Happy Moving In Day

Last year, we started a tradition that each May we would take a holiday in Cornwall to celebrate the children moving in with us. With the holiday (actual living somewhere else for a week) symbolising the move, but also to reiterate to the children that it’s a positive thing. We have various things we do through the year to celebrate certain milestones with them, to show them their past is an open topic, not something we are ashamed of, and just ‘cause well, we like to make a fuss and celebrate. So, this is our thing to show that we acknowledge they didn’t always live with us, that although there are some sad parts, the goodbyes etc. There are many happy points like family time, adventure and so forth.

So, we looked at camping, but we were surprised to find a deal that worked out cheaper on a small holiday park, where we could stay in a house (7 of us were going, and so camping we’d need two tent pitches but we could share an 8-person house, and split the cost). As we only needed a base camp to sleep, and it was in the correct area we were looking for (Perranporth), central to the places we were hoping to visit.

Anyhow, we went away for the week. It was a great holiday. We really enjoyed ourselves. We got down there quite early, armed with a gazebo, camping chairs, picnic, camping cooker and kettle. We were ready for it. Including the rain and grey skies. We pulled up to Perranporth beach and unloaded our “mobile kitchen” and got cracking with enjoying ourselves. We weren’t even done setting up before the kids were soaked, covered in sand and giggling (fully clothed I may add).

As it was quite chilly, we called the park Perran View Holiday Park, only 10 minutes from Perranporth in the outskirts of St Agnes. It was fine for us to go, park up and sit in the warm until our accommodation was ready. They didn’t have anywhere to get meals from but there was a shop we could get snacks from and a bar/clubroom we could hang around in, and eat said snacks. So that’s what we did until check in time.

We had all these plans to visit places, but on that first night there was an important football match for Grandad’s football team, so we stuck close to the bar, to the side of the entertainment. Much to our surprise, the children got comfortable enough with the noise levels (they didn’t amp up the music to deafening volumes) and with how busy it was (as in not really very busy at all, max of 30 kids). So, they actually distanced from us and joined in with the fun and games. This was very surprising and pleasing to us all at the same time. Therefore, we re-assessed the situation, “Logan and Caitlin are actually socialising, in a situation that would normally overwhelm them. They are taking part, playing to the rules and having fun. This needs to be a high priority activity this week”. We absolutely hate those entertainment things, but… hey, if it’s working…

Consequently, we cooled down our calendar off site, and set about ensuring that we were taking part in some of the onsite activities, which included (at varying points) a fun day, some water activities and a character breakfast alongside all of the evening entertainment.

Of site, we visited St Agnes for the day. We did half of one of our Treasure Trails maps, only half as we were having a Sunday lunch at the St Agnes Hotel, and when we finished we were all feeling way too fat to walk back to the car, let alone finish the circuit – we had intended to go back and finish it but ran out of time. We also visited Land’s End and the Minnack Theatre on one of our days. And also took a walk around Newquay as well as spending a day back on Perranporth beach. With bits of lazy time in between that was plenty sufficient for us.

The children appreciated their quality time with us, Bruce and Logan shared a twin room whilst Caitlin and I shared a double – hell yes, I kept the double bed! We had meals out, we had fun. It was great fun and a welcomed tradition. And we will definitely continue on next year. And by the end of the week the children were very happy to be coming home to their familiar beds and toys and normality.

Reviews from our Cornish Break 2017

Perranporth Beach

Perranporth Beach
I have so much time for this beach, having visited it several times over the years.

We like it because there is good access to the beach from the car park on the promenade, town centre. Which was reasonably priced (I think the most we paid was about £5 for 6 hours). Within the car park itself is a toilet block, which was always very busy, and quite sandy. But for a beach, wasn’t in too bad a state.

From the car park facing the beach there is a drop down, so you can go along to the left and down an access ramp, or across to the right, on a little bridge over a stream and down onto the beach. There are a few shops and facilities (like surfboard lessons) but we didn’t go for any of that.

We literally setup close to the stream, but on the main beach, in easy reach of the car park. We pitched our gazebo up and the kids could come and go between us and the stream as they pleased; the stream runs through the town, down the beach and into the sea.

The water is clear, the sand is golden and clean and the beach is well taken care of (the usual stray bits of litter from the people who are “entitled” to be cleaned up behind of, but generally very clean.

The beach is life guarded in the summer season and is dog friendly. And there are cliff walks. We have only ever walked towards Newquay on the south west coastal path as far as the Haven caravan park, but even that short distance allows for some spectacular views over the sea and beach.

Perran View Holiday Park

We booked through Hoseasons, during a special “January Sale” event (low deposit, discounted break). And booked a 3 bed silver house (pet friendly). And they dealt with my initial enquiries about there being a disabled guest etc.
But before arrival I also had questions about our arrival day (mainly about Grandad wanting to ensure there would be somewhere near a bar with a TV where he could park up and watch the important cup-match for his football team). The gentleman that answered the phone call was very happy to assist with my enquiries and very knowledgeable.

On the day of arrival, having been rained off the beach, we called to see if it was ok to arrive on site ahead of check in time. When we got there, they informed us (as we were hungry) we could purchase snacks in the shop, and eat them in the bar area (all they ask is that drinks being consumed are purchased at the bar – not the shop). They then checked whether our accommodation had been cleaned, and told us they were more than happy for us to access it early, but it wasn’t quite ready, however, if we remained close by in the bar, they would get us as soon as it was. Within 45 minutes we were in.

The accommodation was far from 5 star, but that’s not what we paid for, nor did we expect it. The furnishings and décor were tired, but we couldn’t deny that it was clean. There were ample facilities (microwave, fridge with small freezer area, pans, pots and utensils, crockery, cutlery and glasses) in the kitchen. There was an open plan living/dining area with a doorway to a twin bed at the back by the staircase, which lead up to the bathroom, a double and a twin. The furniture was mismatched, but sturdy.

The grounds were immaculate and the staff all very friendly and welcoming. The music wasn’t too in your face at night time as the volume was always kept at a reasonable level, the bar was reasonably priced and the children could stay in the same room for the whole evening (there was no adult only entertainment). Kids bingo was on offer every night as was adults bingo, alongside kid’s club and evening shows.

During the day, the children took part in the character breakfast (a paid even, around £3/4 per child to include a bowl of cereal and a drink, with a bowl they could take home and a meeting with one of the characters). The water session (which was water zorbing/surfing/jet skis/aqua jet) the session was free but, basically, they were not guaranteed to get to go on all activities. Still, I think most children got to try at least 2, if not 3 activities.

The week we stayed also included a “character birthday” Kenny the Badger got even older. So to celebrate this there was a barbeque and fun day – they got out zorb-ball equipment – intended for the children to play football, but it just turned into a bit of a run at each other, crash and roll blood bath. There was also a bouncy castle and music being played out on the green. Although there was a small charge for the barbeque, the rest of the day’s activities were free.

Also on the site was adventure golf (free to play), the swimming pool (free for guests, open at certain times – clearly advertised – with a small pool and a jacuzzi sized baby/toddler pool and changing area), and a “green” with sports area and small park. There was a little arcade and a small food kiosk that would sell hot food in the evening (this was outside catering). The shop was run by the bar/reception staff, and though we didn’t use it, we were aware that there was a launderette marked on the map.

St Agnes Hotel

During our annual trip to Cornwall, it was apparent we needed to go for a Sunday Lunch; Nanny and Grandad lose the plot if they don’t get their roast on a Sunday. We tried to look for one with good reviews close to our accommodation – we all tend to over-indulge with a roast, it’s all just so nice we can’t waste a speck. After a bit of a hunt, I found the St Agnes hotel and booked us in, before we even left home. The person on the phone was very friendly, she was happy to answer all my questions (we have a few awkward intolerances in this house) and it was all great.

On the day parked in the free car park (they take donations for the upkeep, but there’s no minimum charge as such) at the top of the hill on… And we walked down through the village for our little explore. We were doing our Treasure Trail hunt. After a good hour and a half of walking around (there were 2 people with mobility problems) we had done roughly half of the trail. And so, we got thirsty… by this time we were at the church, directly opposite the Hotel and so we were like “meh – there’s 30 minutes until our reservation – let’s just go and have a drink and wait for them to be ready.”

We had our drinks in the little stage area at the back of the pub, where Grandad was excited to see that they had some Chelsea Football stand seating on display – we think this was the highlight of his holiday. The pub itself was decorated in the kind of trendy-rustic look that is all the rage with the more upmarket, popular restaurant-pubs right now, and was clean and welcoming. The staff were very friendly and accommodating, despite being in the tail end of a very busy breakfast. They even offered to bring the drinks to our table instead of us waiting until the hot drinks were ready.

As soon as the lunch setup had been done, we were informed which table was ours and that we could go over as soon as we were ready. They had 2 sizes of adult roast, plus a child’s roast. There was a good selection of meats and the veg was freshly prepped (not frozen). Nut roast was available for the vegetarians amongst us (me – and Caitlin struggles with chewing meat so she opts for vegetarian out and about, quite often). Also, as I am really fussy, and love to have my roast soaked in veggie gravy and mint sauce, the male front of house (who I can only presume was the owner) got the kitchen to find out some mint sauce, despite lamb not being on the menu. Quite literally nothing was too much trouble.

The food was delicious, I couldn’t stop until it was all eaten. And then we were presented with the dessert menu, which was very VERY tempting, based on what we had just eaten. However, despite having only the small adult roast, there was no room for pudding. Thoroughly stuffed doesn’t cover it’ it really was difficult to walk back up to the car.

I wouldn’t hesitate to include a return visit to this establishment if we had plans to visit St Agnes in the future.

Apologies, no photos as I wasn’t thinking that far ahead at the time. I was thinking with my belly!!!

Land’s End and The Minack

Having heard of The Minack Theatre, I had always wanted reason to visit. So ahead of our trip I checked out the details and found that they were having storyteller for a few days, whilst we were there.

So we phoned down, in advance, to check whether we’d be able to sit in a quiet area – assuming it’d be packed, and were reassured we’d be allowed to get entry fairly early and if we sat near the top would have no issues as it’s an interactive performance where most children gather at the front. The issue we have is that Logan can get very anxious and have tantrums when it gets too busy. And Caitlin gets very anxious when noise levels get too loud (even the cinema can be testing at times).

The tickets were reasonably priced (£5 for adults and £0.50 for children), and parking is free. Though the drive down gets narrower and narrower, with few passing places the closer you get. Even without the draw of a performance it is, most definitely, worth a visit to look around. It is breathtakingly beautiful and an experience that cannot be put into words.

Then there was the story itself. We chose the performance of The Two Wizards, by storyteller John Brolly. A story about two grumpy wizards who cause chaos with their feud against one another… causing the survival of the local village to be threatened.

Approached in a very fun, light hearted and interactive way. It was enjoyable to watch at a distance, so I can only imagine that fun being heightened for those that can manage to be “down on the ground” and being more interactive. That said, sitting at a distance didn’t stop the three children we were with from shouting, cheering, clapping and singing along.

Adults, and children alike, left smiling and happy. The theatre has small speakers all the way up to ensure everyone can hear, but at a comfortable (and not overpowering) level. So, we could hear everything, and due to the way the theatre is arranged, see everything clearly, despite being near the very top. All the while, hearing the background noise of the crashy sea, feeling the sea breeze (actually quite gusty that day), smell the salt in the air. It’s a unique and amazing experience.

After a trip to the Minack, on a high, we decided to take the additional 5-minute drive across to Land’s End. We were not prepared for what we were going to see. When you think of Cornwall, you think “such a beautiful place, it doesn’t need any gimmicks to attract people” or, you do if you have my kind of perception. And yet, that’s exactly what Land’s End has become. Not a tourist spot that calls people in for it’s “first and last” of everything… but a place that has turned to mainstream theatre. Quite literally with the introduction of Shaun the Sheep and Arthurs Quest 4D experiences and now you can’t even stand and have your photo taken by the iconic sign without paying them loads of money.

However, the area was clean and tidy and the views were magnificent. And it was definitely worth being able to say that we had visited.

A walk in Newquay

We parked in Atlantic Road Car park, which is a little out of the centre of Newquay, but in a good location to walk along the ridge above Fistral beach, and consequently down on to the beach. After some time walking across the sand and jumping waves we headed up by the Headland Hotel and followed the coastal path around to Towan Beach where we stopped for lunch on the balcony at the Walkabout Bar.

The walk was quite ambitious with 2 people with walking difficulties (Nanny and Caitlin), but we took it at our pace and enjoyed it. I’d say it’s not wheelchair/buggy friendly as in certain places there are some quite steep steps. But the views were truly spectacular. And well worth the effort we put in.