Where in the World

by Sarah Welch

My most recent trip to Cornwall in England was fast and full for eight ladies booked with Cornish Welcome Tours. We arrived at London Heathrow after a nine hour flight from Houston without much sleep.
I personally had a toddler sitting behind me who kicked my seat all night! The flight and walking a mile on arrival from gate to exit is absolutely the worst part of travelling. Departing or arriving, my gate always seems to be the very last one at the end of a long concourse which means a very long walk to get to customs and baggage claim and exit.
Day 1: We boarded a not so great minibus to drive us to Exeter, about halfway to our destination of Falmouth, where we met the owner of Cornish Welcome Tours and our next driver. This time it was a luxury 12-passenger Mercedes minibus and would remain our bus for the week.
After a quick lunch, we departed for Falmouth on the English Channel side of Cornwall and our home for the week, the Greenbank Hotel, with rooms facing the harbor where large and small boats were coming and going.

Day 2: We visited a stately country home, Lanhydrock, and we were lucky enough to catch a wedding in the garden. We also visited the village of Charlestown with masted ships docked in the harbor.
If any of you watched the Masterpiece Theatre series “Poldark”, many of the scenes were filmed there. From there we had a short stop at Mevagissey, another small fishing village with colorful boats sitting on sand as the tide was out.
Back in Falmouth, the group enjoyed a dinner of fish and chips and mushy peas at Rick Stein’s, a famous chain of fish restaurants.
Day 3: We took a boat to the island castle of St. Michael’s Mount off the coast at Marazion. After lunch, we travelled through Penzance with its great cathedral to Mousehole (pronounced Mousel) one of the most photographed fishing villages in Cornwall. The last stop was at the Minack Theatre, an outdoor theatre built into the side of a cliff, much of it built by one lady using her hammer and pick.
Rowena Cade began this project before WWII and it has grown into the most unique place to view live theatre with the background of the ocean and nearby cliffs. Porthcurno Beach next to the theatre is perhaps the most beautiful beach in Cornwall.

Day 4: We crossed Cornwall peninsula through Bodmin Moor with a short stop at Jamaica Inn. If you are familiar with Daphne D’Maurier’s novels, this is THE Jamaica Inn featured in her novel about pirates and wrecking and smugglers.
On the Atlantic side, we stopped at Camelot Castle, a hotel on a high cliff where we had views of Tintagel and the ruins of legendary Kind Arthur’s castle. From there, we drove to Port Isaac, another quaint fishing village for lunch. This is the village where Masterpiece Theatre “Doc Martin” is filmed.

Day 5: Our first stop of the day was a visit to Trellissick Gardens overlooking the Fal Estuary with Magnolias, Camellias and Rhododendrons in bloom. Lunch was held in the Trelissick Garden home’s kitchen. Actually, we had a typical Cornish Tea, which consists of scones, jam, clotted cream and hot tea. Delicious!
After tea we boarded the King Harry Ferry so we could visit St. Mawes Castle, a fortress built by King Henry VIII in the 1500’s to protect Falmouth Harbor from the Spanish.

Day 6: We visited Lizard Point, the most southerly point in the British Isles, and Mullion Cove, both with the most spectacular coastal scenery consisting of rocky cliffs, crashing waves and always blowing wind. That day we lunched at a typical English pub, the Halzephron Inn in Gunwalloe that had the most fabulous seafood chowder.

Day 7: The group said farewell to Cornwall, and returned to Exeter to meet our not so grand minibus for the return trip to London. We stopped on the way at Stonehenge for a cold and windy walk around the ancient stones before spending the night in London before flight back to Texas.
This was my third and probably last trip to Cornwall, a place that I have fallen in love with. These words cannot express the beauty that is everywhere; the green fields separated by ancient stone ‘fences’ called hedgerows with yellow gorse growing on top, the magnificent coastal views, the water and waves of the Atlantic and the English Channel, the quaint fishing villages, Cornish Tea service, fish and chips and mushy peas, the British speech and terms, like “hooley” meaning a big storm and “nicked” meaning stolen.
Guess I’m a true Anglophile.
“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands” – Sir Richard Burton