In Europe, the Easter Weekend consists of four days, as most people have Friday and Monday off too. It allowed us to take a short break and drive a few hours to the South of England, to visit Cornwall and its surroundings. Even though the motorways were packed, we embraced the traffic jams and headed out for a long Easter Break in Cornwall.
After being stranded on the motorway for a good hour due to a vehicle fire, we finally made it halfway to Cornwall. We decided to make a quick stop in Bristol, a mid-size city with just under half a million inhabitants. The city center consists of mostly shopping areas, some of them quite modern and well designed.
We left Bristol via the west, by taking the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge. This bridge, spanning 100 meters above the Avon River, is one of the major tourist attractions in the area. For 1£, you can cross this bridge by car, and stop on either side to make a few pictures.
Due to the traffic, we arrived in the Cornwall area about three hours later than planned. We changed our plans, and decided to head to Looe, a small coastal town on the southeast corner of Cornwall. The towns in this area of the country look very similar; a harbor surrounded by houses built on the hillside.
The center of Looe consists of a main street, with a few connected alleyways, offering plenty of eating and shopping opportunities. Unsurprisingly, the most popular cuisine around here is seafood, and almost every dish will include fish of some kind.
After hours of driving, our day finally came to an end in Porthleven, in the southern tip of England. As with Looe, the harbor forms the central area of the town. We merely stayed the night here, and since Porthleven is very small (around 3,000 inhabitants), don’t expect as much liveliness as in Looe. There is, however, a yearly food festival, mostly concentrated on seafood.
The next morning, we rose early as we had plenty to see. Our first stop was just 20 minutes outside Porthleven, at St. Michael’s Mount. This small island just off Marazion is home to a castle, gardens, and market. At low tide, there is a cobblestone pathway from shore to castle. Unfortunately, the castle was closed as it was Saturday.
We continued our journey towards Porthcurno. Our first stop was Porthcurno Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches of Cornwall. We didn’t expect to see this type of beach in England, and were quite pleasantly surprised with the crystal clear blue water and soft sand. As it was a bit chilly, the beach was quiet, however we have no doubt that it’s fully packed during the summer months.
Only a few minutes from the beach, either by car or by taking the coastal walking trail, you can visit The Minack Theatre. This open-air theatre is built on the rocky shore, and has a capacity of 750. The theatre was built in the early 20th century, initially for one play only, but it has been in service ever since.
For lunch, we headed to St. Ives, a small town on the western side of Cornwall. After parking on the hill (the city center is car free) and taking the shuttle bus down, we walked around the small alleyways of St. Ives, towards the beach.
At low tide, the beach of St. Ives takes up the entire harbor, leaving boats on dry land. If you’re feeling hungry, you can pick up a tasty fish and chips or Cornish pastry for lunch at the many boulevard restaurants.
Our last stop before leaving Cornwall was Torquay, also known as the capital of the English Riviera. It is the most popular place to retire in the United Kingdom, and its many seaside homes made it clear why. The area around the harbor is quite touristy as well, with a ferris wheel, a few restaurants, and plenty of people admiring the yachts in the harbor itself.
Our last stop on our Easter break was the seaside city of Brighton, located just over an hour south of London. Brighton is a popular day trip destination from the capital, with its iconic pier and long beach. During our visit, it was not too warm, so most of the tourists simply enjoyed wandering around the beachfront.
The Brighton Pier, which extends half a kilometer into the Channel, offers entertainment, attraction rides, and a variety of restaurants. We spend a few pounds trying our luck in the Palace of Fun, a hall offering a variety of games, like coin pushers.
We walked back towards our car through the Brighton Lanes; a neighborhood with many interconnected alleyways, all lined with boutique stores and coffee shops. We definitely recommend getting lost here!
Our final stop before heading back to London was twenty miles east of Brighton, at Beachy Head. This area is famous for its chalk-white cliffs, and picturesque lighthouses. We went for a stroll in the grassy area next to the cliffs (make sure not to fall in, there are no fences anywhere!), admiring the beauty of this area of England.
One mile further up the road you can make a stop at the Seven Sisters Cliffs; a series of seven chalk cliffs over three kilometers, along the beach made up of stone. As with the previous spot, the scenery around here is breathtaking!
We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.Read Mark & Herta’s full story.