St Ives, Cornwall; there’s nowhere in the UK quite like it. Year on year, visitors are compelled to return to their favourite beaches and natural landmarks, or discover for the first time a whole host of outdoor activities. Is it the scenery; the wildlife? Or is it the opportunities for family-friendly fun?
Whatever it is that attracts tourists to St Ives and its surrounding area, there’s little wonder with so much to see and do. First-off, the beaches; and they’re as suited to sunbathing and swimming (well, if you’re here in the summer) as they are to extreme sports. Few activities allow you to appreciate Cornwall’s wide, open sands as power kiting—a rather windy and wild affair on the shore—and if you’ve ever fancied coasteering, Cornwall’s cliffs and clear waters make for perfect conditions. With Vertical Descents, even beginners can get to grips with wetsuits, waves and wild days out: just check their site for details.
Cornwall is a perfect destination for families, couples and friends, I personally have experienced all of these variations equally enjoying all! My recent jaunt took me and a lovely friend to Watergate Bay.
Day 1 – We arrived in good time and quickly found our walking boots hats and scarves – in need of fresh air we headed onto the beach; the wind was bracing, the surf spectacular and the cliffs around almost craterous in appearance. The beach was almost exclusively ours and our cameras were quickly produced to capture some first memories of our 40th year. Large rocks with mussels covering them and the sea water making intriguing patterns over the sand were all caught on camera.
After an hour walking lunch was well and truly due so we headed to the Beach Hut – Giant chilli prawns and mules mariner were ordered and certainly did not disappoint!
This week I have three family properties to share with you, available for New Year all three are located in Cornwall and are delightful homes: perfect for relaxing and enjoying your New Year celebrations.
Christmas is so very nearly here. The nights are long and there is most definitely a wintery chill in the air. With Christmas shopping well under way, everywhere seems much busier than normal. The children have carol services, fayres and Christmas plays to take part in, mulled wine scenting the air with its spicy warmth and Christmas trees decorated and twinkling are sprouting up in shops, pubs and restaurants. I love Christmas and I’m usually more excited than my own children, I adore the old folklore stories, present buying, cake making, card writing, carol singing and just about everything that goes with Christmas. Whilst I have a lovely time planning and organising I do always end up exhausted and the idea of packing up the family and taking Christmas away somewhere different started to appeal to me a couple of years ago. So now top of my to-do list is researching to find a fabulously cosy property in a beautiful location where we can all escape and really enjoy our Christmas. I have found three delightful properties in the most idyllic locations and am very excited to share these with you.
Halloween in the UK has really grown in the last ten years and is celebrated from Lands’ End to John O’Groats with rich historical venues hosting ghost trails exploring usually off limit tunnels and Tudor kitchens, firework displays, pumpkin carving and potion making, theatre groups presenting classics such as George Bizets’ Carmen by Duchy Opera, there really is something for everyone. Thrill seekers will not be disappointed either with some of the biggest theme parks in the UK hosting Halloween events.
Child, adult, couple or party of friends there is truly something for everyone and a good excuse for a weekend adventure… Explore the following ideas, if you dare.
There are many Theme parks spread over the UK most organising Halloween themed days, evenings and weeks. Alton Towers in Staffordshire offers something for all: rides after dark, live shows and costume characters. You can be as scared as you dare with fabulous gardens set in 500 acres, a castle and many local attractions such as Lichfield Cathedral, Wickers World balloon flights, Trentham Monkey forest and the New Vic theatre making Stafford a perfect location not only to get your thrills but also indulge in many other activities and passions.
Thorpe Park in Chertsey Surrey is aimed at the slightly older child and adults, not far from London, Windsor, and Ascot there is plenty to fill a weekend. Thorpe Park is home to some true white knuckle rides and my knuckles are definitely white just thinking about them! The Passing, Saw, The Asylum and The Curse to name but a few… Thorpe Park is getting ready to give its guests the most intense horror experience for Halloween. Mazes rides in the dark and much, much more. I would love to see some pictures and posts of your terrifying experiences!
What’s spooky in London
London with its wealth and breath of culture, buildings, theatres and museums has heaps to offer for Halloween. I definitely would not want to meet her on a dark night? But maybe you do… The London Dungeon steeped in history will offer you a trick and treating experience never to be forgotten. Lurking in the dark dungeon will be devilish characters from Jack the Ripper to Sweeny Todd. With the Trickster waiting to pounce my heart is pounding already! If that’s not enough there are three exhilarating rides, buckle up and close your eyes!
If you have little ones with you then The London Eye Witch academy which is running through half term will definitely keep the children busy. With a bespoke Halloween story experience on the London eye your little Witches and Wizards are sure to remember this Halloween.
The Vampire Masquerade Ball at St Katherine’s Dock on the 31st October should definitely prove to be a spooky evening dress up and enjoy!
Cornwall: A piece of heaven, although there may be a few lost souls this Halloween
Cornwall is one of my favourite places to visit and as a family we try and go at least twice a year. With breath taking coast, shops, restaurant’s, art galleries and plenty of outdoor activities it is the perfect family holiday, great anytime of the year and certainly won’t disappoint at Halloween.
The spectacular Pendennis Castle is hosting Time Travellers Go..Ghost and Ghouls and your children will enjoy ghost hunting, creepy crafts and much more. On a more adult theme Pendennis will be hosting ghost tours where you will be invited to explore the usually off limit Tudor kitchens and walk the underground tunnels listening for horses hooves.
If the Sky being lit up for you is what takes your fancy then look no further than Lands End – magic in the skies firework spectacular takes place October 26th
For something a little different, have a look at danceandtheatrecornwall.co.uk, with a whole variety of theatre throughout October including Georges Bizets Carmen by Duchy Opera – The Cornish Opera company at the Parkhouse Centre Bude.
The Eden project is another firm family favourite with great Halloween activities for children and adults from 27th October.
The Lake District: Dramatic landscape and spooky skies
The Lake District – The most visited National Park in the UK; its dramatic landscape makes the perfect back drop for a spooky Halloween.
The Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole is hosting a Halloween party – 27th, 29th, 30th and 31st October to include a walk with an owl (I’m sure all those Harry Potter fans will be thrilled!), trick or Treat show, party games, craft and more, sounds like fun – I know my boys would thoroughly enjoy this!
For those who are truly interested in the paranormal there is an overnight ghost vigil at Muncaster Castle, Saturday 27th October. This will be led by Dr Jason Braithwaite and his team who have been investigating the hauntings since 1992 – what will you discover?
Whatever you end up doing this Halloween I hope you have fun – Happy Halloween!
Kirsti Banyard lives in Hampshire and loves nothing more than spending time with her two sons and husband whether exploring Cornwall or perhaps further afield to enjoying a roast meal on a Sunday.