Autumnal Escapes

Laughter, luxury and lie-ins at Lyonesse

Friday night a few weeks back found us heading towards the Lizard, looking forward to a blissful weekend away to recharge our batteries after a busy week. With a storm approaching, we were philosophical about it and happy enough to just see what the weather would do.

As we drove onto the Lizard – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - we enjoyed the evening light, basking the countryside in a purplish glow. Lyonesse is hidden away but easily accessed along the hedgerow-lined country roads, so it was easy for us to find. The kind housekeepers had left the lights on for our arrival, so the house stood like a welcoming beacon as we approached in the twilight.

Letting ourselves in, we explored the 16th century cottage from top to bottom, admiring all the beautiful rooms in shades of blues, greys whites and oatmeal which in some places might have felt cold, but used here creates a warm and chic-yet-homely feel.

For such a sprawling house, I was amazed how cosy and warm it was – and with a storm due in, it was nice to know we could hunker down if need be. After we’d thoroughly explored the house, I cooked us a quick meal, using the huge range gas cooker and opened all the cupboards to find lots of equipment to use. My other half was particularly pleased to find the Nespresso coffee machine (he’s a coffee fiend) whilst I had fridge envy with the huge Smeg fridge/freezer.

We ate our dinner in the conservatory, watching as the stars became blotted out by the approaching clouds and the black outlines of the trees swaying in the wind. Although it was getting increasingly wild out there, the overwhelming feeling within Lyonesse is a welcoming calmness, so after an hour or so watching a film, we collapsed in the super-comfy super king bed and drifted off into a blissful sleep.

The next day we woke up to a misty, rainy day (or a ‘mizzly’ day as they say down here) so we took our time getting up, relaxing with a book and lots of coffee.

I treated myself to a long bath whilst the other half made breakfast. About midday, we braved the weather and headed out. It’s funny, but the thing about Cornwall is it can be beautiful whatever the weather is like. It was pouring with rain and misty, but as we drove along the country lanes we couldn’t help but admire the swirling mists and the eerie trees and cottages. It’s easy to see how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who reputedly stayed at Lyonesse, must have been inspired to write during his stay!

As the weather was bad and not really a day for walking, we paid a visit to The Chocolate Factory on the Lizard, just a short drive from the house. Here we found a fab little art gallery, some nice arts and crafts shop, a café and of course the chocolate factory itself. We had a nose around, watched the chocolates being made and bought a few goodies – children will love visiting here for chocolate-covered lime frogs, raspberry hedgehogs and the like, whilst grown ups can treat themselves to a tasty box of more traditional chocolates.

We popped into Mullion for a quick look around – this pretty village has a pub, a deli and a couple of local grocery shops so we picked up a paper and a couple of pasties (well, when in Rome….) and headed back to Lyonesse for a lazy afternoon.

Later in the afternoon the rain stopped, so we decided to head out on foot from the house towards the coast. It was still very misty, but it was great to get some fresh air and explore the area. We reached the sea and although we could hear it, we couldn’t see it, but we revelled in the mysteriousness of it all, conjuring up images of ghost stories and shipwrecks in our mind the rest of the evening before going to bed.

The next morning dawned bright and sunny, all traces of mist and rain gone. The other half sprung out of bed early and immediately went for a long run along the coastal path to Kynance Cove – an epic stretch of the coast, whether you’re mad enough to run it or just for a leisurely walk. I, on the other hand, didn’t move and enjoyed a rare lie-in watching the sunrise through the bedroom window. After a soak in the spa-jet bath (in the en suite to the twin bedroom), the other half was hungry, so it was an eggs-and-bacon breakfast before donning walking boots and heading out.

Lyonesse has a foot path that runs between the house and the main garden, so we decided to take to that and walk inland to Mullion and Mullion Cove, before heading back along the coastal path. The inland path felt old and unchanged – the stiles between fields were still made of stone, and we passed an ancient monument en route – a Celtic cross tucked away in a corner of a field overlooking the sea and beyond.

We walked along sloe and blackberry-lined paths and across lush green fields, passing horses and flocks of birds en route before descending into Mullion village. From there we walked down into Mullion Cove itself.

We stopped at the little tea room - Porthmellin Café – for a cream tea overlooking the sea. It’s well worth a stop here if you’re visiting; think blue gingham tablecloths, a lovely Victorian fire place, yummy cakes under glass domes and plentiful tea, of course. It was great to sit in the warm for a while and listen to the gentle chatter of the other visitors.

Afterwards, with full stomachs, we walked around the harbour and looked out towards Mullion Island, home to large colonies of sea birds. We climbed up on to the headland and along the coast, taking in deep lungfuls of fresh air as we went, enjoying the sunshine on our faces.

Once up on the headland, it’s an easy, flat walk overlooking the sea back towards Lyonesse. We spotted a huge patch of sloes so we decided to collect them (using a bobble hat as a temporary bowl) to take home and make sloe gin with – a lovely reminder of our weekend away.

Back at the cottage, we weren’t in a hurry to leave as it was such a beautiful evening. We sat on the huge wooden bench in the garden, a real sun trap, drinking more tea and reading. With no traffic and just the sound of the birds and the distant sea, it was just perfect.

As we packed, we watched the glorious sunset and then saw the huge full moon rose overhead – a beautiful end to a wonderfully peaceful and relaxing weekend away – a home that will always have a special place in my heart.

Lyonesse sleeps six but offers a lower occupancy discount outside of peak periods. The ‘just for two’ discount is 40% whilst for four guests and under the discount is 20%.

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