Arghhhh me hearties! Ahoy there from Pirates Quest in Newquay! What a fun and different experience this attraction is! Read on for live pirate actors, Cornish shipwreck stories and my thoughts of the treasure trail!
A World of Pirate Legendry!
We visited Pirates Quest in Newquay, Cornwall on a wet, miserable day in February half term. We arrived and parked easily in the large car park opposite. Walking over to the brightly coloured entrance adorned with pirate flags and large skull and bones logo I wondered what Pirates Quest had instore for us!
After being greeted warmly by Jaimie on the ticket desk we were given our individual treasure maps. The maps had details of the adventure we were about to embark on and helpfully marked where photo points and clues would be. On the other side of the map there was a choice of three puzzles to be solved as we walked around. These included a cross word, looking out for different coloured parrots and finding letters to unscramble to make a pirate-themed word. The different quests are aimed at different abilities / ages but you can complete them all if you wish! You are told you will need to show your completed quest at the exit to claim some pirate booty! Game on!
Armed with our maps we made our way to the start of the tour. We weren’t quite sure what to expect and enjoyed looking around at all the pirate theme artefacts on the walls as other crew mates arrived. There were various other groups of people who joined us – mostly families with younger children.
Once we were all assembled (tours run every hour so it’s good to be on time) a video played introducing us to Pirates Quest and Captain Calico Jack. The Captain told us a little about what to expect from our trip and welcomed us on-board the shipwreck of Royal Anne!
Our Voyage Commences!
After the video finished the real-life Captain Jack appeared – this was rather amusing to some of the children who I don’t think they had been expecting it! Captain Jack took us on-board and guided us round on our voyage. The scene is set in the 1700’s and there is lots of reference to Cornish history, piracy and of course many shipwrecks. The live actors are brilliantly engaging and tell you myths of pirate days gone by and legends lost to sea. You even get to find out how Newquay got its name. I found all these tales pretty interesting to listen to and the actor did well at answering lots of questions from a couple of inquisitive young boys. I think he got his revenge when he put them in the stocks!
After exploring a few different areas Captain Jack left us and we were joined by another pirate – Edward England. He took us around a few more different areas including through mystical caves, smuggling coves and the Blackbeard Tavern – a traditional Cornish inn for a pint! Again, this actor was engaging and funny and liked to crack a few jokes with members of the group.
The Scare Section!
Towards the end of the tour you are asked to make a decision as to whether you want to enter the “scare section” of the tour or take the safer route. I won’t say too much about what the scare section involves as I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone but I think the suspense was worse than the scares! All the children on the tour opted to take the scare route and nobody came out crying so that was good!
We really enjoyed our hour at Pirates Quest and found the live actors to be engaging, funny an informative at the same time. We found Jaimie on the desk to be polite and welcoming and the little shop well stocked with pirate themed blunder to purchase.
You can journey back in time and check out the new 2018 storyline – the golden age of piracy at Pirates Quest now! It’s super easy to book online and is a fun filled hour for all the family. I would really recommend visiting – especially if you have children and it’s raining in Newquay (which is often is!)
***Whilst our complementary tickets were provided by Pirates Quest all my thoughts and opinions are my own. Ticket prices can be found on the Pirates Quest website here***
A weekend trip to Cornwall wouldn’t be complete without a Nathan and Rachel trip to a National Trust property and this weekend was no different!
We decided to visit Lanhydrock in Bodmin again – we previously visited in the summer which you can read about here if you’re interested! We parked up and walked down to the house. It was quite busy and there were plenty of people out walking and making trips to the house.
As we walked through houses entrance gate we noticed the gardens had been decorated with different coloured baubles – they looked so much like flowers from a distance and we thought they were super clever and festive.
A Victorian Christmas
Lanhydrock house had been decorated all ready for Victorian Christmas and it really took you back in time. The various rooms and displays were all set up as if it was Christmas Day in 1887 and Lord and Lady Robarte were hosting Christmas lunch. Written displays dotted around the house told you who would be attending the grand Christmas dinner and what they would be eating.
There were plenty of decorations to admire and the dining room display was beautifully set with menus reflecting food that would have been offered within the Victorian era.
Subsequently within the kitchens there were lots of food displays to look at and some children were enjoying giving making mince pies ago and watching a bread making demonstration.
We were quite short on time (a bit like last time we visited!) and so didn’t have a chance to go for a longer walk around the gardens or visit the chapel but we left knowing we would return again soon for sure and felt a lot more festive for visiting!
After exploring National Trust’s Trerice my friend Emily and I made our way to Newquay to the Headland Hotel. Here we were booked to try their Festive Afternoon Tea and we couldn’t wait! It was super wet and windy on the coast and so it was definitely time for tea (and mulled wine!)
Festive Afternoon Tea
We were seated in the restaurant at a lovely table in the corner which overlooked Fistral Beach – it was nice to watch the few brave surfers battling the waves and see the rain crashing onto the sea below. It wasn’t too busy in the restaurant which meant it was quite quiet and the service was good. We were able to have a right old natter too!
We were given the choice of hot drinks – I had tea and Emily had a coffee and we both had a warm glass of mulled wine which was delicious. There were Christmas crackers on the table and which added a bit more festive sparkle.
When the tier of plates which the festive treats arrived we both let out an “oooooh”. It all looked super yummy and we didn’t watch ay time digging into the sandwiches and Cornish scones.
After devouring the sandwiches and scones and with the mulled wine going down nicely we moved on to try the delightful festive treats on the top tier of the afternoon tea stand. There was some stollen cake, a mince pie, a snowman macaroon and orange flavoured posset in a glass adorned with a christmasy candy cane plus some other tasty delights. It was all super yummy and we were stuffed by the end – not too bad for £18.50 each I don’t think.
Whilst I have had quite a few afternoon teas in the last few years I really enjoyed this one at the Headland and the festive spin they put on it – it made it something a bit more special and different from others I have been too.
I also think the hotel was decorated beautifully for Christmas and it felt really warm, cosy and traditional. I would have loved to have stayed here over the festive season. Maybe I’ll be back next year!
You can find out more about the Headland Hotel, Newquay here.
When my friend Emily and I were arranging a Christmas meet up we knew as we were both National Trust Members a trip to an NT property would feature. We decided on Trerice, which is in Cornwall, and met on a rather wet December day.
The car park was surprisingly busy and there was lots of people bustling around and enjoying the property. Trerice had laid on some festive workshops which included wreath making and painting Christmas tree decorations. We didn’t partake in these but I’m sure they were great and I can imagine lots of children would enjoy the decoration painting. There was also the option to make a visit to Father Christmas, which again, for obvious age reasons, Emily and I didn’t partake in!
Christmasses Gone By
This year Trerice had been decorated to represent a Christmas gone by from the 1950’s. In the North Chamber you could see how a Christmas at the Elton family would have looked and there were plenty of children’s toys and games that were from the past. Emily and I enjoyed looking at some of the old fashioned games and imaging what life would have been like for us if we had lived a couple of generations ago and what toys we would have been opening on Christmas morning.
A Bite to Eat
After exploring we decided we needed a little bite to eat. We visited the Barn Restaurant and treated ourselves to a savoury pastry and drink. I had a spinach and feat filo parcel and a wild elderflower bubbly drink. I enjoyed the drink but less so the filo parcel – it was a little greasy and would have been nicer if it had been served warm.
There’s a tradition at Trerice that has been going since 2014 in which gold painted plaster stars have been hung in the ceiling of the Barn Restaurant. Apparently the stars now feature during the festive period at Trerice and look nice and pretty hanging from above. Stupidly I don’t appear have taken any pictures of them though!
Just as we were getting ready to head out and explore Trerice’s gardens an orchestra started to play Christmas songs and carols and added to the festive feeling amongst all the visitors.
We spent a little time walking around the gardens outside of the front of the Elizabethan manor but there wasn’t too much to see given the time of year.
Next stop we were off to the Headland Hotel in Newquay for a Festive Afternoon Tea!!
Cardinham Woods are located two miles from the Cornish town of Bodmin and is an area full of beautiful nature. There are walking and cycling trails to be enjoyed and lots of trees and woodland to admire and explore. The woods are managed by the Forestry Commission. You have to pay and display for parking and on the Sunday we went it was quite busy with cars. We saw lots of families enjoying the Gruffalo Spotting trail, along with couples walking their dogs and cycling groups out for a Sunday cycle.
The woods are also home to the Woods Cafe which looked nice and busy when we were there but we didn’t have time to stop off ourselves – maybe next time!
A Sunday Stroll
We were a bit pressed for time here so weren’t able to complete any of the suggested trails or walks but we enjoyed spending some time walking through the trees and getting immersed in nature and the feelings of Autumn.
I would recommend Cardinham Woods for a Sunday stroll and some fresh air and hope to return soon to complete one of the designated walking or cycling routes.
Ever been to Cardinham Woods? Where’s your favourite place for a Sunday stroll?
I lived in Porthtowan, minutes from the beach, for over two and half years however never got to see their annual fireworks display for November 5th. The first year I lived there I went home to Kent the weekend they were on as it was my little sister’s 18th birthday party so I missed them. The second year I lived there I had to go to Nathan’s Gran’s birthday meal so missed them again!
This year, despite leaving Porthtowan back in September I was determined to go back and finally see their fireworks. I’m so glad we made the effort to go – they were awesome and even better they were free!
Heading Back to P-Town!
The display was on Sunday 29th October which did seem a bit early for fireworks but I guess it was only a week before the 5th November and it did mean I could go to a second fireworks show at Exeter WestPoint. Everyone was in the fireworks spirit and was wrapped up in their winter clothes and wooly hats.
It did get quite busy, and parking looked like it was a bit of a nightmare with the road in and out being blocked. Luckily we had the foresight to get there early and parked up near where I used to live (this also gave us the chance to have a little nose around to see who had moved into my old place!)
Dinner at the Beach Cafe
As we were early we stopped by the Porthtowan Beach Cafe for some food. There were no tables left inside and had to wait quite a while to order at the counter as they were so busy. We both chose to have a beef burger and chips, along with a hot chocolate. In total the bill came to £20 and was, in my eyes, a bit of a rip off! I know the cafe was busy but the burger wasn’t that special and the chips were rather lacking in flavour and quantity – they didn’t match the high price tag unfortunately and I did end up leaving quite a bit of it all. A bit disappointing really.
The fireworks certainly made up for the food though. My good friend Nel arrived just in time for us to have a quick catch up before walking down watch the show outside the Blue Bar (who put on the show). The fireworks lasted quite a while, and considering they were free, I thought they were excellent! I’m such a big kid when watching them though – I couldn’t help but ooh and ahh throughout!!
Sadly I didn’t take any pictures of the fireworks so this post looks a little bare! However I can assure you they were awesome!