It’s been a long, repetitive few months, and we could all do with a change of scenery.
Thankfully for those of us based in the United Kingdom, there is no shortage of stunning locations to explore, which is why we’ve created our new range of Intrepid Retreats, so you can embark on adventures a little closer to home. This September we ran our first 4-day retreat in Cornwall, where a group of Intrepid travellers and a local leader explored Cornwall’s famous coastline, learnt about its history, and supported the local communities who rely on tourism. So, if you decide to do the same, here’s what you can expect on an Intrepid Retreat in Cornwall.
1. You’ll be blown away by the scenery
Europeans are spoilt for choice when it comes to holiday destinations. In just a few hours you can be sipping cocktails by the Mediterranean or exploring medieval churches in Eastern Europe. Because of this, we’ve often neglected to see the beauty in our own country, but the events of this year have caused us to turn our heads. It only takes a day in Cornwall to understand why this sun-drenched and sandy corner of the country has inspired poets and painters for centuries. The county experiences over 1700 hours of sunshine a year, and some of those are ours for the taking.
On this Retreat you’ll have the chance to soak in Cornwall’s rugged and captivating scenery as you traverse the wild coastline on a series of walks. The fresh sea air will wash away your worries as you pass gorgeous sandy bays, awe-inspiring cliff faces and hidden caves. In the summer months, a purple and orange tapestry of heather and gorse awaken on the clifftops, and it’s often hard to believe you’re still in the UK. As the Cornish would say, it feels like a proper holiday!
2. You’ll have a stress-free holiday
So, you’ve booked your trip to Cornwall, are you ready to go? Have you booked a coach to the airport, sorted your visa, got your vaccinations, and exchanged your currency? Have you checked in online, made sure your suitcase isn’t overweight and your passport is valid? Well we hope not, because if you’re based in the UK, all you’ll need for this Retreat is a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a face mask.
On this trip you’ll stay at the same beachfront hotel throughout, which means you only have to unpack once. Time usually spent in minivans is swapped for more time on foot, and money spent on flights is traded for money spent on pints. Indulging in ciders and fish and chips is offset with dips in the sea and a yoga and wellness session overlooking the vast Atlantic Ocean. It’s the best of both worlds.
3. You’ll bond over weird and wonderful food
Seasoned group travellers know that the best bonding usually takes place over a meal, and Cornwall has no shortage of interesting food to try; whether it’s served in a paper box at a food truck or at a Michelin star restaurant is up to you! Your local leader will be on hand to make suggestions on where to eat. There are pleasing pasties, pilchard and pies to be sampled – and that’s just the P’s!
Sixty different types of cheese are produced in Cornwall, but perhaps the most well-known and loved is the Cornish Yarg. This semi-hard cheese is wrapped in nettle leaves, and far more delicious than the name “yarg” implies. Adventurous foodies can sample some stargazy pie, which features whole pilchard fish with their heads poking through the crust, as if they are looking up at the stars – how whimsical! And how could we forget about Cornish pasties – on this Retreat you’ll get your hands on one of these half-moon shaped beauties during a visit to a local family-run bakery.
4. You’ll be charmed by Cornwall’s locals and its history
The lively town of Newquay serves as the base of the Cornwall Retreat, and while it once had a reputation as a hotspot for stag and hen’s parties, the boozy Brits have moved on, leaving the town in peace. They leave behind the lovely locals, a warm and welcoming lot who will be curious to know where you’ve come from and where you’re going. Once you’ve figured out that “wasson?” translates to “what’s going on?” usually followed by “my lover”, which doesn’t mean what you think it does, there’s not a huge language barrier to overcome.
The history of Cornwall is just as interesting as its locals, and reminders of the county’s rich industrial heritage remain to this day. Old mining buildings still punctuate the landscape, which was once home to more than a hundred tin and copper mines. In the 18th Century Cornwall’s craggy coastline was a haven for smugglers of brandy and gin, as inaccessible coves made the perfect hiding spot for storing contraband. Thankfully things have changed and it’s now pretty easy to get a hold of a tipple at a local pub!
5. You’ll find it easy to stay safe
Travellers will be expected to fill out a COVID-19 questionnaire at the Welcome Meeting and to report any symptoms. Once everyone is given the all clear, social distancing measures can be relaxed within the group, but will still be maintained with others encountered during the trip. Due to the al fresco nature of life in Cornwall, social distancing does not provide the same challenges as some of the UK’s big cities.
There’s plenty of space available for walking and yoga, and it’s almost always possible to find a table outside for meals. Most pubs and restaurants will ask you to scan a QR code for track and trace purposes. Current rules require a mask to be worn on public transport and in enclosed public spaces, such as common areas of the hotel, but the restrictions don’t get in the way of enjoying all that Cornwall has to offer.
Want to experience the beauty of the Cornish coast for yourself? If you’re based in Europe, you can join us on our Cornwall Retreat today!
Images c/o Matthew Dyas.