From South Wales to South England

Rarely are we going from one holiday to the next and even rarer does that happen in January of all months. When it’s dark, cold and wet and the most appealing holiday destinations are somewhere far far away to the South of this country if you like both warmth or snow even.

Yet we found ourselves on the Gower peninsula in Wales for a couple of days over a weekend as a birthday gift from Richard staying in Mumbles before heading down to Cornwall once more. The latter was a more spontaneously planned trip as I had decided to take a week off in between jobs. Not being one to spend any time off at home unless forced to we found ourselves a nice cottage right in Mevagissey.

A Welsh Jewel

Drove up to Mumbles Friday evening after dropping the dogs off at Rich’s sister’s and being too late for the Friday traffic mayhem we had a very uneventful journey. I had just handed in all my IT and said goodbye to Atkins after four fantastic years in the company and a few hours later I sat in a bustling Prezzo in Mumbles by the waterfront sipping wine and enjoying my pasta.

The Oyster Hotel we stayed in was also right by the waterfront with a modern and super clean interior and the most friendly chap Danny who had shown us the room earlier. Had a couple of drinks a the Bistro Pierre next door in their cosy bar and although this place was also a chain restaurant and bar just as Prezzo we had a good time with decent food/drinks.

The next day started with blue skies and icy temperatures. We much prefer that to warmer but wet weather, yet the wind was biting and as we made our walk along the waterfront walk we were just about warm enough.

Icy morning

Walked around the pier with only a few people out and about and then continued along the coast. It was really nice out here before we even hit the coast path. We could really imagine how rammed this place would be in the height of summer. Cafés, restaurants, car parks and generally real estate were in pretty good nick and we thought this could just as well be in South Devon or anywhere else more affluent than what you would normally associate with South Wales.

We continued in bright sunshine along the coast path which was made up of concrete and thus made it accessible to the vast majority of people which was great to see. Lots of people walking with dogs or running along the coast. Passed by a couple of beaches before the path turned quieter and the concrete made way for rocks and soil.

Mumbles Pier

After a fantastic varied walk over maybe three hours we arrived in Southgate, a place we had been to before with a few cafés and a free table in one of them for us to have some well earned lunch. It was only half one now so we chilled with a quick bite and a coffee before heading down the road to the pub for some colder refreshments whilst waiting for the bus at 15:30. What a great chilled day so far.

Caswell Bay
Brandy Cove
Deep Slade

Bus was late, but hey, we had no schedule to keep. Got off just outside Mumbles and walked back in via the waterfront walk with more and more people walking, running, cycling. Clocked in around 10 miles by the time we were back at the hotel. We could see why this place was so popular. There is nothing extraordinary about Mumbles or special. But it just has a very nice atmosphere without being pretentious or posh.

Had dinner that evening at Gin & Tapas and it was good to see it bustling and completely booked out in times like these where wallets are slim.

Drove back Sunday after a fantastic little break, picked up the dogs and hit the road again the following day just after mid-day, car fully packed heading South to Mevagissey.

South and South We Go

Our cottage was an extension of an existing house just up the hill on one of the two or three roads out of Mevagissey one of the popular fishing villages/towns turned tourist attraction. January is probably as out of season as it gets and once we had navigated the very narrow streets and their tight turns we parked up and unloaded the car. The lovely view over the sizeable garden and green fields beyond along with close proximity to local amenities (i.e. pubs) was what made us choose this place.

Ventured down to the Fountain Inn, the oldest pub in Meva (as the locals like to call it) and found it cosy, most welcoming with only a handful of locals in there. Pub grub was pretty good too! Great start.

Day one down here was a cracker in terms of the weather. Blue skies greeted me in the morning when I opened the curtains in the lounge. Did my online Spanish lesson at 8am, then woke Rich and played with the dogs in the garden whilst he prepared a decent fry up.

If it wasn’t for the great weather we could’ve just chilled with a brew and the view, but you gotta go out when it’s like that. Drove the 10 minutes out to Kings Wood. A woodland between St. Austell and Pentewan with a few trails and a paved path by the St. Austell River.

The dogs had the best time racing through the woods and splashing through the many bits of muddy water around as we freelanced around the woodland first before hitting the gravel path down to Pentewan. Arriving just after mid-day we had a coffee from the café and sat outside the pub next door on the benches basking in the sun. Could’ve sat here all day with pint after refreshing pint.

Instead we went back up the lovely path to then drive down to Gorran Haven. We thought we’d been there before but it didn’t look familiar at all. Awesome, new place to discover. The big car park was sparsely used. Fantastic. Walked down to the beach which was vast in low tide and once more the dogs had the best time ever running around. Seemed to be the first time for Jess at the beach as she didn’t seem too sure as to what to make of the waves. Nevertheless she was running around with Merlin tongue lolling.

On the Pentewan Trail
Jess having a great time on the beach
Gorran Haven

Decided to do at least a little coast walk and headed up around some of the headland towards Vault Beach which was deserted. Would’ve been a prime opportunity to let Jess off the long line, but it was mid afternoon already and us humans got hungry. No luck hunting for a pub, restaurant or hotel in Gorran as everything was closed. We didn’t mind too much as that also meant hardly any people anywhere.

Vault Beach

Drove back home instead and had a go at carving our leg of Serano ham Rich’s parents had given us for Christmas. Thought we’d take it down with us finally having enough opportunity to start nibbling away at it. And boy was it good. I had forked out for a proper ham knife as well and with some cheese and olives we had a great little afternoon snack.

Had a couple of cold drinks down in the harbour before cooking yet another curry back at the cottage. This is becoming a habit for us, taking a mix of our pre-made spices and ingredients with us and cooking up a proper curry. This one was a Pasanda and it was delicious!

Great first day and this most unexpected yet just as enjoyable holiday down in Cornwall.

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