A V E L L E D
Now this one comes down to what you came for – maybe you’re into surfing or history or art – in which case head to those places and spaces of specific interest. But honestly, if you’re not here with particulars in mind, I would say avoid some of the big attractions. (I’m looking at you Eden).
Often these “Top Must See” places are unpleasantly overcrowded and honestly if you’re not seriously interested in what they’re about, they’re somewhat overrated. For the same reasons, I’d suggest avoiding beaches that come with car parks and cafes. Instead park in a layby and walk along the coast path. You wouldn’t believe the number of small unnamed coves you’ll find you have all to yourself.
Again this is a perk of staying in a BnB run by a local – they will point you in the direction of the sites really worth seeing. For the record, these are some of my recommendations…
D O A L I T T L E D I G G I N G
When looking for great places to visit (both in Cornwall and abroad) I invariably turn to the internet. Travel content from instagram and blogs has often provided the best ideas, tips and advice. Plus I find being able to search locations on Instagram, ideal for seeing what somewhere has to offer.
Equally, if I’m following someone who lives somewhere I’m interested in travelling to, I’ll pop them an email. I’ve had a few emails myself regarding people’s honeymoons and holidays in Cornwall. And I’m always happy to send suggestions, especially for places easily missed or overlooked.
Weekend Journals have also put together a couple of really beautiful books on Cornwall, that are brimming with great recommendations and often for places that don’t get much press.
R E M E M B E R I T ‘ S S O M E O N E S H O M E
It seems an obviously basic point to make, but here it is anyway: bar Disneyland, holiday destinations are also people’s homes. I get that rules go out the window when you’re on holiday, but for those living around you life goes on as usual. So say hello, give us a smile. I don’t want to perpetuate stereotypes but we are for the most part friendly folks. And when it comes to litter and noise (especially late at night) just bear us in mind. A little respect and love go a long way.