Love locks and fairytale castles – a romantic weekend in Copenhagen

Whether you’re just-getting-to-know-you or celebrating many years of happiness together, you’ll want your romantic weekend away to be just perfect. Copenhagen, with its delightful parks, sparkling canals and delicious cuisine could  fit the bill perfectly. From the Tivoli pleasure gardens to fairytale turrets of the Rosenborg Palace, here are my suggestions for ways to spend your romantic weekend in Copenhagen, whatever your budget;

Christianshaven in Copenhagen Photo:

Christianshaven in Copenhagen

When to visit Copenhagen?

The best time to visit Copenhagen is from the spring through to the early autumn when the Copenhageners are out enjoying the green spaces, harbour walks and pavement cafes after the chilly Nordic winter. That’s not to say that you won’t find romance in a cosy cafe with flickering candles in the winter months up to Christmas or in February when the city puts on the Wondercool festival encompassing a jazz festival, the Copenhagen Cooking festival and many design events.

The fairytale Rosenborg Palace and the Kings Garden

You’ll find parks and green spaces all over Copenhagen, but the most romantic is considered to be the Kongens Have or Kings Garden in front of the fairytale turrets of the Rosenborg Palace, with a rose garden, formal hedged enclosures and the moat around the palace. Eat nearby at one of the inexpensive food stalls at the Torvehallerne Food Market or pick up something to eat from one of the deli stalls and relax on the grass under the trees with a picnic. For a delighfully romantic restaurant on the edge of the King’s garden, try Orangariet which is set in the old orangery of the palace and serves smorrebrod at lunchtime and a set menu in the evening. While you’re there take a look around the palace where all the rooms are furnished from the period of different kings of Denmark and see the crown jewels in the Treasury in the basement of the castle. The botanical garden with a lake and palm houses is right behind the Rosenborg Palace and is another pretty place to have a picnic or go for a walk.

Rosenborg Slot and the Kings Garden in Copenhagen Photo:

Rosenborg Slot and the Kings Garden in Copenhagen

The Tivoli Pleasure Gardens

Tivoli is one of the treasures that Copenhageners of all ages hold dear to their heart, with landscaped gardens and lakes, the Moorish palace that houses the Nimb Hotel, roller-coasters and rides for the more daring and plenty of great restaurants. The parks has a slightly old-fashioned, fairy tale atmosphere with bandstands where you can sit to listen to the music and a pantomime theatre where mime shows are performed. Visit in the afternoon to listen to the musical entertainments and stroll under the magical Chinese lanterns as dusk falls, then enjoy a meal in one of the many restaurants where you’ll find everything from hot dogs and pizza, to traditional Danish and Nordic cuisine. In summer I recommend a romantic meal at the Brasserie in the Nimb Hotel where you can dine al fresco on the terrace overlooking Tivoli pleasure grounds.

Lake in the Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen Photo:

Lake in the Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

Around the harbour

Copenhagen is a city that’s founded on the water and you’re never far from one of the canals or the harbourside. A good way to get your bearings and see all the sights around the harbour is to take a harbour tour with DFDS or Netto boats, from the quays near Gammel Strand. If you want something more intimite, you can hire a rowing boat in Christianshaven and use it to explore the canals with all the houseboats on your own.

In summer join the Copenhageners sitting along the harboursides and canal sides, dangling their legs or sitting on the steps outside the Royal Library, also known as the Black Diamond. Nyhaven is also a favourite spot for a stroll, with pretty coloured merchant  houses and plenty of cafes to sit outside and enjoy the atmosphere while the small bridge that crosses it has a collection of love locks similar to those found in Rome and Paris.

Love locks on the bridge at Nyhaven Photo:

Love locks on the bridge at Nyhaven

Artworks and sculptures at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

The art museum of Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is full of classical sculptures and French impressionist artworks is a romantic place to visit at any time of year, and it’s free on Sundays or with a Copenhagen Card. Wander through the spacious halls filled with white marble statues from Danish neo-classical sculptors and see the impressionist collection that includes paintings by Renoir, Van Gough and Monet including the Degas “Little Ballerina” sculpture. At the centre of the building is a winter garden with glass roof and greenery with a cafe at one side that is a romantic place for lunch.

Statue in the Winter Garden in Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Photo:

Statue in the Winter Garden in Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Climb the Round Tower

The Round Tower, in the Latin quarter is a fun place to visit for couples, as it’s an easy climb up the internal ramp (no steps so the carriages were able to ride to the top) to get great views over Copenhagen from the top of the tower. Look out for the Kissing Bench near the top where you can sit with your loved one by the window with a view. Half way up there’s also a large  art space in the former library with a small cafe, and modern artworks and installations, where they also hold concerts and musical events.

The Rundertaarn or Round Tower in Copenhagen Photo:

The Rundertaarn or Round Tower in Copenhagen

Romantic places to eat in Copenhagen

For that special celebration we recommend the top end Alberto K in the landmark Royal Hotel (Now SAS Radisson Blu) designed by Arne Jacobson. Although this is a blow-the-budget experience, you’ll be dining in an intimite candle-lit restaurant on the top floor where every table has views over the city. For a similarly high end gastronomic experience, try the Mielcke og Hurtigkarl in the Frederiksberg Gardens with sparkling crystals dangling from the ceiling and views over the gardens. If you’re looking for a romantic place to eat on a more moderate budget, try the colourful but cosy dining room with a fireplace at Cap Horn in Nyhaven or Orangariet in the Kings Garden. If you enjoy jazz then check out The Standard, where the old Customs House near Nyhaven has been converted into three different restaurants and you can have dinner and then follow with the jazz performance in the club upstairs. If you’re on a tight budget, we recommend the Tollerhallerne food halls at lunchtime, where you can squeeze in at one of the many stalls selling inexpensive lunchtime dishes or take them to eat on the benches outside in fine weather.

Restaurant Orangariet in Copenhagen Photo:

Restaurant Orangariet in Copenhagen

Romantic places to stay in Copenhagen

If money is no object for a luxurious romantic break then consider the Nimb Hotel at the Tivoli Gardens, with 17 individually furnished rooms filled with antiques or the classic and elegant Hotel d’Angleterre where you’ll feel like a princess. For those of us who have to live on a more realistic budget, try the Avenue Hotel in the affluent neighbourhood of Friederiksberg where we love the cosy atmosphere of their salon with Moroccan lanterns and flea market finds or the Axel Guldsmeden Hotel in trendy Vesterbro where contemporary design meets Balinese styling. If you and your loved one want to be truly alone then try the Central Hotel in Frederiksberg “the smallest hotel in the world” with just one room where breakfast is served in the retro neighbourhood cafe. To breathe some sea air, travel to the northern edge of Copenhagen for the Skovshoved Hotel with rooms decorated in light and romantic Scandinavian style and sea views.

Avenue Hotel in Copenhagen Photo:

Avenue Hotel in Copenhagen

For more information about visiting Copenhagen, see the Visit Copenhagen official Tourism website. Thanks to Wonderful Copenhagen who sponsored our weekend visit to Copenhagen.

Heather Cowper shares her travel stories, videos and podcasts at and you can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at - Read the original article here

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Planning the perfect cruise stop on Guernsey (plus giveaway)

If you are taking a cruise that stops at Guernsey in the Channel islands and are wondering how to spend your time ashore, this article is for you. Here are my suggestions for what you may enjoy, whether you choose to take an organised cruise excursion or explore on your own. At the end of this article you’ll find details of my giveaway of a unique Guernsey souvenir.

The island of Guernsey was the final port of call on the four night European Sampler Cruise on Crown Princess that we took in September with Princess Cruises. As the harbour at St Peter Port is not large enough to accommodate cruise ships, we took the tender (the lifeboats are used) in order to get off the ship and onto Guernsey. If you’re new to cruising like me, you may not be aware that it is something of an organisational feat to get up to 3000 passengers off the ship in small boats, so if you are keen to spend as much time on shore as possible, you need to make sure you go to the tender station as early as possible.  The Crown Princess arrived at Guernsey at 7am, so we made sure to have an early breakfast and by 9am were standing on the quayside.

Tender of Crown Princess Photo:

Taking the tender from Crown Princess

To Excursion or not to Excursion?

We had visited Guernsey before in the spring of 2012, when we hired a car and so we had seen many of the main attractions on the island. For this reason, we decided not to book any shore excursions, but to use our time to meander at our own pace and explore a bit more of St Peter Port. The bookable cruise excursions would typically take you on a scenic drive of this beautiful island, stopping at The Little Chapel, Sausmarez Manor and sometimes the Gold and Silver Workshops, and I think that it is worth considering these if you prefer everything to be organised or are not very mobile. I probably wouldn’t take the excursion covering Castle Cornet as this is easy to see on your own and a short walk from where the tender drops you. If you are keen to see the smaller islands of Herm and Sark, excursions could be good options, due to the logistics involved in arriving onshore and then taking another ferry to these islands, and getting back in time for the 4pm cruise departure.

If you prefer to make your own arrangements, there is a reliable network of buses to get around Guernsey which is quite a small island, and most places are a 20-30 minute ride from St Peter Port. The bus station is just along the quayside, opposite Castle Cornet, and you can find information about buses and timetables on the HCT Guernsey Bus website. There is a flat fare of £2 per single journey or £4.50 for a 1 day bus pass, which is excellent value. The No 91 “Guernsey Vaeux” bus service runs 4 times a day on a continuous loop around the island, which makes an inexpensive sightseeing tour, although if you get off you’ll probably have to use one of the other buses to get back to St Peter Port. If you’re an active traveller you could consider hiring a bike from just behind the Tourism Office, or just walk around St Peter Port and along the coastal path as we did.

A wander around St Peter Port and the Candie Gardens

One thing we hadn’t appreciated was that on Sundays most of the shops in St Peter Port are closed, so the atmosphere was very quiet. After having a look around the Tourist Office on the harbor front, we decided to walk up the hill to the Candie Gardens, dominated by the statue of Victor Hugo looking out towards France. We had a coffee in the small café in the Candie Gardens and then took a look around the Guernsey Museum, with an exhibition all about the Beatles and life in the 1960s, as well as artworks and archaeological objects telling the history of Guernsey through the ages. The Candie Gardens had some colourful floral displays and in summer this would also be a lovely place to come and sit with a picnic and a great view over the bay.

For More Information: The Candie Gardens is free to visit and open daily until dusk. The Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery  cost £6 open April-October, the Cafe Victoria in the gardens is open daily.

Candie Gardens on Guernsey Photo:

Candie Gardens on Guernsey

Hauteville House – the Victor Hugo House

Had it not been closed on Sundays, we would have loved to have a look around Hauteville House, the home of the celebrated French poet and writer, Victor Hugo. If you love art and culture this is one thing I would not miss on Guernsey, and although I had seen it on my previous visit, I wanted to show Guy, who had not. If you are not booked to see the Victor Hugo House as part of an excursion, you need to be aware that you will be shown around the house with a guide by timed entry, which can be booked by ringing or e-mailing the museum in advance or by simply arriving and then booking yourself on the next available tour.

Victor Hugo arrived on Guernsey in 1855, as an exile from France because of his political views. He purchased this former corsair’s house set on the hill with views over the harbour and set about transforming it into a richly decorated showcase for his ideas and exotic tastes in antiques and gorgeous textiles. The tour will take you from room to room, with explanations of how Hugo found the old oak chests, Aubusson tapestries and Chinese silks that he collected like a magpie. On the first floor are the magnificent rooms that the family used for entertaining, while on the top floor is a glass conservatory, where the author worked in private, with views across to Castle Cornet. Once the tour is complete, you can wander around the lovely, country style walled garden with roses, fountains and herbaceous borders. Read my article about Victor Hugo – decorateur extrordinaire at Hauteville House on Guernsey

For more information – Guernsey’s Victor Hugo Website. Cost £7, open April-September

Hauteville House, Victor Hugo, Guernsey Photo:

Hauteville House, Victor Hugo, Guernsey

Castle Cornet

Another major attraction in St Peter Port is Castle Cornet, the military fortress at one end of the harbour, that now houses five different museums under one entry ticket. The earliest parts of the castle date back to the 13th century and it came under siege in the 17th century during the English Civil war with a large garrison being maintained throughout the 18th century. We didn’t have time to pay a visit on this trip but had previously seen the “Story of Castle Cornet” Museum, with different roomsets showing how the soldiers lived in the barracks and the history of the castle. Other parts of the castle house the RAF Museum, the Maritime Museum and gallery, Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Museum and Royal Guernsey Militia Museum. There is also a cafe and a walled garden that’s planted in 18th century style. It’s worth being at Castle Cornet at mid-day to see and hear the firing of the noon-day gun which is very loud!

For More Information: Castle Cornet Museum Website Cost £9.75 Open March-October

Castle Cornet, St Peter's Port, Guernsey Photo:

Castle Cornet, St Peter’s Port, Guernsey

La Valette Military Museum

On our last visit to Guernsey, we had visited the German Occupation Museum which is found in the parish of Les Houards, close to the airport and houses a collection of artefacts from the German Occupation during World War Two. This time we stopped at the La Valette Underground Military Museum which you can easily reach on foot if you walk along the seafront to the furthest end. The La Valette museum is housed in underground tunnels built by the German Army using forced labour during the Second World War and contains memorabilia such as uniforms, equipment, medals and posters as well as giving an opportunity to see the tunnels.

Both museums have an old-fashioned and slightly home-made feel compared to the multi-media hands-on experiences that many larger museums in Europe have become. The memorabilia from the period of the occupation is in glass cases although there are some models dressed in uniform from the era. Of the two museums I prefered the German Occupation Museum as it did a better job of telling the story of the occupation for real people on Guernsey through videos and audio recording. If you’d like to visit you can get there on the No 93 or 11 bus from St Peter Port bus station. The German Occupation also had a nice little tea-room downstairs although there was an outdoor refreshment kiosk overlooking the bay just opposite the entrance of La Valette Underground Military Museum.

For More Information:  German Occupation Museum Cost £5  Open April-October, La Valette Underground Military Museum Cost £5 Open March-November. Read my article about Guernsey, the German Occupation and Potato Peel Pie

La Vallette Military Museum on Guernsey Photo:

La Vallette Military Museum on Guernsey

A walk to Fermain Bay

If you’d like to stretch your legs and see something of Guernsey’s rugged coastal scenery, you can take a walk to Fermain Bay along the cliff path from St Peter Port. We had visited Fermain Bay on our previous visit, so we knew there was a delightful cafe set above the beach, where we might try some Guernsey Gâche, the local fruit bread. After passing the fortress of Castle Cornet and some outdoor bathing pools, the path took us past the Clarence Battery, an 18th century military garrison where some canons were on display among the fortifications. We continued through woodland, with glimpses of the sea, until an hour later we arrived at Fermain Bay where we stopped for refreshments at the Fermain Bay Café, next to a defensive Martello tower.

On our previous visit to Guernsey we had also visited the gardens and sculpture trail at nearby Sausmarez manor and walked further along the cliff path to the German WW2 fortifications at Jerbourg Point. If we had more time, these would have been additional things to do during our shore excursion, with perhaps a bus ride back to St Peter Port in time for our 4pm cruise departure. In summer, Fermain Bay is a lovely place to swim, so it would be worth bringing your bathers and a towel from the ship.

For More information: You can take the bus to Fermain Bay from the St Peter Port bus station on Routes 11 and 91/93  which runs every 30 mins,  and takes 10 mins.

Fermain Bay on Guernsey Photo:

Fermain Bay on Guernsey

Sausmarez Manor

On our previous visit to Guernsey, we stopped at Sausmarez Manor, a beautiful Queen Anne manor house surrounded by gardens and a woodland sculpture trail around a lake. The house was not open when we visited, although there are guided tours on certain days, and if you wish to book one of the cruise excursions I would certainly look for one that includes a tour of the house and gardens. At the front of the manor is a formal lawned garden, with a smaller garden with herbaceous borders to one side.

Sausmarez Manor on Guernsey Photo:

Sausmarez Manor on Guernsey

These gardens around the house are free and for an extra charge I enjoyed the sculpture trail which is like an outdoor art gallery, with sculptures in a woodland setting beside the lake. There is also a charming small tea room in a conservatory beside the house. Although we didn’t visit Sausmarez Manor on this occasion, it would be easy to visit independently by bus from St Peter Port, or in a combined visit walking or cycling to Fermain Bay.

For more information: Sausmarez Manor , admissions to gardens and sculpture park £6 Guided House Tours £7. You can take the bus to Sausmarez Manor from the St Peter Port bus station on Routes 11 and 91/93  which runs every 30 mins and takes 15 mins

Sculpture at Sausmarez Manor on Guernsey Photo:

Sculpture at Sausmarez Manor on Guernsey

The Little Chapel

One stop on almost every cruise excursion is the Little Chapel, a tiny chapel just a few paces long covered with broken crockery, shells and mosaic. The chapel was built by a local religious brother modelled on the grotto at Lourdes and the first couple of versions didn’t make the grade so this one was built in the 1940s. This labour of love was decorated over some years but it’s quite small and so you’ll probably only be there half an hour. If you want to visit the Little Chapel independently you can take the bus which runs hourly from St Peter Port.

For more information: The Little Chapel, the bus from St Peter Port Bus station to The Little Chapel on Route 71 runs every hour and takes 15-20 mins. The Little Chapel is free but relies on donations. 

The Little Chapel in Guernsey Photo:

The Little Chapel in Guernsey

Visiting Sark and Herm

The smaller islands of Sark and Herm can be reached by ferry from Guernsey and visited as a day trip, although you’d need to plan your timings carefully to be sure to get back in time for the cruise departure. As the Sark crossing is longer, and can be cancelled in case of rough seas, this is one that I would probably do as an organised cruise excursion to take any pressure off you in case things go wrong. The island of Herm is smaller and the crossing only takes 20 minutes so this is more feasible to visit independently, when you can enjoy the unspoilt beaches and walking paths as there are no cars on the islands.

On our previous visit to Guernsey, we visited Sark and would highly recommend it, especially if you have already visited St Peter Port before and want to experience a place where time seems to have stood still since the 1950s. As no cars are allowed on Sark, the main ways to get around are on foot, by bike or by horse-drawn carriage and on arrival you will have the opportunity sit in a cart with bench seats known as the toast rack and be dragged up the hill by tractor.

At the top of the hill is the main village with a few shops, bank, pub and places where you can hire bikes or a horse-drawn carriage to take you around the island. We hired bikes at Avenue Cycle Hire and headed in the direction of Little Sark which is joined to the main island by a narrow, fenced causeway with a sheer drop on either side, known as La Coupee. We took a detour to the beautiful beach at Dixart Bay which is reached down a narrow, wooded lane, before continuing to have lunch at La Sablonnerie Hotel hotel on Little Sark where we dined on fresh lobster with a butter sauce at a table set in the rose garden.

After lunch we cycled back to the other end of the island to visit La Seigneurie Gardens, the residence of the Seigneur or Lord of the island. The house is not open but the gardens are open on most days through the summer and there’s also a nice cafe for lunch with a cost of about £3.50 to look around the gardens. A stroll in the sunshine around the walled garden with lovely herbaceous borders, fountains and a maze to get lost in was most enjoyable.

For more information: Isle of Sark website: the ferry crossing is run by the Isle of Sark Shipping Company, costs £27.80 return (at time of writing), running 4 times daily in peak season and the journey is 55 minutes.  Herm website: the ferry crossing is run by Trident Ferry Company which has a kiosk on the harbour front close to where the tender drops you and the ferry runs several times daily and the journey takes 20 minutes. Please consult the ferry timetable when booking and be sure to book your return crossing in good time, as if you are late, the ship won’t wait!

Cafe on Sark Photo:

Cafe on Sark

There are plenty of things to enjoy in your cruise stop on Guernsey and my tip is to have an early breakfast and disembark your cruise ship as early as possible, so you have time to enjoy it all. If you decide to take one of the cruise excursions, you will be able to visit a number of the places I’ve mentioned in this article and have the convenience of easy transport and a guide. However, don’t be afraid to take the reliable bus service to explore on your own or just visit the many interesting things in and around St Peter Port on foot.

MonopolyMy Giveaway

As a fun souvenir of Guernsey, I have a Guernsey Monopoly Game to give away, which I was kindly sent by the makers as they used some of my photos on the board. This giveaway, is for subscribers to my monthly newsletter which includes details of future reader offers. Unfortunately, due to the cost of postage I am only able to send the Guernsey Monopoly to a UK address. All you need to do, if you’d like to enter the draw for the  Guernsey Monopoly set is to;

1. subscribe to my newsletter below
2. Let me know in the comments that you’d like to be entered for this draw.

That’s it! As a subscriber you’ll be sent my monthly newsletter plus occasional details of other reader travel offers and giveaways, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Princess cruises logoMy 4 night European Sampler Cruise with my husband was hosted by Princess Cruises who offer cruises to European and Worldwide cruises to allow you to explore fascinating destinations and escape completely on board their elegant and spacious ships. Our cruise took us from Southampton to Rotterdam to Guernsey before returning to Southampton. You can keep up with latest updates for Princess Cruises on their Twitter page @PrincessCruises and on the Princess Cruises Facebook Page.

This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at - Read the original article here

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Just me and the boys down on the farm – our weekend at Bosinver Farm Cottages in Cornwall – video

Teenage boys can be notoriously difficult to please, so I wasn’t quite sure what my sixteen year old son and his two friends would make of Bosinver Farm Cottages in Cornwall. We arrive in darkness, having made the Friday night dash after work, driving down from Bristol with a car full of wellies, walking boots, plenty of chocolate biscuits and the Monopoly board.

Coastal Path near Polkerris beach in Cornwall Photo:

Coastal Path near Polkerris beach in Cornwall

Turning into the  Bosinver drive we follow the lane  through a hamlet of cottages and houses of different sizes which seem less like converted farm buildings and more like a small residential enclave. Our house, Cherry (next to Apple and Pear) is a single storey bungalow which comfortably sleeps 6 people, and we’re soon unloaded and making ourselves at home. Before you can say “Put the kettle on”, the boys are watching football on the flat screen TV and have the music on full blast through the iPod Dock. So far so good.

I hope you enjoy the video below of Bosinver Farm Cottages

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Kitchen at Bosinver Farm Cottages Photo:

Kitchen at Bosinver Farm Cottages

First impressions are positive. Our cottage is spacious and well-designed, with every home comfort you could wish for, and  someone has obviously had great fun putting together the colourful furnishings.  There’s a mixture of modern and vintage furniture, lots of Designer’s Guild, and funky ornaments all around the place that give our cottage bags of character. I’m in the master bedroom with lime green patterned curtains and duvet cover and an en suite bathroom so that I don’t have to battle with the boys for mirror space first thing in the morning. The three boys disperse themselves between the two twin bedrooms, one in bright yellow and green, the other in pink and red stripes with cheerful bunting strung above the beds, as if we’re at the village fete.

Our cottage "Cherry" at Bosinver Farm Cottages in Cornwall Photo:

Our cottage “Cherry” at Bosinver Farm Cottages in Cornwall

The living area is open plan taking up half of the ground floor, with a well-equiped kitchen at one end, a pine table which is laid out for breakfast, an open fireplace with a stove and leather sofas positioned to watch the flat screen TV. It would be a great place to stay for families who want to holiday together or multi-generational groups who want a bit of their own space in different cottages but the chance to easily gather together.

I wake up the next morning to find a pair of black and white horses munching the grass in the field outside my window. Eventually the boys emerge and set off to try out the indoor swimming pool which was only built this year. The glass walled pool area gives onto a terrace with oversized curvy outdoor chairs, overlooking the tennis court. If only we were there in summer, rather than chilly October, we’d be lounging around with a cold drink, pretending we were in the South of France. While the boys alternately splash around then sit under the hot showers, I take a look around the rest of the farm. I discover a colourful play barn for little ones, with a couple of exercise machines too – now dad can keep fit on the running machine while the little ones are wearing themselves out on the slide and climbing equipment.

Bosinver Farm Cottages Photo:

Bosinver Farm Cottages Top L Swimming Pool, Top R Secret the horse, Bot R Play Barn Bot L Feeding the ducks

I pop into the reception area at the top of the drive to get some suggestions from Bosinver owner Pat Smith (known to younger farm visitors as Nanny Pat) for a walk to keep us busy for the rest of the day. I have in mind a couple of hours along a cliff path, a stroll on the beach and a nice cafe or pub to have lunch or tea at the end. Pat takes in my requirements, digs out a book of 35 Cornish coastal walks from the pile that are available to borrow and sends us off  to Polkerris beach, about 20 minutes drive from Bosinver. Parking a little way up the hill from the beach, we walk down past the pub and pretty cottages to find the sheltered cove, with cliffs rising on either side and a sea wall making a protective arm to shelter small boats.

Our walk from Polkerris to Gribbin point Photo:

Our walk from Polkerris to Gribbin point

We take the footpath up the hill through a beech wood to the top of the cliffs and follow the path through the fields with the sea on our right. Every so often there’s a gap where you can peer down to a rocky cove although the cliff edge is protected by a hedge of brambles and gorse. We reach Gribbin head with a red and white striped daymarker tower that sailors use to take a bearing and guide their boats into the Fowey estuary. It looks like a red and white lighthouse and is open on some Sundays for a climb to the top, I imagine it’s challenging on the legs but the views must be amazing.

View from Gribbin Head to Polridmouth cove Photo:

View from Gribbin Head to Polridmouth cove

We walk down through a herd of cows towards Polridmouth cove, close to where the writer Daphne du Maurier lived at Menabilly. She leased the large Georgian house from the local Rashleigh family and lived there for 25 years, using it as the setting on Manderlay in her famous novel, Rebecca. We walk past the gate to the church at Menabilly where the blue hydrangeas are blooming, a flower of Cornwall that I always associate with dried flower arrangement in old country houses.

Lunch at Sam's on the beach, Polkerris, Cornwall Photo:

Lunch at Sam’s on the beach, Polkerris, Cornwall

For a little way we follow the Saints’ Way, an old pilgrimage path that crosses from the south coast of Cornwall at Fowey to the north coast at Padstow. Crossing the field we walk down through the wood to Polkerris and settle on one of the outdoor tables at Sam’s on the Beach.  This informal cafe is an offshoot from their popular restaurant at Fowey and occupies a prime position right on the sand in an old lifeboat station with a glass wall overlooking the beach. With perfect timing, the sun breaks through the clouds and we sit in the sunshine eating very good pizzas cooked in a wood fired oven, which pretty much defeat us in their size. There are some alternative places to eat in Polkerris at the Rashleigh Inn which is right opposite Sam’s and the Polka dot café with a small “bucket and spade” shop and and art gallery, the Gribbin Gallery above. I imagine that in August the place is heaving, but out of season with the sun shining it’s just perfect for me.

Boats bobbing in the Fowey estuary Photo:

Boats bobbing in the Fowey estuary

We drive on the short distance into Fowey, a small harbour town that hugs the hillside, overlooking the sheltered estuary that offers a haven for sailors. It’s full of those shops that sell you pretty things for the home, gifts with a nautical theme that you never knew you needed and plenty of Cornish clotted cream fudge. The water taxis are heading back and forth across the estuary, and we eat our ice creams watching the sailing boats bobbing up and down, before climbing back up the hill to the car park and heading back to Bosinver. Back at the cottages the boys enjoy another swim and try out the sauna, while the cottage is a pleasure to spend the evening in, like home only nicer, cleaner and fresher.

Bosinver Farm Cottages: Feeding the animals Photo:

Bosinver Farm Cottages: Feeding the animals

On Sunday morning we join a large crowd of parents with their toddlers to feed the animals in the small farmyard beside the swimming pool. Farmer Dave (Pat’s husband Dave Smith) has the routine sorted and the little ones squeal in delight as the ducks and hens run around them, although there are a few tears when Chalkie the goat grabs at his milk bottle a bit too hard. Even my hard to please 16 year olds have a great time, with the ducks and geese pecking grain from their hand. Farmer Dave gives them the task of keeping Chalkie the goat under control on his lead, which is easier said than done as he has the strength to pull you off your feet if he thinks there’s food to be found. We all troop over to the field and finish the session by watching Dan the moorland pony be fed from his bucket, while the younger ones hold him on a leading rein. We rather wish we could stay another day to have a ride on Secret, the white pony who’s kept in the next field and likes to have his nose stroked.

We pack up and leave Bosinver Farm Cottages by late morning, stopping at The Eden Project for a few hours on the way home. I’ve always wanted to see this most popular of Cornish attractions, with its much photographed biomes, built 15 years ago on the site of an old  china clay quarry. The project is all about the way plants and crops are used to create the world we live in and is run as an educational charity. We walk down on winding paths through the hillside gardens and spend our first hour in the Rainforest biome.

The Eden Project in Cornwall Photo:

The Eden Project in Cornwall

The hot and steamy atmosphere soon has us stripped down to t-shirts and we follow the paths through the lush tropical plants, past pools and West African totems, a Malaysian wooden house and along a walkway that take us up through the tree canopy. There’s a waterfall cascading down the side of the rock and we climb up on swaying metal steps to the platform that hangs high above the biome, where it makes you dizzy to look down.

The Eden Project in Cornwall Photos:

The Eden Project in Cornwall

We stop in the outdoor cafe to refuel with a Cornish pasty before tackling the Mediterranean biome where the climate is much more temperate and there’s another small cafe serving paella and other food of the region. The exotic pink protea is flowering in South Africa, while the Harley Davidson is off on a road trip through California, and the Dionysus scultures of a bull and revellers are dancing in an intoxicated celebration of the wine god. Before we leave we stop at The Core, an educational hub where a mechanical contraption demonstrates how it literally does take a sledgehammer to crack a hazelnut and we walk around The Seed, a 75 ton egg shaped sculture carved from a single piece of Cornish granite.

By late afternoon we’re heading back to Bristol after our very enjoyable weekend in Cornwall. Bosinver Farm Cottages has given us a wonderful base to explore the cliff paths and beaches of South Cornwall and proved that you’re never too old or too cool to feed the chickens.

Bosinver Farm Cottages: Stay, Play and Discover the magic
Trelowth, St Austell, Cornwall, PL26 7DT, Tel: 01726 72128 E-mail:

There are 20 separate cottages on the farm sleeping between 3 and 12 people. We stayed in Cherry with 3 bedrooms for 6 people. In November a 3 night weekend stay costs around £310 and a week’s stay around £535. In high season of July and August a week will cost around £1770. Short breaks are available from mid September to mid May.

My thanks to Bosinver Farm Cottages who hosted our weekend stay.

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