I’d never travelled 300 miles in an armchair before (i.e first class), but I can highly recommend it! We left London Paddington on the 07.30 on Friday morning and were sitting outside the St Moritz hotel on the North Cornish coast 5 hours later-a pint of Doom Bar in hand.
First Great Western’s London to Penzance service is one of the most scenic lines in our railway system, travelling as it does through the countryside and then along the coast at Dawlish as it heads towards Plymouth before Bodmin and finally Penzance. As we streaked past fields of lambs, the cow parsley disappeared in a cloud of white confetti and the lines ‘faster than fairies, faster than witches, bridges and house, hedges and ditches’…rattled through my mind.
At Bodmin Parkway we were met by a sturdy landrover from the St Moritz and driven the short distance back to the hotel. Most visitors drive down but when coming for the weekend (and without small children) the train is definitely the answer, and the hotel offers pick-up and collection from the station and walking and picnicking spots when the legs run out of steam.
We took full advantage of the beautiful coastline and in three days managed to pack in:
* The coastal walk from the St Moritz at Trebetherick to Pentire Farm, via Polzeath, New Polzeath and Pentire Point.
* A delicious dinner of Cornish asparagus, jersey royals and the best of the local fish at the St Moritz restaurant.
* Daymer Bay to Rock along the beach-taking in lunch at the Mariners, 18 holes at St Enedoc golf club and a couple of hours sunbathing.
* Dinner at Rick Stein’s St Petroc’s Bistro, Padstow where we ate like kings.
* And last but by no means least, a picnic lunch at The National Trust’s Lundy Bay.
* It was an action packed long weekend, but with the indoor and outdoor swimming pools in which to stretch out tired limbs. The Cowshed spa allows guests to indulge in luxurious massages, and a suite with a balcony view of the Camel Estuary to read and chill out in, it was the perfect balance of exertion and relaxation.
(www.stmoritzhotel.co.uk; 01208 862242)
(www.marinersrock.com; 01208 863679)
(www.st-enodoc.co.uk; 01208 863216)
(www.rickstein.com; 01841 532700)
(www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk; 08457 000125)