We love to visit Cornwall or Devon in the October half term and have been going for as many years as I can remember, there is something about the wild landscape of the moors and the crashing surf which satisfies my soul. Some of our happiest family times have been spent striding along almost deserted beaches with the wind whipping the words from our mouths and thoroughly blasting the cobwebs away followed by books or a movie curled up in a cosy cottage. It’s a holiday with no pressure – we don’t HAVE to do anything, we can just kick back and relax and I love it.
This year we were invited to stay at Trevella Park near Newquay for a four night mid week break which was perfect, Mr TS could take a few days off work and we’d be home in time for teenage Halloween party commitments!
We stayed in a Luxury 3 bed caravan on the Trevella site and it proved to be an excellent base for exploring the foot of the UK, we were a bit spoilt for choice with things to do even at this late point in the year. We plumped for two old favourites and a new one as well as allowing a bit of time to meander around a bit, stroll on beaches at sunset and swing on swings in Trevella’s playgrounds.
Visiting The Eden Project at Halloween
We’ve visited The Eden Project several times since it opened its doors to the public in 2001, I love the ethos behind it and its easy accessibility for people who are new to the idea of sustainability and conservation – it is a fabulous educational resource but it is also tremendous fun! The ice rink, England’s longest zip wire and a packed programme of events throughout the year means there is always something new to see and do – as well as watching the changing seasons across this lushly planted site.
Eden always does Halloween very well and this year was no exception – with potion making, shadow puppet storytelling, pumpkin carving, visiting owls and face painting it is heaven for small witches and wizards (as well as some of us larger ones). We loved the Witchcraft Tent which we entered via the fabulous Tunnel of Terrors – I don’t know what happened with this photograph but BB is looking very ghostly and DG looks ethereal!
We visited both Biomes and the Core and had a lovely wander around the gardens catching up with the familiar and exploring the new. It was very crowded when we were there but there is always a peaceful corner to escape to – I would recommend taking a packed lunch with you at busy times of the year if you and yours are not fans of the queue (we’re not!) and booking online both to take advantage of the discount and to avoid the VERY long queues to buy tickets on the day.
The Lost Gardens Of Heligan
Heligan is one of my very favourite places IN THE WORLD and it is getting a whole post of its own in a couple of weeks time – it has prompted a big creative project which DG and I are working on and I’ll be writing about it very soon! Heligan is a brilliant place to visit with or without children with big spaces to run about in, forests to explore and the jungle to get lost in as well as the most glorious walled Victorian productive garden and Pleasure Grounds. We spent a very happy day here again, wandering along the Halloween trail, waking the sleeping giant
and trying not to disturb the Mud Maid before heading out into the wider garden.
Lunch at the Heligan Tearoom was a feast of homegrown produce – my pumpkin nut roast was delicious – and it set us up nicely for a few more hours exploring.
Mevagissey Harbour and Museum
The picturesque working harbour of Mevagissey is just a hop skip and a jump from Heligan so we popped in before heading back to our caravan for the evening. We enjoyed exploring the narrow streets, once the haunt of Cornish smugglers and pilchard fishermen, and walking along the harbour walls but, best of all, was the wonderful Mevagissey Folk Museum.
Housed in a building which had been hewn from the rock itself in 1745 and which was used to construct and repair smuggler’s ships – this is a proper museum which paints a vivid picture of life in Mevagissey with artefacts gathered from local people and the surrounding area. Housing everything from an apple crusher and cider press to the door from the old Clink this is a local historian’s paradise! Read more about the museum and the history of Mevagissey here where you can find out about boat building, Pear’s soap and Cyril the fastest milkman in the west! I loved this place – it is exactly the sort of museum I envisioned opening when I was a child and charged my long suffering family 10p to come and see my exhibitions of ‘finds’ – a tradition, I am pleased to say, my own children have continued!
St Michael’s Mount
We sailed past the very distinctive St Michael’s Mount when we were making our way down the Scilly Isles in the summer and all of us longed to visit. Unfortunately our boat is too big to tie up in Penzance and we were only in Newlyn for one night before continuing our voyage so we were delighted to be close enough to get there from Trevella Park!
There is something very special about tidal islands which can only be reached via a causeway at low tide or by boat when the tide is in. We walked along the beach and then up on to the causeway before making our way up the uneven, cobbled Pilgrim’s Path to the island’s summit and to the castle clinging to the rocks. It’s a place where you can really feel history all around you flowing from prehistoric times to the Norman Conquest, the Wars of the Roses, the Spanish Armada and the English Civil War. It has been home to the St Aubyn family for four hundred years and to myths and legends featuring giants, mermaids and miracles – it’s a brilliant place to visit!
We loved exploring inside the castle, visiting the village and harbour and imagining what it must be like here once all the visitors have gone. I was disappointed that we had arrived too late in the year to visit the beautiful gardens laid out below us – defiant in the face of the crashing sea just a few feet away – but I managed to take lots of photos from above, goodness, it was a long way down! I am determined to visit again when the gardens are open and to see what can be grown in this astonishing place with its own micro climate.
Trevella Park is in a fabulous location for exploring Cornwall and we took advantage of its proximity to Crantock Beach (you can walk there through the fields from the site) for some lovely evening strolls and to Newquay where we watched the surfers on Fistral Beach and the sun setting over the iconic Headland Hotel (it is the hotel featured in the film The Witches – how fabulous is that?!).
Our three bed caravan could sleep up to eight so we had lots of room to lounge about in front of the telly in the evening and to read in front of the large electric fire. The kitchen was basic but adequate, I had no trouble cooking for the four of us, and the bedrooms were small but cosy – I had worried we would be cold in a caravan in October but radiators in each room ensured we didn’t need extra blankets and there was no moaning! Two playgrounds meant that Bonus Boy was happy and he was usually to be found swinging as high as he could as the stars came out and the moon came up!
Trevella offers free, ranger led, activities during school holidays for children with a variety of adventures in and around Trevella Park taking full advantage of its countryside setting, proximity to the sea and the fishing lakes which are on site. The outdoor pool is open in the summer months and there is glamorous camping available on site in safari tents, ready tents and Geo Domes.
What I liked best about Trevella (apart from its fabulous location) was the feeling of space. I haven’t stayed in a caravan since the children were tiny and my previous experiences had been of crowded, busy, noisy sites. Trevella is spacious and peaceful with an emphasis on the simple pleasures of camping – lovely!
If you are looking for things to do in Cornwall, places to eat, accommodation or for offers and vouchers you can download the App for Cornwall which is useful to have in your pocket. Or you can look at this fabulous list of adventures in Cornwall put together by Trevella Park!
Disclosure: We were invited to stay at Trevella Park for four nights and our accommodation costs were covered. We were also given a press pass to visit some of the attractions in Cornwall – we used it for Eden, paid for Heligan and used our National Trust membership on St Michael’s Mount.