City escapes ~ Whitsands Bay, Cornwall

Have you ever all of a sudden realised that weeks or months have flown by and you’ve not travelled further than an hour from your house, seen anyone or anything outside your city, then all of sudden you just *need* to escape? It’s a similar feeling to when you suddenly notice your hair needs a cut or something needs fixing and it’s all you can think about. But for the capital I think we classify it as the ‘London bubble effect’.

It’s easy to get lost in the London bubble when you’re busy and there’s just so much to do and see at the weekends. I can go for quite a long time without leaving, and I’m often pretty happy too. But at some point the bubble bursts, the commute seems like even more of an obstacle course and watching the city’s non-stop movement feels exhausting.

A few weeks ago, after being in the city for a busy three months including Christmas in zone 6, James and I decided we deserved (and needed) to escape. I love the coast so we quickly settled on Cornwall and after a quick look through Home Away found this lovely cottage near Whitsands Bay. A bargainous £85 for two nights.

I was in charge of the car hire and after a bit of research chose Enterprise as their pick up office was within reach of our flat. It was about £120 in total (inc petrol) for three full days.

All booked in, a few Fridays ago we set off on our journey south. We certainly had a few mishaps on the way that’s easy to laugh about now. But it’s all worth it when you crash out in blissful silence and wake up to this view from your bedroom window.


Like a young child I was eager to throw on my wellies and get out into the great outdoors. Our first destination – the charming fishing village – Looe.

We did little research on what we planned to do when we got to Cornwall, knowing that we’d find something that offered pretty views at the very least. We couldn’t have been more right.


You can’t beat the first sight of those crashing waves and that glorious sound.


We took in as much of that fresh sea air as possible.


The first dish of the day had to be tea and scones. We stumbled upon Miss Marple’s Tea Room, where for only £5 pp you’re served with a pot of tea and warm scones. Plus the standard jam and clotted cream of course! YUM.


(Are you team cream then jam, or jam then cream? I’m team jam then cream!)

On a sugar high we were ready to explore more of the coast and took the coastal path out of the village.


The South West Coast Path runs from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset, covering a mighty 630 miles. We ambitiously set out to reach Polperro only 10 miles away.

As soon as you get out of the village you’re surrounded by the brightest blues and greens.




I felt like a million miles away from city life and loved that refreshing feeling cool breeze, with the sea to your left and rolling hills to your right.

We climbed across running streams.


And made our way through muddy puddles.


Like cliché city dwellers out in the countryside we were a bit unprepared for our mission with half a practical outfit each. James had the sensible coat, I had the valuable wellies.

But we carried on going for a good few miles, rewarded by these views.


If it hadn’t been February I would have wanted to climb down and dive right in.

Unfortunately, the muddy conditions got the better of us and we decided we should turn back to Looe and use the car. We got closer to town just as the tide was at its lowest (for the year, apparently!). So we took the opportunity walk out as far as possible.


I’m usually my happiest self when I’m by the sea.


A curious contrast to my love of city life!

After a long walk along the coast we were ravenous, so we went in search of our next dish of the day.


Fish and chips of course!

We went for Kelly’s as it was the first place we found with a sit down option (you can get take away here too). It was a great find. I’m not sure if it was the hunger or the fact it was proper, by-the-sea, fish and chips but it just tasted SO good.

Refueled and ready for a bit more exploring we drove the car down to Polperro.


Another fishing village, much quieter and more picturesque than Looe. Imagine tiny cobbled streets lined with little shops and cafes, inkeeping with their historic surroundings. One of the upsides of being out of season was that it was so much more peaceful than I imagine it is in the warmer months of the year.

After winding our way through the village we were once again back at the coast.


The house nestled in there is the net loft which dates back to the 1800s, and there you can join the part of the coastal path known as the Chapel Cliff walk. If it hadn’t been pretty chilly with the sun dropping quickly as it got late into the afternoon I would have gladly wandered for a few more hours.


But we made our way back to the cottage, where we enjoyed a few hours to reading books and watching TV before a trip to the local pub for dinner. There’s something blissfully exhausting about being by the sea that meant I had the best night’s sleep!

If you’re thinking about exploring this part of Cornwall, I’d highly recommend Tawny Cottage.


It’s ran by a lovely couple who live next door (you’ll only see them at the beginning and of your stay). The cottage is well equipped with everything you’d need for a few days or a nice holiday.


It also has a great location for exploring the area, where there is lots to do to keep you busy for a weekend or week.

We were quite sad to say goodbye!

For our final day I’d hoped we could take a long walk along the sweeping Whitsands Bay but British weather was against us, throwing strong winds and rain in our path.

Not content on just packing up and driving back we headed to the twin villages – Kingsands and Cawsands.


We ignored the weather and enjoyed a hearty breakfast, followed by a wander around the tiny cobbled streets lined with pastel coloured houses.


Our final stop was Rame Head, and we took in those last breaths of fresh air.


The little isolated building you can see is Rame Head Chapel which dates back until the 1300s.

And that’s the end of a surprisingly active but relaxing weekend escape from the city. It was a great reminder of the beauty and history you can find outside London that’s affordable and accessible (if you can hire a car), but also the wonders that a city escape can do for your sanity.

James and I discussed the kind of life we could enjoy living there, it’s certainly tempting but I don’t think I’m finished with London just yet!

Have you been to any lovely parts of the UK? Or do you live somewhere you’d highly recommend as a city escape?


  1. March 24, 2015 / 6:46 am

    Beautiful shots! I haven’t made it to Cornwall in my time here yet and you’ve inspired me to get organised this spring. Good to know that three days is enough time down there – or would you have preferred longer?

    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      March 24, 2015 / 8:55 am

      Thanks! 🙂 It is beautiful. I’d love to go back when the weather is warmer. Three days is definitely doable but in sunnier months I would probably have added an extra day, this would have allowed two full days and a half day either side after travel. I think I’d have spread out the exploring a bit then and had more time relaxing and exploring the beaches.

      • April 19, 2015 / 3:09 pm

        Thanks – that is really good to know 🙂