Some times too much is happening all at once and you decide you could really do with a little break and that’s exactly what my boyfriend, Jon & I did. I’ve been having bad mobility & health problems for a long while now & they still don’t seem to be getting better despite having surgery & hydrotherapy. So as you can imagine this is very irritating and hard for both of us. Plus Jon had a few months of doing really intense overtime (12 hours a day for 13 days. He only had one day off every two weeks!) My diary was full but not because of a hectic & happy social life, it was full of hospital appointments, hydrotherapy sessions, visits to the doctor etc. Basically neither of us had anything to look forward to & both felt exhausted so we thought it would be a great time to book a mini break, especially as spring was on the horizon we were hoping we might get some good weather!
After trawling through websites & brochures we decided on Cornwall as we’d never been there together but had both been there once with our parents when we were younger. With a mix of luscious countryside & beautiful coastline, Cornwall seemed like an obvious choice. We stayed at the John Fowler St Ives Holiday Village in a gold standard chalet. If you’re in need of a break too then I suggest looking at the John Fowler website as they often have deals/promotions available. We got Gold accommodation for the price of the Bronze, so the frugal part of me was very satisfied indeed. I’ve included some pics of our accommodation below. We were very happy with it & it’s the best we’ve stayed in at a holiday camp/park like this.
I only had a couple of little niggles with the park itself & the first one was the path. We were supposed to be in the disabled friendly area but the path was so uneven that it proved to be a real nightmare trying to get a wheelchair over it. Even if you weren’t in a wheelchair I thought this could prove to be dangerous as it was so easy to trip up on the slabs. Secondly we were unable to use the swimming pool at all during our three night stay (Friday, Saturday & Sunday) because there was maintenance taking place. I know that these things have to happen sometimes but it was just really unfortunate that it took place while we were there. We were offered the chance to use the pool at their sister camp but that was a fair way away & it’s not quite the same when you have to get wheelchairs & crutches organised in the car before you can even set off. We were looking forward to having the convenience of a swimming pool being really close without having to drive anywhere but unfortunately that didn’t happen.
On our first day when we arrived we decided to go and explore St Ives. I must say it’s a really beautiful place but not the best for disabled people. Jon really struggled pushing my wheelchair around due to all the uneven slabs & cobbles plus the large majority of shops/cafes had stairs up to the entrance. But aside from that we really enjoyed watching the harbour especially as it got darker & all the lights from the shops reflected on the calming sea. The fish & chips we had for our tea gave Jon the energy he needed to push me back up the hill to the car park! St Ives boosts a really beautiful beach which is popular with dogwalkers, couples & families alike. The town caters for young & old with a variety of local & branded shops (Cath Kidston, Joules, Crew & FatFace to name a few plus a LifeBoats shop), cafes, restaurants, fish & chip shops, pubs & bars. On a hot sunny day if you find yourself yearning for a cool sweet treat then I recommend Willy Waller’s Ice cream parlour for a good wide selection of different flavours of both ice cream and milkshakes, toppings & sauces. We both opted for the Toffee Honeycomb; it was creamy & sweet with a great full flavour & pieces of toffee fudge.
On Saturday morning we woke up early and decided to take a trip down to Land’s End. The online reviews of the place weren’t all that great and most of them said it was tacky but nevertheless we decided to give it a go for ourselves to see what we thought. When we arrived it was pleasingly quiet for a weekend. The brisk sea air whistled around us and the sun glistened down. It was a beautiful day & we were pleased to be by the coast.
Land’s End has good disabled toilets, ample disabled parking & paths are good enough for wheelchairs plus with baby changing facilities & attractions for children it makes an ideal day out for families and people of all ages. There are a few little shops on site selling west country favourites like fudge & cider plus clothing & souvenirs but I wouldn’t say these or the children’s attractions make the place look tacky at all as the buildings look like small cottages. We purchased some delicious clotted cream fudge as a souvenir and because we both have a massive sweet tooth especially for fudge, toffee or caramel. We toured around the site stopping to take a look through the exhibition detailing those who have made the gruelling journey from John O’Groats (Most northerly point in the UK) to Land’s End (Most southerly point in the UK). From one to the other it’s approximately 874 miles depending on the route and most people take on this challenge to raise money for charity.
The most famous attraction of Land’s End is the sign. You can pay to have your picture taken next to the Land’s End sign & they post it to you but we just decided to get a few snaps & selfies of it on our phones.
When we started getting hungry we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at the Land’s End hotel which was onsite. We both went for paninis (great minds think alike!) & they were both thoroughly delicious. To drink Jon had a pot of tea & I had a non alcoholic cocktail which was absolutely amazing & didn’t last long at all! The food & drink was made even better due to the great view we had from our table. I love watching the sea as it feels so calming & relaxing plus it’s so beautiful.
I didn’t see any of the rooms but the bar & restaurant area was decorated so beautifully. It was classy but very modern I only wish I’d got more photos but I didn’t want to spend too much time on my phone plus moving around isn’t that easy for me at the moment.
We got back to the chalet just in time to see the Rugby Six Nations match between England and Wales (I’m English & Jon is Welsh). Things were only tense between us for the last few minutes of the game but when England won I was rather chuffed! England went on to win the Six Nations 2016 and they got the Grand Slam! We spend the rest of the evening playing cards together & cuddled up on the sofa watching tv.
We spent the morning and afternoon of Sunday exploring the region via train. We got on at St Erth station and went to Penzance as well as St Ives. We both enjoy travelling by train as we’re country bumpkins and don’t do it that often. Taking a stroll along the coastal path in Penzance was lovely especially as we had such lush weather. In fact it was so sunny that I caught the sun a bit on my face (that’s what I get on the first day I don’t apply my SPF containing BB cream! I’m very fair so can’t afford to not wear SPF on my face unlike Jon who almost has Italian colouring). Penzance was nice but didn’t appeal to us as much as St Ives or other places did & I think this was because it was much bigger & didn’t have as much charm or character.
Monday was our last day & the day we went to The Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek. The sanctuary rescues sea life animals such as seals, sea lions, penguins & otters that are in need of medical attention. They provide excellent care for these animals & nurse them back to full health if they can in the hope that the animals can one day be released back into the wild.
When we arrived the lady on reception kindly let us drive down into the sanctuary (this was because I’m in a wheelchair and there would’ve been a few steep hills for Jon to push me over). The sanctuary offers this option to all disabled people outside of the summer months when the site train doesn’t operate otherwise in the summer the train will pick you up. We arrived just in time to see the grey seals being fed which was amazing but also rather amusing to see. Feeding time at the seal pool consists of young and old battling it out to get as much fish as they can whilst also trying to stop the seagulls from pinching any. Watching the seal’s feeding is very similar to watching a group of hungry shoppers gathered round a trolley waiting for all the items to finish being reduced, then once the assistant has finished they all pounce! A seal named Ray is fed separately because he has brain damage (see above pic) but apart from that all the seals must work to get their fair share of fish.
Sea lions, otters and penguins were the other animals we saw being fed.
I’m pleased to report that the staff kept the enclosures clean and well maintained plus the staff were all very knowledgeable about the animals & gave talks about each species at the sanctuary before feeding times. Extra information about the animals is dotted around on boards or you can ask the staff questions or if you buy the souvenir guide it contains more information plus it includes some discount vouchers & activities for children. On site there is a play area to let the children burn off some energy plus a gift shop and cafe. The Cornish Seal Sanctuary was a great day out and I would advise that it’s best to visit when the weather is fairly good as the large majority of attractions are outside plus as with most places it’s also best to visit outside of peak season. Opening hours are 10am – 5pm everyday except Christmas Day and last admission is an hour before closing. The cost of admission plus profits from the gift shop & cafe goes towards the treatment & care of the animals, who all seem to be well looked after.
The seal hospital is well worth a visit especially if you want to see gorgeous seal pups. It’s seal pup season at the moment so you can also see seal pups in the pools right now. As with most animals the babies are definitely the cutest!
As well as sea life creatures the sanctuary is also home to rescued farm animals including horses and goats who happily reside on a grassy hill.
Something children will particularly enjoy is the interactive rock pool where children are invited to ask as many questions as they like plus they also get to touch the animals, which includes a starfish and crab.
The sanctuary also has an exhibit about conservation & the environment which makes it very clear that litter is a huge problem on our coastlines, especially for animals such as seals. Maybe if those people who do drop litter didn’t then sanctuaries like this wouldn’t need to do the charitable & amazing work they do and animals could carry on living their lives unharmed and uninjured.
Overall we had a great day at the sanctuary and we would definitely go back there. For further information visit http://www.visitsealife.com/gweek
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my post. Let me know what you thought if you’ve been to Cornwall or The Cornish Seal Sanctuary
P.s Happy Easter!