“You’re the most fashionable person on the beach”, a local shouted, as the wind blew my hair from my beret. I wore a white skin-tight jumper and long black skirt with two splits. Against the grey clouds, I felt comfortable. If not a little ridiculous for wearing an outfit to the seaside originally planned for London. With unpredictable weather and a lack of white Santorini buildings, why holiday in the UK?
A drive away is like a plane away
After four hours of driving, we reached the bright green grass and country lanes of Cornwall. Quaint, quiet and scenic; plenty of country views to admire. My family of seven adults, two children and one dog booked a six-bedroom Cornish Farmhouse in Padstow. Old and traditional, the place featured a Jacuzzi, pool table and conservatory, together with a large kitchen, dining, living and utility room. On the doorstep of a small amusement park and beautiful winery, with no other sights in walking distance, we quickly felt at peace. Unbeknownst to us the scale of Cornwall; most must-see attractions (not including the local beach) are an hour’s drive from each other.
Unlike Americans, most Brits can’t wait to board a plane to gain travel experience. The obvious reason is our unpredictable weather. And perhaps, a perception that Britain doesn’t provide a cultural escape. Living here my whole life, I questioned what difference I’d feel by simply driving a few hours from home.
Visiting the town of Padstow on our first day, I couldn’t believe the packed crowds bustling round during out of season. Around Padstow harbour, an eclectic mix of boutique shops and restaurants, including The Seafood Restaurant by celebrity chef Rick Stein. Nearby we spotted a beach and sat to admire the views. This day was cold and so to the next. But once the weather heated and the sky turned blue without a cloud in site, Cornwall became my plane away trip – flight expenses free!
Why holiday in the UK – beautiful beaches anyone?
Some photos I captured looked like beaches reminiscent of Greece – my parents’ favourite destination. The sand at beaches such as Fistral in Newquay felt unbelievably soft. The scenery imitated nothing close to my local sea towns. During our week stay, we also explored Harlyn Bay Beach – amazing clifftop walks above, and Seaton – towards South East Cornwall. Here I found the nicest vegan burger I’ve tasted.
Other than sand and sea, me, my mum and sister visited Trevibban Mill Vineyards and Orchards. Beautifully warm, we sat and ate tapas while drinking wine. I drank my favourite thus far – a wine named Dessert Apple. Included in our visit: a steam railway attraction for my two-year-old cousin, and a cycle ride across Cornwall’s Camel Trail. Starting at Wadebridge, we cycled 10 miles to Padstow and back, taking in what felt like French backdrops. Perhaps that was my all-white Parisian inspired clothing helping me to fantasise.
Another highlight included Rick Stein’s café in Newquay. Sitting by the window, we watched wannabe surfers ride along the waves with plenty of dogs coating their fur in water. All of us loved the food which is continually recommended by Cornwall guides. Above the days out, great memories evolved round our home farmhouse: enjoying a BBQ and sipping port and lemonade on the patio. There are equally the great walks we took, finally taking my dog to new sniffing territory. Cornwall welcomes dogs in a similar style to greeting vegans – lots of options in restaurants, including ice-cream.
Points to consider about Cornwall
We didn’t enjoy pizza in Italy or a homemade curry from India – staycations noticeably limit cultural offerings. In the UK, a staycation can become a game of chances – have you booked a sunny week or a rainy? But weather and typical food aside, it’s surprising how different life can seem from the opposite side of where you live.
In Cornwall, I spent the week realising my family stood out as one of the very few of colour. Everywhere we went, I thought we mimicked an obvious game of Where’s Wally? Me the most peculiar, holding my camera snapping each angle of coast. At the winery, one couple made a remark on my need to take photos. Surly on holiday, you cannot be judged?
My parents took me and my sister on different staycations as children, making a saving from family friendly caravans and holiday parks. When we did go abroad, we innocently spent a fortune on constant hunger and desire for café ice-creams. If you’re deciding between a long-distance flight or a holiday in your country, the latter is most-likely cheaper. However, a staycation doesn’t always equal less money. I find in Britain, prices for food and leisure cost more than other parts of Europe.
Overall: Why holiday in the UK
The pressure to do and see everything is slightly less; you enjoy the simple pleasures like fish and chips on the sand and staying in to unwind. Abroad, I’m increasingly aware of time constraints and dining. I wasn’t too bothered about restaurants in Cornwall.
For the most part, I got everything I wanted from my September break. Sunshine, pretty beaches, scenic views, adventurous walks, family time and glasses of wine with bread and hummus. I’m still looking to travel away soon, but I also want to book something else in my country.
Why holiday in the UK – have you travelled here before and if so, where did you go and why made it special?