Monday, August 17, 2009

What we did on our holidays

When the sun shines in Cornwall, then all is well with a domestic holiday. And ours was special this year. But the perverse thing about a British break comes on those wet drizzly days when the estate cars with roof boxes tear up and down the A30 and the A39 in search of relief and fun.

Blissfully we had few such washouts this year. When we did we found the Lost Gardens of Heligan, a fairground museum called Dingles, Launceston Castle, Tintagel and Land's End. The first was amazing. Really. A great day out, and it's got a brilliant farm shop. More on the second later. In the latter two, there were shops full of tat and grass slopes. Our kids love a grass slope. There were also grass slopes at Launceston and Dingles.

Land's End is an absolute toilet. In fact, it's worse than that, because one of the grimmest things about it were the public latrines. We had our picture taken at that sign for £9 - but it hasn't arrived yet - showing how far Marple was. We went to the Doctor Who exhibition which cost the thick end of £20. The whole experience was grubby. The punters, a large number of whom were smokers with kids in Bristol City shirts, all looked glum. Here are some more reviews, here.

Dingles had a collection of old fashioned fairground attractions in a barn and to be honest I feared a repeat of rip-off tat. I couldn't have been more wrong. A lovely place, run by enthusiastic volunteers and space to run around. It gave us a nostalgia kick and the kids the freedom to enjoy the dodgems and a wild merry-go-round without being terrorised by teenagers.

It sounds like this is drifting into a bit of a moan, which this wasn't meant to be, we had a bloody brilliant holiday. We've already booked to go back next year to Fentrigan Manor Farm, which was just perfect for us. We were talking to the owner Richard Grigg and he's got loads of ideas to keep improving the farm and make it better.

The common twine that links all these positive experiences, and excludes the negatives, was the attitude and intent of the people behind them. A bit of pride, a bit of passion. And hopefully a bit of success from other people's fun.

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