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More things to know about the Portuguese man-o-war

More Portuguese man-o-war have washed up on beaches along the coast of Cornwall in what experts say is the biggest stranding since 2012 and Perranporth beach was temporarily closed after large numbers of the creatures appeared there.

Their long blue/purple tentacles can give a painful sting which in extremely rare cases can be fatal, said the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

Where does the name come from?

The name comes from the shape of the sail which, when it is inflated, looks like an 18th Century Portuguese battle ship.

Is it true that vinegar will help the pain like jellyfish stings?

There's been all sorts of debate but the most recent scientific research has come from National University of Ireland who concluded that the best way to treat a sting is to wash the area in vinegar before removing the tentacles with tweezers and then bathing the affected area in warm water of about 45 degrees for 45 minutes.  Lifeguards in Australia have vinegar at their disposal to treat stings.

What makes the venom fatal?

The venom contains a combination of amino acids unique to the man-of-war. It is used to paralyse small fish as its prey.  The sting induces acute pain and leaves red welts on the skin.  If someone has an allergic reaction or an existing condition it can cause fever, shock and affect the heart and lung functions, although this is extremely rare.

How do they reproduce?

A man-of-war is a siphonophore - a type of an animal that is made up of a colony of organisms working together.
They have sex organs called gonozooids which can be either male or female.  They release their sperm and eggs into the sea where they meet up and fertilise.  These create floating larvae which grows a colony of four types of polyps - the float, the sting, the reproductive cells and the digestive system.

What do they eat?

It's thought the larvae feed on plankton and when they are fully developed they catch baby fish and small adult fish. 
There are some small fish species which live among the tentacles and are covered in a mucus which protects them from the sting.  It is thought that the man-of-war provide shelter for the fish species that live among the tentacles thaht attract larger fish which become prey.

Do they live on their own or in groups?

These are solitary animals. They don't shoal or swarm.  The reason they get together is because they travel in the water whichever way the wind blows.

Beware the Portuguese man o' wars washing up on Cornish shores

Menacing Portuguese man o' wars are invading Britain's beaches with record numbers washing up on the Cornish coast.  The Cornwall Wildlife Trust said there had been 144 sightings in the last three days, beating the previous record of 40 recorded in 2000 and 2009.
The man o' war has long tentacles that can cause a painful sting and be fatal in extremely rare cases. They normally live far out in the ocean, but with the recent hot spring weather and strong westerly winds there are worries that larger than usual numbers are drifting towards UK holiday beaches.

The ‘jellyfish’, with poisonous tentacles reaching out an incredible 160ft (49 metres), lurk inches below the surface and just one sting can leave a swimmer in agony and even kill a small child.  However, the stings are incredibly rare and the man o' war is actually a beautiful life form, wonderfully adapted to life in the open ocean, and are only usually seen in extremely rare cases on our shores.

The Portuguese man o' war are ocean-going animals, propelled by the wind on their inflatable sail as they fish the depths with their stinging tentacles.  It's the tentacle-like polyps that can give an agonising sting.

Because a stranded Portuguese man o' war looks a bit like a deflating purple balloon with blue ribbons attached, children will find it fascinating.  So, if you're visiting west coast beaches in the next few weeks it's well worth making sure you know what these animals look like so that no one picks them up.

11 Places in Cornwall for coffee lovers

Stopping for a good coffee is a treat that many of us enjoy and a great way to re-charge the batteries.  Here are eleven highly recommended coffee shops for you to visit whilst mooching around Cornwall.

These coffee shops are listed in no particular order and equally worth a try!

1) The Sorting Office, St Agnes

Originally occupied as a sorting office since 1902, this interesting building in the heart of St Agnes has been transformed into a stylish and characterful coffeehouse. The interior design pays homage to The Sorting Office’s history with a slight postal theme combined with some seriously cool industrial chic. As well as offering locally sourced artisan coffee, expect freshly baked cakes and pastries alongside other nutritious and delicious goodies.

2) Bellinis Italian Café, Bude

Bellinis Italian Café serve their signature Rainforest certified house coffee “Blend 24” on a daily basis alongside a regularly changing guest coffee as well as a Swiss water decaf coffee. This place is all quality products and an informal and relaxed atmosphere. There are no fancy gimmicks, just good coffee served exactly how you like it. If you’re a syrup fan, they stock a range of about 20 flavours from vanilla and hazelnut to pumpkin spice and Eggnog!

3) Jam Records, Falmouth

Combining all of our favourite things, Jam Records is the place to go to peruse CDs, DVDs, books and vinyls while sampling some exceptional coffee, roasted by Hands-On Coffee in Wadebridge. Bob is in charge of meeting and greeting (he might be a dog but he has some seriously good social skills) and if he could work a phone, we’re told he would handle the social media too. This cool, independent coffee bar and record shop has been open since 2003 and like a good wine – or an incredible track, it just seems to get better and better with time.

4) 108 Coffee House, Truro

Truro’s first speciality coffee shop, 108 Coffee House was established in 2011 to bring the best coffee to the city. Inspired by the culture in Sydney, where coffee is central to every day life, you can expect an ever-changing range of coffees alongside incredible homemade cakes. We think that they serve the tastiest banana bread in Cornwall – just go and try it.

5) Duckies, Hayle

Duckies Cafe & Deli in Hayle, taken over in May last year by Mike Watton, has already received glowing reviews from locals and holidaymakers alike. Known for excellent take away coffee (and drink in!), homemade hearty meals and a friendly chat, it will soon become your favourite pit stop in the town. Based at the Old Foundry Chapel, offering 20 independent businesses all under one roof, it would be rude not to treat yourself to a bit of shopping while you’re there!

6) Liberty Coffee, Launceston

Ben Statton founded Liberty Coffee in 2012 with an aim to invigorate customers’ tastebuds with the best speciality grade, single origin coffee he could get his hands on. Located just around the corner from Launceston high street, here coffee is treated as a highly specialised product and you can try a wide and diverse range of expertly roasted coffees all year round. Take our word for it, it’s a coffee lovers dream.

7) Whiskers, Newquay

Unique, independent and oozing with fun, Whiskers has gained a reputation for serving delightful coffee in a cosy setting. By night, the coffee shop transforms into a quirky locals’ chill out bar with excellent live music and DJ events three times a week. Owing its existence to owners Nicole and JG’s two adored cats, Orla and Nibbles, expect to be surrounded by a collection of interesting and unusual cat paraphernalia. The overall effect is crazy cat woman meets eclectic seasoned traveller and gives birth to coffee loving, happy music baby – with that vivid description, you sort of have to pay them a visit!

01637 498 100

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8) Strong Adolfos, Wadebridge

Bringing the Swedish coffee culture of “fika” to Cornwall, Strong Adolfos is all about enjoying excellent coffee with something devilishly indulgent and sweet. With cakes and desserts that look like works of art, you’ll want to visit this eclectic and colourful café over and over again. Producing fresh food oozing with creativity, the fabulous coffee is just the tip of the iceberg.

9) The Exchange, Penzance

After closing for a refresh over winter, the cafe at The Exchange has reopened its door for a fresh new feel. Peruse the gallery and then relax and watch the world go by with a delicious mug of locally roasted coffee and a slice of their scrumptious home-made cake.

10) The Coffee Lounge, St Ives

Whether you want to sit in the stylish premises or take away a cup as you wander around picturesque St Ives, The Coffee Lounge promises coffee made with care and a smile. Supplied by Penryn-based roastery, Olfactory, their wonderful coffee beans are ground to order and the result is a mighty fine brew.

11) The Brew House, Porthleven

Responsibly sourced. Great tasting. Freshly roasted to order. The Brew House is Origin Coffee Roaster’s own flagship coffee shop in the heart of Porthleven. With every sip of this divine coffee you know that it has guaranteed farmers, workers and the environment a fair deal. Head there for a coffee experience like no other; we’ve actually experienced black forest gateau in a cup! This little gem reopens on 19th March 2016 so get your reusable coffee cups at the ready.

Gardens and houses in Cornwall

Cornwall is everyone’s favourite destination for gardens which are at their best in the springtime and early summer when Camellias, Magnolias and Rhododendrons begin to flower.

The weather in Cornwall is mild and wet in winter, and warm in summer with a little more rain than the rest of the country which goes a long way in helping our wonderful gardens. We have suggested some of our favourite gardens below to help you make the most of your visit to Cornwall.

The Eden Project

One of the UK’s most popular garden conservation tourist attractions. With its world famous architecture and its global gardens, the Eden Project makes a great day out whatever the weather.

In addition to the amazing Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes, about three quarters of the Eden Project’s planting is based outside in thirteen hectares of grounds.

The Eden Project has gardens that change from season to season providing horticultural attractions for visitors all year round.

For more information about events see their website

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

This award-winning garden restoration is well worth a visit and caters well for families of all ages.

The Lost Gardens are open every day, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, for your enjoyment and exploration.
It is one of the most unique and fascinating places to visit in Cornwall, with an incredible 200 acres of gardens and estate awaiting your exploration.

For more information about events see their website

Pencarrow House and Gardens

Friendly family home privately owned by the Molesworth-St Aubyn family which is set in 50 acres of formal and woodland gardens. Ideal for families and dog owners.

The gardens are open daily from 1st March to 31st October from 9.30am until 5.30pm, and the house, which is open Sundays to Thursdays from 11am to 5pm, can be visited by guided tour only with the last tour of the house departing at 3pm.

The Pencarrow estate features a mile long drive through an Iron Age Fort, flanked by huge rhododendrons, blue hydrangeas and specimen conifers.

The house itself is Georgian with a superb collection of pictures, furniture, porcelain and some antique dolls. The garden is Grade II listed. Sir Arthur Sullivan stayed here in 1882 and composed the music for ‘Iolanthe’. You can enjoy marked walks through beautiful woodland gardens, past a Victorian rockery, Italian and American gardens, lake and ice house.

For more information about events see their website

Lanhydrock House & Gardens

A large late Victorian country mansion home with extensive grounds over the river Fowey.  It is now under the management of the National Trust.

This is a very popular attraction and offers a two hour tour through 50 rooms in the house.

For more information about events see their website

Trebah Gardens

Trebah is Celtic for ‘The House on the Bay’.

The Gardens have origins dating back to the Doomsday Book and were first laid out as a 26 acre pleasure garden by Charles Fox.

For more information about events see their website

Trevarno Gardens & the National Museum of Gardening

Over 70 acres of enchanting gardens and grounds featuring one of Cornwal’s largest and most divere plant collections set within magnificent formal, informal and woodland areas.

The gardens include numerous specimen shrubs and trees, a stunning bluebell valley, ornamental lake with picturesque Victorian Boathouse and formal cascade, Sunken Italian Garden, Serpentine Yew Tunnel, extensive Pinetum, Bamboo collection, atmospheric Rockery and Grotto, the Great Lawn and Summer Terrac plus many other interesting features.

Following Cornwall’s successful application during 2006 to become recognised and listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Trevarno Estate has been selected as an official World Heritage Site visitor attraction.

For more information about events see their website

Trewithen Gardens

An historic private estate boasting one of the loveliest gardens in England.

It has a magnificent collection of camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias, it has wonderful woodland walks and a heritage family home.

For more information about events see their website

Mount Edgcumbe Gardens

One of only three Grade I listed gardens in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and the only one open to the public all year round.

It has over 7 acres of beautifully maintained gardens set in the dramatic landscape of the Rame Peninsula on the 865 acre estate.

For more information about events see their website

Lamorran House Gardens

Lamorran is said to be the most northerly Palm Garden in the world having over 35 species of palms with over 200 specimens.

The Garden is laid out in Mediterranean style with many streams, bridges and water features.

For more information about events see their website

Bonython Estate Gardens

Situated on the Lizard Peninsula, the Gardens have been recently remodeled.  They include a contemporary water feature around the delightful Georgian Manor, an eighteenth century Walled Garden with colour-themed herbaceous borders, a Potager with picking flowers and ornamental vegetables and Orchard filled with Cornish apple trees, through parkland to a series of small lakes in a sheltered valley.

For more information about events see their website

Tresco Abbey Garden

Located on the Isles of Scilly, the Garden has plants from five different continents under the influence of a Mediterranean and maritime climate.

Day trips are available by sea and by helicopter from Penzance and the gardens are open all year round.

For more information about events see their website

Japanese Garden

Located near Newquay. The Japanese Garden & Bonsai Nursery is an authentic Japanese garden with many of the traditional features. Not a large garden but an enjoyable change of pace.

For more information about events see their website

Trelissick Garden

Trellissick National Trust. South of Truro so about an hour and a half, or for a change of pace take the ferryboat from Truro or Falmouth. You walk the steep path from the river jetty and enjoy parkland and gardens with views up the River Fal to Carrick Roads

For more information about events see their website

Say cheers to beer on Britain's annual national beer day!

Hello Beer Lovers – welcome to Britain’s national beer day held annually on June 15th. Please join us to celebrate Britain’s national alcoholic drink and help us spread beery love throughout the land.

This year (2017), we are working with the national beer organisation ‘There’s a Beer For That’ to extend Beer Day Britain into a long weekend called ‘Say Cheers To Beer’ ending on Father’s Day June 18th.  Pub companies and brewers across the land have signed up to host a variety of beer related events in their pubs and breweries.   Discover which pubs and breweries are hosting events by downloading the free smart phone app Wotzon.

National Cheers To Beer

Please join us by raising a glass of beer and saying ‘Cheers to Beer’ on June 15th at 7pm (19.00) and post a message and photo on social media with the hashtag #CheersToBeer so we can trend on Twitter as was done in previous years.

Why is Beer Day Britain on June 15th?

Beer Day Britain is on June 15th and that is also the date Magna Carta was sealed in 1215. Article 35 of the great charter stated:

Let there be throughout our kingdom a single measure for wine and a single measure for ale and a single measure for corn, namely the London quarter.

Ale was so important in England in 1215 that it was mentioned in one of the most significant legal documents in history. Today beer and pubs are still central to British life.

Poldark Series 3 hits the screens this weekend

Poldark’s third series hits screens this weekend, and as before, most of the action of the beloved BBC drama takes place against the backdrop of Cornwall’s breathtaking coastline and moors.  From historic mines being used for Ross’s struggling business to sandy beaches used as a backdrop for Demelza, the popular drama showcases Cornwall’s spectacular landscape.

Poldark’s Wheal Leisure Mine exterior shots were filmed at the stunning Botallack Mine, which is a National Trust site near St Just on the Penwith Peninsula.  In particular, Wheal Owles and the iconic Crowns engine houses on the clifftop were used for the struggling mine, meanwhile interior scenes were shot at Poldark Tin Mine.

Wheal Owles was used in real life as a mine in the 1850s, and workers were tasking with extracting tin and minerals from its depths.  Tragedy struck in 1893 when a flood water trapped a young boy and 19 men underground.
Their bodies were never recovered from the mine, which shut following the incident.

If you want to catch a glimpse of Ross and Demelza’s quaint stone farmhouse, you’ll have to travel to the village of St Breward. 

If you are looking for the slightly grander Trenwith mansion, where Elizabeth resides, you’ll need to venture outside of Cornwall, as scenes were filmed at the stunning Chavenage House in Gloucestershire.

Described by many as being a paradise, Porthcurno was used for the fictional Poldark land of Nampara Cove.  The historic engines housed along the cliffs of St Agnes Head were chosen to also be part of Poldark’s family estate of Nampara Valley.

Many of the panoramic scenes that show countryside were filmed on the rugged and dramatic Bodmin Moor.

The area of Charlestown near St Austell doubles up as Cornwall’s city of Truro.  Its has a Grade II Listed harbour, which features numerous Tall Ships and is famed for its traditional appearance.  As well as being the backdrop for Truro, it is also is the setting for Falmouth, where Captain Andrew Blamey lived and where he eloped with Verity Poldark.

Remember the scene where a chiselled Poldark stripped off and went for a swim in the sea?  The once-thriving fishing cove of Porthgwarra was used for the spot, and was filmed from the cliffs above as Demelza watched his dip.
Porthgwarra was also used for the tunnel to the place that Ross kept his boat that was used by Mark Daniels when he escaped capture for the accidental killing of his wife, Keren.  The cove is flanked by beautiful grassy dunes which are a haven for wildflowers and varied bird life.

While Owles and Crowns near Botallack were used for Ross Poldark’s Wheal Leisure, cameras headed to Levant Mill for the fictional Tressiders Rolling Mill.  The spectacular historic landmark is owned by the National Trust, just like Wheal Owles.  The towering cliffs amplified the danger of the coastal mining locations in the drama.

Viewers may recall the dramatic episode when Ross and his comrades went plundering washed up treasure and goods from a shipwreck at night.  Church Cove along the Lizard Peninsula was used for the scene.  The cove was named after a 5th-century church hidden in the cliffs on the north side of the beach.

What is going to happen in series three?
Series three has a fantastic array of new characters and a story which scales new heights of conflict, feuding, passion and drama.  “Ross is older but not necessary wiser, and his recklessness sometimes costs him, and his loved ones, dear. The first two seasons adapted two books each but season three will be based on Winston Graham’s The Black Moon, and the first half of The Four Swans.  The new season will see Poldark “traverse new family, new loves and new battles, as the French revolution casts a shadow over life in Cornwall”.

7 Wonderful Cornish Gins to try on World Gin Day 10 June 2017

It's World Gin Day today (Saturday, June 10) so what better time to try the number of superb gins created locally in Cornwall?

In fact, Cornwall is so gin-soaked it is even responsible for the best gin in the world. Tarquin's Cornish Navy Seadog Gin was awarded Best Gin at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017 – the Oscars of the spirits world.

If that wasn't enough there are even gins flavoured with the taste of Cornwall - clotted cream and samphire.

Here is our pick of the Cornish gin makers.


Produced by the Southwestern Distillery at St Ervan near Wadebridge, Tarquin's was the first gin made in Cornwall for over a century.

A contemporary take on a classic London Dry, they use fragrant handpicked Devon violets and fresh orange zest to deliver an aromatic sensation unlike any other.

Cornish Navy Seadog Gin was awarded Best Gin at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017 while the company has just produced a new gin, the limited edition Beachcomber gin, which captures the essence of the wild and rugged coastline surrounding the luxurious hide-away of Hell Bay Hotel, on Bryher in the Isles of Scilly. It is flavoured with locally foraged seashore botanicals, kombu (also known as kelp) and red dulse seaweed.


Elemental is produced in small batches, handcrafted in a traditional copper still using locally sourced Cornish spring water and a closely guarded list of twelve of the finest botanicals sourced from around the world.

Elemental Cornish Gin is a family company based near St Columb, masterminded by Jon and Jilly with the help of their two eldest children Alice and Jeremy.


The spirits company, based at Mullion, produces a four-times distilled Rock Samphire gin capturing the light, fresh sea spray and wild aromas of the Cornish coast.

Hand foraged on the local clifftops, the rock samphire gin is blended with fragrant botanicals and distilled in small batches, for exceptional quality and a delicately smooth gin. They recommend trying it neat with just ice and a garnish. Though, today of all days, you can add some tonic.


The Wrecking Coast Gin, made in Tintagel, is distilled with a particularly Cornish ingredient. The addition of fresh clotted cream to the distillation adds a smooth and velvety texture, creating a rich mouth-feel. Initial sweet vanilla aroma is well balanced with perfumed stone fruit and coriander seed, with a lingering butterscotch character providing extra length.

On the palate, the additional botanicals become even more striking; camomile flower creates a floral and aromatic feel to the gin, which is well balanced with more subtle cinnamon and cassia bark. The alcohol is slightly higher than your average gin, but is expertly integrated with the velvety texture from the clotted cream. Even with tonic, the warming alcohol contributes delicate pear drop and green apple notes.


Trevethan Gin is a quality handmade gin created near Landulph using a traditional family recipe perfected in the 1920s by Norman Trevethan.

The recipe includes the usual suspects of juniper, coriander, cassia and angelica along with some less familiar botanicals like cardamom, orange peel, lemon peel and vanilla. Finally, it is finished off with the finest Cornish elderflower and gorse flower, handpicked from the hedgerows of Trewonnard Dairy Farm in Treneglos.


Stafford's Gin and Aval Dor Vodka are products of five generations of farming history. The family moved to Colwith Farm near Fowey from Lanlivery way back in 1904 and have farmed the soils ever since.

The gin is infused with delicate selection of botanicals foraged on the farm including lemon balm, rosemary and bay in addition to juniper, coriander, lime zest, almond and macadamia sourced from much further afield. Stafford's Gin is an exquisitely distinctive, citrusy gin which makes a sublime G&T.


Inspired by the Cornish sea and countryside, the Caspyn range of gins are floral and crisp; its summer cup embraces the summer sunshine and its whiskey (when it comes) will keep you toasty on those cold winter nights.

The Cornish dry gin and Midsummer gin are created by Pocketful of Stones on Long Rock Industrial Estate in Penzance. Every bottle sold sees a donation to Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

Royal Cornwall Show 2017

There’s something for every member of the family at the Royal Cornwall Show that takes place over the 8th, 9th and 10th of June 2017.

It’s the county’s biggest annual event and is brim-full of exhibits and activities which offer so much in the way of entertainment, competition, information, shopping and all that’s best in food and farming.

It's a time and place to meet old friends, conduct business, enjoy Cornwall in all its glory and to welcome thousands of visitors from outside our county.

This is the show's 223rd year and the aim is to showcase what's the best for agriculture, tourism, the economy, the environment as well as what's good for the soul!

This is a top agricultural show which attracts increasing numbers of animals, entered into the hundreds of classes which are refined each year. And year on year people travel from further and further afield in the hope of coming away with an award.

Dog and goat sections; rare breed classes. A top flower show and thriving countryside area. Rabbits, cage birds, cavies - even bees get noticed here!

The show prides itself on the support given to the myriad excellent Cornish-grown and Cornish-produced food that it promotes in both in the trade section and in the show's own cafes and restaurants.

Main ring entertainment is mounted on a grand scale and the traditional steam fair is a colourful extravaganza; there are stages and avenues alive with music, song and dance.

You can come to the Royal Cornwall Show with a single-minded ambition to buy a tractor or a car. Here is where you will see them all on display.

Interested in crafts? Planning a wedding? Want to shop in Wadebridge town centre? Is woodland your thing?

Whatever your interest, you're bound to find it there.


Updated on January 27th, 2013

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