One thing that this crazy COVID-19 nightmare has taught us, is that we need to appreciate even the smallest moments in our life. With hope that freedom is now just around the corner, we dare to dream of heading out on the road again and making memories this summer.
But how can we do this in a more positive way? The answer: Travel slowly this summer.
Slow Travel, which is an offshoot of the slow food movement, is a new approach to travelling with an emphasis on connecting with the local people, taking time to genuinely experience the local culture, enjoying the local food and music, relaxing with the easy flow of life, and ensuring that the journey has enriched both the traveller and at the same time has benefited the community and its people.
Many of us have been on those tours where the rush to take in all the highlights within the day means that you never fully appreciate what you are looking at any given moment…and you certainly don’t remember it when you get home. Plus, has running through a town to snap the overcrowded highlight ever benefited the local people that live there? Of course not.
There is no doubt that Cornwall has been a firm favourite of our TV screens these past months, and for me Rick Stein’s Cornwall showcased many wonderful slow moments that can be enjoyed in Cornwall, both in terms of food but also by just embracing the Cornish way of life. Inspired by his series, you can find ten of my favourite ‘slow moments’ to enjoy during a trip to Cornwall this summer.
1. Watch a sunrise or sunset
With magical sunrises on the south coast and dreamy sunsets on the north, you can be hopeful (even with our unpredictable weather!) that during a stay in Cornwall you will get the chance to enjoy the simple pleasure of sitting quietly, sipping a flask of tea (or something stronger) and watching a spectacular Cornish sunrise or sunset, or better still – both. Plus seeing that they are best enjoyed on the beach, why not combine this experience with a quick #2minutebeachclean?
2. Beach-comb for sea glass
Whilst on the subject of beaches, beach-combing for sea glass is great to do alone and is extremely therapeutic as you stroll along the beach listening to the waves, but it can also be a fun thing to do with children (and perhaps a welcomed break from making sandcastles!). With all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours to be found, they look pretty in a jar back home or can be used for all sorts of arts and crafts – how about a handmade postcard from Cornwall or a sea glass necklace?!
3. Go for a morning dip
It always amazes me that people can go to the beach without at least having a little dip in the sea. ‘All year-round sea swimming’ has become increasingly popular in recent times and is widely agreed to be great for your mental health and wellbeing. There is something about starting your day with an early morning dip before the beaches get busier. A perfect slow moment, and you can warm up with a cuppa afterwards whilst having a chat to the locals who are probably doing the same!
4. Take tea in the garden
There are so many gardens to choose from across the county – from well-known horticultural wonders to much smaller off-the-beaten track ‘secret gardens’, and they all have one thing in common - they are the perfect setting for a slow Cornish Cream Tea - and I know I don’t need to remind you, but it’s jam first!
5. ‘Wine away’ an afternoon
Rick Stein’s series showcased just how self-sufficient Cornwall is in terms of what is produced in this little corner of the UK. And wine is no exception – after all, we have got our priorities right! With a handful of wineries dotted across the duchy, tours and tastings are given in a relaxed and laid-back manner and give a wonderful insight into the climate here. Of course, if wine is not your thing, you may wish to look into visiting a gin distillery instead. Hic!
6. Walk some of the South West Coast Path
With all those cream teas and glasses of wine, this one is probably needed! The South West Coast Path follows the entirety of Cornwall’s coastline and affords some of the most incredible views along the way. It is a wonderful way to spend a day whilst visiting some of the towns and villages that the route connects – there are often benches at convenient viewing points so you can appreciate the scenery, and during some sections it gets quite steep so you will have no choice but to slow down!
7. Try fresh fish served on the quay
This one is taken right out of Rick Stein’s series but is something that I have been enjoying a lot in recent years and have even been known to try fishing for mackerel myself on occasion! (I don’t think it’s one of my talents.) You just can’t beat fresh fish straight off the boat and many of the harbour towns in Cornwall now have pop up huts or vans selling just that. If you’re really lucky you might even get to chat to the person who caught it for you and that is a slow experience right there!
8. Take time to appreciate the wildlife
Aside from the chip-stealing seagulls, we have an abundance of wonderful wildlife in Cornwall. If bird watching is your thing, the coastal fringe gives the opportunity to see a range of birds all year round – including Cornwall’s national bird, the Cornish Chough, which is making a comeback after years of declining numbers. As the recent Cornwall series highlighted, there are many great conservation projects ongoing in Cornwall to read up on during your time here and get involved with if you can.
9. Take a local ferry trip
Being out on the water is a great way to appreciate being in Cornwall and there are a handful of extremely scenic passenger ferry rides (mostly for foot passengers but some take vehicles as well) connecting local Cornish towns. Not only do you get the chance to see the towns from the water, but these ferries also provide the opportunity to see some other Cornish wildlife. In the summer months pods of dolphins have been known to swim alongside the ferries, as I was lucky enough to witness in St Austell Bay last summer.
10. Have a proper Cornish breakfast
Above all, support local during your time here. If you’re in self-catering accommodation, then Cornwall has so much wonderful produce on your doorstep, wherever you’re staying. Free range eggs are often sold on the side of the road and you’re never far away from local bakeries, butchers and village shops. And if you’re in a B&B or hotel, it’s likely they will serve you a proper Cornish breakfast but don’t stop there - venture out and experience some of the local eateries as well!
If you want to find out more about Cornwall Discovered Tours and Days Experiences which focus on slow experiences, lookout for the slow sand timer symbol.
For more information on tours available this summer please get in touch.
And before we forget, when in Cornwall this summer, don’t forget to use the hashtag #takingslowmoments - we want to see what you’ve been getting up to!