I finally made it to Cornwall in UK! It only took 18 years to get there but never mind :o) And it was done in the best way too, on a VW Kombi road trip.
I created a list of things I wanted to tick off once I turned 40, and one of them was a VW Kombi road trip. Another was visiting Cornwall, so it made sense to combine the two, and we set off over a bank holiday weekend at the end of August, which also happened to be the weekend of my 41st birthday.
We researched a handful of VW Kombi’s online and finally found the one we booked, called Meghan, based on the outskirts of London. They’re not the cheapest van hire option but the experience of spending the weekend driving and camping out in a kombi makes it worth the little extra!
Setting off very early on the Saturday morning, trying our best to avoid as much traffic as possible, we soon realised that when you’re in a VW Kombi, you immediately become part of a little highway gang. Each time another kombi passes you by, everyone beeps and waves, so we soon got into the spirit of it, waving at each one that passed, and surprisingly there were a lot.
Late afternoon we arrived at Penzance, setting up home for the night in a lovely campground. Our kombi was fitted out with a fridge, gas hob and wash basin, so we ate sausages in bread for dinner, and sipped wine whilst sat in our van. It was so cosy, so relaxing and reminded me of all my experiences camping when I was growing up. Fancy hotels are wonderful, but the simplicity of camping is something pretty special.
The following morning we packed up, jumped into the driver/passenger seat and we were off towards Lands End, Britain’s most south-westerly point, to play tourist before continuing on to St Ives. The traffic in St Ives was immense due to the bank holiday, but we finally found a parking space way up on a hill, and ventured down to the seaside.
The best bit of St Ives for me? Gluten free cornish pasties and gluten free scones! I mean a girl needs to indulge, and sometimes that option just isn’t available to me, so this was very exciting! St Ives is also full of lovely shops from traditional souvenir stores to very cool homeware and clothing shops. Every man and their dog were either sat at a seat outside a pub, or squished onto a beach chair on the sand, that’s the English seaside for you!
That afternoon we arrived at our next campsite in Padstow. Another really great campsite, with everything from a mini grocery store, to a fabulous communal bathroom set up complete with a hair drying station. Not exactly roughing it!
We took a map from reception and followed the track that led us through cornfields and paddocks down to Padstow harbour. A town that’s often known for Rick Stein’s restaurant, we walked past his fish and chip shop and decided against lining up in the insanely long queue, instead opting for a walk around the harbour town as the sun set and live music played in the square. We sat down for delicious Italian food at one of the restaurants, and another gluten free win, they had GF arancini, hallelujah! Sleepy and not feeling energised enough to walk back up the hill through the paddocks to the campsite, we called a cab and were soon tucked up in our cosy kombi bed.
The next morning was my birthday. We’d booked a surfing lesson but due to some miscommunication it had been cancelled the evening before. So I started my morning with coffee and a FaceTime call with my parents. But then we received a text saying we could join the lesson after all and had 30 minutes to get there. Needless to say the coffee was tipped out on the grass, the FaceTime call swiftly ended and we scrambled to pack everything up and get down to the beach in time for the surf lesson.
Having snowboarded a few times before and being able to stay upright on my skateboard, I was looking forward to this lesson, but I was also nervous! Our young instructor was fab, and after everyone in the lesson had squeezed into their wetsuits, we soon got into the swing of learning the art of trying to stand up on a surfboard. My first attempt at just laying on the board and cruising into the shallows, ended with me barrel rolling and swallowing a tonne of sea water. Slighty taken aback, I swallowed my pride and my worry that maybe surfing wasn’t for me after all, and made my way back out to sea. Things only got better from here, and I managed to be pretty good at standing on a surfboard. It was the best feeling! Leaving me totally in the moment, amongst nature, and with a feeling of exhilaration each time I stood on the board and steered it towards shore. I can’t wait to try surfing again!
Following our lesson, we head back to the campsite to freshen up and then made our way to Camel Valley Vineyard, sitting out on their deck sipping wine in the warm sunshine. It was a beautiful day, so we visited Rock – a small but lovely little beachside town, Constantine Bay, to say hi to friends and where we apparently just missed David Cameron walking out of the ocean hah!, and then we arrived at our final campsite in Polzeath.
Polzeath was my favourite beachside town, due to its very relaxed feel which reminded me of being home in New Zealand. Our friends were also staying in an apartment nearby so they came over to our campsite to toast my birthday with some champagne, and then we head down the track to the beach, crossing over the sand and rocks towards a little pizza place. My birthday dinner was perfect, sat on a picnic bench under the stars eating pizza and realising how much I love the simple life sometimes.
The next morning, it was time to pack up and head home. Cue: sad music. It took forever to get back to London, with everyone else doing the same thing, but I didn’t mind, I just enjoyed the last moments of Meghan and our VW Kombi road trip.
If it’s something you’ve ever thought about doing, go for it, it’s so much fun, and I can’t wait for another kombi trip!