Sandy Toes & Salty Kisses. Cornwall 2018

Oh Cornwall, how I love you so! 

We have been back almost a week now and we are so close to booking next years trip already! The thing I would say with Cornwall is that its so handy to book way way in advance to avoid disappointment, its a popular place (rightly so) and we have already been greeted with plenty messages that read 'No Vacancies' even 11.5 months in advance. We have stayed in Hayle now 2 years on the trot, originally staying in a Resort Called Beachside and this trip we stayed in a Haven site, now Im not a holiday snob by any means, minus our honeymoon I would say we have always opted for somewhat cheap and cheerful but having never really holidayed in the UK until last year the sound of a Haven site has always been a little off putting, mostly because I didn't fancy the 'cheese' that comes with it. For example, the entertainment, karaoke and arcades etc, but one thing I have come to learn from having children is that they absolutely adore it and if they are happy then so am I! bring on the cheese! Riviere Sands is the site we stayed in, we booked a year in advance and upgraded to a Prestige static home which had an amazing location on the site and was slightly bigger and more modern, I would day it was worth the extra money. 

The site had an indoor and outdoor pool, outdoor play area, sport areas, arcades, small soft play area, cafe, hot food and drinks, an evening bar, evening entertainment, very friendly and helpful staff, amongst other little touches and activities that make the trip easier for parents to keep little ones entertained. Would I love to spend the week in a cottage with a sea view and beautiful Cornish interiors? YES I WOULD! But would I book Haven again for our next holiday? YES I WOULD ALSO! 

Hayle is a fabulous little location, from lots of talking to locals it seems to be one of the sunniest spots in Cornwall. Its so close to St Ives that you can easily get that St Ives experience but without having to pay more for the location title. Its not too commercialised, its homely, welcoming and the best part? Its beach is 3 miles long with almost nothing but clear sea and soft sand. The beach is stunning, as the pictures below will show you! 


TOP TIP

As there is so much to see in Cornwall, we use our driving days too and from (Day 1 & 8) to visit locations that are furthest away from where we are staying, that way we don't waste time in the car on our holiday but we can still visit areas or places that we want to see. This trip we took a pit stop on our way in and stopped in Padstow, as its such a highly recommended place but its around 50-60 minutes from Hayle so it made sense to explore whilst we had to wait for check in. We also did that last year visiting Truro, the capital of Cornwall. The journey home can be so hard on the little ones, so each year we have made plans for the whole day, again further a field so we get to explore areas on the way home. We tend to stay until after tea time so that we can change the children into Pjs and head back during bed time. This has been the easiest way and each journey home has been smooth sailing.  


Day 2

(As day 1 was spent traveling and a stop in Padstow where I forgot my camera, we will start here) 

What a glorious day! As much as you can't trust the weather reports when in Cornwall (Another Top Tip: Never trust the weather reports in Cornwall) This day was as promised, lots of Sun and very little cloud so we headed to the beach. Thats about it, beach and more beach! Followed by Ice Cream at 'Cove Cafe' located at the end of the beach, a beautiful spot for refreshments and food, with the most stunning views! We broke the day up by burying each other in the sand, taking little feet dips in the puddles that formed across the beach, building sand castles, playing volley Ball and chasing the little waves.  

We had a late dinner that evening but visited a local pub which we dined at last year called 'The Cornish Arms', I highly recommend as the food is amazing but they also have a great collection of flavoured gin, chin chin! 

Day 3

Today we had a slow start, after a late night and feeling tired as the traveling caught us up we visited Mousehole, this is somewhere we took the children last year and we loved it! Daniels parents hadn't been here before but thats not the only reason we visited, we genuinely wanted to have another wander around as the stunning fishing village is so quaint and picturesque. It also has one of the safest little beaches in Cornwall as the wall in the water stops the waves and current getting in, children can have a paddle in the shallow water and there is much less fear for parents. The beach is colourful with lots of sail boats and bright canoes on display, you can hire them out to head into the water further if you wish too. The lanes are lovely to walk through, theres little shops, cafes and cream tea spots everywhere, Rock Pool Cafe is an amazing place to eat although its small and not as child friendly as I would like it offers amazing views and also the chance to walk down onto the rocks for a spot of crabbing too. Really close to Mousehole is a place called Penzance, here you will find the Jubilee Pool which is the largest outdoor lidos there is, we didn't stop this year but if the weather is good then its definatly somewhere I would recommend.  

Still day 3...

Still day 3 but these images needed a whole new section of there own, this night we visited 'The Bluff In' a great location for the evening as it over looks Hayle beach, it has an outdoor play area with seating and is also a 2 minute walk from the Haven site so ideal if you want somewhere conveniently located. The food is good, its not the standard of some other places we've eaten in the area but the atmosphere, teamed with the fact its on the beach front is so ideal and more than makes up for it. 

We took a stroll on the beach to soak up the beautiful sunset, Oakley stripped off and ran through the water as the tide was so far out that it was just perfect to play on! The photos are my favourite from the whole trip!   


Day 4

St Ives day! It wouldn't be a Cornish holiday without a day at St ives, as we did last year we took the train into the town as the views are just out of this world as you move across the coast and arrive into St Ives. The train views alone are enough to make me want to go back again! 

There is a collection of beaches around St Ives, we are yet to see them all but we tend to visit the beach that is either directly under the train station or the beach front, the beach under the station has a handy toilet area at the top which makes it easier (especially with a toddler who no longer wears a nappy) it also has a bar and restaurant too which means you don't need to go far for refreshments. Word of warning, do not take the food onto the beach, you WILL be attacked by Seagulls. 

The shops in St Ives are by far the best, I love them for finding nice keepsakes to remember the holiday by but also I tend to find quirky things for the kids and our home. I put a story on Instagram to ask for recommendations, as we were after a nice place to brunch and I would say 90% of the messages I received told us to head to 'The hub' so we did and the breakfast was Devine, however only savoury options available which left my pancake craving a little upset! 


Day 5

National Trust day, now if you know me well then you know that I love a National trust. I like getting the most out of my £9 a month membership HA! So last year we hunted down an amazing location (Kynance Cove, google it to see it in all its beauty) and we did the same this year, we have a huge catalouge of National trust locations and I would love to tick of as many as possible (which is probably impossible but worth a try) Its handy to have this as a reference when holidaying in the UK as your garanteed a stunning place to make memories, somewhere thats clean and well kept, more than likely a play area, a nice cafe and lots of history too. 

St Michael's Mount is an amazing place to visit... DISCLAIMER: Hills, and I mean STEEP HILLS are inevitable. I feel like this is important to share as I would hate for someone to go on my recommendation and be shocked by the amount of climbing and the heights that are involved. So Im not sure I can class this location as child friendly, however what I can say is Oakley loved it! The castle at the top is incredible, inside was fascinating with so many cabinets filled with armour, swords and guns which excited Oaks a great deal. The cannons at the top were probably one of Oakleys highlights teamed with the boat trip back to the car park. The castle is on a small tidal island, which is only accessible by foot in low-mid tide, once the tide comes in the only way to head back is by boat and the trip is so beautiful. The boat drops you off in a little town called Marazion which was a dream to walk through back to the car, somewhere I may even try and head back to next year to explore. 

We took a big picnic with us this day, found a shaded spot to rest our legs and took in the views whilst stuffing our face. I would recomend taking a picnic because although there is a cafe the space is so big and being able to just set up camp anywhere we wanted to was such a blessing, plus the gardens where such a nice place to just sit and relax. Best picnic ever!    


Day 6

As if we didn't do enough walking and exploring on day 5 we decided to do more on day 6 too, the weather had cooled down a fair amount so we took the opportunity to try and visit Minack theatre and Porthcurno Beach, both of which we wanted to see on our last trip to Cornwall but couldn't fit in. Both are side by side so makes sense to try and see both on the same day, the Minack Theatre is an open air stage which is in use now, it was built by Rowena Cade after the first world war, I love this story because this lady was born in Derby (Spondon to be exact only minutes from where I live) I believe she originally built a house on the Minack point for her and her mother to live, the house cost just £100 and built the entire theatre by the house all by hand and on her own. Incredible, girl power! Its an absolutely stunning place to visit, again its not the best in terms of being child friendly but I think its worth a visit. I think we will go back next year but we will book to see a show potentially if its suitable for all ages, I had so many messages on Instagram following our visit to ask if we managed to catch the Story Telling time so that is always worth a google to see if we can catch next time. This location is also known for Dolphin spotting which is another reason why I want to head back next year. 

As there was a show on when we arrived we drove down the road to Lands Ends whilst it finished up, as if a show is on your not able to wander around. We visited Lands End last year but as it was a fly in trip we didn't hang around and do to much, this time we payed for tickets for the attractions which was actually really reasonable and I think it cost us £18 for the 4 of us to attend the farm down the lane and a tour around the Wallace and Gromit building. I wasn't as keen on the idea of that building because I have never watched the show (Sorry if your a die hard fan, but it has never appealed) but we gave Oakley the choice and thats what he picked, it was actually a really cool series of activities and we had a photo in front of the green scene which made us all laugh. The only thing I dislike about Lands End is how much they charge for food and drink, just a little heads up! 

Porthcurno beach could possibly be the most beautiful little beach I have ever seen, the colour of the water and the cliffs either side just make it feel secluded. It felt like it could be anywhere in the world, as the weather wasn't that warm we unfortunately didn't get to enjoy going into the beach itself so heading back to the beach and thearte is on my list for next year! After a crazy busy day we headed back to the site for a cosy night in, picky food on the sofa with some tv and gin.  


Day 7

As this was our last full day in Cornwall we all decided that we wanted to cram in a little something for ourselves, we all had small things we wanted to do so this day seemed like the day to do it. Daniels dad wanted to go fishing, Daniels mum wanted to browse Hayles antique shops, Daniel wanted to take the kids to Paradise Park (again! Yes he's a nutter) and I had made plans to meet with an Instagram friend who I have followed for years, the lovely Sam @sunshinesamblog who lives only minutes from where we were staying. We met in a cafe that I visited last year called Birdies Bistro which is another quirky cafe that I would recommend visiting as the food all day is amazing! Plus the outside area is so lovely on a warm day too. As I expected, I had a really lovely time and we chatted like old friends for 3 hours until Daniel had lost his mind solo parenting both kids and he bought them along to gate crash. 

Paradise Park was a god send last year, when it rained we visited the park after your recommendations and we were pretty pleased as it houses one of the biggest soft plays equipped with the most scariest death slides I have ever seen. They also have lots of birds and a farm area too. 

Once we had wrapped up we headed to find Daniels parents at the fishing house, we stayed so Oakley could experience fishing with his Grandad and I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would, perhaps down to the fact that Oakley did his dirty laugh when he saw and handled the fish. I couldn't of been there more than 10 minutes and we had caught 2 fishes. The spot was called BK Fisheries in St Erth which is only minutes from Hayle and the hospitality of the owners was lovely, as I don't think they have a great deal of children they were so keen to see Oakley and Olive bringing them sweets and trying make them laugh, it was lovely. After this we headed to the strip of shops in Hayle which includes Toy shops, gift shops, florists, antiques and last but not least Mr Bs!! Home to the best ice cream to ever touch my lips, the parlour is all pink and girly and so cute! 

It was a lovely last day as we did something for everyone, it was lovely weather again which helped too and we finished up the day with famous Philps Cornish pasties by the beach followed by a buggy ride around the Haven site in which can only be described as a pedal go kart style car.  

That evening we went to The Bucket of Blood, again this is somewhere that we visited last year and the food was incredible! I may go as far as to say the BEST food of the whole trip. A few of you that have visited Hayle before said you always drove straight past as it doesn't look like the nicest place to stop but believe me inside is cosy and homely, each meal is like proper British homemade pub grub at its finest! 

I can't tell you how much we enjoyed this trip, although I think the photographs might tell you that anyway. I always prepare myself before a holiday with the kids, I tell myself not to keep expectations too high and expect that it won't feel like a holiday but It turned on its head this year! Perhaps its the age they are at, I don't know?! But we enjoyed it all, yes there were stroppy moments and a few shouty moments when not doing what one is told but thats just life as a young (ish) family! As holidays go, I think this trip will be one I don't forget! They made me very proud, they both laughed, played, swam and explored together and it hit me just how amazing they are as a pair! 

I am going to share Day 8 (Eden Project) in another blog post as I have so many photos I want to document on my blog! So keep your eyes peeled for that, and as always thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope this is helpful if your heading down South anytime soon and feel free to Dm me any questions. 

Lots of love...

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Ainsley GrayComment