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Culture and cream teas…Cornwall in winter

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Uh-oh. The clocks go back this weekend, putting us on a collision course with winter 2010. So that’s it then – dark nights spent huddled in front of the TV as we wish the months away until it’s time to remember to put the clocks forward again. Not necessarily. If, unlike Wayne and Coleen, you can’t quite stretch to a six-star winter sun sojourn in Dubai but definitely need an escape before the festive season takes hold, may I suggest Cornwall.

OK, so the fact that it’s situated in the Gulf Stream doesn’t necessarily mean Cornwall’s weather will be on a par with the Gulf States. But the water’s warmer in the far west now than at any other time of year (perfect for surfing), the glorious beaches are unfettered by crowds and the scenery is simply spectacular. Take to a section of the South West Coast Path for gently undulating ambles – best planned around a pub lunch pit-stop (freshly baked pasty anyone?) – or simply potter at your own pace around pretty fishing ports, enjoying a glimpse of life led just that little bit slower…and so much better for it.

I have to confess to a particular penchant for south and west Cornwall – it’s where I spent my formative years and is still the place I bolt back to when it’s time for a break from city life. Here you’ll find an irresistible combination of culture – endless galleries to gaze upon in artists’ enclaves such as St Ives, Falmouth, Mousehole and Porthleven and a host of music and drama productions to enjoy, like Music at Tresanton in St Mawes. All interspersed by opportunities to top up your pre-Christmas calorie intake, of course, with cream teas, clotted cream fudge and saffron cake (resistance is futile!) before heading back to your cosy home-from-home, booked (we hope) through Classic Cottages.  Karen Carpenter

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