Padstow Christmas Festival

20/11/2012 § Leave a comment


Fireworks on Friday Evening

Now in its 5th year, the Padstow Christmas Festival continues to go from strength to strength.  Originally initiated to draw “out of season” visitors to the town, it is run by volunteers as a not for profit enterprise to showcase Padstow and the local produce.  As you would expect from the town which has recently become synonymous with sea food restaurants and, in particular, Rick Stein, food and its preparation loom large in the proceedings.

The festival opens on Friday with demonstrations by chefs in the heated marquee, the Christmas market and live music.  That evening will feature a lantern parade, Santa’s Grotto and festive workshops  for the children with and finishing with fireworks.  There will be late night shopping for the retail deprived.

Of course there is a Christmas market  with more than 40 local producers of crafts, food and special treats like chocolates and chutneys.

On Saturday, the town’s culinary reputation will be further emphasised when Rick Stein will be joined by Phil Vickery from ITV’s This Morning, Angela Hartnett, Mitch Tonks, Mark Hix, Jill Stein, Nathan Outlaw and Andy Appleton in  the Chefs’ Theatre. This heated marquee will also host demonstrations from over 18 acclaimed chefs, including five with Michelin stars, and chefs from five of the UK’s Top 100 Restaurants 2012 as voted by The Sunday Times.

Cornish Hospice charity run

A Santa Fun Run group

There will also be the annual Santa Fun Run in aid of Cornwall Hospice Care where the entrants have a choice of running one or two miles in a Santa Suit (If you are interested in entering their website is on this link)

Saturday rounds out with a Celebrity Carol Service at St Petroc’s Church at 7:30.  This is in aid of the Merlin MS Centre and will include Robin Knox-Johnston, Kate Adie, Jeremy Child and Ian McNiece.

Sunday will show case a food forum “What Price a pint of milk?” with Rick Stein, Brian Tonks and Brian Turner, more chefs demonstrations, live music and a hog roast at the Padstow Rowing Club.  The public Festival finishes with a Carol Concert at St Petroc’s at 6pm.

Painting In Calstock

01/10/2012 § Leave a comment

I visited Calstock a couple of weeks ago with a group of artists.  We were on a five day art course lead by Janet and Peter from Brambles Art Retreat just across the border in Devon.  We arrived in the morning to set up our easels on the river bank by the slipway opposite the Tamar Inn.

Nestling in the steep sided Tamar valley, north of Plymouth, Calstock is something of an artist’s fields day.  Its spectacular Victorian railway viaduct dominates the scene, with the Tamar itself providing a constantly changing vista with the tide swinging the boats and water level on the river bank.  Looking inland, the white cottages with their slate roofs, are staged up the hillside on each side and behind the pub, providing a pleasing selection of planes and perspective.

By 11 o’clock, we were ready for tea and coffee break which the friendly staff of the Tamar Inn provided on the patio and allowed us to wander around the waterfront with our mugs.  By lunch time I was certainly ready to sample the selection of Cornish bitter at the bar.  With a pint of Doom Bar in hand I had an exceptional beef and horseradish sandwich to satisfy both thirst and hunger.  And then back to the painting.

It was a great day, we all enjoyed Calstock and wished we had had more time to explore but our sketching and painting took up all out time.  I just wish my efforts had come up to the standard of the rest of the day.Image

Cornwall in July 2012 – Events and Attractions

06/06/2012 § Leave a comment


Summer is hotting up in Cornwall and there will be loads to do in July.  Here is a small sample of what there is:

2nd to  7th July – Pendennis Cup – Falmouth Bay will be the start and finish of a number of races for classic and super yachts.  They will race from Falmouth to the area of Gull Rock off the Roseland Peninsula and the Lizard.  You can get a great view from points at Pendennis and St Mawes Castles.  You can get more information from or phone +44 (0)1326 211344.

6th to 8th July – Sea Salts & Sail – Mousehole.  The sailing theme continues with this gathering.  Mousehole will be host to a gathering of traditional sailing boats that will race in Mounts Bay.  There will also be a range of attractions including demonstrations of cookery and local crafts, live music, food & drink as well as loads for the children to do.  You can enquire at for more information.

6th to 8th July – Padstow Vintage Rally.  Padstow’s Vintage Rally and country fair will have plenty to  do and see for all the family, especially anyone who loves the sound and smell of steam engines.  There be the Vintage vehicles, tractors, bikes, military vehicles and steam tractors and stationary engines and Battle Group Southwest, The Vikings and Meet the Wild West will be putting on displays.  There will be a host of other attractions and entertainments too long to list here but you can  get more  info from 01841 550442.

7th to 8th July -  Bodmin Heritage Day.  Bodmin’s main street will be lined with stalls, there will be a craft fair in the Shire Hall; local primary schools will compete in the Riding Dance and there will be fairground rides.  It is even rumoured that the infamous “Beast of Bodmin” will get it’s comeuppance!

14th July – The Liskeard Show.  As one of the largest traditional one day agricultural shows in the Southwest. It has the animal shows you would expect, from large cattle to smaller animals as well as dog shows and a myriad of other competitions.  There will be plenty of craft stalls and catering.  It is truly huge!  Contact or tel:+44-01579-342955 for more information.

14th July – UK Surf Rowers League Summer Series – Third Round at Watergate Bay.  If you are more interested in watching something more unique, then this is certainly not something you will see every day!  These racing crews row  into the surf in their boats around a course, a feat that requires considerable fitness and courage (some question their sanity!).  If the surf is up, then this will be a spectacular event!  More info from

16th July – Stithians Show. One of the oldest Agricultural shows in the area, this includes everything from show jumping to rare breeds and rabbits.  There will be large marquees for Horticulture, Taste of Cornwall and Domestic Marquee (with craft, art, sewing and photo comps, cookery, wine and jam). There will also be a Countryside Area, Craft Stalls and Trade Stands.  For further information on this huge show go to

19th to 22nd July – Port Eliot Festival.  For a complete change of pace, this festival is a cross between a literary event and a music festival held in the grounds of one of one of the most beautiful stately homes in England.  It also includes fashion, food, flowers etc, etc…. with bands like Stornoway,  writers like Tracey Chevalier, chefs like Nathan Outlaw, I really can’t do it justice here, you’ll have to go to to see the full details.

25th to 29th July – Penzance Literary Festival.  To carry on the cultural theme, this festival will have talks by bestselling authors like Patrick Gale and Sarah Macdonald, Poetry readings, authors in conversation and how-to-do–it workshops for aspiring writers and poets. You can find out more from

31st July & 1st August – A Grand Medieval Joust at Pendennis Castle.  The colourful excitement of a medieval Joust will visit the grounds of Pendennis castle.  Not only will there be the clash of lance on armour of the joust, but there will be lots to see on the period including falconry displays, music and dancing and games for the kids.  More information can be found here:

Events in Cornwall May 2012

27/04/2012 § Leave a comment

Events in Cornwall May 2012

Events in Cornwall May 2012


May will be an exciting, fun filled month in Cornwall this year.  Not only is the Olympic flaming coming through the county but there arethe Annual World Pilot Gig Championships at St Mary’s and the English National Surfing Championships at Newquay.    Here are list of some of the highlights for May:

1st May  Padstow- ‘Obby ‘Oss Day  From 10 am to 10 pm this colourful festival takes over Padstow on May 1st.   This celebration of an ancient fertility rite has been celebrated on the first day of May since pagan days.   Further information from the site.

4th – 7th May St. Mary’s Scilly Islands – The 23rd World Pilot Gig Championships.  Crews from Cornwall, Devon, other UK counties, Ireland, Holland, America and elsewhere compete for the title of World Champions.  With boats dating from 1830 to the present day, the 4 days of races promise to be full of excitement and fun. has much more information.

5th – 6th May Saltash May Fair – another festival with its roots in ancient times.  Originally held in July, it was revived in the 1930s and then again in 1978,  Since then it has been a regular event.  Further details are available from

5th – 7th May Newquay:  English National Surfing Championships.  This will be the 40th year (and the longest running surfing competition) of the championships held at Watergate Bay.

13th May Lostwithiel – Lostfest is an annual music, arts and crafts festival which will run on Sunday 13th from 10 am to 5 pm.  A family event with workshops, demonstrations, arts and crafts stalls and music and dance.  It is free and any money raised goes to charity.  More information can be found at

19th May Olympic Flame in Cornwall.  On Saturday the 19th the Flame will travel through the following:  Land’s End, Sennen, Newlyn, Penzance, Marazion, Rosudgeon, Ashton, Breage, Helston, Falmouth, Truro, Newquay, St Stephen, Trewoon, St Austell, Stenalees, Bugle, Lanivet, Bodmin, Liskeard and Saltash before leaving the county and finishing the day at Plymouth.

21st – 27th May  St. Ives Food & Drink Festival.  Taste, try, meet, buy, and enjoy the finest flavours and tastes that Cornwall has to offer, there will be free cheese and chutney tasting on the Thursday from 10- 12:30 and a producers market on West Pier on the 26th & 27th .  Visit their website for more information.

26th – 27th May Launceston Steam & Vintage Rally.  This  year it will be held at Trebant Farm, Altarnun, 8 miles to the west of Launceston.  Bigger than ever, this year’s rally will include Classic and vintage cars, Fire engines, a military display, Tractors and steam engines as well as trade, craft, catering and refreshment stalls.  More info can be obtained from their website

26th – 27th May St Mawes:  The 6th annual Pilot Cutter Review will be a rare opportunity to see and even race on these historic craft.  More information can be obtained here.

For more information on attractions and accommodation in Cornwall I suggest you visit the Cornish Holiday Guide

Attractions and Events in Cornwall in January

06/01/2012 § Leave a comment

What's on in Cornwall in January 2012

What's on in Cornwall in January 2012







Here is a list of some of the events and attractions happening in Cornwall this month.  I particularly recommend the Wildlife Photographer of the year exhibition at the Eden project.

6th – 10th  Treasures from the Earth:  The Castle, Bude is the venue for a fascinating exhibition of archaeological artefacts. Free entry from 11 am to 4 pm.  See for further details

10th  Historical King Arthur:  Meet one of English heritage specialist authors to discuss Historical King Arthur at Tintagel Castle. Click here for contact details.

14th at 19:30  Coastal ketches and inside barges at Gweek:  For more than 2000 years the Helford River has bustled with commercial water traffic.  The National Maritime Museum Cornwall’s Andy Wake will give an insight to the ships, boats and trade of this bygone age.  Contact Paul (01326) 341030 or Ian (01872) 863171 for further information

Until the  15th  Wildlife Photographer of the Year: this exhibition, in partnership with the Natural History Museum and the BBC, has some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife photographs. Click here for contact details.

27th  Castle Sleep Over:  Pendennis Castle is hosting another of it’s popular overnight stays at one of English Heritage’s historic properties for adults.  Enjoy supper, a twilight tour and spooky stories before bedding down for the night.  A unique experience in a spectacular historical setting.  Includes supper & breakfast.  Click here for contact details.

Until the 28th   Taking Space Christmas Show:  This is an exhibition of a group of women artists based in Cornwall known as “Taking Space”.  It is at the Bay Hotel Penzance.  Their website is

29th at 14:30  Concert for the RNLI:  There will be a Concert by the Band of H M Royal Marines Plymouth with the Plymouth Gilbert and Sullivan Fellowship and guests from the Mevagissey Male Choir at the Hall for Cornwall, Truro.  Tickets from 01872 262466

Cornish Riding Holidays

07/11/2011 § Leave a comment

Cornish Hacking

Hacking in Cornwall


Set in the heart of the beautiful Cornish Countryside near the World Heritage Site of the Mineral Tramways, in an area steeped in the history of seafaring ,  Cornish Riding Holidays are open all the year around for lessons, hacking and riding holidays.  A family run equestrian centre, they are fully licensed, insured and approved by the British Horse Society, Association of British Riding Schools and OFSTED.  Their enthusiastic, friendly, Instructors are all qualified, CRB checked and First Aid trained and they have more than 50 horses schooled in all disciplines.  These include grade C show jumpers, medium level dressage horses and novice eventers.  Because of their situation, they are lucky enough to have outstanding off road hacking, a progressive series of cross country jumps as well as indoor and outdoor arenas.   All holiday prices are fully inclusive of riding, accommodation and food.

A refreshing ride on the beach

A refreshing ride on the beach

Adult holidays are run during term time.  These are tailored to suit the individual at no extra cost, and riding is more or less unlimited.   Most people choose a mixture of lessons and hacks and are pleasantly surprised at how much they achieve.   Holiday guests have exclusive use of a modernised stone bungalow, with spectacular sea views and set in an area of outstanding natural beauty .   Drinks and snacks are available for guests throughout the day and are included in the price.  They also have a 7 man jacuzzi hot tub to relax  and soak in, at the end of a hard days riding.  Holidays are suitable for  adults of all ages and abilities, from beginners to advanced.  Individuals as well as small groups are welcome.

Unaccompanied children’s and family  holidays are held during school breaks. They  run from after lunch on Sundays until after lunch on the following Saturday , though shorter breaks of 2 days or more are available in off-peak periods.  Children have a set programme;  their whole day being taken up with horse activities.   Lessons, riding on the beach, hacks, a mock hunt and a day’s ride ensure that they get plenty of fun, fresh air and exercise.  Care of the pony , a horse show and gymkhana give them a sense of responsibility and a bit of friendly competition.  So they don’t get bored in the evenings, the staff take them to the cinema, swimming and shopping. They also use the hot tub and have a BBQ.  As well as individual children, families are also welcome.

You can be picked up, free of charge, from Redruth Railway and bus station or, for a fee, can also be collected from Newquay airport . You are sure to have a fun packed week and can see them on Face book and read their reviews on Trip Advisor.

A walk Around Seaview International Holiday Park

01/11/2011 § Leave a comment

Seaview International  Holiday Park

Spacious pitches at Seaview International

Our  holiday in Cornwall started as we headed along the A391 towards St Austell.   Passing a signpost to the ‘Eden Project’, we noted that we must put this wonder of the modern world on the “must see” list whilst we are here. Suddenly, the road falls away towards the south coast of Cornwall and St Austell Bay appears a panorama in front of us, the white sails and speedboat trails contrasting with the deep blue water.  Heading south from St Austell, along a wooded river valley, the countryside opens up to rolling farm land with cattle and sheep grazing and crops growing and yet more breath-taking views of the sea.   Approaching some woods, we pass the gates to the ‘Lost Gardens of Heligan’ (another place for the “must see” list). We arrive at Seaview International Holiday Park, and enter the park reception to a lovely warm welcome.

We are directed to our freshly prepared pitch and it’s time to get settled in and explore.  We soon realise why this is a five star rated holiday park! Drawn to the well-stocked site shop by the smell of freshly baked bread and while browsing, we pick up those essential items we remember we left at home! Then a quick snack and a coffee in the Sea Breeze Café.  The menu looks just fine and that take away service will save some cooking; they even have free WiFi here for cafe customers.

We find the spacious outdoor heated swimming pool just down from the café. With its  sun trapped terraces it is looking most inviting… maybe we won’t have to go very far to keep the kids happy after all. A quick inspection of the loo and shower block is impressive, they are so clean, it’s small  wonder they won 5 stars in the Loo of the Year competition.

Hemmick Beach in Cornwall

Hemmick Beach is a short walk from Seaview

Exploring the rest of the park, we discover a huge, well equipped children’s play area, with areas for football, tennis, badminton, even pitch and putt! This is getting better and better! The dog walk and large off the lead exercise paddock is great for first thing in the morning and last thing at night walk.  And there’s a nature trail!  This explains why Seaview International got the David Bellamy Gold Award. Wandering a little further, we find Hemmick Beach.  Now this really will keep the children happy! It’s such a lovely place for swimming, building sandcastles and picnicking, Dad can even fish off the rocks. Finally, taking the tired kids back to the park, we notice we can even buy our own holiday home at Seaview International, now there’s a thought…..


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 29 other followers