Hello! Welcome to the next installment of the Richardson’s adventures. Last week we went to our favourite place of all, so far: Cornwall! There are so many things that we loved about it – the proximity to the ocean (something we’ve missed being inland for so long), the rugged coastline, the misty and wild clifftops, the stretching fields, the medieval castles and ancient glens, and some very tasty Cornish fare.
We left our housesit on Sunday morning fairly early, and headed straight off to Cornwall. It was a decent drive (about 4 hours), and with a bit of a break on the way, we arrived at about 2pm to the very charming village of Tintagel. King Arthur fans among you might recognise Tintagel as the location where the mythical King was magically conceived. We made our way through gale force winds to one of the couple of cafes in the village and started our time in Cornwall with a traditional cream tea, which was so delicious. Cornwall is famous for its clotted cream, a gooey and thick version of cream which is pretty awesome with scones and jam. It was a pretty great way to start off the trip, as we watched the strong winds blow outside and wondered if they would let up at all so we could safely make it back to our car.
We checked into our airbnb, an old stone cottage just near Tintagel, and settled in next to the log fire. The next few days our aim was to explore as much of Cornwall as we could. It was raining when we headed out in the morning, so we took a leisurely drive along the coast and checked out a few pretty places, including Port Isaac (any Doc Martin fans out there? Not us, so the excitement was a little lost on us). We made it to St Ives, and the sun came out, and we had a really lovely time strolling along by the sea. We had proper Cornish pasties from an award winning bakery (the joke is, that every single pasty seller in Cornwall had some claim to fame). They were delicious and perfect eaten fresh as we regarded the boats and the passersby. We topped off the day with some ice cream (to Elena’s delight, every time she sees a sign for ice cream she asks if we can get some).
The next day we visited the incredible Tintagel Castle. The castle dates back to the 13th century, and although is only ruins now, is still an impressive example of Cornish history, and set in a pretty amazing location, high up on the headland looking out to the ocean beyond. The castle and surrounding area also has a lot of mythology associated with it – the most prominent being the legend that King Arthur’s father, Uther, had Merlin the magician magically disguise him as another man, so that he could get into bed with his wife – leading to the conception of Arthur. Another legend is the story of Tristan and Isolde, which is largely based in Tintagel, supposedly the home of King Mark of Cornwall (in the story), and Tristan’s mentor and Isolde’s husband. Overall, it was a pretty cool place to explore and enjoy the legend and mystery of it all.
Later on, we headed off to St Nectan’s glen. This was a bit of a treat. To get there, we had to park the car over a mile away and walk through a beautiful green wood, alongside a gurgling stream. The path led us to the visitor centre, where we bought our tickets and headed along the boardwalks til we made it to the glen and the beautiful waterfall. It wasn’t huge, but the fact that you could walk right up to the base of the waterfall (luckily we had our “wellies” on), and the long walk into the glen made for a really peaceful and serene experience. There were so many ribbons tied onto trees and coins shoved into logs and it was a really interesting place to be. Mostly, it was a great place to soak up the beauty of God’s creation and be awed at His wonderful world.
On Wednesday we decided to take a long drive to the very end of Cornwall. We ended up in St Ives, and it was a really beautiful bay with some really lovely beaches. We played in the sand and had fish and chips by the beach, and it was a really nice day. When we planned to head to Cornwall there were a few things we wanted to make sure we did: have a cream tea, have a pasty, and see wild seals. I am pretty excited to say that we accomplished all three (although I can’t really take credit for the last). We managed to spot some seals swimming around at St Ives and it was pretty cool!
We were due to head off to our next house sit on Thursday, but we wanted to squeeze in one last thing in the morning. We checked the tides, packed up quickly and headed out early to explore Merlin’s Cave, just below the castle. This cave can only be accessed at low tide, and is supposedly where the wizard Merlin lived. It was quite incredible heading down to the beach where there was a gushing waterfall and a deep dark cave to venture into. Elena loved trying to find the wizard and his secret cave, although we established that he must have been on holidays or something, because we couldn’t find a trace of him. Also, Elena loves it when we say people are on holidays. She always says, “like me!!” and she is loving our adventure so far.
The cave was about 100m long and you could go all the way out the other side. We loved exploring it and the beach around it. Elena loved holding the torch and clambering around the rocks. It was a perfect way to end our little break in Cornwall, and for Pete especially, was possibly his favourite part of our trip so far – the combination of cave, beach, castle, cliffs, waterfall and mist were an absolute winner in his books. Oh, and before we left Tintagel, we managed to sneak in another cream tea – one of my favourite things 😉.
We headed on to a house sit in the posh sounding Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Despite its fancy name, this was a pretty typical quiet English town. The owners of the house, Lynn and David had kindly invited us to stay an extra night with them on either side of the actual house sit, and we really enjoyed spending time with them. They were so lovely to the children, and really wanted us to feel like this was our home while we were there. We had a really nice time staying in Ashby. It was a fairly uneventful place, so we had a really quiet weekend, but that was exactly what we wanted, and needed after a busy week in Cornwall. We loved playing with their energetic spaniels and having messy spa baths with the kids. It felt like a real home to us for the few days we were there, and we felt quite sad leaving. Elena and Kilian even got spoilt with gifts from Lynn and David.
Pete managed to check off something on his bucket list while we were in Ashby – going to a Liverpool FC match at their home ground of Anfield. He drove over two hours to get there, went to a very shady alleyway to get his ticket from a man in a white van and enjoyed every minute of it. Pete tells me the rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone was spine-tingling and the atmosphere in the jam-packed Anfield will never be forgotten.
We have just arrived in a really lovely Airbnb on a farm in Norfolk, about half an hour from Norwich, and we are keen as beans to continue exploring England. We have been charmed this afternoon by the view of horses in fields from our bedroom window, and are eager to see more of Norfolk in the next few days. We’ll keep you posted on what’s to come!