Forage and Cook Cornish Mussels

Surround on three sides by the sea. The United Kingdom’s southern most county is a great place to forage and cook Cornish mussels.

Foraging Mussels

The abundance of rocks on Cornwall’s many tidal and clean beaches create a natural environment for mussels to grow in abundance. Mussels are also one of the most sustainable seafoods to source in the waters around the British Isles.  

When collecting mussels on Cornish beaches there are a few basic rules to follow:

  • Make a note of the tide times before you set off.
  • Check the water quality of the beach you are collecting the mussels on.
  • Only pick mussels that are over 5cm in length.
  • Only collect mussels when the month of the year has an ‘R’ in it.
  • Avoid foraging for mussels near harbours and areas of marine traffic.

Preparing Mussels

  • Throw away any cracked or open mussels.
  • Store them in a refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Cook within 1-2 days of picking.
  • Soak the mussels in cold salted water for around 15 minutes
  • Remove the beard and any sand, then rinse with cold water.
  • Dry each mussel off with kitchen towel.

Moules Marinières

There are many ingredients to cook with Mussels that all taste amazing! Our personal favourite is the classic Moules Marinières. Roughly translated as French Mussels in a white wine & garlic sauce. For this recipe maybe we can change the name to Moules Kernow! Preparation time is around 20 minutes and the cook time around 15 minutes.

ingredients
  • 25-30 Mussels (serves 2 people)
  • Generous glass of dry white wine.
  • Knob of full fat butter.
  • 2 chopped shallots.
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves.
  • Sprig of chopped parsley.
Method
  • Put the Mussels into a pan, pour in the wine and cover.
  • Bring to the boil then turn down to simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  • Remove the mussels and set to one side.
  • Discard any non opened mussels.
  • Pour the remaining cooking liquid into a jug and let it settle.
  • In a separate pan, melt the butter on a medium heat.
  • Add the shallots and garlic.
  • Filter the cooking liquid through a clean kitchen cloth into the pan.
  • Stir for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Pour the sauce over the mussels in a serving bowl.
  • Finish with chopped parsley sprinkled over the top.

A freshly baked hunk of crusty bread is the ideal accompaniment!

Forage and Cook Cornish Mussels

..and finally, some words of advice.

Mussels can occasionally contain some fairly nasty toxins and chemicals. Most can be easily removed by cooking. Others are much less common. But their impact can be much more severe and are almost impossible to remove in the cooking process.

If you are informed and careful about where you forage mussels from. Also how you prepare and cook them, then you will be fine.

Cornwall Car Ferries

One of delights of driving in Cornwall along the coastal route is crossing beautiful rivers via these two Cornwall car ferries.

Bodinnick Ferry

The Bodinnick Ferry is perfect for anyone wishing to travel on day trips to the towns of Looe or Polperro in eastern part of Cornwall. As well as Fowey and other towns and villages further across to the western areas of the county. The ferry crosses the beautiful River Fowey in just a few minutes.

The ferry can accommodate up to fifteen cars and is also used to carry foot passengers and motorbikes. Vehicles up to ten tonnes in weight are also welcome to use this service. Such as camper vans, mini buses and smaller lorries. Please note that coaches are not suitable. This is due to the access roads leading down to the ferry.

The service is open for 362 days of the year. It is only closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

For the latest service timetable updates. Visit the Bodinnick Ferry facebook page.

Sat Nav Directions – Slipway, Bodinnick PL23 1LX.

King Harry Ferry

The King Harry Ferry links St Mawes and Roseland with Truro and Falmouth crossing the Fal river. The service is very popular all year round. Using the ferry cuts out around 30 miles of driving using the alternative route. As a result it is very popular all year round, with both local commuters and tourists.

The service operates daily. Every 20 minutes from each side, up until 10pm in the summer months and up until 7pm in the winter months. The crossing takes around 10 minutes. There is plenty of time to take in the views of one of Cornwall’s deepest and most spectacular rivers.

For the latest service timetable updates. Visit the King Harry Ferry website.

Sat Nav Directions – 2 Ferry Cottages, Feock, Truro TR3 6QJ.

Step Back in Time at Port Quin

Travelling along the coast heading South from the historic Cornish fishing village of Port Issac, is the charming and peaceful inlet of Port Quin. The natural rocky cove gets it’s name from the Port Quin Bay, which is located in close proximity. It has historically provided a natural shelter and harbour for sea going vessels.

The occasional small fishing boat heading in or out of Port Quin may be spotted still. But today the crystal clear waters of the cove are mainly used for kayaking, coasteering, snorkelling and swimming. At low tide there are also lots of caves, rock pools, nooks and crannies to explore.

The surrounding coastline and cliffs around Port Quin also provide a great place to explore. It is one of the United Kingdom’s more amazing stretches of unspoilt coastline. Port Quin also links quite nicely onto the South West Coastal Path so it’s an ideal start or end point for walkers.

In 1827 the headland at Doyden point was bought by a wealthy local businessman Samuel Symons. He built a small gothic style tower on it to entertain family & friends. Once used in the TV drama Poldark in the 1970’s. It has since been turned it into a holiday cottage owned by the National Trust. It was also used in the popular TV series Doc Martin, starring Martin Clunes in 2011.

Port Quin has a feeling that you are travelling back in time, as you head down the winding lanes towards the sea. If you are looking for an authentic Cornish hamlet off the beaten track and away from the usual tourist areas. Port Quin is most definitely worth a visit.

Further Information.

Dog owners be aware. The beach has a seasonal dog ban that runs from Easter Sunday until October 1st.

Port Quin by car, use postcode: PL29 3SU

Walking, use grid ref: SW 9711 8051

Amazing Gardens in Cornwall.

Cornwall Holidays are one of the best ways to spend your time off in the United Kingdom this spring time. Not only is the weather warmer and sunnier than the rest of the country. There are also plenty of outdoor spaces suitable for the family and not forgetting dogs!

Public gardens to visit on your Cornwall holidays.

Spring in Cornwall shows off some of the wonderful gardens of the county in all their magnificent splendour. So by April the native flowers have started to bloom, from daffodils to white wild garlic flowers to stonecrops and bluebells. We have picked out three of Cornwall’s best kept public gardens for you to visit.

Trebah Gardens is a situated near the Helford River and has nearly 30 acres of gardens to explore. Trebah features mile upon mile of exotic planting to wind your way though. They even have their own private beach to explore. The gardens have a superb restaurant on site and they are also dog friendly too!

Lanhydrock House & Gardens are located near to Bodmin and are owned by the National Trust. The estate offers both a wonderful insight into elegant Victorian life as well as some stunning walks though the extensive gardens. From ancient woodland paths to riverside walkways you can easily spend a day in this charming location. The outdoor garden areas are dog friendly and there is a cafe on site serving hot and cold meals, sandwiches, drinks and snacks.

Trelissick Gardens owned by the National Trust is near to the Cornish city of Truro and lies with one of Cornwall’s designated areas of ‘Outstanding Natural Beauty’. Just west of the King Harry Ferry and is set on it’s very own peninsula. The gardens offer over 300 acres of woodland walks and parkland strolls with leading down to the river Fal and towards Falmouth. The site has a cafe and shop, dogs on leads are also welcome.

gardens in Cornwall

The Best Christmas Markets in Cornwall

the best christmas markets in cornwall

The best Christmas markets in Cornwall are magical experience for people visiting the United Kingdom’s southern most county. Towns, villages and small harbours across the region will be alive with Christmas cheer. Some places where Xmas festivals, markets and events are happening this year include: Padstow, Fowey, Mount Edgcumbe, Flambards Theme Park, Truro, Newquay, Wadebridge, Helston, Mousehole & Looe.

You really are spoiled for choice! So, we are going to help you decide which market you should definitely visit. We have picked out the The Enchanted Christmas Market. This Cornish Christmas event will be held at the Royal Cornwall Events Centre. Located near Wadebridge, over two consecutive long weekends in December.

The first weekend is from Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th of December. The second weekend is from Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th of December. Over one hundred traders will be at the event. There will also be a festive food court and plenty bars for the adults to sample a glass or two of mulled wine.

…and for the children

There will be reindeers, giant polar bears and even a life size gingerbread house to keep the them entertained. The kids can also have an audience with Santa, where he will be telling stories and might even sing the odd song! There is even a 20m synthetic ice rink on site to discover, if you want to show off your skating skills! This is available to book separately.

Opening and closing times for each day of the event vary and tickets are available to book by morning or afternoon session. This is to ease capacity and for parking access. To see the latest updates on tickets and scheduling you can follow their Facebook page @theenchantedchristmasmarket. Or check out the Enchanted Christmas Market website.

For visitors to any of the Christmas markets across Cornwall this December. There is a great range of quality self catering accommodation available to choose from, to suit any budget.

The Boardmasters Festival

boardmasters festival

With the UK set for a full easing of Covid-19 restrictions from the 19th of July. Music fans heading to the Boardmasters Festival located on the outskirts of Newquay in Cornwall can breath a sigh of relief.

Music

The iconic South West music festival this year now looks now certain to go ahead on schedule. It runs from the 11th of August to the 15th of August. Some of the headline acts already booked to play their sets this year include: Foals, Gorilliaz, Jorjah Smith, Dizzie Rascal, Sam Fender and the Kooks. In total over the five days the festival runs, there are well over 150 acts taking to the various stages across the festival site.

This year there are 11 stages & venues in total, these are. The main stage, unleashed, land of saints, the point, the view, corona sunsets, keg & pasty, the netloft, VIP, the dockyard & the silent disco.

Camping

Many of the visitors who attend the festival choose to camp on site. The organisers of Boardmasters offer a wide range of camping options from boutique tipis and bedouin tents to standard tent pitches. There are also pitches for camper vans, these pitches tend to sell out very quickly. You can check the latest on site camping availability by visiting the Boardmasters official website. Alternative accommodation perfect for festival goers is plentiful in Newquay and the surrounding areas. For the latest availability on holiday cottages and apartments use the search function on our homepage.

Surfing

As well as music and entertainment, the festival also hosts the Boardmasters Open surf competition. This is held at the iconic Fistral Beach in Newquay. Thousands of fans flock down to beach to watch some of the best professional and amateur surfers from the UK and overseas show off their wave riding skills. The festival organisers are also an avid supporter of the Cornwall based environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage.

Visit Kynance Cove

visit kynance cove

Kynance Cove is a section of what is often described as one of the United Kingdoms most beautiful stretches of coastline. To visit Kynance Cove you will need to head toward Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula in the south of the county. The cove is around two miles north of Lizard Point. (Lizard Point is the United Kingdom’s southern most point of land).

Kynance Cove has often been, and still continues to be, a focal point for artists and photographers from all over the world. They like to capture in particular the contrasting tones of the turquoise blue sea, white sand beach and unique red and green serpentine rock formations. Kynance Cove was also one of the locations used recently in the highly acclaimed BBC TV drama series Poldark.

Accessing the cove involves a relatively steep walk downhill from the car park at the top of the cliff, it will take around 5 to 10 minutes. There is also a longer alternative route to the beach which takes around 20 minutes. This has a more even path down to the shoreline. Making your way across the beach at the bottom can also be difficult sometimes due to uneven and sometimes slippery rocks.

* Note that Kynance Cove is a tidal beach, at high tide the beach can often be totally submerged. Before you plan your trip, ensure you check the local tide timetable.

With the British weather on your side, Kynance Cove is a great place to spend the whole day in the summer. Whether it is relaxing on a white sand beach that floats your boat? Exploring the ancient ‘Drawing Room’ or ‘Parlour’ caves when the tide is out? Maybe even swimming or paddle boarding in the clear turquoise waters?

Kynance cove has something for everyone of all ages and levels of adventure. There is even a picture postcard perfect cafe located just behind the beach. Serving the finest fresh Cornish produce to help recharge your batteries after all the exploring.

Getting there.

When driving to Kynance Cove take the A3083 road south towards the Lizard from the town of Helston. Drive until around half a mile from Lizard Village. Kynance Cove is then sign posted on your right hand side.

In the peak holiday season of July and August the car park can fill up very quickly. It is best to arrive very early in the morning to avoid any disappointment. For sat nav use the postcode TR12 7PJ.

The entire Kynance Cove site is owned and managed by National Trust. We recommend that you visit their website. This has all the latest up to date information about the cove, it’s facilities and opening times. Why not start to plan your perfect day trip to one of Cornwall’s most spectacular beaches today?

Best Surfing Beaches in Cornwall

best surfing beaches in cornwall

There is no need to head off for expensive overseas trips to Western Australia or Hawaii with your surfboard. The best surfing beaches in Cornwall provide amazing waves to ride all year round. And we can tell you exactly where to catch them!

Fistral Beach

Probably the most famous surf destination in the whole of the United Kingdom. This vast expanse of sand and surf is located on the doorstep of the north Cornish coastal town of Newquay. With swells up to eight feet high along with the famous ‘Cribber’ wave. Fistral beach is the place to head for surfers of all ages and abilities. Expect large crowds here during the peak holiday season!

Sennen Beach

Sennen beach is one of the most exposed beaches in Cornwall located on the western tip of the county. The cove provides consistent breakers all year round coming from the Atlantic Ocean. For experienced surfers the North end of the beach towards Gwynver beach is popular with waves around six foot high. The South part of the beach is an ideal place for beginners, with more manageable two foot waves to cut their teeth.

Porthtowan Beach

This is one of Cornwall’s most popular surfing beaches. On a good day the waves at Porthtowan beach come in fast and provide plenty of thwack! The beach is set on a backdrop of dramatic cliffs and sand dunes, which adds to the complete surfing experience. This blue flag beach is very popular during the summer months for surfers of all abilities.

Perranporth Beach

Perranporth beach is what we would term the ideal ‘all rounder’ surfers spot. While it can be quite hectic, especially during the summer. Perranporth has enough space for experienced surfers and novices surfers alike. Located on the North coast of Cornwall Perannporth beach generates a good Atlantic swell all year round.

Scenic Drives in Cornwall

scenic drives in cornwall

A great way to explore the south west of England’s jewel in the crown is to take one of the great scenic drives in Cornwall. I have hand picked two of my favourite Cornish driving routes that take in some breathtaking vista’s along the way. Whether it’s in a sports convertible or a classic vintage VW camper van. You can take both of these routes at your own pace.

St Ives to Sennen

The starting point for this journey is the iconic seaside town of St Ives. Heading south along the B3306 the road stays close to the Atlantic shoreline, whilst at the same time meandering through the wild Cornish moorland. Along the way you will see many spectacular examples of Cornwall’s rich tin mining history. A late afternoon/evening drive in the summer in particular will provide some fantastic photo opportunities at sunset.

Notable stopping points on the route are the ancient village of Zennor and Cape Cornwall . When you reach your destination at Sennen. Park up and take a stroll down to the spectacular Sennen Cove beach. From there you will have a great view of the iconic Longships Lighthouse just off the coast.

Newquay to Padstow

The lively Cornish town of Newquay is where you will begin your drive. The early part of the drive north will take you past Porth Beach, Watergate Bay and then Mawgan Porth via the B3276 . All three beaches are considered to be some of the best sand & surf beaches in Cornwall.

As you leave Mawgan Porth and head up the coast it’s worth taking some time in your schedule to stop at Bedruthan Steps. You can take a short stroll along the cliffs to view the famous sea stacks. Leaving here you can head straight to your destination, the iconic Cornish fishing port of Padstow. However, if you have more time to play with, then there are few more noteworthy places to pay a visit to along the way. These include, Constantine Bay, Porhtcothan and Trevone.

Restaurants in Padstow

restaurants in Padstow

The town of Padstow on north coast of Cornwall was once most famous for being a traditional fishing port. In recent years a number of superb restaurants in Padstow have opened their doors to the public. And it has now become a must visit destination for food lovers from all over the world.

From comforting pub grub on a cold winters evening, to a fine dining experience fitting for any special occasion. I have picked out a selection of my favourite places to dine out in Padstow.

Caffe Rojano

Rojano’s serves a menu with British and Italian influences in a relaxed environment. They have a great selection of small plates and deli items perfect for a lunch option. As well as some fantastic sourdough pizza’s and larger pasta dishes that are more substantial, ideal for an evening meal. Maybe paired with a bottle of local sparkling wine from the award winning Camel Valley vineyard?

Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant

Opened in 1975 the Seafood Restaurant in Padstow has established an international reputation for serving seafood dishes based around fresh locally sourced ingredients. Rick Stein’s flagship restaurant offers a fine dining experience with a truly local flavour. Oysters and Champagne on a sun terrace overlooking the stunning Camel Estuary. Whats not to like?

Prawn on the Lawn

A rustic tapa’s style menu located in the heart of Padstow is what is on offer at Prawn on the Lawn. Freshly caught seafood is the core of their menu which changes by the season. By day time Prawn on the Lawn is also a fishmongers. The restaurant is suitable for any occasion, if you love fish, you will love this plaice! The menu highlight for me is the jaw dropping Fruits De Mer.

Paul Ainsworth’s at Number 6

Located in a Georgian style town house a stones throw from the harbour side. No.6 offers it’s patrons a Michelin star fine dining experience. Showcasing the very best of Cornish produce with influences from south east Asia to continental Europe. Paul Ainsworth at No.6 is a perfect option for both lunch and dinner. If you have a sweet tooth, I recommend you cast your eyes over the ‘Fairground Tale‘ dessert option. You will not be disappointed….

Hidden Cornwall