{Being beside Seaside in Cornwall } {}; {Visit England's South Coast before Its Unique Character Changes, Writes BELINDA TASKER} {}

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Stuck in a traffic jam on a motorway heading out of London, I was beginning to wonder if a trip to the English seaside was such a good idea.

Having been lucky enough to spend many a holiday frolicking on the NSW Central Coast while growing up, I already had my doubts.

The sun was shining, but we were going nowhere fast and hopes of an afternoon swim on the Cornish coast were fading.

Finally, with an exit in sight on the outskirts of Bristol, we made a break from the traffic to detour along back roads stretching through gently rolling hills and headed south into Cornwall.

After seven-and-a-half hours - and already having listened twice to the handful of CDs we brought with us - we were finally there.

The idea to explore the seaside resorts of southern England was partly inspired by 'the' British trend this summer - holidaying at home.

With the dreaded credit crunch biting into family budgets, many Brits have given up their annual trips to sunny Spain and the French Riviera and opted for the English seaside instead.

As a result, Cornish towns such as Newquay have been booming.

With just two days to spare, we didn't have a moment to waste.

First stop was The Plume of Feathers, a relaxed 16th Century country pub in the tiny town of Mitchell.

Restored eight years ago, the whitewashed pub features stylish bed and breakfast accommodation in a converted stables block.

Famished after the long drive, we dumped our bags in our room and headed to the bar to examine the dinner menu while sipping a well-deserved gin and tonic.

Popular with locals and tourists alike, we were lucky to find a spare table to tuck into our hearty meals of fresh local fish and steak, followed by a divine creme brulee and mouth-watering Cornish ice-cream.

Breakfast the next morning didn't disappoint - a delicious traditional English breakfast of bacon and eggs with home-made toasted bread and jams washed down with tea and coffee.

With our stomachs well and truly full, we headed off on the 15-minute drive to Newquay, on Cornwall's northern coastline.

Touted as England's surf capital, Newquay's Fistral beach is impressive.

With towering cliffs stretching off beyond the large sandy beach and its sparkling blue-green waters, it was hard to believe we were still in England.

While the water was a touch chilly, there were plenty of children brave enough to splash about while wetsuit-clad surfers took to the waves.

The town centre is a bustling mix of tacky tourist shops, takeaways, cafes, countless surf boutiques and some enormous pubs with expansive outdoor decks offering stunning views.

Some locals fear, however, that Newquay has been losing part of its charm as a place where families come for an inexpensive holiday by the sea and stay at one of the many cheap bed and breakfasts or small hotels. …