Scrolling through our previous posts and the KIK Instagram feed, it’s hard not to be aware of a dominating colour theme shared from one image to the next. The deep blues of Porthgwarra sea shots are sandwiched nicely between the golden photos of sun-bleached sand and glowing BBQ coals – the colour palette of an uncharacteristically British summer.
Unfortunately, the reality in November is sadly a little more black and grey. And involves a heavier TOG duvet. Summer memories are now only accessible by scrolling through the photo albums on my phone, typically whilst I’m sandwiched between the bed sheets, one limb stuck out in the morning temperature adjustment routine, battling starting another working morning in the dark.
But whilst my week days may have been shortened, the weekends have become my playground. Forgive my blasphemy, but I actually sort-of like the autumn and winter months. I know I’m not alone in a subsection of (windswept) British society who enjoy sunny crisp mornings and have a penchant for wool. The thing is, Cornwall does the colder months well. If you can let your imagination be transported to a Dickensian time of weather worn people hiding out in log fire warmed pubs, it’s hard not to let yourself get swept away with rugged, windy walks along the once sunny beaches of summer.
Aaand if I haven’t convinced you yet, it’s not even that cold. In the Cornwall infographic my hungover self mauled together last weekend, I dropped the fact that Cornwall has the warmest summers in the UK. Thanks to the shape of the peninsula, 400 miles of coastline and a beautiful thing called the Gulf stream, Cornwall experiences really mild winters in comparison. So there really is no excuse for not leaving the house. Maybe just pack up a mac.
One of my favourite places to visit in winter is the small fishing village of Polperro on the south coast. It’s beautiful in summer but fantastic in winter. On either side of the village’s steep sides, tangled alleys twist between century old fishing cottages. The welcoming glow of true Cornish pubs and a bracing sea wind help tease the character out of this place, a picture postcard village which will leave you with a fuzzy head, a warm belly and a few more friends. Even in the dark depths of winter.
Polperro has some fantastic pubs. Each offer the perfect combination of Cornish charm, hearty meals and an impressive collection of draught beers and bottled beverages. Two of my favourites are the Blue Peter Inn and the Crumplehorn Inn, both at opposite ends of the village from each other but both offering a perfect place to take shelter when the sofa in your holiday cottage is offering nothing.
The Blue Peter’s low (and informative?!) ceilings, each table tucked away behind boistrous locals and in dark little corners, is all part of it’s charm. It’s more than a restaurant, it’s even more than a boozer. It’s a perfect place to wear oversized winter wear, make friends with the next table and eat good local food.
The Crumplehorn Inn is a roomier option with a less haphazard seating plan however, some slight organisation doesn’t detract from a great local atmoshpere. Tip: Order the cottageloaf pie. It is a pie. Inside of a loaf of bread. Need I say more?!
Coastal Path Walks
Polperro is a fantastic starting point for a rugged-up, winter walk along the Cornish coastal path. Facing the sea and leaving the village to the left, an invigorating/brutal climb up the hill leaves you with stunning views overlooking the harbour. For those looking for a shorter walk (1 1/4 miles there), head round to Talland Bay for a wonderful cliff walk en route. For those looking for something longer – keep walking past Talland and head on to Looe. Here you can explore the town’s shops/pasties/pubs before walking back. And if after you’ve arrived you can’t face the walk back – there’s a local bus which will take you back to Polperro. (Be sure to check out the local bus times here.)
Polperro Christmas Fair
Who needs Mousehole’s festival of lights when you’ve got several ageing RIB boats trussed up in fairy lights?! But seriously, a visit to the Polperro Christmas festival is a new tradition for my family and one we, maybe not our livers, look forward to each year. On the 5th of December (2015 – other years may vary), the town congregates in the main square under the tree for some mulled wine, carol singing, (more mulled wine) and mince pies. Following the festivities, join the crowd heading down to the harbour to admire the lit-up boats before retiring to sit in front of the fire at one of the harbour’s pubs.
Winter provides the perfect solution for those afraid of the A30 traffic jams and Cornwall’s peak season prices. With the tourists gone and accommodation prices halved in most cases, the colder seasons offer the keen walker, foodie (and pub-goer) a truly unforgettable Cornish experience…and at a much cheaper price.
So, If you’re looking to skip the ski pass this season, or call off the city break this winter – Polperro provides a perfect alternative for a trip much closer to home. Oddly enough, now that I think about it. I’ve spent more time here in the off season than not. Our family have consumed, drank and walked our way to some truly happy winter memories here. When my parents purchased a beautiful fisherman’s cottage in the centre of Polperro a couple of years ago, rather than resenting the families who booked it out in the summer, we relished the quieter periods in the cooler seasons where we could go down and enjoy the area away from the crowds.
For those interested in visiting Polperro, I’ve tried to be as helpful as possible and have included links to the pubs and activities mentioned throughout the above. For those looking for somewhere central to stay (i.e. walking distance to the pub), my parents’ place (Wesley House) and other Cornish holiday cottages can be rented through here.