So here we are travelling 5 hours to Downderry Cornwall. a pleasant enough trip from the east midlands (the home of Robin Hood, Nottinghamshire). The kids are fairly well behaved and excited after the journey, that included 2 stops.
We arrive at the Coastguard cottage (no.4) on a beautifully tranquil sunny day (as you can see). a brief dumping of bags into the cottage, then off the purchase some basics from the local post office come grocer store 5 minutes walk away. it was now approaching 5pm on a Sunday where everything closes at 6, except for the Ship Inn, pub. Following a quick walk along the beach ‘ to test it out’ – we settled into the Ship for tea. excellent food, fantastic views from the mountain top placement and outside ‘beer garden’.
Stayed local in the morning playing in the rock pools on the shingle beach – kids loved it, although we didn’t have wet suits or shoes yet.
Tesco delivered the food I had ordered in the morning, so we unpacked that and after our first visit to the beach, we had lunch and then drove to nearby Looe and about 6 miles away through some of the narrowest single track roads I have ever been on. Ten to fifteen foot high hedges on both sides and just enough room to one car to drive through on a TWO WAY ROAD!. Blind bend, over steep climbs and drops, constantly honking my horn to make any on comers aware, we were coming through, regardless…
Anyway in Looe, a larger buoyant seaside town, full of shops, boats, people, a large carpark, facilities, a beach at East Looe, a place we could purchase of fully operational beachside gear. Having been to Looe several times in the past, it was as I had fondly remembered. Bustling, vibrant, energetic, a true holiday location in this great British island of ours. Fishing nets, a pop up tent, wet suits and shoes purchased, we grabbed ice creams, then lunch, plus a play on the beach at East Looe, before the weather (as it did for the rest of the week) began to turn.The dark Nimbostratus clouds circulated overhead and soon the droplets of rain tumbled from the sky. making a hasty return to our car, we made it in time before the lashing downpour started in earnest.
A very short drive to Seaton – the neighbouring town to use the wet suits and shoes and tent we had purchased. they were put to great use. Kids loved the inlet of very cold water that created its own ‘mini -safe pool’ so adults could relax on the beach side and watch them play safely in the water.
Across the this body of water lay a beachside café, where we had our lunch (and most of the other seasiders too). Further out of the inlet was the sea where we toyed with the ebb and flow of water foaming in and out and around our feet.
See a shark anyone?
After a mammoth task of taking down and folding the pop up tent back into its narrow round pocket, we ventured to Polperro, another one of past haunts. tranquil, quaint, pretty. a small fishing town a few miles further down the coast. A steady walk through the town, taking in the smuggling sites and history of a bygone era, we decided to take a boat trip out to some caves. a small boat, with no life jackets used made my wife somewhat nervous. once we had started the journey (by the way the access to board itself was treacherous), the chopping sea was felt with full effect. the boat (with 8 of us on ) bobbed and weaved, letting the spray come over the low sides. that was it. we had to turn back, my daughter was in no mood to carry on.
We returned to safety with own member on board admitting they didn’t want to go back (even though the skipper offered a second fuller trip, which they refused..)
To calm the nerves we had Cornish Ice cream, (I had lost count by now how many we’d had) and a stroll back to the car via a small café (again) for coffee and cake (NO CREAM TEA!) So home, to chill then bed (maybe after a very small glass of Chenin Blanc from Chile.
The worst day for weather – it teemed down from daybreak (as per the forecast – they’d got it right!) – when it slowed a little, I prepped for a trip in the afternoon, whilst my wife bravely took the kids out to the beach which they thoroughly enjoyed. they came back wet and mucky, yet happy and exhilarated. so we changed them dried off, I did lunch then off to the Eden Project. And yes we did escape from being ‘Under the Dome’ – thankfully nothing like Chester’s Mill (if you love that series on television )
A long maybe 15 minute walk from the car park to actual entrance located inside a huge building with almost airport style turnstiles to gain access through multiple double doors out into the open to observe the view above. access to the domes meant walking through a zig-zag maze of lanes from a high position downward. Two Domes plus a 3rd building for children (that included a Dinosaur exhibition) appeared in front of us
On the left the Rain Forest dome – housing thing from the South America and the Caribbean. then across the way a Mediterranean Dome – housing plants, models, with a more European theme.
Sandwiched in between the domes lay a gigantic restaurant/food area serving on one side burritos, warm nachos (in biggest cone shaped ceramic pot I’ve ever seen) , sour cream, guacamole, salsa. the other side served more simpler tasting alternatives, with several fridge’s holding children’s choices with ‘kiddie sandwich bags’ and drinks. well stocked, good food, not bad pricing.
After food we visited the Dinosaur exhibition (on specifically for the holidays), a fantastically well put together look back a many millions of years ago, in a very realistic forum. its not for the faint of heart as some children were genuinely scared.
Next the ‘Invisible Me’ building display all about how we are as humans on a genetic and molecular level. lots of info displays explaining the building blocks to how we are and what we are made up of. intriguing.
A long walk back up the steps to the gift shop nearly at closing time (one of the last ones to leave) and then a 45 minute drive back to Coastguards Cottage and to bed.
Another wet morning (great British summer weather)! so morning spent rock pooling in Downderry. following our Lunch we headed out for a short drive to the Monkey Sanctuary run by Living Futures ( a charity). The rescue monkeys that have mainly been kept mainly as pets and then poorly treated to put it mildly. a very well run educational visit on these happy go lucky species that love to play and enjoy life. we saw them eating a variety of fruit and salad items and as a treat they has sunflower seeds wrapped in paper that they needed to tear off to get to the treat… they did this as they hung together in their ‘little families’.
We stayed all afternoon as the weather continued to cast an dreary view of mist and fog by the time we left at around 5pm. A short drive home, dinner and a some TV with the children then bed!
Another lazy morning at the Coastguards Cottage and at Downderry beach .then off to Carnglaze Caverns – Slate Mines – we wore hard hats and ventured 30 plus feet below into the icy, chilly mines, stepping carefully on the slippy hard floors and steps, that swept through these now empty caverns. Not that much to see or do here – we took a walk through their gardens outside that meandered over and above the caverns. within the gardens and woodland walk figurines of fairies were placed along the walking route to up interest and a talking point.
Our last day so we gave the choice to the children. it was a play centre come farm call Trethorne Leisure Park. Off the A30 near Launceston. The kids loved the outdoor parts, peddle dino cars, slides, zip wires and crazy golf! Then inside they were more slides, soft play, animals to see and stroke and feed. my two don’t normally like getting up close and personal with farm animals, however they both surprised me and my son made a special friend with some ‘kid goats’ that he still talks about today.
We had food (our own sandwiches) earlier then ended up eating in their canteen to as we stayed all day. That included playing a game of bowling in their bowling alley.
A thoroughly enjoyable holiday for us in many different ways. The resplendent beauty (when you could see it) of the Cornish coastline still enthrals me, plus the entertainment value and educational aspects for the children, made it worthwhile and pleasurable . Roll on Sunday for the seven hour drive home!
Goodbye Downderry, Cornwall