A Travel & Lifestyle Blog

Mousehole, Cornwall

Hunting for romantic Arthurian legends in Tintagel and being mesmerised by Padstow's evening aura by the river Camel, have both been a great start to our Cornish road trip. 
But, time has come to explore the southern part of the Cornish coast.

Mousehole port at low tide.

Moving around  the Cornish countryside is not as quick, as you’d think.
Tiny country lanes connect all villages; don’t be surprised if your navigation takes you through a lane just wide enough to fit one car; green wild vegetation walls constantly closing in towards you, driving the parking sensors mad.  I'm actually describing our drive to Mousehole from Penzance, via Paul village. Such a seemingly short drive: 3.5 miles, took us 20 minutes!
 

Mousehole is a real life, doll-house village, pronounced "Mowzell".
The Cornish dialect is a branch of the ancient Celtic group of languages, which still survives down here, but just about; there are only 600 fluent speakers left, in and around Truro.
 
I  think it was my favourite spot in the whole trip; it is the kind of place I would retreat to, to finish off my paper, spend time staring at the tides come in and out and eat fresh fish every day!
The tiny, round port is crammed with fishing boats waiting patiently for the tide, day by day. That’s the other thing with Cornwall, you can watch the tide clearly moving in and out of the coastal hamlets, while realising the superior forces of nature.  

At the seaside garden of the Old Coastguard Hotel
St Michael's Mount seen in the distance, from a highpoint in Mousehole.

We stayed at the Old Coastguard hotel, which offers the bay best views in the village and has a splendid seaside garden to watch the moon from. If you are only staying for a night or two, it's just the place to be.
But if you plan staying longer, I would probably opt for renting a little cottage like the Boat Watch, it's much cosier. (check availability)
Just a couple hundred yards from Mousehole coast, there is this tiny rock, which keeps changing shape and appearance depending of the height of the tide. We had a clear view of it from our room and all through the night we kept getting up to take pictures and watch the changing tide. What a change from waking up to look at Pinterest and check emails.

During the day make sure to walk around the village. There are so many little shops, full of interior decorating props and lovely reminders of this sun-drenched part of England.
I bought a wooden sign for the garden that reads "life is better on the beach", tell me something I didn't know, right? Well, surely enough it does remind me of this happy place, every single time I look at it. 
 

Arriving at St Michael's Mount by boat.
Spot the causeway for when the tide goes out? You can actually walk to the Mount!

A short (remember, this is a relative term around here) drive away from Mousehole is St Michael's Mount: an island when the tide comes in, but just a short walk away when the waters subtract! The ancient causeway has been there for centuries, for pilgrims, soldiers and modern tourists. It's one of those things that makes you stop and think!

Right across, on the French coast of Normandy, you'll find the exact same island, Mont St Michel!
It has a special significance for us, as this is where my husband proposed, under the stars and the evening hymns at St Michel's monastery. So, we were beyond excited to walk around its' English counterpart!

Looking at Marazion from the Mount
 

St Michael's Mount is home to 39 islanders who live and work there, but also to the St Aubyn family, who still reside in the castle.
It is a wonderful microcosm of  gardens, grand interiors, an Abbey and a castle, all with amazing 360 degree views around. What a place!
 
Back in Mousehole, evenings are such a pleasure; there is nothing like walking around the village having everybody nodding a quick “hello” to you. If that doesn’t make you feel part of this place, nothing does.
 
If you find yourself in Mousehole promise that you'll go and have dinner at 2 Fore street. It's this unpretentious, corner restaurant, just off the port. They make the lightest, tastiest fish dishes. My lemon sole was filleted and stuffed with herbie butter, olives and all kinds of yummy, yummy stuff!

Speaking of flavours, one must try a proper Cornish pasty.
Just don’t ask for anything other than the good old traditional; the locals will look at you out of the corner of their eye and mumble...and rightly so, the traditional filling is just right.
You simply don’t get that buttery and velvety texture anywhere else.

King Arthur, Merlin and Pear Cider, Tintagel

During our stay at the St Moritz in Trebetherick, we ventured north, along the Cornish coast in search of a romantic legend.
Bring King Arthur in mind. Excalibur and The Round Table. Camelot and Merlin. 
Legends and mythical stories: welcome to Tintagel! 


On a crisp, sunny day, the medieval island town of Tintagel stands proudly amongst the ever-battling waves. It is spectacular! 

Needless to say that every single shop in Tintagel is taking full advantage of Merlin and his crystals; Ignore all that for now. Leave the village behind and head down to the entrance of the island fortress...oh that’s when you take a big breath in!


The magnificent island-town towers above the deep blue waters and dark sharp-edged caves.
If Merlin did even go close to those caves, there is no doubt as to why his practices inspired such a mystic aura.
The air is cool down there and the shadows seem even darker after you’ve been in the sunshine.
 
Dark caves at the entrance of Tintagel, could Merlin have used them for his magic?

Greenery now covers what is left of an ancient monastery or- for the believers - King Arthur’s birthplace castle. According to legend, King Arthur was conceived and born in Tintagel, but there is no definitive proof.
Stories go on to identify Tintagel as the location of mythical Camelot too, but other stories place it at Winchester or Colchester. Who knows, it's fun to play archaeologist for the day!
 
Once you’ve taken all that in, there is the tiny passageway connecting the mainland to the island, from where you slowly transcend to a noble world. 
Then a steep staircase rises to the sun. It looks as if it was made by giants, the steps are so high.


The medieval houses stand in ruins, but there is enough still standing to spark your imagination.
How would medieval people even think to move onto that rock, I cannot comprehend;
when you reach the top of the island though and have a 360 degree view of the Atlantic, everything makes sense.
There is a strange silence up there although waves endlessly crush on the base of the rock, still you feel like king of the castle.

 
Best way to finish the day off, is a pint of locally produced cider or my favourite, a pear cider;
so refreshing after a hot day’s climbing and trekking.
We headed back up to the village, sat outside at one of the pubs and felt absolutely content and utterly exhausted after climbing up and down stairs and passageways in scorching hot sunshine.
That pint, went down a treat! 
 
Cornish coast seen from the top of Tintagel

St Moritz Hotel, Trebetherick, Cornwall



Let’s talk about the lazy beaches of Polzeath and Trebetherick, where the Atlantic waves smash on the northern Cornish coastline. 

Gorgeous houses, with breath-taking views, form little tranquil villages.
The postcode here is almost as costly as central London.  In this case it’s absolutely worth it though; you can’t put a price to waking up to rolling hills covered in wild flowers, meeting the deep-blue ocean.



What's best: it’s not at all stale and uptight! 
Tanned and  ridiculously cool surfers bring balance to the equation.
On a sunny day, Polzeath’s sandy beach looks more like a scene from relaxed Down Under, rather than good old England. 

























Welcome to the St Moritz: An Art Deco boutique hotel with uninterrupted views over the point where river Camel meets the ocean. (check availability)

It's the perfect home away from home! No they didn't pay me to say that, as a matter of fact we visited the St Moritz at a time when my husband was recovering from severe back issues and although we were supposed to stay for just two nights, we ended up spending four, because we felt so relaxed and welcomed.

Our little one-bed apartment was on the ground floor and morning coffee in our private little terrace was pure bliss. So quiet, with a great view of the sea and the rolling hills around.






St Moritz also has the softest, fluffiest, most comfortable mattress, I've ever slept on! The rooms are all decorated in neutral and light, nautical, blue tones and the studios are equipped with kitchenettes in case you want to try your hand at cooking with local produce.

Cowshed Spa resides in the hotel too, but it gets so busy that you have to book well in advance.

During the day head to the small, pebbly beach, ten-minute walk from the hotel, next to colourful fields and white fences.  It's quiet and secluded.
Or jump in your car and head to the sandy Polzeath stretch, five-minutes drive away, full of families, uber-tanned surfers and little beach huts with all of the necessary paraphernalia.  
 


In the early evenings, fish-lover’s paradise Padstow, awaits the tide, nested on the other side of river Camel. On summer evenings, the moon shines in the calm waters of the little enclosed port. All its fish restaurants leave demanding Londoners utterly in owe, with fresh fish and robust local flavours. Rick Stein, owns about 3 of them!   

Padstow is a 20-minute drive from St Moritz Hotel, or the romantic alternative is to drive from the hotel down to Rock, a small river-side dock and catch the ferry across to Padstow. You might want to watch for the crossing-timings of you opt for that though. 
 
Padstow's port at sunset


River Camel at low tide, seen from Padstow

The countryside is pure and filled with positive energy to power our fast-paced lives.
Trebetherick and St Moritz were the first stop to our Cornish escape, which started as a long weekend, but turned out to be a ten day  road-trip adventure, because we were so charmed by the Cornish landscape.



Everybody needs some grounding time every now and again, to remember what’s important in life. Gaia (I love this ancient Greek word for earth) would indeed be very proud of our appreciating what’s in our garden.
© Life Love London

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