Reviewed: St Michael’s Hotel & Spa, Falmouth, Cornwall

After a quick detour for some Devon blog posts, it’s back to Cornwall again for the second half of our long weekend, swapping Newquay for Falmouth on the south coast.

Although I’ve visited the north Cornwall coast a lot over the years, this was my first trip to the opposite side. And as we checked in to St Michael’s Hotel & Spa, I couldn’t help thinking it had got off to a very good start.

cornwall-falmouth-boats-marina-harbour

After two nights at the thoroughly family-friendly Sands Resort, I had been interested to see how this measured up as a family hotel. So here’s my review.
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The family occasions worth saving for

There are plenty of things I’ve bought over the years that I regret. Slightly small shoes which I hoped would stretch. (They didn’t). Slings which my daughter hated on sight. An ice cream maker that only created a dust trap.

But when it comes to experiences, I never regret the extra money – from an excursion to see the astonishing temple of Ramses in Abu Simbel as an impoverished student on a tour of Egypt to our recent last-minute weekend in Brixham.

abu-simbel-egypt-temple-ramsesFor me, short-term penny pinching always pays for the memories you get from travel. I might not eat out often at home but splurge the money saved on a great restaurant on holiday. Or even just a few ice creams with my daughter. Continue reading

Devon day 2: Rockpooling on the beach and Berry Head nature reserve

The Met Office swore that it was going to be cool and cloudy. I’d packed coats and checked the umbrella as a result, while contemplating a good indoor activity for our second day in Devon.

The Met Office, as it turns out, were wrong. The sky was blue, there wasn’t a single cloud, and a light breeze fooled me into thinking that the sun wasn’t strong enough to burn me. Although I had an umbrella, I didn’t have SPF. This was an error.

devon-shoalstone-beach-toddler-seaBut with Minnie shaded by a new hat, there was no way I was going to lurk indoors. So we followed up our first spontaneous day’s exploring in Brixham with a trip to Shoalstone Beach and Berry Head Nature Reserve.

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A long weekend in Brixham, Devon

The downside to booking a last-minute weekend away is that there’s no time to plan – no chance to research the best things to do with kids, the best places to eat, the insider secrets.

The bonus of that, though, is not getting tied into busy schedules, being overwhelmed by the thought of all the things you just have to see. Instead, you can just explore.

brixham-harbour-devon-viewOf course, that can backfire when you end up walking past all kinds of fantastic places – but with somewhere like Brixham, it seems designed to amble slowly, soak up the sunshine and the views and enjoy ourselves. Continue reading

Family day out: Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay, Cornwall

We’ve racked up quite a few zoo visits across several countries so far. But strangely enough, we don’t seem to have managed too many aquariums (aquaria?!).

Because both Minnie and I find them pretty fascinating – the corals remind me of past scuba dives, while she’s fascinated by the colours and unusual creatures.

cornwall-newquay-blue-reef-coralSo the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay was one of the highlights of our Cornwall trip, with a shark tunnel, giant octopus and a beach nearby.

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