Cornwall is ideal for those seeking bracing fresh air and lashing of outdoor activities, from traditional sailing and surfing to more novel pursuits such as traction kiting
There is a walk I love to do in north Cornwall. It runs from Trevone, where I live, just a few miles from Padstow, along the cliffs to Harlyn Bay. It takes about one and a half hours there and back and I try to do it every day.
But there are so many wonderful things to do in Cornwall. It’s the perfect destination for people who like active breaks. There’s surfing, of course, and sailing, cycling and golfing, as well as cliff-walking and playing on the beaches.
If you’re looking for extreme activities, one of the best places to go is Watergate Bay, where you’ll find Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant (01637 861000, www.fifteencornwall.co.uk) and the Extreme Academy (01637 860543, www.watergatebay.co.uk). The Academy does everything from kite surfing to traction kiting and waveskiing, running classes for total beginners as well as the more experienced. You can stay at the hotel, the Watergate Bay Hotel, which is an excellent place for surfers and adrenaline junkies to base themselves, although it is ideal for people wanting to relax more, too.
For sailing, I would recommend Rock, just over the estuary from Padstow. The Rock Sailing Club (01208 862709, St Enodoc Hotel, just nearby, is a good place to stay. It’s a lovely hotel and is great for the sailing set, and Nathan Outlaw (one of our old boys, who runs the restaurant at the Marina Hotel in Fowey) is opening a new brasserie there in May, which I’m sure will be excellent.
There are plenty of golf courses near us in north Cornwall too. There is one at St Enodoc (01208 863216, www.st-enodoc.co.uk), near Rock, and the Trevose Golf Club (01841 520208, www.trevose-gc.co.uk) at Constantine, on our side of the estuary, and another at Roserrow (01208 863000, www.roserrow.co.uk). Holiday membership is possible at all of them, because this is such a holiday destination.
I like to walk a lot and cycle - there is a beautiful cycling route called the Camel Trail that runs all the way from Padstow to Bodmin. It’s the old railway branch line that used to run from London Waterloo to Padstow but was closed in the late 60s. It’s a stunning route and is very popular. You can hire bikes from Padstow Cycle Hire (01841 533533, www.padstowcyclehire.com).
There is a local bed & breakfast just outside Padstow, called Woodlands Country House, which is run by friends of ours. It’s close to all the nearby amenities such as the golf courses, and is a great place to stay.
There are lots of cultural things to do in Cornwall, too, besides all the surfing and yachting. The Minack Theatre (01736 810181, www.minack.com), at Porthcurno near Penzance, is a very special place. The weather has got to be good, although they still perform even if it is terrible, and it is a wonderful experience.
Other favourite activities of mine include going to St Michael’s Mount, which is well worth a visit. It is owned by the National Trust, and you can only go at low tide because you have to walk across to it, but it is really interesting. Sennen Cove, a bay down near Land’s End, is also great for walking and surfing, while the Lost Gardens of Heligan (01726 845100, www.heligan.com) in St Austell and the Eden Project (01726 811911, www.edenproject.com) are worth going to if you are interested in plants and gardening.
The walking, though, is what I love about Cornwall, and you cannot beat the North Cornish Coastal Walk. It is a really interesting walk along what is one of the most spectacular coastlines. I just adore it.