As Spring starts to creep into Britain and with summer on the horizon, the days grow longer, and the beautiful, incredibly diverse islands invite visitors from around the globe to explore its virtually endless attractions.
But where to start? Ask the locals, suggests Sue Petrie, British Airways’ Regional Commercial Manager, Trade, Southern & East Africa. Petrie, who has a wealth of travel experience, says, “There’s so much to see and do, but if you have a limited time to visit, you may prefer to focus on a few activities in one area, rather than travelling far and wide.”
One such destination, she suggests, is Newquay in Cornwall. It’s famed for surfing and Fistral Beach in particular draws riders of all proficiencies. So surfing – or surfing lessons, if you need them – should certainly be on your agenda. Fistral is just one of five splendid beaches on that stretch of the coast, with Instgram-able wide, white, sandy beaches and of course, excellent waves.
And there’s no better time to visit this Cornish paradise which is just one flight connection away, thanks to multiple daily flights operated by British Airways from South Africa to Heathrow year-round, and then Heathrow to Newquay five times a week, between 2nd July and 7th September 2020.
Once you’ve mastered your takeoff and bottom-turn, it’s time to explore Newquay and the many other attractions nearby, some of which have some oddly evocative names. Petrie names a few:
Dive into Polly Joke: nothing to do with a wisecracking parrot, but rather a beautiful swimming spot between two headlands, with calm, deep water and plenty of rock pools and caves to explore. Visitors enjoy the seclusion and tranquility of this place when other beaches in the area get crowded. Originally the spot was known as Jackdaw Cove, or Pol-Lejouack in Cornish.
The Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre is a must-see for aircraft enthusiasts of any age, with a vast range of machines from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Visitors are not only allowed to touch these beasts of the air but encouraged to climb aboard. Tripadvisor rates the experience at 4.6/5, with visitors commenting on how knowledgeable and friendly the volunteer staff are. The museum is next to RAF St Magwan air force base and Cornwall Airport Newquay, so the busy skies, the roar of jet-engines and the tang of aviation fuel make for a nostalgic experience. If you fancy seeing Cornwall from the air, a short trip in a light aircraft can be arranged. A café on site offers light meals, including the famed Cornish cream tea. And because we’re in Cornwall rather than Devon, spread jam on your scone first, followed by cream.
Hit the trail: The wild beauty of Cornwall lends itself to walks, and there are dozens of routes, from easy to arduous. Apps like iWalkCornwall take the guesswork out of navigation and help you find a route that suits you: moorland, coastal, riverside, a beach or a historic site.
Slake your thirst: If you’ve spent a few hours in the waves or exploring, walk down the 133 roughly-hewn stone steps to the exquisitely-named Lusty Glaze Beach, which nestles in a horseshoe-shaped cove, away from busier spots. Check local calendars for updates on events like beach rugby and sunset concerts, many of which are free. A restaurant nearby is famed for its hot chocolate on cooler days, and its high teas. Lusty Glaze also offers self-catering cottages and a boutique hotel. And the name? Apparently it’s derived from the Cornish name for the beach, “the place to view the blue boats,” referring to the little vessels used to move the iron ore that was mined in the nearby hills.
Tuck in, with ghosts optional: Newquay has many outlets for food and drink, ranging from the ubiquitous – and acclaimed – fish and chips on the beach, good coffee, gastropub fare and fine dining.
- The Bowgie Inn sits atop the West Pentire Headland, with views of Crantock Beach and the sea. ‘Bowgie’ is Cornish for cow-byre and the pub expanded from an old farm building on the property in the 1950s. The building pays homage to its rustic heritage but the interiors are more about pastel hues, blonde wood and big windows to make the most of the coastal light. The menu has modern pub-grub, including traditional Cornish pasties and mussel bowls, and the rotating menu of curries earns a special mention.
- The Jamaica Inn hotel and restaurant on the Bodmin Moor relishes its 300-year history of serving travelers, roaming brigands, smugglers and wreckers. In the 1700s, around half of the Jamaican rum – hence the inn’s name – and a quarter of the tea smuggled ashore landed on the surrounding coasts, with accompanying foul play. So it’s natural that the inn would have its share of tales of untimely deaths, unquiet spirits and hauntings, and there are regular mystery tours and murder evenings. Jamaica Inn is also a mecca to fans of novelist Daphne Du Maurier, whose novel, set in and named after the inn, was adapted to the screen in 1939, starring Maureen O’Hara, and has been adapted for TV many times. All that swashing and buckling works up an appetite and a dry throat, so the inn has a formidable menu and its own line of beers, ciders and wine. And if you’re staying in the hotel they’ll arrange a picnic hamper for you to take on an outing.
- Watchful Mary is a cocktail bar on the sea wall at Watergate Bay, open from Wednesdays to Sundays and offering coffees, pastries, brunches, small-plate meals and cocktails. It hosts a variety of events, including guest lectures, live music, spoken-word performances. Depending on when you visit, you might be able to attend a thought-provoking discussion between a poet and an astrophysicist over a breakfast of granola with grilled pears and Greek yoghurt, or flatbread with smoky aubergine, tomato, pomegranate and green herb sauce.
For more information on flights to Newquay visit britishairways.com or a travel agent. As always, members of the British Airways Executive Club can earn Avios on their British Airways booking. Avios can be spent on Reward flights, upgrades, hotels, car rental and cutting the cost of a flight. When using Avios part payment, customers can pick from a range of savings by destination and cabin and they still collect Avios and Tier Points on their bookings.