It’s one week to go until the full ebook and paperback of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus is out in the world. Although lots of people have been reading it in the ebook parts, and I’ve had some wonderful reviews – thank you so much if you’ve taken the time to write one – it doesn’t mean that I’m entirely free of pre-paperback-publication-day nerves.
This book was a joy to write. I loved creating the setting, writing about my characters and finding out what they were getting up to (because they don’t always behave as I intend them to) and spending lots of my time in a fictional Cornish village.
The first time I went to Cornwall was at the grand old age of thirty-three. The first series of the new adaptation of Poldark aired on the 8th of March 2015, and I went to Cornwall for the first time on the 9th of May that year. Yes, I am a massive fangirl, and always get heavily invested in whichever television series / film / book / actor is tying my heart in knots at that moment. But this time, even though Aidan Turner is truly beautiful, I fell in love with the scenery as much as the scything.
When we got there, booking a few nights in a pub in Padstow, I discovered that the BBC had captured Cornwall in all its glory. I don’t think it’s possible to make it look more magnificent than it actually is, regardless of how many filters or camera shots you use – it achieves Peak Magnificent all on its own! Since that first trip we’ve been back every year, and are going again this October.
In light of that, and with seven short days to go until The Cornish Cream Tea Bus hits bookshelves, I thought I would show you a few of my top Cornish locations.
Padstow was the first place was stayed, and it’s still one of my favourite towns to visit. It’s always busy, it has beautiful independent shops and galleries, a pretty harbour and huge seagulls that are intent on helping you eat your ice cream. It is the home of Rick Stein. It is where Padstow Sealife Safaris launches from, and I loved my Sealife Safari, complete with dolphins swimming alongside the boat.
It’s worth a visit for the delicious Cornish pasties alone, but there is so much to see and do here. It inspired my book in so many ways. Trevose Head close-by is a perfect place to watch the sunset over the sea.
We ate fish and chips as the light turned to fire and then disappeared.
Cape Cornwall is wild and stunning and scary. We always try and visit here when we go, and every time I tell myself I won’t be scared climbing to the top, and I always am (Cape Fear, it should be called, even though neither Robert Mitchum or Robert De Niro are ever waiting to kidnap me). But it is so worth the terror. The views are beautiful, the air is clear and the sea is endless. I set a scene in my book here, because Charlie couldn’t go to Cornwall without visiting Cape Cornwall.
Another beautiful town, it has been used a lot for Poldark filming. It has a boat! (I have no idea what kind of boat. I am a boat ignoramus). And a Shipwreck and Heritage centre, and galleries and cavernous antique shops that you can get lost in, not to mention a delicious seafood restaurant and deli. The beach has rock pools and caves. It’s full of intrigue and interest and history.
This is another Poldark filming location, and when you go you can see why. It has a sandy beach peppered with rocks, which the waves crash against when the tide is in. You can sit in a deckchair and watch the swell, the glittering sea and boats passing on the horizon. You can also get very sunburnt, if you do all these things and forget that sun and wind are a fairly potent combination. The water is an unbelievable aquamarine.
This beach just south of Padstow has been almost deserted every time we’ve been. It’s a long walk from the dunes down to the water, even if the tide is in. You can run on the sand for miles, the sky reflected in the pools of still water, the cliffs either side peppered with tiny cottages. It is used in Poldark for Nampara Cove, the beach below Ross’s house. I love it so much.
This valley garden is full of sub-tropical plants, and leads down to a beach on the Helford river. There are so many paths and trails to explore, passing huge camellia and rhododendron bushes, and a forest of gunneras. It feels like you’re on a distant island somewhere. You can pause for an ice cream on the beach at the bottom before making the climb back up the valley.
We usually stay in a resort called Gwel an Mor. It’s close to Portreath, a small coastal town with a pretty beach and a narrow harbour, with houses rising up the sides of the cliffs. We went down to the sea on our final morning last October, and watched three surfers braving a wild and windy sea while a man stood alongside us and told us – in an awestruck voice – that they were idiots.
These are by no means all the wonderful places in Cornwall, they are simply a few that I have fallen in love with. I could – as always – ramble on for hours. But I won’t. I would, however, love to know where you’ve been in Cornwall, and which places have found their way into your heart. Comment below, or get in touch on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
If you buy a copy of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus, you might come to love Porthgolow, too. It has been inspired by the locations above, and other pockets of Cornwall that I’ve been to, but the only place you’ll find this particular Cornish village is between the pages of my book. If you go, I hope you enjoy your visit.