Matt, Ruth and baby Iris take a day trip from The Captain’s House, Falmouth, to The Mount, Marazion, Mousehole and the Minack, as recorded by Matt Trebilco.
Cornwall is a beautiful county, with perhaps some of the most spectacular coastline in the world – and Falmouth is a great starting point for exploring it by car. During a recent visit we had some wonderful day trips by driving up and down the Cornish coast (worth noting this was during the off-season when traffic wasn’t as heavy as it can be in the summer!). Many of the places we visited could be day trips in themselves – and as much as we tried to explore every nook and cranny along the way there is a sense in this part of the world that any road you take could lead you somewhere spectacular. I’ve got a very simple rule for driving in Cornwall – if a road goes closer to the sea, then take it – so zoom out your Sat Nav, spot something interesting and follow your nose!
The Mount, Marazion, Mousehole and the Minack
We set off south from Falmouth to Helston and then cut west to Marazion (towards Penzance). After 45 minutes of driving across the downs, the sea made its way closer to us again, and rounding a hill we saw the majestic peak of St Michael’s Mount – an ancient castle on an island rising just off the beach in Marazion bay.
We parked at Marazion Car Park, grabbed coffees and wandered along the beach skirting dog walkers, hardy swimmers and a couple of slightly erratic kite surfers. Reaching the causeway across to the island it’s hard not to conjure up ideas of Famous Five adventures (catacombs! smugglers!) and we made our way across to gaze up at the castle. A visit to St Michael’s Mount is a full day trip in itself, and Marazion (Cornwall’s oldest town) is also worth a mooch, but we made our way back to the car and headed onwards.
As you head from Marazion through Penzance you pass the railway station (the very end of the GWR line from Paddington) and then through the town, past the large working harbor and the usual array of cafés, art galleries and tourist shops. As you round a corner past the quay at the end of the harbor look out for the Jubilee Pool – an art-deco, geo-thermally heated, seawater lido sat right on the edge of the sea at Battery Rocks, looking back across the bay towards St Michael’s Mount. We drove on past, out of Penzance and into Newlyn and hugged the coast along the cliff road to Mousehole.
Mousehole (pronounced Mousall if you want to avoid eye-rolls from the locals) is a tiny, pretty harbour town nestled in a cliff lined bay (driving in and out isn’t for the faint hearted). We spotted “Hole Foods” deli and café – so we parked up, picked up a paella and perched overlooking the harbour and watched the Scilly Isles ferry heading out of Penzance. The paella was perfect.
After lunch we headed up the steep cliff road out of Mousehole and around the coast to Porthcurno – there are lots of tiny side trips you can take along here – through such delightfully named places as Raginnis, Castallack, Lamorna, Tregurnow and Treen. Porthcurno itself has a wonderful beach, and is home to the Minack Theatre – a jewel in Cornwall’s crown – an outdoor theatre, built into the very cliffs and overlooking a spectacular piece of coastline. You can tour the theatre during the day – and during the summer season it’s well worth catching a show (make sure you book ahead).
As the sun began to descend into the sea, we turned and headed back to Falmouth.
Matt Trebilco, October 2020