Everyone always craves travelling abroad, and fair enough, the weather isn’t always great here in England. Unlike California or Florida, we have proper seasons here. But if anyone ever says that England is boring in the summer, they just simply haven’t explored enough. A little rain, cold or drastic wind doesn’t stop you from having a blast. There are plenty of things to do in England, no matter what the weather conditions are, you just have to embrace it – with a pint in hand.
Over the past few years I’ve been quite good at exploring the country, in the past year especially – thanks to COVID. During the second lockdown, I was lucky enough to live in Polzeath, a small surfing village in Cornwall (which is on the South-West side of England on the Atlantic Ocean) for almost 6 months. Besides loving the ocean, I feel that having grown up in the Netherlands makes me more appreciative of the dramatic landscapes you can get on this side of the channel. Holland is pretty flat with no hills, cliffs and worst of all, there are no dramatic ocean waves to surf.
As soon as I moved to Polzeath for the lockdown, I decided to take surfing seriously. Having already been into bodyboarding (which is surfing with your body on a small board as big as your torso), I thought this is the perfect opportunity to just go for it. I had just been bodyboarding in Sagres, Portugal, a month before where the waves knocked the hell out of me, but seeing all the surfers having a blast inspired me. And now, I finally had all the time in the world to practice. So I hit up Ioan Bale, who is a legend in Polzeath. If you’re ever there and see someone rip into the waves and do backflips on a surfboard, it will be Ioan. He is the one that taught me to surf back in November 2020. We had several sessions together over the winter, hours on end. He had no chill and took me out to the back straight away, and yes I experienced many many wipeouts. But being (literally) thrown in the deep end is always good – you have no choice but to learn.
Thanks to Ioan and the opportunity of living right on the ocean for 6 months, I’m now safe to say that my surfing is decent – not great, but good enough.
I recently escaped to Cornwall again. I dropped Iaon a message to say I was in Polzeath. He immediately replied and said he was coasteering (which involves rock climbing, swimming and cliff jumping) in the morning with Era Adventures (and asked if I’d like to go along. Always up for an adrenaline rush, I of course went a long and had one of the best days. Besides that, I surfed daily and a part of me was gutted to come back to London.
I’m planning to visit again soon and I just can’t wait to surf, jump off the cliffs, swim in the salty ocean water and do all the things that there are to do in Cornwall. So, yes, it really surprises me when some of my British, or non-British friends just want to get out of the country at the first opportunity they get, when some of them have never been to Cornwall.
There is so much to do and see in England and we’re lucky to have the ocean right here. If you’re a salt water seeker like me, I highly recommend visiting. Hopefully one day, I can live in Cornwall permanently.
Here are a few spots to visit and things to do in Cornwall:
Visit Polzeath at any time of the year (apart from January) and you will have a blast. It’s a nice small village with a great beach and when the swell is good, there are great waves! Besides that, it’s next door to Rock, which is a tiny village where Rock Festival is hosted every summer – worth checking out!
Tintagel is a small village with no beach, because it’s on the edge of a cliff. The walk is great – you start from King Arthur’s castle and walk along the cliffs for the best ocean views. When there is a large swell, the waves that hit the cliff edge can splash upwards as high as 30-40 feet – I have seen it with my own eyes, see below.
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Trebarwith beach is just down from Tintagel, it’s one of the most impressive and beautiful beaches I have ever seen. You walk in between two cliffs to get to it and it’s surrounded by cliffs. Watch out though, the beach is very steep, meaning the tide comes in very fast… and when the tide is completely in, there is no beach!
Boscastle is a sweet little village and fishing port, the port is impressive as big cliffs run along both sides (great for cliff jumping into the ocean). Once you reach the cliff top on the right side, you come across a couple of wild horses that love to be fed carrots. The view from here is so impressive, especially at sunset, with the two wild horses. Be careful though, they do follow you for more food. The village itself has a great pub, fish and chips shop and an amazing bakery that sells the best cakes.
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