Punctuated by some of the finest beaches in England, miles of unspoilt coastline and melodramatic landscapes the county nestled on England’s rugged southwestern tip has always had an air of the romantic. Recently we were challenged by Vauxhall to see how much fun we could have in 48 hours in their new tech-filled SUV the MokkaX, so we headed for Cornwall – a place seemingly made for beautiful road trips. With a good excuse to reminisce and share our memories, here’s why we think you’ll love it too…
The dreamy coastline
From sandy coves to patchwork fields criss-crossed with narrow lanes, all the scenery in this part of England is ethereally beautiful but the coastline (including the coastal roads) is particularly breathtaking. It’s also very diverse, and each area of Cornwall has spectacular coastal scenery unique to that area. At Lizard Point unbroken lines of cliffs lead to lonely footpaths and wind-whipped lighthouses, St.Ives and Newquay are known for their golden Caribbean-esque beaches, on the Polperro heritage coast ancient fishing communities perch proudly on wild and rocky shores and Mount’s Bay is home to St.Michael’s mount, a dramatic jagged island crowned by a medieval church and castle. That’s not forgetting the bountiful supply of hidden bays and secret coves – although smugglers and pirates probably not included these days.
The villages untouched by time
The tiny unspoilt fishing villages of Cornwall deserve a special mention of their own as nothing else like them exists in the rest of England. Polperro – which lies just a few spectacular miles along the coast from Looe – is considered one of the prettiest. Perfectly preserved and sheltered by a cliff ravine, it’s an enchanting jumble of tiny white-washed cottages and hardy sea-battered fishing boats. Other beautiful villages to include on your Cornish road trip, include St Mawgan which is hidden in a spectacular valley, Cawsand and Kingsand which are untouched by time and still retain their traditional character, the narrow streets of the magical and tranquil Mevagissey and pretty Polruan – an ancient fishing village built on a very steep hill which lies just across the water from the better-known Fowey.
Their unique perspective on life
Steeped in myth and folklore and home of legendary kings, beautiful queens and a even a powerful wizard, Cornwall has long held an almost otherworldly presence. Its community of artists, writers and novelists – drawn by the area’s beautiful scenery and intriguing history – have also furthered Cornwall’s creative perspective. From New Age campers and a deep-rooted fondness of the mystical to quirky shops and artistic design hotels, as you drive around the wild and beautiful landscapes you’ll see evidence of Cornwall’s unique outlook on life pretty much everywhere.
The beautiful beaches
Cornwall is home to some of the finest beaches in Europe and on a road trip, choosing how to fit them all in will be the hardest bit. On our Cornwall journey we spent most of our time in Fistral bay Newquay, a long crescent of sand which has become England’s surfing mecca and its immediate neighbour, the bay with the adorable name – Lusty Glaze.
Other stand out beaches in Cornwall include Lantic Bay. Located on the quiet, but gorgeous stretch of coast between Fowey and Polperro Lantic Bay is a stunning vista of near white sand and turquoise water set in a bay backed by towering verdant cliffs. Kynance Cove on The Lizard Peninsula is often regarded as one of the best beaches in the world, family friendly and laid back Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth is also worth a visit and also Sennen Cove, Land’s End where impressive Atlantic waves draw both surfers and visitors with pristine white shores, rolling hills and an astoundingly blue sea.
It’s an increasingly trendy travel destination
While the staple industries of old – mining, fishing and farming – have all but disappeared in Cornwall, the county has since reinvented itself as one of the nation’s trendy creative corners…and visitors seem to be lapping it up! Starting with the space-age domes of the much loved Eden Project, and continuing with Michelin starred eateries, creative boutique hotels and gorgeous independent shops, Cornwall’s hipster star is most definitely on the rise.
You’ll feel like you’re in a film/TV set
With twisting lanes, long stretches of untouched craggy scenery, mysterious coves and remote hamlets it’s very easy to see why Cornwall has captured the imagination of so many film-makers, TV producers and novelists. As you drive through Cornwall, the wild and romantic landscapes will transport you into a gothic drama a la Poldark and Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Jamaica Inn. Fistral Beach Newquay might remind you of nineties surf movie Blue Juice (the British answer to Point Break!) and chocolate box pretty Port Isaac has become synonymous with the popular TV Brit show Doc Martin.
About the MokkaX
We drove around Cornwall in a Vauxhall Mokka X, an easy-on-the-eye highly spec’d, spacious and comfortable SUV with 4×4 capability – perfect for an adventurous road trip. Stand out features include the Apple CarPlay that allows you to easily connect your iPhone to the screen and sound system in the car (so it’s very easy to bring up maps, play music and take hands free calls).
The fabulous OnStar is another unique stand out feature. As well as providing you and your passengers with a WiFi hotspot for up to seven devices, you’ll also have button which automatically connects the driver to someone from Vauxhall, based in the UK. This person acts as a support and has access to all kinds of information and can even control functions of the car, which can be very useful either in an emergency or for convenience – say if you need to find the nearest petrol station in a remote area for example.
Onstar is very handy in more serious situations too. If a car is stolen it can be tracked and even disabled, meaning the thief can’t take the car away and if you have an accident, sensors will detect this and can contact OnStar automatically with information on which crash sensors were triggered, which airbags deployed and how many occupants were in the car – an extra peace of mind on a road trip! Find out more here.
This post was brought to you in partnership with Vauxhall but all our opinions are our own. Find out more about their new MokkaX. All words and Polperro, the coastline and Betsy the Bus images by Becky, all other images, stills and video by Gary Nunn.