Picture perfect family break
AMITA JOSHI and family find fulfilment on the Cornish coast
LET’S get the stereotypes out of the way. Cornish pasties were parcelled bundles of sheer joy. Cornish cream tea did made me realise how little I care about my sugar intake, and proudly so.
And mining history was every bit as curious as we were told and took us to weird and wonderful sites.
Speaking of mining, before our family of four (five if you include Simba the dog) set off for our break, I’d been doing a bit of digging myself into people’s trips to the popular spot.
Cornwall evokes an avalanche of memories for visitors, but the snippets captured by different people don’t always knit together to make one picture of the place.
A couple at work spoke tenderly of beautiful coastal walks and national trust sites.
On the other hand, one friend recalled his hospital trip after a night of indulgence at a surfing party. Another remembered her first sip of boxed wine on a Newquay camping trip, early teens.
Clearly it does “something for everyone” well, but how about when all those ages come together and holiday together? Before setting off for the British beauty that is Cornwall, I collected a comprehensive guide from those who frequent those coastal bays.
The usual, where to go what to eat, what we can’t miss. Two days into the holiday, we glanced at the list everyone had so lovingly contributed to.
Because – and I’m only slightly ashamed of this – we hadn’t really ventured out that much just yet. And the reason for that was our lodge.
For four days, we were staying at Gwel-an-Mor resorts in Portreath, a little fishing port on the north coast of the county.
As our tyres ground to a halt on Thursday evening after a long driving stint, all we wanted was to unwind. Of course, that meant entirely different things to each of us.
I wanted to curl up with a book, father Joshi would finally get a chance to catch up on The Archers after failing that attempt in the car, mother Joshi simply wanted to get as far away from a kitchen as possible and my teen brother wanted nothing more than to feed his Youtube addiction and hop onto the nearest wifi.
But we were entirely distracted when I turned the keys and stepped into Minack lodge.
It was a warm, beautiful open spaced wooden interior, not dissimilar to a ski lodge.
The floor we came into was divided into three vast rooms, each sleeping two, chocolates on pillow, dressing gowns on the beds and welcome note on table. Naturally mother Joshi shotgunned the master bedroom with the outdoor patio, where the sound of a hot tub bubbled invitingly.
Venturing upstairs, a large open-plan kitchen, fire place, balcony and living room awaited.
A pile of board games were stacked on the table, beside some Enid Blyton classics.
A bottle of Healey’s Cornish Cyder farm apple juice lay next to a slab of Cornish butter and homemade jam.
There were even Cornish baked dog treats (gone in a matter of seconds). This was not the place for our usual reclusive antics.
This was a place where picture perfect families who shop at Harvey Nichols took a break from their perfect lives to experience a perfect staycation. So that’s what we did. We played perfect for the next four days. And perfect it was. I started Friday morning with a spa treatment and after feeling thoroughly replenished post full body mud mask, took the day to explore our new home. We had coffee on the balcony and watched the waves change from indigo to aqua.
We listened to the chickens and the goats, part of the site’s Feadon Farm. The evening was spent bubbling away in the hot tub as we enjoyed the clear skies and the silence of Portreath, punctuated only by the therapeutic sounds of farm animals.
The coastal view was sheer, breathtaking escapism, and there was a feeling of being truly satisfied.
That night, we dined at the on-site restaurant The Terrace. Four vegetarians hoped for the best as we ordered warm olive bread with balsamic and olive oil, mushroom risotto, and three sweet potato pies.
I’ve always been suspicious of food which comes out too fast, but our pies, a huge portion of steaming wholesome flavours of lentils, caramelised onion, courgettes and with a base of Gorgonzola arrived after a good time.
Deliciously creamy, the pie wasn’t a veggie afterthought and after a generous helping of Cornish vanilla ice cream, four very content Joshi’s waddled back to Minaks.
On Saturday morning, wellies and sunglasses were donned and we met Gary Zammit who runs the wildlife centre next to the lodges.
We fed goats (named after the resort’s staff members), tended to chickens, stroked reindeers, stretched out our arms for the elegant Sly, the barn owl, laughed as he curled up a little white ferret into his arms and cooed as he showed us the baby mice. And hesitantly touched an adder.
But most remarkably of all, we fed four foxes who were rescued by the centre and since looked after by Gary and his wife.
They were magnificent in their fiery orange glory, stepping up to my hand as I patted them on the head.
Gary made us laugh throughout, evidently knew everything there was to know about the centre they so lovingly nurtured, and we left feeling like it was the best way to start a family morning, for young or older.
After, we followed “To the Beach” signs, walked companionably for 20 minutes, where after we ended up at Portreath bay, unassuming and beautiful with a white lighthouse to complete the picture perfect scene. Simba was thrilled, crashing against the waves with his tongue lolling out as he eyed other dogs playing in the distance.
Gwel an Mor, perhaps unexpectedly, bought serenity and contentment to a family whose ideal holiday would mean different things for each person. The location, the lodge and the views was just the break we needed. And Simba fully approved, making it a full house of happy holidayers.
For more information on Gwel an Mor visit www.gwelanmor.com/