The Prime Minister chose Cornwall as the finest place in the UK in which to entertain the most prominent world leaders. If you want to follow in their footsteps, try these highlights from their itinerary.
So many important discussions took place here, from climate change to global vaccination targets. So where exactly is it? Right next to St Ives on the Atlantic Coast, all golden sands and cerulean seas, against which world leaders took a socially distanced photo-call. Top tip: avoid the crush by taking the train, switching from the mainline to the St Ives Bay branch line at St Erth.
Sadly, a scheduled trip here had to be postponed due to that Cornish phenomenon known as “mizzle” – light but extremely wet rain accompanied by dense mist. This historic island-based castle features in many signature shots of Cornwall. The home of the St Aubyn family since the 14th century, a large part of the island and a fund for its upkeep was given to the National Trust in 1954. Low tide reveals a cobbled causeway, enabling visitors to cross on foot at low tide to discover the castle and its subtropical grounds, which are tended by abseiling gardeners. If the tide comes in, fear not, boats run regularly to and from the pretty village of Marazion, worth a visit in its own right for its galleries and sweeping beaches.
World leaders convened with the Royal Family at this eco-visitor attraction, one of Cornwall’s most popular destinations. In 2000, a disused china clay quarry was transformed with space-age architecture and a vision for a sustainable planet – where better for the Prince of Wales to present his own hopes for tackling global warming? The Rainforest and Mediterranean biomes showcase global habitats, and also provide the backdrop for world-famous musical acts (the current season includes Bryan Adams, Lionel Richie and Diana Ross). There’s always something fun and different going on, from educational activities to ice skating and Father Christmas in residence.
When delegates tucked into dinner at the Eden Project, they were tasting the talents of French-trained chef Emily Scott. Having settled in Cornwall, Emily plied her trade at the St Tudy Inn, and now has a restaurant on the beach at north coast surfers’ paradise Watergate Bay. She’s a big fan of local fish, and the star of her Eden menu was turbot roasted on the bone with Cornish new potatoes and wild garlic pesto, accompanied by greens from Padstow Kitchen Garden. Emily Scott Food serves lunch and supper from Tuesday to Saturday, with a menu focused on local meat, fish and seafood from Cornish waters. She recently published her debut cookbook, Sea & Shore.
Porthcurno. On Saturday, local schoolchildren performed a piece about plastic pollution to an unexpectedly eminent audience including US First Lady Dr Jill Biden. A theatre built into the cliff-side at the ends of the earth, this jaw-dropping feat of architecture is all the more impressive when you consider that it was built by wiry spinster Rowena Cade and her ageing gardener. Situated down a winding country lane and overlooking one of Cornwall’s most beautiful coastal stretches, this is a magical theatre experience, presenting everything from Shakeapeare to West End musicals and top-notch community theatre productions. Expect to be distracted by glorious sunsets and pods of dolphins; sometimes, even the players admit defeat and press pause to enjoy nature’s offerings.
On Saturday night, the PM’s wife Carrie Johnson hosted a sumptuous barbecue on the beach at Carbis Bay, with a quintessentially Cornish menu including Curgurrell Crab Claws, Newlyn lobster, Portscatho Mackerel and St Just purple sprouting broccoli. The man behind the culinary magic was Simon Stallard of The Hidden Hut in Porthcurnick, on the Roseland peninsula. The Hut was among the first to launch the phenomenon of the feast night – bring your own plate and take a seat at a long table for a big pan dinner. It might be hidden geographically, but word has spread sufficiently for these events to sell out within minutes of tickets going on sale, so be prepared to book early and join a waiting list. While you’re there, explore the verdant Roseland, from the intriguing round houses of Veryan to picture-postcard harbours such as Portloe and Portscatho.