This is how the bucolic Cornish villages are where the G7 leaders meet

J. F. Alonso



The coast of Cornwall, in the extreme southwest of England, tastes of the sea and fishing villages, well-preserved coastline, wild beaches and a great hiking trail (South West Coast Path) between cliffs and the countryside. There they are, so close to each other, Carbis Bay and St Yves, Cornwall’s most bohemian town, full of studios, workshops and art galleries. This is the bucolic setting chosen this time for the G7 summit.

St Ives, just a mile from Carbis Bay
St Ives, just two kilometers from Carbis Bay – Adrian DENNIS / AFP

Between St Yves and the spa town of Carbis Bay are the Tregenna Castle, a hotel with a golf course where the world’s leaders will stay, and the Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate, the main venue of the meetings, the same place where a century ago he spent one of his summers Virginia Woolf (1882-1941). In the background is the Godrevy Lighthouse. The writer spent time in this area for several years, in Lelant, the parish of Zennor – with its little more than 200 inhabitants – or in Carbis Bay and St. Ives, now in the focus of today, and traditionally a destination chosen by the upper classes, by writers and artists.

This rugged Cornish coastline wants to take advantage of the visit of the G7 to show the world its landscapes and its villages, such as Port Isaac, Padstow o Polperro. It is one of those places that seem designed to go slowly, by car and then walking, or vice versa, with several days ahead. Now you can even eat well: 40 Cornish restaurants are listed in the Michelin Guide 2021.

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A possible itinerary – of just over a hundred kilometers – could take us from Newquay (where the airport is) to Polperro, Fowey, the Eden Project complex (an impressive project / complex of nature and culture) and St Austell, one of the most large (22,000 inhabitants) of Cornwall where the Lost Gardens of Heligan are, very popular in the United Kingdom.

Tregenna Castle, one of the G7 summit lodges
Tregenna Castle, one of the G7 summit lodges – Tregenna Castle

Of course we could also leave Austell to visit Falmouth, Marazion and Penzance. And stop at St Michael’s Mount, of course. The tide, capricious in this part of the world, means that sometimes the place can be accessed on foot, and sometimes by boat from the small dock of Marazion. This imposing fortress was born as a Benedictine monastery in the 8th century, passed into the hands of Colonel John St Aubyn in 1659. To this day, the St Aubyn still reside there temporarily, between museum-worthy rooms and breathtaking viewpoints.

Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate
Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate – Carbis Bay

Another day of sightseeing should lead us to Teatro Minack. It is difficult to imagine how in the 1930s, the strong will and love for culture of one woman, Rowena Cade, managed to have the hard rock of a spectacular cliff face hewn to create the stands and stage of a theater. Shakespeare plays, concerts, dance, monologues and other events have been performed here every summer since then, with a striking landscape in the background.

There are still more routes that we can consider. Like the one that could go from Newquay to Padstow, Port Isaac, Tintagel Castle and Bedruthan Steps, to return to Newquay. A short distance from Port Isaac are indeed the ruins of the tintagel castle, with its mythological secrets from Arthurian legends. According to the myth, in this castle Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, hid his wife, Igraine, who was the object of desire on the part of Uther Pendragon, Arthur’s father. Surrounded by the sea on all sides, the fortress of Tintagel was impregnable. Desperate, Uther turned to the magic of Merlin, who, by means of a spell, gave him the appearance of Gorlois. Thus disguised, he entered the castle and made love to Igraine, conceiving Arturo.

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The vacation plan must also include a walking route through the Sendero de la Costa Sudoeste (South West Coast Path), the longest in the UK: 1,014 km from Minehead in Somerset along the Devon and Cornish coast to Poole Harbor in Dorset. It is an itinerary recognized by hiking enthusiasts around the world. And one detail: the Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate has direct access to the road. The origin of the route is in the path that the coast guards used to patrol the coast and reach all the places where there could be contraband.

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