Looking at my bucket list there are a lot of things that are outdoors and are best enjoyed in the sun. But the trouble with the Cornish weather is that it is so unpredictable that you can’t plan things and guarantee that it won’t be raining. However, after seeing that the Minack Theatre would be putting on a family friendly performance (at a very family friendly time of 2pm) during the Easter holidays I booked for me and the kiddies to watch the Lighthouse Keepers Lunch by the newly formed Minack Youth Theatre.
Well, it could not have been more perfect. Concerned that despite the sun shining there may be a cold wind I packed four blankets, hats, scarves, gloves and thick coats. We ended up stripping down to our t-shirts and it really did feel like it could be mid-summer. We booked into the lower terrace and arrived about 45 minutes before the performance and got an amazing view (to be fair the vista is stunning from every vantage point).
The show was really good! Both my kids really enjoyed the story (they probably didn’t appreciate the setting as much as I did) and were singing the songs most of the way home. I overheard that the 2pm show was the only one this week to sell out – I hope the theatre take this on board and have more afternoon performances in the future. Whilst I am sure it is spectacular at night it is dark by 7pm in April and therefore you don’t get the bonus of the view. The tickets weren’t particularly cheap (especially as the show only lasted 45 minutes) with the adults £11.50 and under 16s £6 but it isn’t something we are likely to do more than once a year.
After the show we enjoyed a drink and snack in the cafe looking over the stunning Porthcurno beach. If you are not lucky enough to get tickets for a show a visit to the Minack is still worth a look. Its history is almost as interesting as the view and as we didn’t see any dolphins in the bay there is an excuse to go back.
I had high expectations of the Lost Gardens of Heligan, especially after receiving lots of reports that it was better than Eden (which we love). So when they introduced a new locals pass, 2016 was going to be the year we finally made our first visit and ticket it off my bucket list.
The only downside of the Locals Pass was that you had to visit the garden in March to qualify, but with the school holidays starting the logical time to go was towards the end of the month and tie in their Easter celebrations. As with most long weekends there was an appalling weather forecast so we decided that Good Friday offered us the best opportunity to maximise the experience with a bit of sunshine. Thinking that everyone else would be doing the same we decided to arrive at opening time (10am).
Getting the pass sorted was easy, for one adult and two children over 5 it was £25 and we get to visit as many times as we want for a year.
The first thing that greets you is the giant’s head – this is one of the iconic pictures you regularly see of Heligan but it is just as impressive in the flesh – after the obligatory family photos in front of the head we moved on to the Easter Fun.
The additional Easter activities on offer were brilliant. The egg hunt involved finding over 100 eggs (we missed quite a few but still qualified for the chocolate bunny), there were newly hatched chicks to coo over, egg crazy golf, Easter egg craft, cress head making and my personal favourite an egg race. All activities were included in the price and were suitable for a wide variety of ages.
We got to cross the rope bridge, saw daffodils and magnolias, posed in front of the mud maid, climbed over the woodland playground…… Phew! After romping around the gardens for nearly three hours it was time for a late lunch which involved going back out through the entrance. I couldn’t quite believe the size of the queue – there must have been over 100 people waiting to get in. My advice to everyone visiting attractions in the school holidays is always to get there early (unless you are going to Ships & Castles swimming pool but that’s a different story). We had an amazing day and were ahead of the crowds so didn’t have to wait to participate in any of the extra activities.
The end of March even on such a sunny day probably isn’t the best time to see Heligan in all its glory and you can see some of the summer flowering plants coming to bud – but I can’t wait to go back – it certainly gives Eden a run for its money and defiantly worth the trek from Falmouth and now with the Locals Pass it is a real bargain!
Most of us who were brought up in Cornwall probably enjoyed a night or two drinking cider on a beach with their friends. These days I prefer wine to cider but faced with the opportunity to try over 40 different varieties within staggering distance of home it seemed like a good opportunity to reminisce my youth. Between four of us we managed to try every single one of the 44 on offer (only halfs mind!) with the winner being Thatchers Red. My personal favourite was the mango, lime and ginger (not really a cider classic).
Folk music isn’t really my thing but it is easy listening and it doesn’t impact on the enjoyment of the cider! And after a sampling a few of the drinks on offer most music starts to sound good anyway.
This event has traditionally been free but in 2016 they are introducing an entry fee – it’s a good day/night out so probably worth it if you haven’t been before.
I seem to be eating out quite a lot at the moment – it must be the amazing weather so it’s another foodie post. I’m not quite sure how the Potager Gardens didn’t get onto my original bucket list because after visiting it should have been. I’m so glad I have found this little gem only about 15 minutes from Falmouth and I will certainly be making lots of return visits.
The cafe is located in a converted greenhouse and serves a selection of mouth watering offerings. There were only four choices on the menu but they all looked delicious – I chose the roasted squash risotto (£9). It was divine!
There are hammocks to lounge on, table games and newspapers to enjoy and the gardens to explore, it really is more than just somewhere to eat, it’s somewhere you can easily wind away a few hours, its soooooooooo relaxing.
It’s extremely family friendly for the kids there are chickens, a massive bug hotel and cake. A good stop off on the way to or from the Gweek Seal Sanctuary.
The gardens are a venue for the Open Studios events in May so I think that would be a good excuse to return, not that I need one!
Ok so living in Falmouth with two young children of course I have been to Gylly Cafe – it is the home turf for the towns Yummy Mummy’s (which naturally I fit into ha ha ha). However, in recent times I have tended to avoid it. The cafe ia a victim of its own success. The times when you really want to go are sunny weekends or school holidays and the trouble is, that is when everyone else wants to go as well. The queues can be horrendous and the last time I went my friend ordered a bacon roll and a coffee at the same time and she had finished the coffee before the food arrived (that’s after waiting over 15 minutes to be place an order – no table service).
However, with this latest spell of amazingly sunny spring weather and finding the whole family at home by 3.30 on a school day we took the opportunity to walk across to Gyllyngvase beach and treated ourselves to a Deluxe Hot Chocolate (you know the ones with the cream and marshmallows – yum yum). Going at a non-peak time we could sit outside and enjoy the view and sunshine behind the glass screens thankfully protecting us from the cold eastly winds
Gylly cafe has become a must do location on the Falmouth foodie front. It is located on the arguably the towns best beach and it is lovely, but just choose your time so the experience isn’t spoiled by crowds and having to wait.
My original bucket list entry was to start the day with breakfast at Fifteen Cornwall (as I knew they did breakfast and that would be in my budget) but after seeing an advert for their three course Spring Lunch we decided to take advantage of the offer and a lovely day to tick a visit to the Watergate Bay restaurant off the list.
The food was divine – all three courses were amazing especially the rhubarb panna cotta. As we were a party of three we were sat on the slightly raised level rather than right by the window but going out of season meant it wasn’t busy and therefore our view wasn’t spoilt.
I would totally recommend a visit. Make sure that you go there in the daylight, the vista is stunning and it seems a shame to go in the evening when it is dark. I definitely want to go back – maybe next time it will be for breakfast.
A tip make sure that you put enough time on the car park – it is privately managed and the fines are hefty!
Finding myself in Padstow on Mothers Day waiting for Daddy to finish the “Big Run” gave me the perfect opportunity to visit the baby lobsters at the National Lobster Hatchery (with the added bonus of free entry for all mums with accompanying child). It’s small – really small. The tanks and displays are very well presented and there are a variety of things to look at but we stretched it out as long as we possibly could and still only managed to stay just over half an hour. I’m not sure if my expectations were too high, as lets be honest there is only so much information about lobsters, but I had thought that our visit would fill an hour. Saying all of that my five year old son had a great time and was able to reel off a number of lobster facts throughout the rest of the day. He was particularly amused that his mummy had the same name as the largest lobster at the Hatchery!
Using your ticket you can return as many times as you want for a year so if we have time to kill in Padstow in the next 12 months then we will pop in again.