Distance makes the heart grow founder. And since we’ve been away we’ve both harboured a real desire to return home and travel more of the UK, to explore our own proverbial back yard before venturing across the fence into other people’s.
A year in Australia had invoked over-romanticised visions of idyllic green, rolling English countryside, quaint fishing villages and predictably unpredictable spells of weather.
Much to my good fortune I was whisked away in the early hours of the morning for a 4 day camping trip on the world-famous coastal cliffs of Cornwall.
The main problem with holidays in England (besides the weather) is the cost. It’s much cheaper for flights and accommodation in the sunnier climes of Greece and Spain so most people flock to Southern Europe for their summer holidays.
But our trip was by no means extravagant. In fact for 3 nights and 4 days on the cliffs of Cornwall I ended up paying £100. If you’re willing to strip back to basics it can be a ridiculously affordable break and you don’t even have to compromise on those coastal views.
The main cost of any trip is the accommodation and Cornwall during the peak summer season can be as expensive as anywhere. Even some of the most popular campsite fees can reach dizzying heights.
A few years back a friend of mine stumbled across campsites through the National Trust and we’ve returned to this particular one in the small hamlet of Lansallos ever since.
The campsite is called Higher Town Farm. Nestled on the bucolic cliff tops of Southern Cornwall this campsite is easily one of the best I’ve been to anywhere in the world. The facilities are unbelievable, the views are unrivalled and the sites themselves flat and spacious. And compared to some of the other campsites on offer the price was indisputable coming in at just under £10 a night per person.
With accommodation sorted and a big supply of food and drink stockpiled in the back of the car, we were all set and hardly another penny needed to be spent.
We whiled away our days relaxing in the intermittent drizzle, fishing off the rocks of Lansallos beach and drinking by campfire at night.
With little else to do in the immediate area we decided to take on a hike along the coastal path from Lansallos to the small fishing town of Polruan. The path, which is impeccably maintained, follows the cliff edge and winds around the numerous beaches, bays and outcrops that dot the coast.
Not more than an hour walk from Lansallos Beach, you round the head and Lantic Beach pulls into view. A huge sweeping beach, towered on three sides by overgrown, verdant cliffs and opening out into the clear, icy blue waters of the Atlantic.
On a good day Lantic Beach would rival any in the world and would be the perfect spot to spend an English summers day without expending a penny of your hard-earned money.
A few kilometres on from the isolated beauty of Lantic Beach you stumble across the small fishing town of Polruan. Straddling the hillside on the Eastern bank of River Fowey the town is the epitome of Cornwall and it’s reliance on the traditional industries of fishing and boat building.
But the town is by no means industrial. The riverside is dotted with a few small pubs and a healthy offering of fish and chips which, after a long coastal walk, we were unable to turn down.
With our hunger appeased we decided to start the hike back along the cliffs to our base in Lansallos. On our return trip the weather started closing in. And although we didn’t get to see the cliffs and beaches in brilliant summer sunlight, there’s a certain atmosphere to them in the gloom which is almost as impressive.
About halfway between Lantic Beach and Lansallos Beach is small watch house perched right on the cliff edge. With views out to Lantic Bay in the West and Lantivec Bay on to the East, it would be the perfect spot to watch the ever-changing weather sweep across the coastal landscape and was once used as a lookout spot for smugglers.
With the light fading and temperatures slipping away I couldn’t have dreamed a more comforting and stereotypically English site than this cottage with smoke billowing slowly from its chimney.
With the hard work done, the rest of our time was spent in slightly more clement conditions down on Lansallos beach. With the daylight stretching out until nine at night, it’s a perfect spot for a freshly caught dinner.
The Southern Cornish waters are brimming with mackerel, bass and haddock and one good haul set us up with enough fish for our whole trip.
If you really wanna scrimp there’s plenty of driftwood and pebbles on the beach that can keep you entertained for hours…
So there you have it. 4 days spent in some of the most spectacular scenery England has to offer and all for under £100. Strip back to basics and embrace the elements. Make the most of the outdoors regardless of the weather and you’re guaranteed a perfect English break for less than a big night out on the town.