The Jewel in the English crown

Monday 6th Oct 2014 by

I have been fortunate enough to be based in the beautiful Duchy of Cornwall, rightfully referred to as the jewel of the English crown for the last few months and have enjoyed my stay immensely.

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There is so much to see and so much to do that I can hardly fit it all in an article, so on the Optical Express Magazine site this week, I’d like to point the attention to my most favorite places of all, or call it the jewel of the Cornish crown – Falmouth

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Falmouth is famous for it’s harbour, which rates third deepest natural harbour in the world,

it’s diverse maritime history – being the start and finishing point for various record breaking round-the-world voyages such of those of Sir Francis Chichester and it’s booming leisure and sailing industries.

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It’s a town that boasts a busy, colorful and forever lively main street, superb year round events and festivals, bustling café’s, many great bars and plenty of gourmet restaurants that can satisfy even the most refined pallet.

For such a small town it really has so much to offer, no wander it was voted the 5th best place to live in in the UK (according to the Sunday Times top 100 UK towns).

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Falmouth week – traditionally the busiest event of the year which runs from 6-13th of Aug culminates in a magnificent display by the Red Arrows – RAF’s premier acrobatic team, which has been demonstrating the excellence and capabilities of the Royal Air Force since 1965. People from all over Cornwall and the UK flock to Falmouth and the hills of Mylor to catch a glance of the acrobatic spectacular taking place over the maritime port.

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This year Falmouth also housed the famous Tall Ship Regatta. 46 Tall Ships from around the world arrive in Falmouth for three days of festivities, climaxing in a truly spectacular Parade of Sail that saw the ships being led off out of the harbor in a magnificent formation. It was an impressive event from start to finish that attracted over 70,000 visitors.

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The whole town was swarmed by color and song, complimented by the amazing aroma of street food, candy and ale. What a treat!

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What I like most about Falmouth though, apart from its great atmosphere is the opportunities it offers to local independent businesses to grow, establish themselves and truly shine. The Cornish people as a whole are very aware of the quality of produce that comes out of the region and really go out of their way to “buy local” and support the “small” folk.

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In the short time I’ve been here I’ve seen many start up businesses flourish, regardless hardship and the country’s economic crisis. The rule for success is rather simple here – support local businesses, involves the community, choose organic and have a smile on your face! There are more than a few that come to mind and are worth mentioning;

Stones – the best bakery in town by far (for sure the best sourdough bread I’ve tasted!), which has grown from a small market stall to a household name. Have your cake and eat it..

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Dolly’s Tea Room slash Wine bar slash Gin Parlor, a place where vintage glam meets candlelit romance, is an oasis of relaxation, live piano sounds and tasty wholesome food. Its shabby chick atmosphere is simply delightful, cocktails are served out of fine china teapots and the pearl wearing Labrador – Hebe, greets the incoming guests. Dolly’s holds regular themed dress-up events, Cabaret nights and Chef’s evenings that bring plenty of spice to Falmouth’s busy main street.

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Belly Timber – featuring Artisan pizzas made with the freshest, locally sourced ingredients, drawn by hand by skilled staff and baked to perfection in the only wood fired oven in Falmouth, that are certainly not to miss out on!

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Espressini – one of the top 50 independent coffee houses in the UK, a true coffee lover’s emporium, offering the best seasonal coffees from around the world and showcasing a special bespoke blend, created by the new kid on the block – Olfactory Coffee Roastery, situated just outside Falmouth in the historic town of Penryn.

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Head to Olfactory, where coffee becomes an experience, for a special “cupping” day.
You will learn about coffee, see green beans being roasted onsite and taste many different worldly blends.

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Angel from Olfactory explains how it all began: “For us, it all started with a cup of excellent coffee. Olfactory Coffee Roasters was established by a couple of coffee fanatics, who think and breathe good coffee. We wanted to create something amazing! With studying and utilizing the modern chemistry research of coffee and current trends, we roast our coffees so they taste delicious and memorable.”

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He goes on to talk about the importance of working with the local community
“We consider that the future of coffee will be in the hands of the dedicated ‘small guys’ who are keen to experiment and are not afraid to make mistakes. We are contemplating to work with people who see the importance and value in serving the best coffee possible. Our aim is to support and empower our local clients to make excellent coffee every day and be part of the Cornish ‘coffee awakening’ movement.”

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I have had a lot of great moments here and am very much looking forward to a final blast, just before I head up to Scotland – Falmouth’s famous yearly Oyster Festival. It’s a weekend long celebration (9-12th Oct) that marks the start of the oyster dredging season, paying a special homage to one of the last remaining traditional oyster fisheries that still dredge by sail and hand punt.

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If you haven’t visited Cornwall and Falmouth yet, there’s no time like now! Head over and enjoy 4 days of cookery demonstrations, plenty of oysters, Cornish seafood and ale, live music and boat races. There will be loads to see, do, hear and taste for kids and grown-ups alike! I will sure be here to explore and enjoy all the treats on offer.

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