Beautiful beaches, delicious seafood, quiet country lanes, abundant wildlife and a real-life garden paradise – Cornwall has so much to tempt us but why oh why is it so far away?

A trip down to the sunshine shores used to mean five hot hours in the car and, despite the delights that awaited, I no longer had the patience for it. But, joy of joys, a weekend jaunt to the land of pasties, clotted cream fudge and stunning scenery has been thrust back within my grasp thanks to a new flight route for 2015 from Stanstead to Newquay Cornwall Airport.

Quicker than a Cornish crab I had packed my bag and was boarding a little FlyBe plane with my boyfriend that whisked us down to the coast, ready to nourish body, mind and spirit. There is no complimentary food or drink on board but with a flight time of 90 minutes it hardly matters and we breezed through Newquay Airport and into the sunshine.

The Hertz office is right outside and with Cornwall proving tricky without a car, unless you plan on relaxing in one place or have plenty of cash to splash on taxis or coach trips, I’d recommend hiring one if you want to go exploring.

A 45-minute drive away we found our own little piece of paradise at the three-star Falmouth Hotel, a gorgeous Victorian building set right on the seafront. I headed straight to the spa and had my weekday worries pummelled away. My spirits lifted further when we saw our suite, which featured intricately scrolled furniture, plush velvet upholstery and stunning views of Gyllyngvase Beach.

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Falmouth Hotel

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Falmouth harbour

Falmouth is a lovely town in itself and an ideal base from which to explore the Fal River, which runs through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is home to many attractions such as Pendennis Castle.

That evening we happily spent a leisurely two hours in the restaurant as the lovely staff served up a selection of its award-winning food including fresh mussels, juicy pigeon, tender steak, crispy seabass with creamy risotto and a delicious deconstructed apple and salted caramel dessert.

Bodies sated, we returned to our room, ready to relax, but discovered our suite was right above the events room and we were kept awake until 1am by a karaoke party, so you’d be wise to enquire about anything similar when you make your booking.

We needed the energy the next morning for our expedition to the world-famous Eden Project, the main reason for our visit.

It took us 90 minutes to get to but there is a reason it is Cornwall’s biggest visitor attraction. What was once a disused clay pit is now a gorgeous global garden, bursting with life.

The Rainforest Biome has an abundance of exotic wildlife and we learnt about ornamental shrubs from west Africa, endangered plants from the Canary Isles, fig trees cultivated 7,000 years ago in Jericho and the medicinal properties of the Stinkwood tree. We discovered peeping lizards, learned about the lives of nomadic hunters from Malaysia and puffed ourselves out climbing to the top of the dome for an unmissable bird’s-eye view of the indoor waterfall.

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Eden Project's biomes. PHOTO by Adam Newson

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Inside one of the biomes. PHOTO by Adam Newson

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Birds and lizards are among the animals living in the biomes. PHOTO by Adam Newson

It felt like we had stepped through a magic portal as we strolled around the Mediterranean Biome along dusty paths, passed rainbow flowers, wild vines, age-old olives and opium poppies as birds flitted around us.

Eden also offers plenty more for every age with an outdoor garden, an events stage, zipwire and the Core, home to exhibitions, art, schools programmes and a play area. We felt like a modern-day Adam and Eve by hometime.

The only thing left to do was sit back and tuck into some heavenly fish and chips at Harbour Lights, a superb family-run restaurant overlooking Falmouth’s bustling harbour.

I almost floated home the next day, happy that England’s paradise really is now only a couple of hours away.

Flights from Stanstead to Newquay Cornwall Airport start from £29.99 one-way, including taxes and charges, and run once a day, seven days a week until September 29. Details:,