Take the Bee Trail around King’s Cross, London

There’s a real buzz (ahem…) around King’s Cross right now – take this new tech-enhanced walk around the city’s regenerated area to find out why…

On a sunny Sunday in King’s Cross last week, we tried out the BeeTrail app, created by social enterprise The Honey Club. With a mission to create the largest bee-friendly network in the world, The Honey Club encourages people to get involved with helping vulnerable bee communities in our cities and beyond. This new app, free for iPhone or Android, is part of that mission.

Bee Trail, King's Cross

The Bee Trail app takes you on a 45min walk around some of the ‘buzziest’ spots in King’s Cross. Starting at restaurant The German Gymnasium, into Granary Square, down to the canalside, up to the community gardens, past the outdoor swimming pond and ending at the fantastic Skip Garden – the walk takes in eight stops. Turn on your Bluetooth and at each stop the app will automatically ‘unlock’ the next stage (or you can manually type in a code found at each check-in point).

Each stop unlocks a few pages of fascinating bee facts and more about how London’s biodiversity supports the bee population. We learnt a few new things including the stunning fact that there are around 250 different species of bee in the UK!

Bee Trail, King's Cross

Several of the stops prompt a ‘bee count’ task – start the app timer and count how many honeybees, solitary bees and two types of bumblebee you can spot within 30 seconds (a pictorial ID guide is provided if your bee knowledge is a bit rusty). On our sunny afternoon, some of these spots were surprisingly light on bees, except for two hotspots literally humming with activity. All counts are recorded as part of a wider survey on bee populations, so your ‘game’ is also a very useful bit of research.

As a thank you, each completed count unlocks rewards in the form of vouchers for discounts or freebies from some of our favourite places in the area including Dishoom, Caravan, The Grain Store, The Skip Garden, German Gymnasium, The Greek Larder, Rotunda and The Lighterman. We recommend ‘eating and drinking’ your way along the trail as you win your reward vouchers (not filling up on lunch beforehand like us – although vouchers are valid until 4th September). As an aside, do make sure you take your time at The Skip Garden – this excellent community garden has been made almost entirely with reclaimed, salvaged and recycled materials. They grow their own produce and have a cute little cafe serving great coffee and cake (and they have a covetable outdoor pizza oven!).

Bee Trail, King's Cross

Exploring the redevelopment of King’s Cross, with its influx of new restaurants, bars and event spaces, you can’t help but be impressed with the fact that nature has not been forgotten in this part of the capital. Flowerbeds and window boxes full of bee-friendly plants are found all over the place – along lavender-scented pathways, within playgrounds, and lining the outdoor dining areas of restaurants. It’s a buzzy slice of nature in the city.

The Bee Trail runs until 4th September 2016 – download the app for free at www.beetrail.co.uk.

Wake-up to birdsong with BBC Radio 3

The gentle twittering of the dawn chorus is a lovely way to welcome a new day. But even if you live in a noisy metropolis, you can now wake-up to the sound of real birdsong wherever you are…

Blue tit, photo by Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)
Blue tit, photo by Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

BBC Radio 3 will be featuring birdsong throughout May and June as part of its foray into ‘slow radio’. Air-time will be given over to slower-paced, nature-inspired output designed to encourage listeners to pause and appreciate the simple sounds of life. A new feature, Breakfast Birdsong, will air each weekend as part of the Sunday breakfast show between 7-9am.

Breakfast Birdsong will begin with the introduction of a bird (such as the nightingale, cuckoo or warbler), followed by the chance to hear a recording of that bird in the wild and paired with a piece of music. Listeners are promised at least one minute or more of pure birdsong during each programme.

Blackbird, photo by Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)
Blackbird, photo by Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction and World on 3 will present a special collaboration with singer and folksong collector Sam Lee in a series exploring what happens when one of nature’s finest singers, the nightingale, meets human artistic creation.  Every spring, during the months of April and May, the woods of Sussex resound with the songs of the nightingale. Sam Lee and his musical colleagues venture into the woods to make music with the nightingales, creating a series of completely new, nature-inspired compositions for the Radio 3 audience. The late-night sessions will be broadcast from Tuesday 10 – Friday 13 May and alongside Sam Lee (13 May) will feature Alice Zawadzki (vocals and fiddle, 10 May), Rachel Musson (saxophone, 11 May) and Hyelim Kim (taegum, 12 May).

BBC Radio 3's birdsong recordings (image Sam Lee)
BBC Radio 3’s birdsong recordings (image Sam Lee)

Later in the summer, Radio 3 returns to the Aldeburgh Festival and will broadcast a complete performance of Messiaen’s birdsong-inspired Catalogue d’Oiseaux (Sunday 19 June). Performed by the festival’s Artistic Director Pierre-Laurent Aimard across four concerts set alongside the myriad real-life birdsong of the Suffolk coast, the piece will be arranged so that the birds depicted are heard as close as possible to the times of day associated with their song, from the pre-dawn chorus before first light at 4:30am over the reedbeds at Snape Maltings to a pre-dusk performance amidst the teeming wildlife of the RSPB Minsmere nature reserve and a late-night concert recorded in full darkness. Complementing the performance, Tom Service takes ornithological matters as his starting point in The Listening Service, for an exploration of the way composers use birdsong in music (5pm, Sunday 19 June).

Chaffinch, photo by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
Chaffinch, photo by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)


Wild food foraging with Primrose Matheson

Wild food has never been so popular. Want to forage for your own? Primrose Matheson, founder of Primrose’s Kitchen, shares her expert tips…

When she’s not producing her gluten-free, organic museli in her home county of Dorset, Primrose Matheson loves to browse the hedgerows and beaches for all that nature’s larder can provide. Now she shares her own tips for foraging for those who those who want their food a little bit wilder.

Primrose Matheson goes foraging
Primrose Matheson goes foraging

What got you into foraging?

“Having grown up on the island of Guernsey I spent my childhood scrabbling over rocks to go shrimping and ormering at low tides or scouring the beaches for polished glass and little yellow periwinkles, it seems to me that the world of foraging has always been close to my heart!

“Although the word foraging (‘to wander or go in search of provisions’) covers all manner of foods, we are more familiar with its association with plants and as a vegetarian now this is also where my attention is spent. I love the connection it gives you to your environment, it allows you to really notice the changing of the seasons.  This in turn helps you feel more connected to your body, using the seasonality of plants, you become aware of good times to cleanse or build up your system.

“Foraging is a meditational process which connects you to the moment and living in Dorset where everything seems so plentiful it does also instil a sense of gratitude for nature and its beauty and abundance. I love the magic of the doctrine of signatures which states that herbs resemble, through shape or colour, various parts of the body and can be used to treat ailments related to those parts of the body.

“This reminds us that everything in our life, the things, the people, the animals, the children, the herbs – are all our teachers and we have something to learn from them all if only we learn to listen. A clear example of this are the elder berries of the elder tree whose purple alveoli like berries drop in bronchial like branches. Purple is associated with respiration and circulation whereas yellow plants tend to be kidney and liver related.

Where have you foraged?

“I have foraged on the beaches in Guernsey for things like sea lettuce (Ulva), a green algae that can be added to broths or dried as a snack as well as sea beet often called wild spinach. I’ve spent time in beautiful Holkham, Norfolk and also on the Sussex coast picking samphire which is one of my favourite sea vegetables, delicious steamed with a simple dressing as a starter like asparagus.

“In Dorset I’ve stayed inland picking my favourite horse mushrooms (Agaricus Arvensis) as well as looking for more easily recognizable plants like Elderberry, Nettles, Cleavers, wood sorrel and blackberries.

Tempted? Look for these…

Elderberry trees are wonderful as not only can you make delicious cordials in the summer months when they are flowering you can also make wonderful chest tonics from their berries in the winter months.

Nettles, often described as weeds, are a powerful anti-inflammatory and cleanser for the liver and the young leaves can be made into soups, pesto’s and infused for teas.

Cleavers otherwise known as “sticky willy” or “goose grass” are a fantastic blood cleanser and is great for thickening stews.  You will notice it by the way it sticks to your clothing as you walk past it!

Wood sorrel, distinguished by its clover like, three heart-shaped leaves, is found in shady locations and makes a decorative addition to salads with its distinctive lemony taste.

Blackberries growing in the autumn are a rich source of Vitamin C. Nature in its wisdom provides them for us at this time to stock up our reserves before the cold winter days set in.

Top tips for foraging beginners

  • When foraging stay away from busy roads or areas where dogs can get to so that your foraged plants are free as far as possible from pollution or contamination.
  • Do not eat anything you cannot positively identify and deem safe.
  • Forage after a rainfall means the plants are more lush and clean and if you are removing roots easier to remove.
  • Take a small sharp flick knife with you so as not to tear the stems of the plants.
  • Always forage sustainably by leaving some behind in order for it to continue to be there each year.


Celebrate Chinese Year of the Monkey at the Magical Lantern Festival

To celebrate the new Chinese Year of the Monkey, we visited the UK’s first Magical Lantern Festival…

Don’t let the typical February weather put you off visiting this spectacular outdoor show (wind and rain made an unwelcome appearance the evening we visited – just wrap up warm and take waterproofs!). The Magical Lantern Festival, making its UK debut at Chiswick House in west London, is a sight to behold, offering enough ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ moments to warm the most jaded of hearts.

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The festival is essentially a 1hr+ trail around the grand Chiswick House gardens to view around 50 amazing and beautiful lantern displays. Don’t just think pretty lights – these are intricate and often HUGE sculptures of flowers, animals, birds and temples.

Highlights included the cute pandas, sparkling jellyfish, giant flowers, flocks of flamingoes, a life-sized African safari, and a 60m long Chinese dragon! There are super-sized light sculptures of giraffes, zebra, monkeys and antelope; giant goldfish, Oriental ducks and frogs on lily pads; decorated swans, peacocks and elephants; cute renderings of the Chinese zodiac characters; a ‘terracotta army’; even a marching band of ants.

Good use is made of the grand setting with illuminations floating on the lake, dotted around the trees and set against the Palladian architecture of Chiswick House. (click on our galleries for more pictures from the festival)

Food & Drink

There are a smattering of street food stalls selling warming churros, toast-your-own marshmallows, satay, African curries and venison burgers. All good stuff but not a cornucopia of food and drink that you’d expect at a festival (or an abundance of Chinese goodies we were craving!) – it’s good enough for grabbing a bite to eat at the beginning or end of the trail.

All-in-all, this inaugural festival has enough surprising and intriguing sights to make it a very en-light-ening experience (sorry…).

Visitor info: The Magical Lantern Festival runs until Sunday 6th March 2016, starting at 5pm each day. Tickets are around £16 per person (click here to purchase). Find the festival at Chiswick House and Gardens, London W4 2RP.

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Star spot at Yorkshire’s Dark Skies Festival

Fancy some star-spotting this February half-term? Thanks to low light pollution you could be seeing up to 2,000 stars in one of Yorkshire’s National Parks!

The week-long Dark Skies Festival, taking place from 15th to 21st February 2016, invites visitors to eye the skies and discover the wonder of stargazing in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks.

Star trails, Dalby Forest, North York Moors National Park (c) Classlane Media
Star trails, Dalby Forest, North York Moors National Park (c) Classlane Media

The low light pollution in both Parks makes them an ideal location for spotting constellations, shooting stars and other cosmic happenings. Together with sky-at-night events, visitors will also be able to discover more of the nocturnal world within the National Parks with guided torchlight walks highlighting the wildlife activity at night.

The programme of activities includes a host of other events such as a dark sky trail run, evening caving, storytelling, glow-in-the-dark writing, poetry readings, solar system scavenger hunt, telescope-making and craft activities throughout the week.

The main events will be held in and around the National Park Centres in Reeth, Aysgarth Falls and Danby, and Sutton Bank and Hawes, both of which are also designated Dark Sky Discovery sites, with skies that have been found to be sufficiently dark that the Milky Way can be seen to the naked eye.

Dalby Forest, another Milky Way class Dark Sky Discovery site in the North York Moors, will also be involved as well as events held in conjunction with Hidden Horizons on the coast.

Both National Parks are working with groups such as the Reeth Informal Astronomy Group and Whitby & District Astronomical Society to stage the Festival. Businesses and attractions throughout the National Parks are also being encouraged to participate by organising their own dark skies event, making it a celestial celebration right across the Dales and North York Moors from the Pennines to the coast.

Dark sky at Ribblehead viaduct (photo by Matthew Savage)
Dark sky at Ribblehead viaduct (photo by Matthew Savage)

Richard Darn, astronomer and dark skies hunter, commented: “Yorkshire is fortunate to have some very special spots in both National Parks which are a stargazer’s paradise. In an urban area you will be lucky to see 20 stars on a clear night whereas in an area of low light pollution such as the National Parks you could see as many as 2,000.

“We will glimpse the great winter constellations of Orion and Gemini as they give way to the sparkling spring stars of Leo. We’ll also have a stunning view of Jupiter and a waxing moon. It’s a fabulous time to celebrate this amazing Universe and our wonderful dark parks.”

Check out the programme of events on www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/darkskies or www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/stargazing.

Get your ‘5 a day’ at vegan festival VegFest, Glasgow

Glasgow gets ready to host VegFest Scotland, Europe’s largest eco veggie festival this December…

The inaugural VegFest Scotland, taking place 5-6 December at Glasgow’s SEC, is all about going vegan. This family-friendly event will include lots of ideas and inspiration to get healthy eating and vegan activism high on the agenda, including dozens of talks on nutrition, health, lifestyle and campaigns.

vegan-friendly cakes
vegan-friendly cakes

As food is top of the agenda (obviously!), you can grab lunch at the in-house Levy’s Restaurant and their all-vegan menu, or choose from 12 other specialist caterers and around 140 stalls.

Visitors can enjoy vegan cookery demos, kids cookery classes, family entertainment, live music, comedy, a Hemp Expo on the medicinal benefits of hemp, and more.

Vegan gourmet matured cheeses from Tyne Cheese
Vegan gourmet matured cheeses from Tyne Cheese

Vegfest Scotland organisers added, ”Vegfest Scotland is all about going vegan. It’s not about eating less meat, or choosing eggs over fish, or anything like that. It’s about going vegan, pure and simple. It’s a single issue campaign. Go Vegan. For the planet, for the animals, for your health, and for sustainable global food production. And it’s so easy. Vegfest Scotland will demonstrate just how easy it is to go vegan and stay vegan.”

Glasgow initiative The Only Way is Ethics is behind a number of events around Glasgow City Centre in the week preceding Vegfest.

Tickets and booking: Admission to Vegfest Scotland is by advance tickets as well as payment on the gate. Advance tickets are £5 a day or £8 for the whole weekend. Tickets on the gate are £8 for adults and £4 for claimants. Kids under 16 can enter for free.

For more information visit www.vegfestscotland.com

Raw cakes
Vegan treats

SLOWmotion: Explore slow food and living at Rosewood London

It’s time to go slow this autumn and winter… From cooking ‘slow’ brunches to making your own leather tea tray, the new SLOWmotion workshops are here to teach us all the joys of slow living.

Organised by food magazine and event company TOAST, this new series of foodie and lifestyle workshops and events is all about celebrating the ‘slow life’. Mass production and instant gratification, step aside!

SLOWmotion at Rosewood London
SLOWmotion at Rosewood London

Taking place at the beautiful Rosewood hotel in London’s Bloomsbury, expect tasty brunches full of plenty of sharing plates featuring slow food ingredients from the regular Sunday Slow Food & Living Market in the hotel’s courtyard.

As well as eating brunch with foodies including Rosie Birkett and Jackson & Levine, you could even make your own tray, table runner and spoon! Join one of several workshops which each focus on a different craft, and explore mindfulness and slow living by traditional techniques. Each workshop host will teach guests how to make an item to take home (ideal for Christmas gifts) as well as discussing their story and lifestyle.

See the full schedule of events and workshops below.

Tickets: Booking is essential – tickets can be reserved via the TOAST website www.eatdrinktoast.com/events and are priced from £40.00.

Location: The Living Room, Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EN

Doe at SLOWmotion
Doe at SLOWmotion

SLOWmotion Autumn/Winter 2015 Schedule

12-2:30pm, September 27th – Slow Food Brunch with Signe Johansen

A Slow Food brunch with Signe Johansen, Norwegian-American cook, writer and food anthropologist, and author of best-selling cookbooks Scandilicious and Scandilicious Baking; expect such delights as the Scandi Bloody Mary with tomato juice from the market, 58 Gin, Halen Mon smoked water, dill, horseradish and cucumber and Crispy Cod Cheeks with Nordic Dill Salsa, plus, to take home, Skoleboller or “school buns” – Norwegian vanilla custard filled buns with coconut

11am-1pm, October 11th – Slow Living Workshop with Grain & Knot

A Slow Living workshop with woodworker Sophie Sellu of Grain & Knot. Learn the art of crafting a spoon from reclaimed timber. During the workshop guests will learn the safest way to use wood carving knives and leave with their very own spoon. A kit of sandpaper and a homemade wood balm will be given to each attendee to continue to care for their spoons at home

11am-1pm, October 18th – Slow Living Workshop with Waffle Design and Curate & Display

A Slow Living and interior design workshop with Waffle Design in collaboration with Curate & Display, a lifestyle and design blog. WAFFLE is a fresh range of home interior accessories made using organic cotton and a tactile waffle weave. The creative lead and founder Ciara McGarrity will share Waffle Design craft secrets, and teach guests how to create bespoke table runners. Tiffany Grant-Riley, the founder or Curate & Display, will talk about her thought process with creative, modern, clean interiors.
www.waffledesign.co.uk // www.curateanddisplay.co.uk

12-2:30pm, November 1st – Slow Food Brunch with Rosie Birkett

A Slow Food brunch with Rosie Birkett, food writer, stylist, presenter and author of the bestselling cookbook A Lot on Her Plate, a collection of imaginative, delicious and approachable recipes that draw on the culinary vibrancy of seasonal, fresh produce and simple, store-cupboard ingredients

12-2:30pm, November 8th – Slow Food Brunch with Jackson & Levine aka Laura Jackson & Alice Levine
A Slow Food brunch from London’s coolest supperclub hosts Jackson & Levine. With Laura Jackson and Alice Levine both working in TV and radio, they set up their supperclub as a passion project to create an interesting and fun environment for like-minded food folk to sit round a table and enjoy a home cooked meal and a glass (or three) of wine

12-2:30pm, November 15th – Slow Food Brunch with Claire Ptak of Violet Bakery

A Slow Food brunch with Claire Ptak, food stylist, food writer and owner of Violet Bakery in East London. Hailing from California, Claire trained in the pastry department at Chez Panisse with Alice Waters, who subsequently wrote a moving foreword to her recent book The Violet Bakery Cookbook. Claire focuses on seasonal ingredients, natural flavourings, wholegrains and unrefined sugars when baking. Bringing a Californian sensibility to everything she does, she has also worked with Jamie Oliver and Yotam Ottolenghi.

11am-1pm, November 22nd – Slow Living Workshop with Doe Leather

A Slow Living and leather workshop with Doe Leather, one of the last remaining Black Country leather goods workshops. Using natural vegetable-tanned leather, Deborah Thomas will teach guests how to create a beautiful leather tray. Attendees will learn the basics of leather sewing with different coloured harness threads, burnishing (on the edges of the leather with special gum and linen cloths) and then hand-stamp their initials into the final piece

12-2:30pm, November 29th – Slow Food Brunch with Meera Sodha

A Slow Food brunch with Meera Sodha, cook, food writer and author of the bestselling cookbook Made in India: Cooked in Britain, a collection or recipes focusing on Gujarati cuisine written as she hovered over her mother’s shoulder at the stove

More events, including Christmas specials, to be announced!

Rosewood London
Rosewood London

Join the festival fun at the River Cottage Summer Fair

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is flinging open the farm gate at River Cottage HQ for the annual summer fair (and you could win a family ticket in our competition below!)

River Cottage Fair (Nick Hook Photography)
River Cottage Fair (Nick Hook Photography)

It’s all happening down on the farm at River Cottage HQ…. The River Cottage Summer Fair will be celebrating the best of the season with a weekend of live music, cookery, hands-on masterclasses, talks and tours, gardening tips, kid’s entertainment, and local food and craft stalls this August.

food at River Cottage Fair (c) River Cottage
food at River Cottage Fair (c) River Cottage

This family-friendly festival, taking place Sat 15th and Sun 16th August, is one of the River Cottage team’s twice yearly celebrations. It’s also a chance to peek behind the scenes at River Cottage HQ, meet the team, see the animals and gardens, and enjoy the very best of what’s in season from the River Cottage food tent. Food and drink will be available all day and evening with a licensed bar serving local ciders, beers, wines and bubbles.

crafts at River Cottage Fair (Nick Hook Photography)
crafts at River Cottage Fair (Nick Hook Photography)

There is a full programme of events that stretch from mid-morning coffee and cakes whilst taking in the beautiful surrounding scenery, through to dancing away to live music at the gig nights way beyond sunset.

River Cottage Summer Fair tickets: Day tickets for the fair (10am – 4pm) are £12.50 per adult; children under 12yrs go free. Book via rcevents@rivercottage.net / T: 01297 630 300.

live music at River Cottage Fair (Nick Hook Photography)
live music at River Cottage Fair (Nick Hook Photography)

Gig Nights – music for a summer’s evening

The evening programme kicks off from 6pm on Friday 14th with funk, soul, blues and disco from Plymouth’s finest 10-piece, Joey the Lips. On Saturday 15th Tankus the Henge, a foot-stomping powerhouse of a band, take to the stage.

Gig night tickets: Gig nights only are £15 per adult for 6pm – 10.30pm. Book via rcevents@rivercottage.net / T: 01297 630 300.

For more information visit www.rivercottage.net/summerfair

Location: River Cottage HQ, Trinity Hill Road, Axminster, Devon EX13 8TB. Nearest train station: Axminster (direct from London Waterloo) which is 5 minutes away in a taxi.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (c) River Cottage
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (c) River Cottage


We have one family ticket (up to two adults and two children under 12yrs) to the River Cottage Summer Fair for either Saturday 15th or Sunday 16th August to give away.

To win, simply share this post on Twitter (making sure to include the Twitter handles @Goodtrippers and @RiverCottageHQ) before 5pm on Tuesday 21st July.

One winner will be selected at random and contacted via Twitter before Friday 24th July.

Good luck!

Terms and conditions (please read before entering)

  • One entry per person
  • One ‘entry’ counts as one individual sharing this post on Twitter and including both of the handles @Goodtrippers and @RiverCottageHQ
  • All entries must be received before 5pm (BST), Tuesday 21st July 2015
  • Competition open to residents of the UK and the Republic of Ireland only
  • Employees (and their immediate families) of River Cottage and Goodtrippers are excluded from entering this competition
  • One winning entrant will be picked at random – judges’ decision is final
  • No part of the prize is exchangeable for cash or any other prize
  • It will be assumed all entrants have read and accepted the competition terms and conditions

Cornwall Special: Eat, Sleep, Do in Poldark’s County

It’s not hard to see the beauty of Cornwall. The UK’s most southerly and westernmost county boasts the longest coastline at over 400 miles; its northern beaches are a magnet for surfers, its southern coast is dubbed the ‘Cornish Riviera’. It’s also the UK’s sunniest and warmest county hosting its only area of sub-tropical climate and over 1,500 hours of sunshine each year.

This unique county is also enjoying a resurgence thanks to a certain Poldark – the coast and countryside more than holding its own with Aiden Turner and the racing pulses of TV viewers!

Port Isaac
Port Isaac

At Goodtrippers, we’ve been seeking out the best of Cornwall – places to stay, where to eat and drink, and things to do. Whet your appetite with our 10 Cornish places to eat and drink with a sea view; discover the hidden gem of Perranuthnoe and western Cornwall; read our review of the new eco apartments at The Point at Polzeath; and explore three short walks that will get your heart pounding!


10 Cornwall spots to eat and drink with a sea view

A bespoke Cornish holiday in Perranuthnoe

Surfing and sunsets at The Point at Polzeath

Cornwall: 3 short walks to get your heart racing

And don’t forget to catch our previous posts on Cornwall including glamping on Rocket Farm, 3 Cornish cottages for couples, and our Cornish appearances in 6 of the best yurts and bell tents, and 7 of the best…eco-friendly family days out.

If you’ve got your own recommendations for Cornwall, we’d love to hear them. Share them here, on Twitter or Facebook.

St Ives harbour
St Ives harbour

Cornwall: 3 short walks to get your heart racing

Cornwall Special 2015

Cornwall isn’t just for surfers – it’s a walkers’ paradise with most of the South West Coast Path in the county. But if you don’t have the time (or the energy) to embark on an epic hike, here are three short walks in southwest Cornwall that will still get the blood pumping!


view from the Minnack Theatre, Porthcurno
view from the Minnack Theatre, Porthcurno

This is a mini walk but will certainly get your heart racing thanks to lots of steps and a stunning view! Start at the Minnack Theatre in Porthcurno – this is an amazing open air theatre that has been built into the rocky cliffs. You can watch a show, but even if you don’t you can pay £1 per person to access the pretty sub-tropical gardens and viewing platform with a sweeping view across the theatre and out towards the bay of Porthcurno.

Once you’ve taken in the view, take the steps down to the beach located to the left of the theatre entrance. These aren’t for the faint-hearted as some are slightly uneven, steep in parts and sometimes right on the edge of the path with a sheer drop to the sea on the other side. People will also be coming up so you have to shuffle around (with nothing to hold onto!) until they pass.

After the steps, you’ve a relatively gentle slope down to the lovely sandy beach with turquoise waters. Have a rest, a paddle (or swim), then get the blood pumping by doing the whole thing again in reverse!

Perranuthnoe to St Michael’s Mount

view from The Fire Engine Inn, Marazion
view from The Fire Engine Inn, Marazion

This nice coastal walk follows part of the South West Coast Path and if done as a circular walk covers around 5-6 miles. It’s mostly flat with just a couple of steep steps up and down onto the beach, and a steep walk up St Michael’s Mount to the castle.

Starting at the village of Perranuthnoe, take the coast path sign-posted to the right just before The Cabin Beach Cafe and simply follow it as it hugs the coast to the small town of Marazion. Enjoy the peace and quiet and the view as you turn the first corner and spy the Mount in all its glory in the distance. It then just gets bigger and bigger as you get closer with even more fine views. You can stop for a drink at The Fire Engine Inn on the outskirts of Marazion and soak in the view from the beer garden.

Once you get to Marazion, if the tide is out you can walk across to the Mount. If it’s in, take the short ferry ride over. St Michael’s Mount is a National Trust property so you have to pay to enter the castle gardens and climb your way up the steep path to the castle itself. You’ll be out of breath but rewarded with an excellent view across the bay to Penzance. Once you’re inside the castle walls, you can enjoy great views looking straight down onto the cultivated gardens which have been designed to be enjoyed from above.

Trencrom Hill, nr St Ives and Lelant

Another mini walk, make a pit-stop at Trencrom Hill just west of Lelant and south of St Ives. From the car park, take a swift walk up the path through foxgloves and heathers until you reach the top, 550 feet up. Here, large boulders, the remains of an old hill fort, are the stuff of legend – aparently the giant of Trencrom and the giant of St Michael’s Mount used to play a game of stone-throwing from here!

You get a fantastic view of both the south and north coasts, from St Michael’s Mount across to St Ives and the large sandy beach of Hayle.

Read more in our Cornwall Special