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My Britain: Lizard Peninsula

BY Anna Walker

12th Sep 2022 My Britain

My Britain: Lizard Peninsula
Locals share their love for the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, from its striking coastline, diverse wildlife and dramatic landscapes
The UK's most southerly point, the Lizard Peninsula, is one of Cornwall's undisputed gems of natural beauty. But despite boasting miles of one of the most stunning coastlines in the UK, diverse wildlife and a beguiling history, the Peninsula remains one of the lesser-visited spots in Cornwall, and is all the more special for it. Just two roads lead onto the Lizard Peninsula, and little redevelopment has taken place in the seafaring villages that call this stretch home.
As a result, the area wears its history proudly and offers a glimpse into a very traditional Britain. The rather curious name of this Cornish jewel doesn't indicate an above-average number of reptiles, as you might suspect, but is in fact derived from the old Cornish "Lisardh", which can mean "fortress", "high court" or "headland", depending on your interpretation.
The Lizard Peninsula
Visitors to the Lizard Peninsula will be spoiled with places to explore. There's Poldhu's surf school, where you can learn how to catch the waves alongside locals and visitors alike. Mullion Cove is home to the pretty, and once bustling, Mullion Harbour with a fascinating history and plenty of wildlife.
"Visitors to the Lizard Peninsula will be spoiled with places to explore"
Goonhilly Downs boasts an Earth station working on a Moon exploration project. Meanwhile Gunwalloe was once the location of Cornwall's oldest settlements and is now a bird watcher's paradise.
We spoke to two long-term residents of this special part of Cornwall to get a sense of what daily life is like on the Lizard Peninsula.

Daniel Thompson

Daniel Thompson
Daniel Thompson, 35, is the general manager at the Mullion Cove Hotel and Spa and has worked on the Lizard Peninsula for seven years
Hospitality has always been in my blood and when the opportunity arose to manage the Mullion Cove Hotel, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. My wife and I have always loved the Lizard, holidaying here annually, so it was a dream come true for both of us. We are bringing up our children here and it is the perfect place to give them an active outdoor life.
Everything about Mullion Cove Hotel shouts the Lizard, from the views that can be seen from almost every part of the hotel to the locally made organic products used in the spa (even the stones used in the signature hot stones treatment are hand-carved serpentine stones from the peninsula). This local flavour is fundamental to our food offering too, with the dishes served in our 2AA restaurant and casual bistro-made ingredients sourced largely from nearby producers. Guests get a real sense that the hotel is part of our community and has been for many years. The villagers genuinely care about the place, and many of our staff live locally—that’s quite unique for the area. 
Mullion Cove Hotel and Spa
Getting back to the views, I think that’s what makes the place so special. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is—whether you're watching the sun twinkle on the water in the summer or taking in the winter's stroppy stormy seas—every day brings a new view just as hypnotic as the last. Maybe that’s why we have so many repeat guests! And as for the sunsets... well, they are something else! Guests love nothing better than book ending their day with a sundowner in the bar to take it all in.
"Every day brings a new view just as hypnotic as the last"
As for my favourite things about the Lizard Peninsula, I love the amazing views, the wonderful communities and Mullion Harbour, because it is perfect for swimming, paddle boarding and harbour jumping. I love the colours of the cliffs and coast—on a sunny day you could be in the Mediterranean. My favourite spot is a perfect fishing mark not far from the lifeboat station (I won’t give it away). Sitting on the rocks in the sun, fishing rod in hand, taking in the scenery, the peace and quiet refreshes me, and takes away the stresses of running a busy hotel.
Plan a future visit to the Lizard Peninsula at mullion-cove.co.uk

Gillian Sadler

Gillian Sadler, owner of Golowi Wellbeing
Owner of Golowi Wellbeing and body movement therapist, Gillian Sadler, 44, has spent 24 years on the Lizard Peninsula
I was born and bred here and there’s a certain magic energy that I feel on the Lizard Peninsula that I feel nowhere else. I travelled globally at the age of 19 and, although I visited beautiful locations, nothing equated to the beauty of Cornwall and the Lizard area. I’m so proud to call the Lizard Peninsula my homeland. There’s something steadfast and strong about living here, and I’m so proud that my children have their Lizard roots too!
I love the Peninsula's rawness, the flora and wildlife of the cliff tops, the ocean and its dramatic changing nature, but most of all the colours. Sometimes when I walk the coast path I’m reduced to tears by its beauty.
"There’s a certain magic energy that I feel on the Lizard Peninsula that I feel nowhere else"
With lockdown, I was forced to close my Falmouth-based dance studio and instead offer lessons via Zoom. It was quite a revelation as I found a whole new wave of clients—those ordinarily too self-conscious to join in person—wanting to sign up to my virtual class. This time away from the physical studio made me change direction, so post-pandemic I sold my studio-based business, returned to my Lizard Peninsula roots and started Golowi to bring that joy of dance, wellbeing and nature to Mullion.
Mullion Cove, Lizard Peninsula
Golowi Wellbeing is a haven for those who long to connect to the elements of nature through creative activity, dance and yoga. Participants embrace the Cornish landscapes, with some classes taken outdoors, which lets participants immerse themselves in nature and take in the sea views as they dance or do their yoga class.
I suppose it felt right to start the business here because the Lizard Peninsula makes me feel like my truest self. It has a power by enabling me to create and co-create. It’s like the surroundings move me to move others. And, as an added homecoming, my dear friend and collaborator Kathryn and I worked together at Mullion Cove Hotel at the sweet age of 18, so returning with Golowi Wellbeing felt like a perfect full circle.
I can’t think of any place better than the cliff tops between Mullion and the Lizard. I look out there and see the vast blue of the ocean ahead and the grounding green under my feet and behind me. Heaven.
To find out more, head to golowi-wellbeing.com
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