Being British we don’t tend to rave about places in our own country very much. While I was backpacking I met lots of people from all over the world who did an incredible job of selling their home country. In equal measure I met lots of British people who said they were planning to stay away as long as possible because we have “nothing this good at home.”
One of the exceptions was Cornwall. I’ve heard people say that being on the Cornish coast feels like being abroad. It’s the emerald ocean and the hidden coves with white sandy beaches. Not having enough annual leave left for a trip to Fiji, I thought I’d give it a go.
They weren’t wrong. In no particular order, here are some of the best bits:
Kynance Cove: Southern tip, north-west of Lizard point
As with most of these beauty spots, the parking is around £4 whether you want to stay for 5 minutes or 5 hours. However, after all the grumbling about the rip-off, we walked around the corner to the edge of the cliff and came upon a sight that you just can’t put a price on.
It’s a stunning picnic spot above some of the clearest, greenest water I’ve ever seen in the UK. It’s particularly scenic as the sun starts to set. And, no doubt, when it starts to rise but that’s not a time when I tend to be readily available.
The Lizard: Most southerly point of mainland England.
Definitely worth a visit for the view out to the ‘nothingness’ across the water. We visited in the height of summer and I’d really recommend an early evening visit when you get more of the picturesque lighting and less of the tourists. Take a walk down to the cliff edge and a visit up to the lighthouse.
You can even get a tour up the lighthouse for great views and stories about the millions of pounds of shipwrecked pirate treasure buried beneath the sea-bed and the ensuing government tussles to lay claim to it. Interesting place, not as commercial as Land’s End but just as beautiful.
Bedruthen Steps: North of Newquay and east of Watergate Bay
My brother sent me a text before my trip to say “You have to visit Bedruthen Steps. It’s the best beach in England.” Big claim. And one I hoped wasn’t going to be something of an overstatement as, once again, we were stung for about a fiver to park the car in a field with Portaloos that had officially seen better days!
Anyway, here’s what I saw when I came to the edge of the cliffs and wondered what everyone was looking at.
It really reminded me of the first time I saw the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, outside of Melbourne. The granite rocks create a view that had people standing and staring in silence. There are a lot of steep steps if you want to walk down to the beach and there is a real danger of being cut off by the tide at this spot, so I wouldn’t recommend swimming. Is it the best beach in England? I don’t know but it’s definitely a view you can’t forget.
Lantic Bay: South East, near Fowey and Polruan and 4 miles from Polperro
A beautiful, sheltered sun trap with white sand and the hidden feeling of a paradise beach that remains unspoilt and largely undiscovered. To get here you need to park in the National Trust car park and take a 20 minute walk across a field and over to the cliff edge.
Then, there’s a million and one steps to deal with so pack light! After all the effort to get there you’ll quickly appreciate that it’s a pretty special place to perch on a rock and watch the waves roll in. The steps back up are nothing short of horrendous but how could you walk away from a hidden paradise like this?
Next time I’m travelling I will definitely be raving about England. I think these beaches rival anything you can see around the world and they come with the bonus of being beautifully clean and unspoilt.
You can see more images from my road trip around Cornwall at www.YouMeAndMap.com
- From South to North – next stop, The Lake District.