When the mercury hits 40 degrees in the UK it feels like the climate is trying to tell us something. So instead of hopping on a plane for your summer holidays, keep your carbon emissions down by choosing a staycation. How about Cornwall by train – or, if you really want to go green, electric vehicle?
I took the Lexus UX300E down to Merchants Manor hotel in Falmouth for a sustainable break within walking distance to the town centre, station and some of the best beaches in the UK.
Gyllyngvase and Swanpoel beaches are both just a stroll away while in town you’ll find plenty of boutique clothing stores, art galleries and independent bakeries holding their own alongside some high street staples.
The hotel’s self-catering unit ‘Landlubber’ is all exposed wood and glass, with a patchwork of white and lime green tiling plus two ensuite bedrooms with walk-in showers and a private hot tub.
Children are banned – bliss – and the decking outside is the perfect spot to enjoy a warm summer’s evening while sipping on a glass of bubbly, which you’ll find in the generous welcome basket.
As well as the sparkling wine it’s stuffed with fresh scones, homemade bread, strawberries and crisps – all the food groups you need when you’re on holiday.
The beds have enough pillows to please a princess but before you fall into one for a nap after your 2pm check in, make sure you’re booked in for dinner at Rastella.
Head chef Aiden Blakely-May’s renowned seven course tasting menu is the reason why – at £59 it is a steal.
Kicking off with snacks of crispy monkfish, lime and coriander, plus Davidstow cheddar, onion and chives – imagine the most heavenly cheese and onion crisps you’ve ever had – the level of deliciousness never drops.
The pig belly with steamed greens and spring onion is another highlight, with that perfect crunchy-soft contrast and salty pork flavour.
The Chocolarder Ashaninka cremeux to finish is a chocolate mousse with a coffee centre and a dollop of yoghurt on top – that is as amazing as it sounds.
The service is fantastic and the staff really know what they’re doing and everything is fresh and locally sourced.
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Having pampered the taste buds, it’s the turn of the rest of your body at the Linen Room, where you can pick from a range of spa treatments.
Treatments start from £40 for a leg and foot energiser, the 60 minute full body or hot stone massages are both £70 – and there’s a men’s facial for the same price too.
The body massage is a rare treat and leaves you smelling of the oils for hours afterwards, which is a good thing because they smell terrific.
The Linen Room also boasts a swimming pool with jet bath area and a gym.
Lexus’s first fully electric car, the UX300E has an official range of 196 miles and having never driven an EV before, it’s an incredibly smooth ride.
Through no fault of the car however, covering the nearly 300 miles down to Falmouth in a fully electric vehicle was a challenge, with a five-hour journey on paper turning into a 10-hour one in practice.
A degree of planning was required given the present state of the UK’s infrastructure for electric vehicles.
Let’s hope there are a few more rapid chargers rolled out across the country when the Government’s proposed ban on the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars kicks in in 2030.
Apps like Zap Map help you find the nearest charger but you’ll often arrive and find it is already in use. You may find a free charger but it doesn’t work or requires you to download a specific app and load money onto it in order to start charging.
The only black mark against Merchants Manor is that they boast of having a rapid charger, only for it to be out of service when I was there.
Otherwise it’s full marks to Falmouth for the wonderful food, beautiful beaches and fab indie shopping.
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