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Springtime Guided Walks

February 22, 2016 No Comments

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Springtime holidays in Cornwall are an opportunity to explore the county during a period of growth and rebirth. It also brings the Falmouth Spring Festival, which runs from the 10th to the 28th of March. One of the best thing about the festival is the abundance of guided walks on offer through out the festivities.
Seashore Foraging – Thursday 10th March only
Starting at Gyllyngvase Beach and taking in 2 miles of coastline with some rock-pool scrambling, this tour will teach you how to identify edible plants and forage safely and legally. There will also be some prepared wild nibbles to start you off.

The session starts at 10.45am and lasts for an hour and a half. It costs £35 for adults and £25 concessions. For information call Rachel on 01736 361454 or email rachel@wildwalks-southwest.co.uk
Through Falmouth Town – 10th, 16th, 22nd March
This one and a half hour walk through the centre of Falmouth is led by renowned guide, Paul Simmons, who runs walkitcornwall. This tour will lead you through 350 years of Falmouth in an informative and entertaining manner, taking in the odd ghost and cannibal tale along the way.

The walk begins at the Maritime Museum at 5pm. Call 07714084644 or email info@walkitcornwall.co.uk
Poldark’s Falmouth – 11th, 19th, 25th, 26th March
This tour is bound to be popular so booking is advised. Winston Graham’s Poldark novels dealt with smuggling, shipwrecks, riots and the packet ships of Falmouth. The walk links these themes to specific sites in Falmouth.

The walk begins at the Maritime Museum at 5pm. Call 07714084644 or email info@walkitcornwall.co.uk
Explore Mawnan’s Coast – 12th, 19th March
Take in the Helford river, woodlands, hidden valleys, historic trackways and the SW Coastal Path with Explore in Cornwall’s Steve Crummay. There’s a wealth of history and wildlife to explore in this 3.5 mile walk.

Starting at Mawnan Church car park, the walk begins at 10am and takes approximately 4.5 hours. Tickets cost £5 or £2.50 for concessions. Contact 01736 740234 or email info@exploreincornwall.co.uk

Helford and Gillan Creek – 13th, 19th March
Across the river from Cornish Holiday Cottages, Gillan Creek sits in a relatively unexplored part of the Helford Estuary. On this walk you’ll be taking in ancient western oak woodland looking for a wide range of wildlife in stunning coastal and estuarine habitats. There will be otters and wintering bird life to look out for in the river, creeks and coast.

Starting at Helford Car park, the walk begins at 10am and takes approximately 4.5 hours. Tickets cost £5 or £2.50 for concessions. Contact 01736 740234 or email info@exploreincornwall.co.uk
Free Nordic Walking Trial – 18th March
Nordic Walking is a full body, vigorous walking experience using poles. You build up rhythm linking the swing of your arms to smooth pelvic motions and stride length. If that sounds like your idea of fun, then there’s a free try out at Trelissick Gardens with an INWA Instructor.

Starts at 11am. Contact Kate Jackson on 07540 478919 or email walkkernow@gmail.com
Campus Critters Walk – 19th March
Explore the biodiversity of Penryn Campus under the guidance of experts on bird, mammel, insect and plant identification. If the spring weather permits the guides will also attempt some live animal captures as well.

This free walk starts at the reception of Penryn Campus at 7.30am. They’ll even provide you with a warm beverage. Contact Caitlin Kight on 01326 255166 or email c.r.kight@exeter.ac.uk
Ghost Walk Of Falmouth – 27th March
Led by author and ghost expert Ian Addicoat, this spooky walk takes in Falmouth locations that are steeped in ghostly tales. Addicoat has appeared on GMTV and Mot Haunted, so it’s a good opportunity to hear through provoking stories from an entertaining guide.

This evening walk starts at 8.30pm and leaves from the Maritime Museum. It costs £6 for adults and

Falmouth Week

February 6, 2016 No Comments

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Falmouth Week: it’s kind of a big deal round these parts. You could say it’s the jewel in Falmouth’s summer. Half sailing regatta, half a celebration of summer, the week sees both locals and visitors alike letting their hair down with an array of family friendly events during the day and a variety of opportunities to get your glad rags on and paint the town red in the evening. Attracting over 100,000 visitors (80,000 more than your average summer week), the event is a massive boost for Falmouth and a fine reason to book a Cornish holiday cottage in the centre of Fal Town. In fact, some of you have already begun booking!

 
While a lot of sailing regattas can feel quite cliquey to those not in the boating community, Falmouth week is as inclusive as they come. There’s a carnival that weaves its way through the town to the beat of samba drums, fireworks and a gravity defying appearance from the Red Arrows. The atmosphere is almost Mediterranean.

 

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The roots of Falmouth Week go all the way back to 1837 and it has now become the biggest sailing event in the South West. 450 yachts race over eight days on the picturesque waters of the Carrick Roads and Falmouth Bay. Keel boats, dinghies and traditional craft all have their own classes, with the larger yachts engaged in the 25 mile champagne race – no prizes for guessing what the winners get.

 
With all those boats in the water, the River Fal blooms with the swaying colours of sails. There are loads of great vantage points for watching the races. From Flushing to Tremayne Quay, each race has its viewpoints. Keep your eyes on our blog nearer the time for our list of spectator spots. It’s also immensely important to scope out the best places to watch the Red Arrows deliver their dazzling display above the glittering Falmouth waters.

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The Moor and the Events Square become centre points for the daytime festivities. Local musicians play throughout the week and Falmouth Art Gallery setting up workshops and interactive exhibits. Climbing walls are set up and days are given over to scientific experimentation. Whatever your family’s interests, there’s something to get stuck into.

 
Last year’s week was one of the best yet – partly thanks to the Outlaw Food and Drink Festival, who brought a much needed foodie focus. There’s street food from some of Cornwall’s finest vendors, so make sure you grab some free samples.

 
As the sun sets each evening, the Events Square comes alive with jive dancing, Caribbean nights and performances from 80s and 90s pop bands. Each ticketed event comes with its own implied fancy dress theme, making the streets of Falmouth buzz with a bizarre mixture of 50s wear, grass skirts and 90s fashion.

 
It’s a great time to visit Cornwall and experience Falmouth at its best. The beaches, bike trails and quaint villages are all still there, only Falmouth Week adds some extra fizz to your holiday.

A Celebration of Autumn at Enys Gardens

October 21, 2015 No Comments

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It’s A Celebration of Autumn down at Enys Gardens this weekend. In the house they have been sweeping out the chimneys in order to light some warming and crackling log fires: the perfect backing for some light music and some tasty seasonal food.

Dotted around the house will be a large number of local craftsmen with a whole range of local, artisan gifts and products. Jimagination Creations’ [http://www.jimaginationcreations.com/shop/4585410684], with a range of bespoke woodwork products, will be just one of the 40 exhibitors on show.

In the gardens it’ll be a parade of vintage vehicles and a few Halloween treats. From classic cars to vintage tractors there will be lots to intrigue the family petrol head.

They haven’t forgotten that it’s Halloween either. A creepy Halloween trail will wind and snake its way through the woods in order to spook foolhardy youngsters. And for the competitive amongst you there’s the chance to enter a pumpkin carving competition. Just bring your most ghastly of carvings along with you.

Enys’ fine gardens are noted in the 1709 edition of Camden’s Magna Britannia and are considered to be one of the oldest gardens in Cornwall. From its inception Enys stayed in the family for over 300 years, but as the family’s fortunes changed, Enys became derelict. In 1980, when the estate was inherited by Prof. G.L. Rogers, a recovery programme was instigated.  He increased the number of garden staff and endowed a charitable trust in 2002, known as The Enys Trust, to secure the long-term future of the garden. It’s a slow process and funding is hard to come by, but The Trustees aim to restore the garden and house to its former glory and its events like this that are helping to fund that goal.

The Autumn Celebration is open on Saturday and Sunday from 10.30am to 4.30pm and is £3 for adults.

South West Street Food Competition

September 28, 2015 No Comments

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The jury is out for the best street food in the nation and the search has stretched to all corners of the UK, and of course the South West has a massive street food scene, so britishstreetfood.co.uk set up shop on Falmouth’s Event Square for an epic three days of smoked roasts, Asian inspired fish dishes, gourmet crumpets and secretive bars recently.

Here at Cornish Holiday Cottages we can’t resist a foodie event and found ourselves throwing our healthy eating plans to the wind in a bid to sample everything on the menu.

Competitors came from as far away as Dorset: there were sumptuous kebabs from Devon’s The Posh Kebab Company and elegant ice-cream from Somerset’s Vee Double Moo, as well as pig’s tails and stacked pork club sandwiches from Falmouth’s own Rasher.

Our quest to sample everything in sight was helped by the £3 sampler options offered by each stall. But stall really doesn’t do justice to the vintage trailers and American Airstream caravans that the food was being served from. These events have become road shows as much as they are about the food: it’s all about the shop front these days.

The quality of meat and fish on offer is a true credit to the street vendors. They have all partnered with local butchers and fishmongers to create the best products they can. But

The first stop on our culinary tour was the Posh Kebab Company, who offered us generous free samples before we even showed an interest in buying anything – such is the power of a competition. Their Mongolian lamb was to die for. Their meat is marinated for at least 24 hours before being slow cooked in the traditional kebab manner. This is as far from your late night kebab shop as you can get.

Next we found ourselves salivating over SeaDog’s Asian inspired fishy delights. The smell of their seafood laksa – a South East Asian noodle dish – was a spicy siren luring us in with its mixture of crab, ling, coconut and Cornish Seaweed. SeaDog are a on a bit of a mission as well: with only 3% of the fish and seafood caught around the North Devon coastline staying in the area and the rest being exported, they are trying to cling on to the heritage of the local fisherman.

It was at this point in the day that we caught wind of a secret bar that was being run by Sharpe’s Brewery and after hunting down the guest list we found ourselves bundled into the back of a large van. As our eyes adjusted to the twilight darkness of the van we could make out the metallic edges of a bar and a padded bench, upon which we slipped ourselves. The lights then came on and a barman popped up from behind the bar.

Over the next half hour we were treated to a variety of ale and food pairings designed to mingle on the palette. There was Chalky’s Bite, a fennel tinged beer made for Rick Stein and served with a mackeral pate; a beer that takes the bite off of a Cornish blue cheese; a 7% beer brewed with Origin coffee that works beautifully when washed over salted caramel brownies. At the end it’s revealed that all the food was prepared by Michelin Star chef Paul Ripley!

Before we get round to telling you about the winners of the event, we must mention Lola’s Wings from Devon – probably the best chicken wings we’ve ever tasted. They were crispy in all the right places and slid from the bone. It seems futile a gesture – we’ll probably never see them again ourselves – but if you ever get the chance…

At the end of the weekend there could only be one winner and there was a little bit of hometown favouritism at play. Rasher won both the Judge’s and the People’s Choice Awards with their understated porky delights. But with their residency at local hipster bar, Mono, and through appearing at almost every food related event in Cornwall, they have a big presence in the town and a lot of fans. Andy Appleton, Head Chef at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall oversaw proceedings and in the interests of fairness, Inkie’s Smokehouse with their 16 hour smoked meats and irresistible sauces went through to the finals as well. And we say good luck to them both.

 

 

Kneehigh Theatre and Michael Morpurgo’s 946

July 31, 2015 No Comments

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Kneehigh Theatre Company are one of the brightest jewels in Cornwall’s crown – so said Cornish poet Charles Causley. Ever since their inception in the 1980s, they’ve been building a reputation as an imaginative, original and quite anarchic touring company. In the past they’ve created shows inspired by films, Brief Encounter; performed Benjamin Britten Operas, Noye’s Flood; and won awards as far away as San Francisco.

This summer Kneehigh are reprising their Asylum experience in the green expanses of the Lost Gardens of Heligan. This jaw-dropping, nomadic theatre tent is being erected for the fifth year running (actually, I’ve just been informed by a Heligan employee that it’s a bigger, better tent this year), and after last year’s radical Beggar’s Opera: Dead Dog in a Suitcase, it’s looking to be a spectacular event. The Guardian newspaper has described the Asylum as ‘a place predisposed to magic.’

For Asylum 2015 Kneehigh are collaborating with War Horse author, Michael Morpurgo to create 946, the little known story of the rehearsal of the D-Day landings, and of the 946 people who were killed during Operation Tiger at Slapton Sands in 1944. The D-Day rehearsal was a disaster on a grand scale. However, the true story was to remain a secret for decades, covered up by both the UK and US governments.

946 is adapted from Morpurgo’s own novel The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips and is being brought to the stage by award winning director Emma Rice, who described the writer as a humble and brilliant collaborator.

Having a cat as a main character means there’s going to be some puppetry and foolishness in this tale of war, prejudice and love. After seeing recent rehearsals, Morpurgo himself commented, ‘something quite remarkable is being concocted by Emma Rice and her team, quite amazing, wonderful energy, beautiful dance and music, great acting, the makings of a really terrific show.’

The show recently previewed at Latitude Festival to a packed audience who shed tears and laughed along with all the dance numbers, despite not even getting to see a full dress rehearsal – the cast were all in identical boiler suits! Unfortunately for them, they were also denied the climax due to stage timings – only those who see it at Heligan will be rewarded with the catharsis of ending, it seems.

This is due to be a very special summer event and one that would make any holiday that little bit more special.

To book tickets visit www.hallforcornwall.co.uk or ring 01872 262466.

RNAS Culdrose Air Day – Thursday 30th July

July 28, 2015 No Comments

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As a holiday company Cornish Holiday Cottages are used to using superlatives in regard to our surroundings – most relaxing, quietest, smallest, quaintest. However, it’s not often that we think of Cornwall as being home to the biggest of anything. We boast the farthest, as in ‘the farthest west’ or ‘the farthest south’ and ‘the farthest you can get from London before the train stops’, but there are some pretty big things afoot around these parts too. There’s Falmouth, the largest natural sea port in Europe for a start, then adjoining Helston, there’s one of the largest helicopter bases in Europe.

That’s right, the small Cornish market town is home to the country’s biggest helicopter base. Famed for heroic rescues, and with frontline helicopter Squadrons supporting the Navy across the globe, Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose is home to a variety of military aircraft including Merlin and Sea King helicopters, Hawk Jets, and the King Air 350 Avengers and runs regular rescue missions all over the UK. Many of the people stationed there also take part in missions all over the world.

Being a military base, it is rare for us civilians to get a look inside, but for one day each year the gates are flung open for Air Day and we are given a chance to step into the world of Culdrose and experience the sights and sounds of a working military Naval Air Station.

The team at Culdrose line up a variety of aerobatic display teams, fast jets and historic aircraft to woo the crowds with their dazzling displays and death-defying manoeuvres.

As well as an exciting, action-packed flying display, there are lots of things to see, touch and try on the ground. Amongst other activities, visitors will be able to climb onboard aircraft, find out what it’s like to sit at the controls of a 15 tonne helicopter surrounded by the latest technology, take a pleasure flight, be winched high into the air or jump into the driving seat of a military fire engine.

There is also the chance to meet aircrew who have served on Front Line Squadrons all over the world, pilots who have just earned their ‘Wings’, and members of the Search and Rescue Squadron who are seen flying all over Cornwall on daring rescue missions.

Tickets to Air Day are £5 cheaper in advance and can be bought from here (http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/culdroseairday). There are also family tickets available for two adults and three children.

As a word of warning to all our guests, the roads will be extremely busy around Helston on the 30th July and it is best to avoid driving towards the Lizard mid-morning and late afternoon. This includes the back roads. Not only are people queuing to enter Culdrose, but they are parking in laybys in order to watch the displays.

 

Zestifal

July 24, 2015 No Comments

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…And the summer holidays have begun. I’m sure those of you who have already booked your Cornish holiday cottage are beginning to gear up to wind down. But don’t forget to pack your trainers along with your wetsuits and flip-flops as next week will see Falmouth in the grips of Zestifal, a celebration of healthy living and sports taking place throughout Falmouth all next week.

Whether you’re a water baby, a budding tennis champ or an X-Games thrill seeker the Zestifal festival will have something to tickle your fancy. Falmouth’s open spaces from The Moor and Events Square, to Kimberley Park and Gyllyngvase Beach are going to be transformed into ‘have a go’ sports zones with activities running between Saturday 25th July and Sunday 2nd August. Now, that’s a healthy way to start the summer.

Kicking off proceedings on the 25th July is a pirate themed fun run and a performance from the amazing Swamp Circus on The Moor. Over on the Events Square there will be martial arts taster sessions and all sorts of tennis themed fun, which will be taking place all week.

For those who prefer their sports to take place on wheels, Carrick Dirt Bike School will be holding bike skills sessions in Kimberley Park on July 27th and there are Street Cycle Races and skate ramp demos on Sat 1st August and Sunday the 2nd.

Thursday 30th July is Family fun Day in Kimberley Park with circus skills workshops, dance lessons, cheerleading and a whole host of events, just in case your children didn’t get enough of sports day at school.

Down at Gyllyingvase Beach there will be Scuba Diving taster sessions, offering a free chance to peek under the sea with the Cornish Diving School, as well as WESUP paddleboarding. There’s also the opportunity to get competitive with TOUGH ENUFF obstacle courses and a family race day.

The rough and tumble sport of Roller Derby will be making a brash appearance on August 2nd. For those of you who haven’t seen an event before it’s a great spectator sport with real edge of your seat action.

Zestifal is going to be a great alternative to all the food and music based festivals that happen at this time of year, with a real chance to get involved and active, burning some of those holiday calories. Here at Cornish Holiday Cottages, we’ve always wanted to try our hand at Scuba diving and have booked in for a taster session – it’s a great way to explore all those hidden shipwrecks around the coast.

For a full list of events and sessions there’s a handy flyer from the Zestifal organisers which you can find here (http://www.falmouth.co.uk/search/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ZestiFAL-Pullout-Guide.pdf) There are lots of things going on that we haven’t mentioned; have a look and start your holiday off with a bit of a kick.

 

 

 

 

 

Stithians Show

July 9, 2015 No Comments

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Stithians is a small Cornish village nestled away between the big towns of Helston, Truro and Falmouth. It’s hard to imagine that every year it holds one of the biggest one day agricultural shows in the country, with over 20 thousand people descending upon it. But that’s what happens, with more popularity each year and an increasing number of families coming to spectate and take part.

These agricultural shows are the perfect introduction to the true, working roots of the countryside for children. I don’t know about you, but each of us at Cornish Holiday Cottages knows at least one young boy with a tractor obsession. I personally used to annoy my parents by gesturing wildly out of the car window every time we passed one on the road, my voice ricocheting loudly off the glass and bouncing around the car. So if you are sharing your holiday with a commercial vehicle obsessed youngster, then you should get them to the show to sate their desire for combine harvesters, tractors and vintage cars.

Some children might prefer something more on the furry side and the modern Stithians Show can still be depended upon for a whole host of fuzzy prize winners and bests in show: rabbits and guinea pigs, sheep and cows, show dogs and more varieties of birds than you could rattle a cage at.

There’s something timeless and unfashionable about the idea of the agricultural show, so perhaps ‘modern’ was the wrong word to use in the last paragraph. The word ‘unpretentious’ springs to mind too, but I imagine there must be a few pretentious types in the world of championship vegetable growing and when most of us are used to identikit carrots from the supermarket, I think it’s important to see someone taking their marrows seriously.

There’s evidence that events like this are becoming increasingly popular in all parts of the country: according to the Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations (ASAO) nearly seven million people attended them last year, up from five million 10 years ago.

The main arena will see dogs jumping and leaping around courses in agility competitions as well as show jumping and hunt parades. Off to the side there will be a fun fair and the ubiquitous Taste of Cornwall Food tent as well as craftsmen such as blacksmiths, weavers and beekeepers using traditional skills. Off to the side live music will be playing all day including jazz orchestras, choirs and accordion bands. With lots to see and do and a focus on entertaining and involving their visitors, it’s no wonder the big agricultural shows are back in fashion.

 

 

 

Shellfish Pig Feast Night

June 29, 2015 No Comments

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We’re wishing a huge happy first birthday to one of our favourite small local businesses this week: The Shellfish Pig. To celebrate their first year of success street food entrepreneurs, Nick and Nikki, threw their loyal customers (and a few new ones) a feast night against the backdrop of Enys House and its beautiful, secluded gardens.

Nick and Nikki, who started the Shellfish Pig after tasting the inspirational street food that can be found all around the world, have been serving their own mixture of sustainable and locally sourced products in lots of beautiful locations around this part of Cornwall. Everything from smoked Cornish mackerel, pan seared ginger scallops and spicy crab tacos to a whole host of pork – tenderloin, shoulder, chorizo, pulled – all from the Primrose Herd has been on the menu.

After walking through the grounds, Cornwall Holiday Cottages spied The Shellfish Pig van and were greeted with crab bruschetta and a glass of Cava – cheers! The van was parked up in a meadow and laced with bunting. The sun shone gently through the trees and sheep could be quietly heard baaing in the background: that is until the twee sounds of a boy/girl acoustic duo began to serenade us all.

We lay our picnic blanket on the floor, sipped our drinks and relaxed – we could get used to this type of alfresco dining experience. The mood was more that of a country fete than the pallid patio of a restaurant. We were also reminded of how romantic a setting Enys is. We can imagine it becoming an amazing summer wedding venue.

The evening’s main course was served in the form of a ‘feast box’ filled with pork ribs, pulled pork slider, sausage wrapped in candied bacon and a breezy selection of sides. I think candied bacon has become a Cornish Holiday Cottages favourite and one we’ll trying to make at home as soon as we’ve found a recipe. The box was topped off with some delicious homemade pork crackling. The icing on the cake was the addition of a few extra pork ribs at the end of the night – mmm.

There was a real birthday cake too. A creamy, chocolatey gateaux courtesy of Sophisticakes and in the shape of The Shellfish Pig van itself.

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Overall, a rather pleasant way to spend a summer’s evening. So happy birthday Shellfish Pig. We hope there are many more feast nights to come…we’d love a seafood feast box next time.

If we’ve got your taste buds tingling for The Shellfish Pig, or fancying a trip to Enys Gardens, then there’s the perfect event is coming up for you to combine the two. The Food Jam at Enys  is taking place on the 11th and 12th July with a whole host tasty food treats.

Failing that, theshellfishpig.co.uk has a handy map outlining their daily whereabouts. Unless they are a festival or special event, they can usually be found on Cliff Road near Gyllyngvase Beach.

Overall, a rather pleasant way to spend a summer’s evening. So happy birthday Shellfish Pig. We hope there are many more feast nights to come…we’d love a seafood feast next time.

 

Photos courtesy of The Shellfish Pig.

 

 

 

Get your skates on

December 4, 2014 No Comments

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One of our favourite winter time activities is ice skating. There’s nothing like the freedom of gliding over the ice majestically, your scarf tails flowing freely behind you as you spin in an elegant pirouette. Of course, the disconnect between our imaginations and the real world is all too sharp and hard on the ice. That doesn’t stop us having fun though.

The Eden project seems to feature a lot in our blog posts at the moment, but that’s only because it is a great autumn and winter time place to visit. And their magical ice rink is back for another year.

If you are staying in one of our holiday cottages in Cornwall and you’ve not had the pleasure of skating at Eden, then now is your chance.

With sessions to suit all ages and abilities, from beginners upwards and an ice disco on Friday evenings, Eden’s ice skating is popular amongst holiday makers and locals alike – especially as it’s the only place to skate in Cornwall this winter. There are half price sessions running, so it is worth ringing up to find out when the different sessions are on.

This season there’s a great new menu of rink-side food in case you’re in need of a snack, or a warm mulled cider if you’re stuck rubbing your hands together for warmth, watching others skate. There are crêpes, sweet waffles and sweet potato fries to snack on, as well as burgers and hotdogs for the meat lovers amongst you.

It’s a popular family treat for before the Christmas craziness, so don’t forget to book ahead.

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As we’ve mentioned above, Eden is the only place offering ice skating this winter. Unfortunately, Truro Cathedral are not be able to offer their own skating experience; something they have been doing for the past two years and express disappointment at not being able to provide.

Essential repair work is being carried out on the cathedral’s mullions. Mullions, for those who are just learning this piece of cathedral building vocab, are the dividing posts between a cathedral’s vertical windows. So now you know. Basically, they are kindly putting our health and safety and not our desire to slip and slide across a lake of frozen water first.

As part of their restoration work a new creative arts and music centre is being established, which is great news for continuing the cathedral’s reputation for concerts.