Nestled between the villages of Tideford and Polbathic lies the historical village of St Germans. Situated alongside the River Tiddy, which meets the River Tamar near Saltash, St Germans is a sleepy village lying amongst stunning countryside.
The railway station connects St Germans to Plymouth, Britain’s vibrant ‘Ocean City’ as well as southbound to Liskeard and the rest of Cornwall. The branch line from Liskeard runs to the popular seaside town of Looe and there are many other beautiful beaches in close proximity such as Portwrinkle, Seaton and Downderry.
You will find St Germans off the beaten track, with winding roads leading to it from both ends of the village. There are of course lovely views out over the river and I regularly walk down to the quay, home to St Germans sailing club and some of the quaint cottages that can be found in the village.
Once a year, the tranquil village is greeted by hundreds of visitors attending the Port Eliot Festival. During this weekend of music, arts and culture you can find cars parked everywhere in St Germans, with the occasional festival-goer asleep in their car early in the morning; something I found out this year on my way to an early Doctor’s appointment!
This alternative festival takes place on the historic Port Eliot Estate, which is only open to the public at certain times of the year. I was fortunate to attend a special event there last Spring featuring a choir and an acoustic singer performing by candlelight, with tapas and drinks being served. It was a privilege to be able to see the fascinating artwork on the walls of this impressive house, illuminated by the light of the large fireplaces and the candles. We were even invited into the basement and wine cellar which was rather spooky!
And what can you do in St Germans during the rest of the year? Aside from countryside walks and travelling to nearby beaches, St Germans has two popular venues where you can enjoy food, drinks and occasionally live music.
There’s the Eliot Arms which has a cosy bar area and spacious restaurant area, with picnic benches outside for sunny days – ideal for whiling away the afternoon with a pint of Rattler cyder or Cornish ale. Serving a traditional and tasty menu in the evening, this is a great place to meet up with family or friends against a stunning back-drop.
Alternatively, the Long Gallery is a unique and artistic setting for coffee or lunch during the day and tapas and drinks in the evening. Boasting amazing acoustics, this is a great venue for the live music which happens regularly.
St Germans is a place where many of its inhabitants are of retirement age; however, there are lots of young families here as well. There’s a Primary School, children’s play area, village shop and post office, as well as train and bus links.
This is the place I currently call home. Perfect when I’m in the mood to escape from life in a quiet and picturesque setting. I am grateful for this at times but am happy that Plymouth is only a fifteen minute journey on the train (or a 20-30 minute drive)! Next time you’re on the train, speeding into Cornwall, watch out for the little station just after the Tamar bridge, on the other side of Saltash; not all of the trains stop here, but I’m glad that some of them still do.