Cornish Coastline, Clifftop and a dog

It was August bank holiday and my family and I decided on a spontaneous getaway in Cornwall. We packed up our camping gear and drove down towards Penzance, Cornwall. 

A weekend of camping, gorgeous beaches, tin mines and coves…oh and pirates, lots of pirates!

A sandy cove near the village of Rinsey

Drive to Cornwall, Soft beaches and Sea Glass 

The drive to Cornwall from Nottinghamshire was roughly 320 miles which, by rights, should have taken (according to Google) 5hrs 30mins. But on a Friday before the bank holiday weekend? A total nightmare; so much congestion!

We arrived and camped up our tents, gazebo and made beds. Once we’d paid our way, it was most definitely time for a walk to the beach with the dogs.

The sea was such a welcome sight after our long drive! It’s such a peaceful stretch of beach with lovely views of St Michael’s Mount in the distance to the left and the town of Penzance to the right. Even the dogs were delighted to be on the beach.

It was time to chill; the weekend had started! Shoes off and barefoot, walking along the sandy beach, the 3 dogs were in the sea before you could blink, and everybody was doing their own thing. We even managed to find some very nice sea glass along the beach.

The beach at Gulval with views of St Michael’s Mount

Penzance and its Pirates

Saturday was our first full day in Cornwall and we took a wander into Penzance, a short 10-15-minute stroll with the Penzance train station coming into view as a train arrived at the platform. Since we were looking out for an arrival ourselves, we stopped to see who was arriving at the station. Quite surprisingly, pirates in full regalia were getting off the train. Well, what did we expect? It’s Penzance after all!

Famous for its pirates, at least the singing variety anyway, Penzance is a historic port on the south, facing shores of Mount’s Bay and it has one of the mildest climates in the UK. 

Penzance town and a welcome banner

Where is the Oldest Cornish Pasty Bakery in the World? 

We took a slow pace, winding our way through the town, in and out of the shops, taking in the atmosphere. We stopped for a minute to listen to a couple of young buskers wearing pirate hats and playing a sea shanty next to a Cornish bakery that sold Cornish pasties.

Did you know that the oldest Cornish pasty bakery in the world, Warrens Bakery, is in Penzance?

Penzance marina

Guinness World Record for the Number of Pirates in Penzance 

Eventually, after a tour of the town, a wander around the harbour, and heading back toward camp, we discovered the real reason behind the mass influx of pirates. There was a Guinness World Record attempt taking place on bank holiday Sunday for the most pirates on the promenade at Penzance. Now it all made sense!

 Penzance Harbour

On this bank holiday weekend, we decided to discover new places. What better way to explore than a Saturday afternoon drive out to tin mines, Cornish coves and some peaceful spots.

We definitely found what we were looking for plus the bonus discovery of a fish and chip shop for tea. (‘What?! No Cornish pasty?!’ I hear you cry. Oh, trust me…we had our share!)

Saturday night was a relaxed affair, sitting around a campfire, toasting marshmallows, telling tales, having a laugh, a glass of wine and enjoying a mellow mood.

Alcohol-free wine on the beach at Gulval

A Cornish Coastal Walk

Sunday was upon us so soon, as was our last day in Cornwall. We had to make the most of this beautiful location. It was decided that a good walk was in order to see some of the areas most stunning views and give the dogs a good run.

Our rugged cliff walk and circular proved the perfect way to spend the day for most of my family and me, while my son and his fiancee spent a more leisurely day on the beach with their dog, Smokey.

Coastal path and view of St Michael’s Mount Cornwall 
Coastal path signs to Penzance and Marazion in Cornwall

Rinsey Village and Circular Walk 

We discovered a gorgeous little circular at a village called Rinsey. Parking, however, is a difficult task unless you arrive quite early and bag yourself a parking spot in the National Trust car park.

Straight out of the car park and the views are just spectacular! Good, sturdy footwear is a smart idea, and the route is not suitable for pushchairs, but is absolutely gorgeous. My kind of walk: rugged, quiet and with memorable views all around.

We took a picnic along and stopped to eat in a wonderful spot overlooking the sea. To the right of us, and way below, was a small sandy cove. To our left we had picturesque views of an old Cornish tin mine and a rocky shoreline beneath. The sea was amazingly clear and blue, as was the sky, which was broken only by the odd billowing cloud. The weather was quite sublime; we couldn’t have wished for more.  

We walked Bandit and Max, the dogs, down toward one of the old tin mines to get a better look once we’d finished our relaxed picnic.

This was the Cornwall I came to see and experience: tranquil, rugged walks with picture perfect views. I could almost imagine Poldark scenes here!

Tin mines and Poldark scenery in Cornwall 

Tin Mines 

Since 2006, 48,700 acres of Cornwall and West Devon’s mining landscape has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Focused on the key period from 1700 to 1914, this is when metal mining provided the raw materials to feed Britain’s Industrial Revolution. 

In the early 19th century, the local rivers and sea around the Cornish coast ran red as two-thirds of the world’s supply of copper was produced there. Later, half the world’s demand for arsenic was met too. Cornwall produced some 2 million tons of tin, the majority produced in the 19th century.

The tin mines were abandoned many moons ago, but they add so much to the scenery here. We couldn’t help imagining the endurance and hard work that would have once been common place here.

The coastal path began to get a little more uneven and tricky underfoot and led us closer to the rocky edges. I didn’t mind one bit, as it was gorgeous up so high with views out to sea and the wind blowing in my face…so refreshing!

The dogs did need to go back on a lead for a while just, for safety’s sake, since we were so close to the edge. I could have stayed there for hours, just looking out over the rocks admiring the scenery, but I don’t think the dogs had that in mind. They were eager to move on and explore, as were the kids.  

Rock Formations, Trewavas Cliffs 

Upwards and onwards with amazing views all the way. And if you manage to follow in my footsteps, look out for the camel in the rocks. Yes, a camel, indeed! There’s a rocky formation which I doubt you could miss on the journey along the cliffs. If you look at it one way it’s a camel. If you look at it another way it’s a Meerkat. Others see a hooded priest stood at an alter.

At the halfway point and headed back, the path meets a even higher path and takes you through a field of cows. The sights are lovely on the return path, as well. Soon it was time to say goodbye to Trewavas Cliffs and go back to the car.

Trewavas cliffs and Cornish tin mine

Conclusion 

The day wasn’t over yet and, being our final day, we returned to the beach and the local campsite at Gulval for a splash in the sea. We had a good laugh, paddling with the dogs while the sounds of pirate music carried on the wind from Penzance across the bay.

We later discovered that the attempt at the world record for the most pirates on the promenade, sadly, wasn’t successful, because 3 would-be pirates stayed too long in the pub!

It had been a fun-filled and satisfying weekend and, with a hungry family at the end of our last evening, we finished the weekend off with a yummy Chinese takeaway.

The following morning was a busy one. We packed up early for the long drive home, and I sat in the car, looking forward the next chance I’ll have to return to the beautiful land of Cornwall.

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