With a staycation the safe option for a half-term break from the city, Cornish oasis The Polurrian spa hotel on the Lizard at Mullion could be the answers to your prayers.
This craggy cove, just 40 minutes’ drive from Penzance, offers a beautiful sandy beach, spectacular coastal walks and horse trekking across the sands.
Get out in the surf at Fistral Beach, dip your toe in turquoise waters at Porthcurno, hunt for crabs at Treyarnon Bay or soak up the relaxing atmosphere at the hotel’s spa and swimming pool.
Mullion is the largest village on the Lizard and has shops, inns, cafes and restaurants, craft shops and art galleries.
Nearby Poldhu Cove offers an ideal family beach, famous for another reason. In December 1901, on the cliffs above Poldhu, Marconi conducted his famous experiment in trans-Atlantic radio communications.
The Polurrian, a former Victorian hotel, overlooks the Lizard Peninsula and has its own spa and health club plus sea views to die for.
It has a recently redesigned interior with stylish coastal theme. Cocktails with a Cornish twist are perfect for sipping at the bar as the sun sets over Mount’s Bay. There’s a private beach, tennis courts plus the health club with Elemis treatments, yoga classes, indoor pool and Jacuzzi.
Guglielmo Marconi stayed here in 1901 when experimenting with the first transatlantic radio messages from Poldhu Cove. Ask for a bedroom with a sea view as the light over the ocean is a must for photos – and after dark, a stargazer’s paradise. You’ll drift off to sleep to the sounds of waves breaking beneath the hotel.
Formal dining has given way to a relaxed easy-going family restaurant serving tasty Mediterranean-style dishes using locally sourced Cornish ingredients (think fresh mussels and sea bass).
There’s a wood-fired oven for hand-stretched pizzas. Also try the wood-fired seafood platter with scallops, crabs, prawns and mussels or the excellent wood-fired fish stew.
The Lizard Peninsula is one of Cornwall’s best-kept secrets. From surfing to horse riding, there’s a range of outdoor activities for all ages to enjoy in the area.
Polurrian Cove, just a ten-minute walk away, is ideal for body-boarding, relaxing picnics and watching the local wildlife.
Kids will love the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in the picturesque Helford Estuary. The sanctuary started in 1958 when a couple rescued a baby seal they found washed up on a beach at St Agnes. Now the centre rescues and rehabilitates over 60 pups a year.
Take a kayaking or coasteering trip with Lizard Adventure. If you want to experience the thrills and spills of surfing proper, champion surfer Dan Joel runs a surf school at Poldhu Cove.
Visit the white sands of Kynance Cove, which has become known as one of Cornwall’s best and most popular beaches. Fans of Poldark will probably recognise Kynance Cove as Ross and Demelza’s beach at Nampara, while nearby Church Cove at Gunwalloe has also featured.
And after that?
Dotted around the Lizard’s coastline are villages packed with character, such as Coverack, Cadgwith, Constantine and Porthleven. There are proper Cornish pubs, locals’ favourite fish and chip shops, sandy coves and intriguing snippets of history.
The ancient market town of Helston has an interesting folk museum, and the Lizard Lighthouse (which marks the most southerly point of mainland Britain) offers tours to the top, where the incredible view is well worth the climb.
Part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage site, Poldark Mine is the only complete tin mine in Cornwall open for underground guided tours. The mine is located near Helston and the Lizard Peninsula. The underground scenes in Poldark were filmed there.
Need to know
For more information on The Polurrian spa hotel on the Lizard go to polurrianhotel.com. Rooms start from £119 bed and breakfast. There are also six self catering villas sleeping six in three bedrooms from £350-£400.
Don’t drive – take a Great Western Rail train from London Paddington to Penzance or Truro and travel first class with lounge access with breakfast at Paddington. Rent a car with Europcar at Penzance train station from £30 a day.