Culture Call: Five Lesser-Known Towns in Cornwall We Love

Ah, the Great British seaside. In times when trips to the supermarket feel like a Famous Five adventure, we're longing for a chance to wiggle into a wetsuit, wipe our vinegar-soaked hands on greasy newspaper and feel the sea breeze slapping us in the face. With wild beaches seemingly stretching all the way to Spain, day boats delivering caught-that-day seafood and more pasties than we can stuff our faces with, Cornwall has us in a love affair that shows no sign of slowing. These are the Cornish towns we're escaping to as soon as lockdown is lifted.

Beaches and cream? Five glorious Cornish staycations we can't wait to book.

Porthcurno

Cornwall, United Kingdom

Why we can't wait to visit again: Ever since the bank holiday weekend heatwave, we've been hankering for a Mr Whippy and a sandy beach. With waters so clear it'll make the Caribbean look murky, the only order of the day is to grab a beach towel, pack a picnic (heavy on the pasties, obviously) and the last of your self-isolation book stash. Evenings should be split between catching performances at the open-air Minack Theatre and strolling along to Lands End.

Where we're staying: Put away your Zoom persona and get ready for some IRL facetime with your nearest and dearest. This sea-view Airbnb sleeps six and Porthcurno beach is just around the corner.

Before you go: Stalk photographer @samscales to scope out Porthcurno's most photogenic spots.

Polperro

Cornwall, United Kingdom

Why we can't wait to visit again: Achingly twee and attractive, this fishing village delivers Cornish charm in buckets and spadefuls. Cottages tumble down the cliffs while alleyways conceal bakeries, independent galleries and jewellery stores - thanks to the perseverance of locals, they're all car-free too. After live-streaming John Legend concerts in our bedrooms every evening, we're itching to see the Morris dancers skipping alongside the quayside and want front-row tickets to the Polperro Fishermen's Choir first performance. It might not be the Toosie Slide, but we'll still be joining in (read: recording a video for our TikTok).

Where we're staying: Talland Bay Hotel.

Before you go: Dig out a copy of Alfred Hitchcock's last silent film The Manxman, which is set on the Isle of Man but largely filmed in Polperro.

St Ives

Cornwall, United Kingdom

Why we can't wait to visit again: Okay, so it might not be the most under-the-radar destination and in the peak summer months half of London may decamp to St Ives' shores, but there's a good reason why we return year on year to Cornwall's cultural capital - this artistic enclave is the real deal. Put down your mindful colouring books and painting by numbers palettes and seek out the work of the St Ives School of artists. Their masterpieces are hung in the Tate St Ives and sculptures showcased in the Barbara Hepworth Museum. Afterwards, stick your fingers up to your isolation diet of chickpeas and head to The Rum & Crab Shack for a comforting bowl of just-caught crab mac 'n' cheese.

Where we're staying: Bright, breezy and within bumbling distance of the sea, Trevose Harbour House Sands Studio is everything our isolation abode (cell) is not.

Before you go: Swot up on the life and work of St Ives' icon Barbara Hepworth by listening to this episode of the Sculpting Lives podcast series.

Porthleven

Cornwall, United Kingdom

Why we can't wait to visit again: Move over Padstein (aka Padstow). Home to a huge April food festival and the best Thai tapas this side of Bangkok, this is the place to eschew the crowds queuing up for Stein's fish and chips and make the most of Cornwall's new foodie hotspot. Seasoned surfers will want to hit the rough seas and tackle the reef brake - novices should scuttle over to Newquay or risk being slammed into the stone quay walls. Can't find your wetsuit in your wardrobe? Us neither. Try smashing that 5k personal best with a run along Lizard Point's coastal paths.

Where we're staying: Delphin. We're a sucker for Scandi interiors, especially when they're packaged into a bayside beach hut with a balcony.

Before you go: You might not plan on getting your hair wet, but professional surfer Harry Timson's short film makes it look so easy you'll be reaching for the board wax in no time. Gnarly.

Fowey

Cornwall, United Kingdom

Why we can't wait to visit again: Since our Grecian sailing holiday plans are looking unlikely, we'll settle for sipping rosé while floating around the estuary instead. Given that our Instagram feeds are looking a little bit lacklustre - bar the star-baker-worthy banana bread we rustled up in week one - we're hankering for a feed update. Candid paddle boarding backed by twee pastel coloured houses, perhaps? Or an artsy action shot with us cycling into the distance along the South West Coast Path. Whatever fits your feed, there's plenty of portside pubs (with patios, hallelujah) for when you tire of posing.

Where we're staying: The Old Quay House Hotel.

Before you go: Fowey is as famous for its books as it is for its boats, so immerse yourself in one of Daphne du Maurier's novels. The Scapegoat is one of her heavier pieces of work but well worth getting stuck into. There's a couple of film versions but of course, the book version is superior.

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