And just like that, another year bites the dust! I’ll be sad to see 2014 go. It was a great year filled with a new job I thoroughly enjoy and some great trips, meeting new people, making new friends and exploring new parts of the world. One of my favourite travel moments of 2014 was close to home, with old friends but in a new setting; my favourite being a trip to Newquay in Cornwall.
It was the first time I’d been to Newquay and I’d ventured off with a few preconceived ideas on what it would be like, mostly based on other people’s childhood recollections of their past holidays and a few work colleagues’ excited recommendations.
How we got there
There were two main options; driving or a train from Paddington Station to Newquay. Both of them would take roughly six hours to complete but after weighing up the pros and cons, I decided to take the train as it would mean I’d be able to switch off, read a book and chat to my six year old travel companion without having to split my attention between her and the road.
It was a bus and then an underground train to get us to Paddington, so about 7 hours each way. A fourteen hour return journey may not seem like much if you live in most parts of the world, but to a concrete jungle loving Londoner, anything over two hours can feel like an expedition of epic proportions but I admit that this was definitely worth the journey and one I’d happily do again!
Where we stayed
We were lucky enough to have a wonderful home to stay in during our three day, two night stay. Our friends’ mum had recently moved to the town and gave us free run of the house whilst she stayed with her daughters, who conveniently also lived nearby. Having a base with multiple bathrooms, a kitchen and loads of space to sprawl out in was ideal as there were three adults and two children between us.
There were loads of amazing beach front hotels which we passed on our journey around Newquay, including the infamous Headland Hotel, where Roald Dahl’s film adaptation of The Witches was filmed. The Witches, starring Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) and Anjelica Houston (The Adams Family) used to petrify me as a child but now I have a morbid curiosity to stay in the Headland because 1) it is an amazing landmark hotel and 2) because the film was set there.
What we did
From the moment we arrived, my friends were the perfect hosts, feeding us, driving us to the beach and plying me with a few cheeky tipples whilst the kids made sandcastles and amused themselves with random pieces of driftwood.
Rather serendipitously, the weekend we came to visit was also the weekend of Newquay’s annual Boardmasters festival. Boardmasters is a combination of live music and a surf & skate contest. Whilst we didn’t get our surf on, we did take full advantage of the live music, braving the gusty winds to reach the cliff top music venue near Watergate Bay where we danced the night away to headliners Chase & Status and more impressively- Snoop Dog! Snoop (Lion?) in Cornwall, on a balmy, if not very wet summer’s night in August, surrounded by amazing friends and a sea view? Awesome. Friggin awesome my friends.
We went back to the beach the next day which is when the photos in this post were all taken. There were a few surfing competitors still hard at it as part of the Boardmasters tournaments so we watched them for a bit, explored rock pools and chilled out before heading off for an amazing Sunday roast at a nearby holiday complex.
What makes it special?
I think the combination of a exploring a new place and partying with an old friend in a way which was reminiscent of how we would have partied some 8 years ago (only in a Chinese night club, not a Cornish beach front!) really made Newquay, Cornwall one of my most favourite trips of 2014. Also, it was one of the few times where I was out with my daughter for a long weekend. Usually we explore London together but now that she’s basically an adult *cough* (6 years old) we can travel further afield more often.
Everyone we met was super friendly. The town was relaxed, even with the intrusion of unwashed festival campers and an influx of ravers. The weather, in typical British fashion was poor through our entire stay, having had a heatwave up until the day before we arrived but not even that could dampen our spirits, nor our infatuation with what I hope will become our regular summer haunt.