Immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Explore the rugged coastlines of Cornwall, the subtropical allure of the Isles of Scilly, and the unique charm of Penzance. Experience the thrill of a helicopter journey to the Isles and the tranquillity of the English countryside. Dive into our enriching travelogues and captivating photography., "Nature",

In my usual ventures, I confess to a certain aloofness towards exploring the familiar landscapes of England. Indeed, my soul yearns for novelty, for a richness of experience that transcends the humdrum rhythm of the quotidian. England, despite being adorned with a myriad of delightful and intriguing locales, seldom offers the stark contrasts that satiate this thirst.
The majestic wilderness of Scotland has always provided a haven from the unyielding clamour of London. A visual symphony of soaring peaks and mirror-like lochs, this landscape is starkly different from the genteel urbanity of London. Yet lat
However, in a quest for uncharted territories and a dash of serendipity, this Easter found me captivated by the promise of Cornwall. This region, one of the six Celtic nations, an untouched chapter in my anthology of travels, intrigued me with two distinctive appeals.
Firstly, the Night Riviera Sleeper Train, one of only two of England's long-distance nocturnal rail services, drew my attention. This service offers an overnight journey from the throbbing heart of London to the tranquil western extremities of England. This was a journey not just across the length of the country, but a chance to traverse time, to witness England as it transforms from the bustling, cosmopolitan cityscape to the pristine coastline of Cornwall.
The Night Riviera Sleeper Train itself offers a unique travel experience, harking back to a genteel age. As night unfurls its darkened cloak over the countryside, one can retire to the comforts of a private cabin, awaking refreshed to the sight of Cornwall's breathtaking coastlines unfurling in the morning light. Cornwall's rugged coast stretches across a stunning 400 miles, a captivating patchwork of over 300 sandy beaches and dramatic cliffs, all interspersed by charming seaside towns.

The second allure of this journey was an opportunity to voyage even further afield, beyond the Cornish mainland. Off Cornwall's western shores lie the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago cradled by the Atlantic Ocean, serving as England's westernmost frontier. This cluster of over 140 islands, only five of which are inhabited, promises an exotic escape from the mainland. The remoteness of these islands bestows upon them a milder climate, a subtropical oasis, bringing with it the whispers of spring following a seemingly unending winter.
As I journey towards the quaint town of Penzance, the final stop on this grand sojourn, my heart flutters with anticipation. I envisage a few days' stay in a local inn, its cosy confines serving as a base for my explorations of the surrounding hamlets. There, I look forward to a jaunt to the Isles of Scilly, their distant allure drawing me ever westward, ever onwards towards the untamed splendour of the Atlantic Ocean.

To infuse a dash of exotic thrill into my journey, I sought ways to reach the Isles of Scilly that could elevate the experience beyond the ordinary. Traditional travel wisdom suggests embarking on a ferry ride from the vicinity of Penzance, a journey of approximately five hours. Although the islands appear tantalisingly close on the map, the ferry meanders leisurely along the coast, turning the short distance into a languorous voyage. 
An intriguing alternative that I couldn't resist was the idea of travelling by helicopter. The prospect of soaring through the skies, reaching the islands in a mere 20 minutes, while pricier, was a trade-off I was willing to make. This helicopter ride offered two-fold benefits. Firstly, it presented a unique opportunity, an airborne escapade  – an experience hitherto unfathomable in my lexicon of travels. Secondly, the expedited journey afforded me the luxury of time, enabling a morning arrival and an evening departure, effectively exploring the essence of the islands in a day.
Each island in the archipelago is a small gem in its own right, featuring a minimalistic transport network that lends them a unique charm. The main island, St. Mary's, where I decided to venture, sports a few roads. However, on the lesser isles, one might not encounter any traffic at all.
The Isles of Scilly, an archipelago off the Cornish coast, comprises a constellation of islands, with St. Mary's being the largest. An alternative choice, had I perused all the travel details beforehand, would have been Tresco, a neighbouring isle to which helicopters also fly. This island supposedly offers a similar experience at an equivalent cost. Yet, I had already committed to St. Mary's, trusting the two islands' experiences wouldn't vastly differ. Some reviews suggest Tresco offers a unique, almost subtropical sensation due to its lush vegetation. 
On the other hand, St. Mary's promises a quaint charm with its civilised infrastructure, albeit not so dissimilar from the Cornish mainland. Despite this, I yearned to unravel the mystery of the Isles of Scilly, eager to discern whether they held the exotic allure that the whispers of travellers suggested. Undoubtedly, the journey ahead promised a blend of anticipation and discovery, a thrilling foray into the unknown.

Having made my way to Penzance and settling into an authentic British B&B, I found myself in the quintessential English lodging. In England, accommodations often seem to fall short of what you might envision or desire, making the search for an ideal place a bit of a challenge. However, this time, I found solace in the familiar comforts of the quintessentially English B&B.
The cosy establishment, housed in a two-story dwelling, came equipped with all the necessary amenities. True to tradition, breakfast offered the classic English staples - an array of fried sausages and bacon that I passed over in favour of a wholesome omelette. Thus fortified, I didn't feel compelled to venture out in search of a local café.
My first day was dedicated to exploring Penzance. The weather was typical for England - not bad until it starts raining, and then there are occasional downpours. Despite this, the coastal town was pleasantly welcoming. A leisurely stroll along the beachfront was an ideal way to acclimate to the area and indulge in the quintessential British seaside experience - a serving of fresh fish and chips. The freshness of the fish, accentuated by the backdrop of the sea and the beach, offered an altogether different culinary delight than one might experience elsewhere. 
My itinerary for the following day included exploring another picturesque town, possibly more renowned and colourful - St Ives. So popular is this locale that, as per the news, the local administration has imposed restrictions on property purchases by non-locals. It appears that there are few places in England that offer such a cosy lifestyle and a vibrant resort-like ambience, creating a demand that outstrips the supply. As a result, the authorities have resorted to preserving the town for its residents, keeping the burgeoning tourism industry in check. 
Based predominantly on tourism, St Ives flourishes with a plethora of charming eateries and hospitality services, while the industry seems non-existent. Arriving there by bus, after about an hour's journey, I was instantly taken in by its charm. The large sandy bay was particularly attractive and I found myself mulling over where to direct my explorations next.
St Ives . Beach.
St Ives
St Ives . Harbour
As I ventured left along the beach road, crossing the town along the coast, I had to navigate several streams. At low tide, water was receding in some areas, flowing into small local streams that needed careful stepping over. My journey led me towards the rocky coastlines, revealing an incredibly wide panorama of the next beach teeming with windsurfers and other water sports enthusiasts. Some braved the cold water in their insulated rubber suits. A good part of my day was dedicated to roaming these rocky landscapes, enchanted by the views they offered. From the waves of the Atlantic down below to the picturesque bay and local buildings in the distance, the view was truly breathtaking. Especially captivating were the extensive sandy beaches where I spent most of the day.
The following day, after my exploration, I was scheduled to embark on a helicopter flight to the Isles of Scilly. This was an experience I was eagerly anticipating. The walk from my accommodation to the helipad took about 40 minutes, so I set off early in the morning around 8 a.m. The check-in process was far quicker than at a typical airport - you simply enter and wait with the other passengers. The helicopter had a small capacity, accommodating only around six passengers. After brief safety instructions, mainly concerning fastening seat belts, we were ready to board the helicopter.
The lift-off was smooth, more so than I had anticipated. Initially, I had harboured some expectations of an intense, roller-coaster-like experience, but it turned out to be surprisingly gentle. The sensation was almost like sitting in a stationary chair; even the minor tilt of the helicopter in the air was barely perceptible. Noise-cancelling headphones shielded us from the loud rotor sounds, making the experience similar to a regular plane ride. As we ascended, we flew over Penzance and further over the coastline, creating a spectacular view for us to enjoy.
The helicopter ride to St. Mary's only took about 15 to 20 minutes, significantly faster than by boat. The helicopter pad was situated close to the main airport, where small planes frequently landed. This was another option for reaching the Isles of Scilly, in addition to the boat and helicopter services. From a nearby airport in Penzance, light aircraft flights were available. However, this option was not convenient for me, as it would have involved navigating the complexities of English public transportation to reach the departure point.
The experience of flying in a helicopter was interesting, but it didn't provide an overwhelmingly new sensation. More than anything, it was the realization of being in a helicopter, the unique perspective it offered, that made it special. Naturally, a helicopter flies lower than an aeroplane, and this gives an opportunity for more detailed observation. As we hovered over the ocean, I could see the light reflections dancing on the water's surface, observe minute details of the landscape, and watch the coastline of Cornwall, washed by the Atlantic Ocean, curving along the landscape. This captivating view, coupled with the uniqueness of the transportation method, made the journey memorable.
Scilly Isles. St Mary.
The main idea was to go around the entire island, which was not a particularly challenging task, as the main road basically encircles it. I was transferred from the airport to a local town, where I had the chance to have breakfast at a local café. If desired, I could have also visited a supermarket.
Interestingly, the transfer driver mentioned that fresh goods were delivered to the island's shops only once a week, and it seemed that on this particular day, delivery had been made. Consequently, a long line of people with various bags had formed outside the store. This could have been a social event for them, a chance to catch up with neighbours, or simply an opportunity to replenish their groceries. It gave me a distinct impression of a rural atmosphere, a throwback to a bygone era of England that is now often only seen in movies about Sherlock Holmes.
These islands, being somewhat isolated from mainland England, seem to have retained more of their traditional character. They are less influenced by modern trends, commercialisation, and other aspects of a fast-paced lifestyle. There's a very pastoral, relaxed, rural vibe here. It feels like a time capsule that has preserved a slice of 'old, good England'.

Nevertheless, I certainly did not want to spend all day standing in line when I had limited time. My next flight, or more precisely, helicopter, was expected to depart around 3 p.m. Although I could have opted for a later flight, I chose the earlier one. I was unsure about the weather, but I was lucky as it turned out to be sunny for most of the journey. Over the four days,  only one was gloomy and rainy; the rest were surprisingly sunny.
With a map in hand, I set out to explore the island, looking at local bays and villages, and trying to find anything interesting. The vegetation on the islands is slightly different from what one finds in mainland England. It’s more subtropical, thanks to a slightly warmer climate. This gives me the impression of being transported a couple of weeks into the future compared to the rest of England, as the trees sprout leaves a few weeks earlier here.
In these villages, as well as in Cornwall, there are large fields of narcissus, their yellow blooms basking in the sunlight. I wonder why so many are planted. Perhaps it's an industry that later distributes them all over the country. But then, it's not clear why they bloom if they're not harvested. Perhaps the flowers are a side effect of their growth and the bulbs are the actual harvest. Either way, these fields of flowers certainly add to the scenic beauty of the area, even though it seems unusual to me.
Narcissus field

The road around Scilly Island meanders along the coast, occasionally diverting into more forested areas or onto country roads. Sometimes it plunges like a cork not too far into more beach-like areas with views of the distant neighbouring islands. I chose a spot to sit on the sand for an hour, not necessarily to sunbathe, but to let the first spring sunrays touch my skin and enjoy the sea view. After about an hour, I decided to continue on my journey because I didn't have much time.
The road again went through the rocks, sometimes it was more convenient to pass, and sometimes it was more monumental. At times, it was almost hidden from sight, but nonetheless, it was a fairly comfortable route. I managed to circle the island in time and arrived at the helicopter airport with some time to spare for my return journey.
On the flight back, I noticed many solitary lighthouses jutting out of the water. They oddly reminded me of the Loch Ness Monster, as if they were poking out of the water, observing the passing ships. Overall, it was a peaceful day. Perhaps I could have planned it differently, maybe spend a couple of days on the island, stay in a hotel, and explore more. Maybe I could have even taken a boat to another island. But given the planning and parameters I had, I think everything went pretty well. It was an interesting new experience to see the Scilly Islands, a place I had heard and thought about many times but had never actually managed to visit.

On the third day of my stay in Cornwall, the weather started to turn, and the once comfortable strolls along the promenade no longer seemed as inviting. So, I decided to venture out and visit an intriguing site - The Minack Theatre. It's approximately an hour's bus ride away. Not exactly nearby, but it seemed closer in the context of the overall journey.
The Minack Theatre is an open-air theatre, carved out of the rocky seashore. Staircases and seating spaces are etched into the rock, providing a space to watch performances, reminiscent of the ancient theatres of Greece. On a good weather day, this place is majestic and beautiful.
However, with worsening weather and the theatre's rugged stone steps, getting there was a bit of a challenge. And unfortunately, without a ticket, my visit was more of an exterior exploration. I could only imagine the magic of watching a performance unfold against the backdrop of the sea.
To my disappointment, the intensifying wind stirred up the sea, the waves crashing harder and louder. It was a raw, untamed spectacle, a far cry from the calm of the Mediterranean. Yet, in its own way, it was a captivating sight, a demonstration of nature's unfettered power.

On my last day in Cornwall, I had a five-hour train ride back. But before the train departure, I had some time to spare after checking out of my B&B. I spontaneously decided to visit the Eden Project, about an hour away from Penzance. To maximize my time, I bought an additional ticket to the site and planned to catch my train later in the evening.
Upon arrival at the station, it wasn't clear how to get to the Eden Project using public transport. Evaluating the distance, I realized it was about an hour's walk. Not wanting to deal with additional transport uncertainties, I decided to go on foot.
The Eden Project is an impressive site, perhaps more enticing in photos than in reality. It's a vast complex of biomes or 'greenhouses', each representing different ecosystems. The two main biomes are tropical, where you can wander and immerse yourself in a pseudo-jungle environment, observing various fruits and plants, and even an installation of a waterfall.
While interesting, the biomes are quite small compared to the overall vastness of the Eden Project. To reach and explore them, you have to navigate through countless paths and turns. It takes much longer to get to the biomes than you actually spend inside them.
Two-thirds of the Eden Project seemed to be filled with restaurants and souvenir shops, pushing its primary objective as a botanic garden to the background. Despite not being overly crowded, there were long queues for these establishments, which seemed inefficiently managed. It felt very commercial, and for children, while it might have been entertaining, I couldn't shake off the feeling that the commercial aspects outweighed the educational ones.
Overall, the Eden Project didn't feel like it was worth the effort to get there, the ticket price, or the time spent. However, given that I had time to spare before my train, it wasn't the worst idea to kill time there.
There were other smaller exhibits, which didn't hold much interest for me. It felt like the space wasn't effectively used - it could have had a more scientific basis instead of the commercial attractions.
On a positive note, the weather had improved on the last day, and visiting this well-known botanical garden wasn't a total loss. After the visit, it was time to catch the 4 pm train back to London. Although I returned with a sense of fatigue, the memories from the trip were indeed enriching.
In retrospect, the highlight was probably St. Ives, with its calm, old-English atmosphere. If I had to do it all over again, I'd have spent more time there, soaking in the tranquil surroundings, the Atlantic ocean views, and the subtropical vegetation that oddly coexisted. Also, the helicopter ride was an interesting experience that I wouldn't forget.
Even though some parts of the trip were underwhelming, none of it went unnoticed. Each place has its unique charm and contributes to the overall experience in its own way.

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