Sunday, 18 July 2010

Henry's Campsite and The Lizard

Full of good food and good times it was time to leave Padstow for The Lizard Peninsular. Next stop was Henry's Campsite and again it wasn't entirely a coincidence that our destination was the location of what we hoped would be some more great food experiences.

This is not strictly a food post, but I make no apologies for that. It is more a dedication to a very special part of the world and what is now my favourite campsite ever.

The Lizard Peninsular juts out at the very bottom of the South West of England. It is definitely not a place you drive through; it is rather a journey’s end, a destination. Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, much of The Lizard is owned and managed by the National Trust. It is unique, unspoiled and stunningly beautiful; home to many of Britain’s rarest plants and wildlife, quaint harbours, fishing villages, rugged cliffs and beautiful coves.
Kynance Cove is one of the most picturesque with its brilliant turqouise water, white sand, headlands, caves and unexpected views.

Cadgwith Cove is an impossibly quaint village where you can buy fresh fish straight from the local fleet of fishing boats.

We stayed at Henry's Campsite for 4 blissful nights. It is idylic and magical - although I suspect it may be the case that you either "get" Henry's, or you don't. The fabulous weather probably helped, but we just got a feeling as soon as we arrived here that this is a very special place indeed.

The site is conveniently nestled right at the bottom of the peninsular in the Lizard Village (the southern most village in mainland Britain). It is literally within a minutes walk of the village green, shops and pubs, yet it is very tranquil and feels like a remote, secret hideaway. It is so quiet you can hear the waves crashing on the shore way below the cliffs and there is no light pollution so the night sky is bright with stars.

The main camping field is a quirky labyrinth of secluded pitches, laid out in separate bays and surrounded by amazing traditional Cornish stone walls and standing stones, most with panoramic sea views.

Henry's is more like a wild garden than a campsite. There is a profusion of colour: pretty native plants (grasses, flowers such as Campion & Foxgloves, trees and shrubs) grow amongst the stone walls and more unusual sub-tropical species give added interest. Flags, art and sculpture are everywhere and you can tell that a lot of hard work has gone into making this site what it is.

Although it is not a working farm, chickens have the run of the site and there are also pens of ducks and pigs.

Jo makes fresh scones every day and you can buy lovely hot coffee and even big jugs of cider.

The slightly ramshackle old farm buildings and higgledy-piggeldy unisex toilet facilities may not be to everyone's liking, but for me it all adds to the charm. If you like immaculate, shiny facilities you will be disappointed but they are generally kept clean and are more than adequate.

More to the point, the amenities are rendered largely irrelevant when faced with somewhere as amazing as this. More than anything Henry's is rich with a sense of place and somehow a certain integrity. Everything just feels right.

There are places you stumble upon every so often that stick in your memory and your consciousness. They are all too rare, but Henry's is definitely one of them. Places like this restore your faith in human nature, in life.

I left a piece of my heart at Henry's, but I know I'll be back for it soon.

You can keep the Maldives or the Caribbean, this is my slice of paradise. Just don't all rush down there because I want it to remain just the way it is.

Henry's Campsite
The Lizard, Helston, Cornwall, TR12 7NX

This post forms part of a series about our 2010 gastro camping trip in Cornwall.


  1. NOw that looks lovely - you guys have hit some wonderful-looking places in this trip!!

  2. Amaaaazing! This really had me hankering after a visit to Cornwall. The pasty shop post is brilliant too!

  3. Thanks guys! I am not sure my words really do this place justice - I could cry just thinking about it!

  4. Interesting... I was searching this info for my uncle. He will be happy for such a great info. Thanks for sharing...