Rogue Theatre – Wild Spring Hare 2016

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I LOVE the Rogue Theatre and I would recommend them to anyone visiting Cornwall. Their performances aren’t just for children and families they really are something that can be appreciated by people of all ages (although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend for under 5s).

After really enjoying Blackbeard’s Heart  last summer (which was one of the first experiences that I managed to tick off My Bucket List) the kiddies and I were all looking forward to the the Easter tale of the Wild Spring Hare which had made my Things to Do in April blog.

The show involved five mini performances spread around Tehidy Woods near Portreath. For the first four scenes each of the stories revolved around the discovery of eggs involving the Wild West, witches, crows and a frozen ice queen! It all sounds a bit random but somehow it totally made sense.

For the final scene all the characters came together along with the Wild Hare, but not until we had the opportunity to fill up on hot chocolates and hot cross buns! Unlike a lot of other establishments the refreshments don’t feel like a money making exercise and are fairly reasonably priced. At the end of the finale the actors share their artistic skills with free face painting (well it’s obviously included in the price but’s its nice not to have to part with any more money) and some nature craft – this time it was fairy wands made out of sticks and ribbons.

I love the quirky decorations scattered around Tehidy, the kids are highly amused about the door in the middle of the wood and I am amazed how the stories are linked into local folklore. You really do feel like you are being exposed to something unique and special and at £7.50 a ticket the two hour experience was worth every penny.

After watching two day time performances I really want to experience an evening show and the extra magical experience of watching these very talented individuals lit only by fire and fairy lights.

Just prepare yourself for mud and go with it – appropriate footwear is a must even in the summer (I learnt my lesson after wearing flip flops last time) and if you haven’t made it to a show yet then make sure you get to one really soon!

www.roguetheatre.co.uk/

 

 

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Tregothnan Gardens Charity Garden Opening 2016

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Tregothnan has been home to the Boscawen family since 1335 and the private historic gardens and arboretum are amongst the largest in Cornwall. Apart from one weekend a year the gardens can only be visited by prior appointment, however, each spring the gates are opened for what is billed as the UK’s largest Charity Garden event.

Being a private residence it isn’t set up for visitors like Heligan or Trebah and there are areas that are closed off to the public. I kept having to remember that there is a reason there are no signs giving you information next to the tea plantations or the obligatory childrens activities. But there is something quite exciting about exploring someones private garden and I spent most of the visit wondering how much time the family actually spend in there, where they have bbqs and if they had a dog that they walked throughout the grounds.

I was surprised to see a camellia maze and the kids and I amazingly managed to find the middle without too much trouble (maybe getting lost so many times in the Glendurgan Maze has given us a second sense). We were rewarded by finding a full sized model cow – a bit random!

The weather was perfect to enjoy the estate and after two hours of strolling around the grounds we headed to the stable yards to sample the food offerings. I have to say that I was initially a little disappointed to see that the ice cream on offer wasn’t from one of the Cornish suppliers but the Kenyan Coffee ice cream was so divine so I will excuse the use of a Devon brand.

As Tregothnan is the location of the UK’s first tea plantation and despite being a coffee drinker I felt the need to have a cup of the local speciality and it tasted …….well like tea!

The event sells out every year and therefore after seeing the forecast we purchased our tickets in advance. Normally a Private Garden Visit starts at £65 per head (admittedly you are accompanied by one of the garden staff) but for the charity opening the entry fee this year was £10 for adults and free entry for children offering reasonable value for money.

I’m glad to have ticked a visit off My Bucket List and I do recommend it however, I’m not in any rush to go back – I’d rather visit some of the gardens who are set up for visitors (and especially families). I also love being able to see gardens at different stages and how they evolve with each season, so it is a real shame that the gardens are only opened to the general public the same time every year, but then again it’s better than not being able to enjoy this little part of Cornwall at all.

Have you been before? Did you go? I would love to know what you thought?

www.tregothnan.co.uk

Porthleven Food Festival 2016

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Events held in April always run the risk of being ruined by the wind and rain, but this years Porthleven Food Festival was blessed with near perfect weather. The festival hadn’t made my bucket list because I had visited four years ago, but watching from a distance it was growing into one of Cornwall’s must do events of the year with over 30,000 visitors making it worth another visit and therefore had made one of my Things to Do in April.

There have been a number of improvements since my last visit, including an extra tent for the food demos and this year a new literary element and extra stage showcasing local chefs. The town was busy, but not rammed and there was a great buzz around the Harbour. In fact I would say that the organisers have got the balance absolutely right and have somehow managed despite the growth over the past seven years, to retain a real community feel to the event.

With nearly 100 stalls showcasing foods from all over the world your hardest decision of the day will be what to have to eat! I had a Morocon Chicken Curry with coconut rice from Kaites Cornish Hot Pots (£6 per portion) – it was a lovely warming dish full of flavour.  We also treated ourselves to some chocolate covered marshmallows from Chocolate Kisses (£1 each) – yum yum!

I was a little disappointed with the childrens area. I know that food festivals are generally targeted at adults without children but there seemed from the pre event marketing to be enough to keep my two engaged. Apart from the circus tent manned by Swamp Circus the only other activities were charged fairground rides, even at the “Free” craft session we were asked for a donation (but there didn’t seem to be much option not to donate the requested £1 which seemed a little steep for the mask making on offer). There were no children related food elements that we came across such as make your own pizza or potato printing. I don’t mind paying for things but I’m not a huge fan of fairgrounds and there was little else on offer.

This was my second visit to the festival with children in tow – next time I will leave them at home – therefore I can’t classify the event as Family Friendly – its not that you can’t take them its just they do feel a bit of an after thought and tucked out of the way. Saying that the organisers have developed a festival that is well worth a visit and you certainly don’t have to be a foodie to enjoy it.

Have you been before? Did you go? I would love to know what you thought?

www.porthlevenfoodfestival.com

 

Kennall Vale

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I love Facebook. I love how I can keep in touch with people who I don’t get to see. And I love discovering new places recommended by friends. Cornwall is the most beautiful part of the country and there are so many hidden gems, but despite being less than 15 minutes from home I had never visited Kennall Vale before. The woods made my bucket list because I had seen so many pictures of my Facebook friends enjoying walks and the stunning setting.

After an abandoned attempt to tick this off my list in the Easter Holidays (as part of my Things to Do – March 2016 post) because the weather was sooooo bad, we had a near perfect set of conditions for my first visit. Although sunny and dry on the day, it had absolutely tipped it down the day before and the run off from the rain meant the rivers and man made waterfalls were fast flowing.

The reserve managed by the Wildlife Trust is the site of  the old Kennel Vale gunpowder factory which closed in the first decade of the last century. The ruins provide stunning interest points and places for children (and adults) to explore. There are bridges over the streams to play pooh sticks and plenty of places to get close to nature.

We will definitely go back. The first bluebells were starting to show and I can only imagine how beautiful they must be in full bloom.

There isn’t a car park and you have to park in the nearby residential lanes – but at least that means no car park charges!

When I got home I posted some photos of my visit on my own Facebook page and guess what …….. A friend commented that it looked so amazing she was going to visit – I love Facebook!

www.wildlifetrusts.org/reserves/kennall-vale

 

 

 

 

Porthcurno Telegraph Museum

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As we were heading to the far west of the county over Easter to visit the Minack  it seemed like a good opportunity to pay a visit the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum. Since re-opening after a multi million pound  development a couple of years ago it has won numerous awards and therefore I was curious to see what all the fuss was about (although for some reason it hadn’t made my bucket list).

In the late nineteenth century, the remote Porthcurno became internationally famous as the British termination of early submarine telegraph cable and the attraction is located a stones throw from the stunning beach. The museum showcases both the local history of the area and also how communications have developed over the past couple of centuries. It doesn’t sound the most exciting but it really deserves the awards it has received.

We had a lovely time. There were plenty of child focused activities for the kiddies. Their favourite was the morse code machines where they could send each other messages (or just make a lot of noise). They also enjoyed finding the knitted carrier pigeons although we didn’t manage to find them all despite a second good look around the museum.

The volunteers were wonderful and went out of their way to make the experience even more enjoyable. Being Cornish residents we qualified for the locals pass which was a little of extra paperwork when we arrived but gives us free entry for a year (Adult £8.50, Child £5). If you are going to tie a visit to the museum with a show at the Minack you can get 15% off your entry.

To be honest I wasn’t overly impressed with the cafe – despite being the Easter holidays there was wasn’t much choice and a little on the expensive side for what was on offer so we gave it a miss despite planning on having lunch there. However, with Porthcurno beach just a short distance away I would choose to have a picnic on the beach rather than inside anyway (unless it was raining and then the small cafe could be very busy).

It is somewhere were you can easily spend a couple of hours as a family with a wide variety of things to do for all ages. I think that we will try to make the most of our passes and visit again within the next year, it is a bit of a shame that it is over an hour from Falmouth as if it was closer then I am sure we would be regulars.

www.telegraphmuseum.org

 

Things to do – April 2016

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Wow what a month I have just had!! I managed to tick visits to Heligan, Fifteen, the Lobster Hatchery, Ben Anslie’s Post Box, the Minack Theatre and the  World Pasty Championships off my bucket list and do even more fun things on top and I really think writing a wrap up post at the beginning of the month helped me focus on what I could be doing (along with some slightly better weather).

I didn’t make it to Kennel Vale (as we got rained off) or to the Hidden Hut (due to family commitments) that I hoped to as part of my Things to Do in March but there is still plenty of time to fit those in.

Easter traditionally kicks of the event season for the year and this month there are a number of festivals that I am keen to get too. Here is a short list of things to do in Cornwall this month.

Rogue Theatre Wild Spring Hare –  March 25th – April 3rd 

After watching last summers performance, Rogue Theatre are now a must do activity for our family. Wild Spring Hare is their Easter show and is “an adventure for spring, an eruption of imagination and possibility, a twisting of paths, a collection of tales and a quest for life’s hidden treasures”. Sounds Fab!!!

Truro Festival 2nd to 9th April

The Truro Festival has a number of free and paid events throughout the city and with such a wide range there really does look like there is something for everyone. As it is the Easter holidays I will be checking out what is on for the kiddies.

Porthleven Food Festival – 16th to 17th April

I visited this event a few years ago when the kids were very small and really enjoyed it. The festival is growing year on year and so I think that it deserves a return visit. This year a new literary element has been added with a talk by the hilarious Sgt Colin Taylor who generated a massive Facebook following with his posts about life being a police officer on the Isle of Scilly.

Tregothnan Charity Garden Opening – 16th to 17th April

Annoying clashing with the Porthleven Food Festival Tregothnan opens it usually private gates every April. With sweeping vistas over the River Fal, Camellias, Magnolias and some of the biggest Rhododendrons in the world this event sells out every year so I will be getting my tickets very soon.

Porthminster Cafe 

St Ives is amazing and a must do for anyone visiting Cornwall for the first time. In the summer the town can get super crowded and therefore visiting slightly out of season means that you get to enjoy this seaside resort without thousands of others. We can get some lovely spring days with clear skies – lunch at the Porthminster Cafe seems like an excellent idea to make the best use of the sun.