Cornwall Is The Place To Celebrate The New Year
There's no doubt that when it comes to new year, choosing your holiday destination is all about deciding where you can go to get the best party experience. After all, new year is all about letting your hair down in the most extravagant way possible and having a good time, isn't it?
But where to go? According to various internet and magazine polls, the Rio carnival is supposed to be one of the greatest parties on earth. On the other hand, having a traditional new year up in some old-world castle in the wilds of Scotland must have its own unique charm, surely.
However, for me there is really only one destination that I and my friends consider every time that new year comes around: Cornwall.
It seems unlikely, but I truly believe that the rural county of Cornwall, so far from the trendy bustle of London and the antiquated tradition of Scotland really has some of the best new year parties around. Think about it; there is surfing, beer, beaches, pubs - what more could you ask for in a party weekend before the gloom of January sets in?
Last year we loaded up the car with cool boxes full of lager and champagne and drove down to the small fishing village of Looe, on the south coast, a few miles west of Plymouth. Normally, this is a bit of a tourist Mecca for those older generation types who enjoy a nice traditional Cornish ice cream, whilst watching the sea gulls swooping for people's pasties on the concrete harbour walls. But when it comes to new year, the whole town gears up for something completely different - a fancy dress party extravaganza. Looe must be the only place on earth where you can walk down the street at new year, and see Superman having a drunken brawl with Osama Bin Laden, or watch four hare krishnas banging their tambourines whilst drinking out of cans of Stella.
This year, we've decided to go as Mexican banditos, so first stop is the town's local fancy dress shop, where there are throngs of young people getting the last valuable items to add to their evening's party wear. It's ok though, we manage to acquire six sombreros, along with plenty of false moustaches and a few plastic shot guns. Ponchos are bought from the charity shop opposite in the shape of old rugs, with a hole cut in the middle, and we're ready to go.
As the sun sets, the streets of Looe begin to fill with all manner of people, dressed in everything from ill-fitting leather jackets (a T-bird from Grease) to expensive-looking berets and stripy tops (generic Frenchman). I consider pointing out that he should have invested in a string of onions and a baguette, but it's too late in the evening, and there's an evil glint in his eye warning everyone not to take the micky out of his outfit.
When new year finally comes, we race back to the car for the champagne, and opened on the harbour side, watching the fireworks over the bay, and we're pretty glad we came to Cornwall for the start of 2006.