Travel reviews - West coast romance in Cornwall

Janet Reeder discovers Cornwall has so much more to offer than just surf and sand

We went in search of romance…the Cornwall of deserted sandy beaches, smuggler’s coves and Daphne Du Maurier. Well, I did. The other half looks upon romantic holidays as others would an illness. Something to be endured until it goes away or is perhaps shaken off with a brisk walk and a lie-in watching football on a flat screen TV.

But this wasn’t to be the Cornwall of kiddie holidays and kiss me quick hats, it was to be something a bit more sophisticated and European. BMI Baby now fly to Newquay which means that instead of hours of mobile purgatory, you can get there from Manchester in around 60 minutes.

The airport used to be an RAF landing strip and is about 20 minutes from the main town, so getting out is swift, especially if you’re carrying hand-luggage and the pain of waiting for the flight back is eased with the help of traditional Cornish pub just five minutes away, where you can sit in the garden right up until check-in time. Relaxing until the very end.

Soon after touch-down we hopped on the bus to Padstow which seems to have been taken over by everything Rick Stein. There’s even Stein wine! Not a bad thing. In place of the usual chippies, shops selling rock and shabby pound shops, Steinworld is posh restaurants, chic boutiques and fantastic pubs. We discovered one called the London pub, which looked like the sort of place where smugglers still hung out though now they’re disguised as surfer types, artists and glamorous teenagers.

We ate lunch as Rick Stein’s fantastic Padstow fish restaurant, which really deserves its reputation. It costs �35 for a set three-course lunch, but the white tablecloths, contemporary stylishness and people-watching potential make it all worth the extra expense. Plus. I saw a bloke who won Masterchef come out of the kitchen at the end of service, which just goes to show that some of them really do want a proper job and not just TV fame. There was definitely an air of romance too. I think I even managed to hold hands for at least five seconds…unfortunately, not with my other half but with the waiter when I handed over the tip.

Back at the Bay Hotel (visit, our room had stunning views over one of Newquay’s top surfer beaches, away from the less romantic centre of town with its Walkabout bars and discos - a good place for anyone who really IS young, not just dressing that way.

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We went to the Eden project, which is an architectural marvel, but not drop dead romantic, so on to Fowey another delightful harbour with winding picturesque streets and enough charm to make even the most unromantic chap indulge in a few minutes of hand-holding.

InformationLeading low cost airline, bmibaby, now flies direct from Manchester Airport to Newquay Cornwall Airport up to six times a week. Fares start from just �9.99 one way including all taxes.  bmibaby offer many passenger benefits including allocated seating, online check in and the opportunity to join bmi Diamond Club - the UK’s most generous frequent flyer programme. For the lowest fares and to book a flight, visit

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