Cornwall- A lovely Place to Visit
Cornwall boast of a very mild climate compared to the rest of Great Britain. It is situated down in the South West part of England.
It is also steeped in history and at the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086 the population of Cornwall was around about 25,000 which seems a lot too me.
Cornwall is very busy with tourists in the summer months which is a plus for the employment side of things but it also puts a lot of pressure on the local services such as Hospitals etc. Also the volume of traffic on the roads increases and this causes in time environmental damage.
St Michael's Mount one of my favourite places which I visited a few years ago. This is a granite rock which is situated not very far away from Penzance.
We stayed very near there so we were able to visit by just walking along the beach and causeway to the island when the tide was right.
I just fell in love with the place with the picturesque houses,amazing shops and great eating places.
St Michaels Mount was apparently to have been a trading post from as far back as the Iron Age and it was certainly had been visited by the romans and greeks.
In 1135 the first priory was formed on St Michael's Mount by Bernard of Le Bec.
Another place to visit is the Eden Project.
This is a project that is run by Tim Smit who raised money to build the world's largest biome.This is a must to visit if you coming down to Cornwall,no words can describe the place as you will need to see it with your own eyes.The biomes are one kilometre long and 60 meters high amazing.It is the world's largest greenhouse and there amazing plant life to see.
You will find the Eden Project near St Austell PL24 2SG
Another place to see is a trip to Padstow in the north of Cornwall on the coast. You will find there is a wide sandy beach and it is surrounded by countryside. This is a busy fishing village where there are narrow streets and beautiful colourful houses which lead down to the harbour. Near by you will be able to visit Prideaux Place which is a sixteenth century manor house that has a Deer Park and the grounds are fairly vast in size but it is a great day out.
There is so much to see and do in Cornwall but I just mention another place of interest which is the Carnglaze Slate Caverns which consists of three caverns. You will not be able to go down there on your own a guide will take you down on a tour this will take around 45minutes. You will find that they are so huge and amazingly they were formed by the local Slate Miners.
You will find the caverns Carnglaze Slate Caverns
St Neot, Liskeard, PL14 6HQ
Cornwall is very well known for the 'Cornish Pasty' this goes back to the tin miners who had it for their lunch and could be eaten underground as it was very easy for them to transport and could be eaten with dirty fingers.This was a very nourishing meal and sometimes pasties were made with the savoury in one and the sweet in other end .
So what is a Cornish Pasty.
It is made of shortcrust pastry with beef,potatoes,onions and turnips. This certainly makes a satisfying meal.
Now when you visit Cornwall you will see different varieties of the Cornish pasty but the original one which has been made from beef is I feel the best.
Also Cornwall is well known for its Clotted Cream which you put with jam and scones- very nice indeed.
As some of you may know, I live in one of the loveliest places in the UK: Cornwall. The following is an attempt to tempt you all into this fair and fertile land and though it's pretty long, I hope you'll still find it interesting! As I live in the west of Cornwall, it really is mostly about the area surrounding me.
The area of Penwith, situated in the West of Cornwall, is an area rich in history, spectacular landscapes, and golden beaches. Add to this the abundance of attractions, stunning coastal scenery, walks and historical locations and you have an area that really does have something for everyone.
The town of Penzance ('Pen Sans', meaning holy headland) is a bustling, seaside market town with a range of interesting and historical sites dotted throughout. The town itself has the largest population in the Penwith area and contains a diversity of shops within its centre, as well as a number of restaurants providing food to suit a variety of tastes & pockets.
The town is becoming increasingly famous for it's annual Golowan festival - a 12-day celebration of the feast of St John. This features music, dance, film and street entertainment and takes place in late June. Mazey Day is the most prominent event in the celebrations; the main streets of the town are closed off and a variety of colourful and lively processions wind their way through Penzance centre. Golowan was celebrated in the town for hundreds of years before the event was banned in 1877 under the pretext that the festival was 'dangerous entertainment'. In those days, public houses were granted a 24 hour license and the entertainment took the form of the ancient serpent dance proceeding through the town accompanied by rolled, burning tar barrels. Arguably, perhaps, the ban was justified?
In addition, one of Penzance's most famous sons is Sir Humphry Davy, inventor of the miner's safety lamp and a nationally acclaimed chemist. Born in Penzance in 1778, Davy was knighted in 1812 and was thought to be Britain's leading scientist of the time. There is a statue of Davy in the heart of Penzance where Davy overlooks the bustling Market Jew Street.
Historic Chapel Street, just off the town centre, features many famous buildings including The Union Hotel, where the news of Nelson's victory at Trafalgar is thought to have been announced before anywhere else in the UK. The Union was originally The Ship & Castle and in the late eighteenth century was the centre for special social gatherings and public events. The hotel featured lodging rooms, parlours, a cockfighting pit and stabling for horses & carriages along with a theatre added in 1786.
Opposite The Union Hotel is the unusual architecture of Egyptian House. Built in 1836 by John Lavin, the building was originally a geological museum and its unusual façade is designed to give the illusion of height using Egyptian designs and perspective. Egyptian House is now owned by the Landmark Trust and is open to visitors.
Further down Chapel Street is the Turk's Head, which is believed to be the oldest pub in Penzance and on whose site there has reputedly been a public house for 800 years. Also to be found on Chapel Street is the Admiral Benbow pub & restaurant & the house where the Bronte family lived before their move to Yorkshire.
Situated between the town centre and the promenade, Sub-tropical Morrab Gardens is a treat for the eyes, featuring landscaped gardens with sub-tropical plants not found anywhere else in Britain and a bandstand where music and local theatre productions can often be enjoyed in the summer.
Penzance also boasts the only seashore promenade in Cornwall which features The Jubilee Bathing Pool (a 1930s, Arc Deco, outdoor, salt-water swimming pool) the only remaining lido in the South West. The promenade extends for approximately a mile culminating at the port of Newlyn, a busy fishing port famous for the work of some outstanding artists in the late 19th century such as Stanhope Forbes, Elizabeth Forbes and Frank Bramley. The work of the 'Newlyn School' of artists can be viewed at Newlyn Art Gallery, Penlee House in Penzance and the Tate Gallery in St Ives. The famous Newlyn Copper Industry was instigated around 1888 by John D Mackenzie; the designs of the copper had much in common with the Newlyn School of artists, with Mackenzie associating his designs with the nature of the village.
Also to be found at Newlyn is the Pilchard Works, an excellent example of a working museum, which has won awards for outstanding presentation of British Heritage. The factory itself is the only example of a fully working Cornish salt pilchard factory; it has been in operation since 1905. In 1926, screw presses were installed and can still be seen in operation today. Also, the annual fish festival is held each August bank holiday in Newlyn to promote the port and fishing in general. Fishing displays of all kinds can be seen as well as displays and stalls featuring the work of local craftsmen.
The picturesque village of Mousehole, a good example of a typical Cornish fishing village, lies beyond Newlyn. Nestled within Mouseholes's narrow, terraced streets are a variety of craft, gift shops & art galleries. In 1595, two hundred Spaniards landed in Mousehole, burning most of the village, then moving on to torch Paul, Newlyn & Penzance before one hundred local men drove them back on the outskirts of Marazion. The Spaniards left few casualties: Keigwin, the home of one of the few Mousehole fatalities, can still be seen in the village today. The Ship Inn is a good example of 'olde worlde' pubs as it still retains much of it's original character today; the pub was often frequented by Dylan Thomas, who resided in the village in the 1930's and described it as "really the loveliest village in England."
Christmas is a good time to visit Mousehole, as its display of lights around the harbour is a wonderful sight. The lights can also be viewed from the air via the Scillys sky-bus; special twenty-minute flights over the village are carried out in the evenings. On 23rd December, the village celebrates the memory of Tom Bawcock, who saved the inhabitants of Mousehole from starvation by braving stormy seas and landing enough fish to make a Starry Gazy pie large enough to feed the entire village.
Marazion is another pretty seaside village overlooking Mounts Bay, one of the most beautiful bays in the country. The famous St Michaels Mount, known as 'The Jewel In Cornwall's Crown', is situated in the bay and access to the island can be gained via ferry or by negotiating the 500-yard granite causeway at low tide. The Mount itself is dedicated to the Archangel St Michael who, according to legend, appeared to some fishermen in the year 495. The castle, which sits atop the Mount, was originally the site of a Benedictine Monastery; two hundred years later, the St Aubyn family took up residence and their descendants still live there today.
The village of Marazion itself is a distinctive former market town that offers a beach popular with families and water sports enthusiasts. Indeed, the world windsurfing championships are held here every year. A charming village, Marazion is popular with visitors not just because of St Michaels Mount but also for it's quaint character and it's RSPB nature reserve, Marazion Marshes. The reserve attracts many species of birds rarely seen in Britain and subsequently draws bird-lovers to the village in search of an elusive picture of rare birds.
The winding, cobbled streets of St Ives have attracted artists for over one hundred years, remaining popular because of the quality of the light. Today, the town is now recognized internationally as a centre for fine art. As a reflection of this, The Tate Gallery built their St Ives outpost in 1993. A white, circular structure overlooking Porthmeor Beach, The Tate has surpassed all expectations with the number of visitors attracted to its exhibitions since Prince Charles performed the opening ceremony. The Tate is far from being the only gallery in St Ives - the town is literally peppered with them. In particular, The Barbara Hepworth Museum features gardens with sculptures crafted by the late artist & other relevant history pertaining to Barbara Hepworth and other artists of the era.
Once a busy fishing port, the heart of the town is still the harbour where the fishing industry continues to add to the local economy. An abundance of restaurants, gift shops & galleries have much to offer visitors, as do the famously clean beaches, which attract families and surfers alike to their golden expanses. Porthmeor Beach offers lifeguard cover, café, restaurant & surf facilities throughout the summer months. The family-orientated Porthminster Beach is sheltered and very safe for swimmers with its calm sea conditions.
Close to St Ives, the Cheney Farm Park offers a treat for children, here they can get up close to farm animals, feed them and pet them, a must for any family. The branch line from St Erth offers pretty views of the St Ives area.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Hayle was a busy industrial port with a busy, iron-based foundry supplying pumping engines for the mining industry, chains for suspension bridges and much more. In the dunes of Hayle, gunpowder and dynamite were produced for the mines & cordite for the 1914-1918 war, ending when wartime was over. As the mining industry began to decline by the early 1900s, so did Hayle's economy and the town was forced to look to other methods to earn a living. The Hayle railway viaduct, situated on the entrance to the town, is one of the only railway bridges in the country where the road underneath passes through it in both directions. The viaduct was originally a wooden structure built in the 1850's and was replaced by stone in the 20th Century.
Today, Hayle relies mostly on tourism to boost the local economy and attracts many visitors to its famed '3 miles of golden sand'. Hayle and the surrounded area are a popular destination for families as it contains a variety of chalet and caravan parks ideal for families on budget. Of the attractions the town has to offer, Paradise Park is the most popular. It includes: a wildlife sanctuary home to hundreds of rare birds; otters, red pandas, red squirrels, penguins and a variety of farm animals. Great for small children, there's so much to see at the park that visitors could happily spend the entire day there. As well as the animal attractions, there's a park and picnic area where families can take a break before resuming exploration.
Land's End is the most westerly point on mainland Britain and has long attracted visitors for this reason alone. Since it's purchase in the late eighties, Land's End has been improved considerably and now offers many attractions, shops, an hotel and restaurants, which attract plenty of visitors in the summer months. Certainly from the hotel, which sits overlooking the Atlantic, spectacular views can be enjoyed including Bishop Rock and Wolf Rock lighthouses. On a clear day, the Isles Of Scilly can often be seen and the evening sunsets are impressive.
A trip to the Isles of Scilly is a must for any visitor to the area; the cluster of islands offer sea bird and seal colonies and Tresco is home to dramatic tropical gardens. The islands can be visited by ferry from Penzance or by helicopter twice daily from Penzance Heliport.
Legend has it that once the Isles of Scilly joined the mainland, extending out towards St Michaels Mount, which was also joined. This tract of land contained a city named Lyons, many villages and woodlands. Folklore tells us that the land was swallowed up by a gigantic wave which rolled in from the Atlantic and the land was flooded, it's inhabitants killed and the land of 'Lyonesse' was lost beneath the sea forever. Many writers have given mention to the legend in their work, including a poem by Thomas Hardy and Tennyson making reference to 'the lost land of Lyonesse'. Certainly, it's an enchanting tale, adding to the mystery and myth which surrounds so much of Cornwall.
The recently improved Cornish Way cycle path ends at Lands End, running some 180 miles throughout Cornwall from Bude and offering stunning views of the Cornish coastline.
The area surrounding Land's End is littered with the remnants of the mining era and ancient Celtic places of worship. Men-An-Tol is one of the better-known standing stones. It's circular structure, noted for its round hole has been said to cure a number of ailments; originally rickets in children. It is now visited for numerous health reasons, as well as for it's historic value; some have claimed that passing through the hole in the centre of the stone has cured them of infertility.
Interestingly, The Merry Maidens at Lamorna are a collection of 19 stones arranged in a circle over 70 feet in diameter. Legend has it that the maidens were turned to stone as punishment for dancing on a Sunday. Many other standing stones, holy wells, Celtic Crosses and burial chambers are to be found in the area.
Closer to Penzance, near Gulval, Chysauster ancient village is a fascinating example of a late Iron Age settlement. A non-fortified village believed to have been inhabited from around 100bc until about the third century, Chysauster features the remains of eight houses within the village itself. Contained within the houses are the remains of the stone hearths and the terraced gardens. The village also boasts a 'fogou' (Cornish for cave), though this is not in as fine condition as the rest of the settlement.
Geevor Museums & Mining Heritage Centre at the small village of Pendeen is an interesting place to visit in order to understand the working of the tin industry. The industry, which has now completely died out in Cornwall, is still such an important part of the county's heritage. Until 1990, Geevor was a fully functional, working mine employing up to 400 local men. Now visitors to the mine can look around the museum and take a guided, underground tour to experience working conditions faced by miners from the earliest times. Pendeen also features The Pendeen Lighthouse, which is open to visitors from July through to September. Many of the men who mined at Geevor were inhabitants of the larger neighboring town of St Just, which also has sights to offer in the shape of Cape Cornwall, the only Cape in England and plenty of historical remnants in the shape of burial chambers, mine shafts, and engine houses. In the tradition of St Ives and Newlyn, St Just also boasts its own colony of working artists with open studios.
A little further along the coast is Sennen Cove, a seaside village with a large, sandy beach renowned for its cleanliness. The beach is ideal for surfers and bathers alike and can be accessed from the village or by walking down through the steep dunes that surround it.
Zennor is another famous village in the area. Postcard-pretty, Zennor has many literary allusions connected with it. These include some fleeting appearances in the writings of D H Lawrence who lived here with his German wife during the Great War, before being ejected from the village under suspicion of spying. Inhabited since the early Bronze Age, the village boasts a fifteenth century church where the Mermaid of Zennor is depicted on a bench end. In local folklore, the Mermaid was believed to have lured local chorister Matthew Trewhella to his premature death in Pendour Cove with her beauty and sweet-voiced singing.
~~~~~~~~The Minack Theatre~~~~~~~~
The Minack Theatre is an open-air theatre built in the style of an ancient Roman Amphitheatre; carved into the top of the cliffs, the theatre overlooks the sheltered and attractive Porthcurno bay. Built in 1929 by Rowena Cade, the Minack is now internationally renowned for its seventeen-week summer season, in which a variety of plays and musical events can be enjoyed. During the day, whilst no plays are being performed, the theatre can be explored and it's history learnt in the visitors centre. After enjoying the sights and views the theatre has to offer, a walk down the cliff path to Porthcurno beach reveals a sight worthy of the Caribbean. With it's soft, white sand and azure water, surrounded by wind-sheltering cliffs, Porthcurno is a sun-worshippers paradise; though the sea can be dangerous for bathers as it harbours a strong undertow and the bed slopes suddenly.
Porthcurno museum tells the tale of how the village became home to the world's largest cable station. During World War Two, tunnels were blasted out of the granite hillside to move the stations underground and there it remained until its closure in 1970 after one hundred years. Guided tours can be taken around the museum the whole year round.
For those of you who may have been considering visiting the lovely area where I live, I hope this has swayed you in the right direction! Cornwall is a lovely place to live, despite it's shortcomings in the area of shopping, the lack of work, the poor wages, the high cost of living etc. This is compensated by the lovely place it is and the low crime etc. Due to the degenergration of mining, fishing and farming in the area, we need tourism more than ever! Promise you it's worth it if you favour more than amusements and nightclubs.... but we have a bit of that too... oh! and piskies! ;-)
Ah Cornwall. It was in Cornwall that I first saw the Milky Way. A starry cloud, meandering its way around the sky occasionally traversed by the reflected light of a satellite. For a city boy this is quite a sight and one I still get a buzz from every night, when its clear.
There are many parts of Britain that can inspire, but none like Cornwall. Oh, the romance, the scenery, the mystery, the tragedy and the legacy of long dead traditional industries. All wrapped up in the most western peninsula of mainland Britain. The scenery varies massively from gently rolling farmland to the wild craggy coastline of the most romantic of romantic novels.
So a holiday in Cornwall is very much recommended. But you have a decision to make. What sort of holiday are you looking for?
If you dont want to have a walking or cycling holiday, and have limited time, then I strongly advise you to take your car. This is because the public transport around Cornwall is dire. The bus services are sparse, dont run very often and when they do, its mostly only during the hours of nine to five, and rarely go where you want to. For example, at Launceston, an old market town and former capital of Cornwall, the bus terminus is nothing more than a roadside bus stop. Bude, a main tourism centre of North Cornwall is the same. If you want to get to the more out of the way places. Forget it, the buses dont go there.
Trains? Well, there isnt many of those either, as with the rest of the country, except worse in Cornwall. The train services are pretty erratic with destinations that are not conducive to exploration by public transport. For instance, one branch line ends at Gunnislake; and at Gunnislake station there is nothing, just pubs. The nearest town, Callington, is a couple of miles away. Not good when you have a load of baggage to carry. And so it is for the rest of the County. To be honest, the best train services are, ironically, those leaving the South West, or so it seems to me.
However, on saying all that, there are bus tours available that take you all over the county. Theyre not too expensive either. But, youve just got to be somewhere near where they pick up from. If not, and you dont have a car, youre stuffed.
So your own transport is an absolute must, especially if you are taking the family, and you want to get about a bit.
At the height of the holiday season the roads into Cornwall are absolutely choker block with people starting their holidays. Traffic jams are a summer tradition here, believe me, Ive been in them. There is only one main road into Cornwall that is dual carriageway, the A30, and even that has difficulty making up its mind. The Atlantic Highway (A39), despite its name, is not much more than a country B road in places. Where it meets Barnstaple, and also at Camelford, it is a particular torturous, hair-pulling experience.
So when you drive down, drive overnight. Itll make your life a whole lot easier. Less traffic, less stress and the kids will almost certainly sleep through the entire journey (oh bless). You avoid all the lumbering, crazy caravan-tuggers too.
And when driving around Cornwall dont expect good trunk roads. There arent any. The vast majority of roads here are country lanes, some little better than farm tracks. All are bordered with high, ancient, hedging. All roads meander, none are straight. And none, and I mean none, are what you would call fast. Not unless youve got a death wish. The Cornish roads are unforgiving at best. And when driving around the place, remember one of Cornwalls main claims to fame. The renowned Tractor Factor. So dont go whizzing about, drive carefully. Or youll hurt yourself.
What are your options for accommodation when you get to your destination? In short, lots. For those who are wanting to pre book the choice is wide. There are caravan and camping sites. There are plenty of places offering bed and breakfast if you want to do a bit of touring. If you would prefer to base yourself in one place there are loads of holiday flats, cottages, and even Swiss style chalets. There are also hotels and larger pubs offering rooms. Ill not list any in particular, as it is just as easy to pick your spot then go on the net. Or if you are feeling particularly adventurous, just go. But take note: do not expect anything cheap. Prices range from about £20/person/night at a B&B to between £400 to thousands of pounds per week, depending on what youre looking for.
For those choosing to pack and go, fear not. Rare is the campsite that is full, even the best ones. Whilst some b&bs do become full, a vacancy can usually be found where ever you end up. You might even be able to get yourself a caravan or a pitch for your tent for a week or two, on speck. This is really good for those who would prefer to amble or cycle about and pitch camp wherever they are when the sun goes down. Prices? Start at about £16 per night to pitch a tent.
The traditional Cornish industries have died, or are dying, away, so the tourist industry has become larger and quite diverse. Many landowners are diversifying to survive. Which is no bad thing for the tourist as the County is peppered with attractions. Most catering for small children too. There are plenty of fun parks, theme parks and mazes (in maize fields, of coarse) that will keep the kids happy for hours. Also, there is also the old standby that never fails to impress. Yep, the beaches. There are plenty of those too.
Many of Cornwalls beaches are patrolled by lifeguards and are also pretty clean. The surf is often very good. Most beaches have somewhere nearby that will hire you a board and wet suit, at not unreasonable prices too. If you want to go the whole hog and have never surfed before, you can book yourself a weeks worth of lessons (usually about £15 per session). But for those who are hardened surfing beach bums, a note of caution. The local surfing fraternity are a little edgy about folk coming and nicking their surf. So show a little bit of respect when youre throwing yourself about the Atlantic Ocean.
But whether you want to surf, wear the kids down or just catch some rays, there is one overriding factor that can make or break your holiday. The weather. When Mother Nature throws a wobbler, she does it properly. This years summer (2005) has not been at all bad. Nor was the summer of 2003. 2004 was a completely different mater. Oh yes. The rain came and didnt go away. Ask Boscastle. It poured all summer. Roads were flooded, tents washed away and caravan sites reduced to Somme-like conditions. Not nice. So you take your chances with the weather in Cornwall. However, as a rule, I find that the good and bad summers alternate, and if Im accurate, next summer will be a bit damp. Im afraid its a risk you take.
If you would prefer to just wonder around the countryside, whatever the weather, then there are plenty of places to go. The coast all around Cornwall is dotted with tiny old fishing villages and inland you will not have to travel far to find sleepy old hamlets with at least one pub offering meals. Although, dont go expecting to see any traditional crafts and industries as there are hardly any left. The thatched cottages may still be there, for instance, but the Thatcher is conspicuous by his absence.
As for looking after yourself, most towns have at least one supermarket nearby. Bude has three. So there is no need to bring your own provisions, as prices are pretty much as they are elsewhere in the country. Including fuel. So you should be able to feed and water yourself at no great cost. Most places, however, have a little shop, and the smaller hamlets still have a place where a little old lady has turned her front room into a tiny general dealer. But these are starting to get rare. Which is a shame as it signals an unravelling of the once close-knit community spirit of these little places.
Such is the effect of the phenomenon of the rarely used second home. Sad.
The main walk in Cornwall, I suppose, is The Atlantic Walk, which goes down the North coast of Cornwall to Lands End (from where I think it starts its journey East along the English south coast). And what a walk it is too. The scenery is breathtaking, especially when a storm is rolling in. The wildlife is interesting and the landscape resounds to the echoes of a more sedate, bygone age. Old tin mines add to the sense of an era lost together with the sleepy little fishing villages and the smugglers coves. Its an eerie walk where you can still imagine the customs and excise waiting for the smugglers to land, or the light drifting along the windblown cliff tops (tied to a horses neck, or tail), luring unsuspecting ships onto the rocks where they would be smashed and plundered. Cornish history is not as quaint as many think.
Cornwall is also littered with pathways, bridleways and public rights of way taking you across a wide variety of countryside, from craggy moorland, passed rocky cliffs to the rolling patchwork of farmers fields. On foot, you can just about get anywhere in the county without too much trouble. You just need time and a damn good pair of boots. Really, its the best way to see what Cornwall has to offer.
However, what about those who want to party. Well, there is one place that springs immediately to mind. Newquay. The boozy-do clubbing capital of Cornwall. It also happens to be where the big surf shows happen. But most places have a decent pub and the towns have at least one nightclub that opens late at the weekends. The music scene is pretty much polarised between the dance and club band venues. The live music available is pretty dire to be honest. The majority of bands doing the rounds regularly being cover bands of one sort or another. Tribute bands rain supreme, but these days, even they chose to come here as often as the bands they pretend to be. That is: rarely!
One of the more popular musical events is the annual Bude Jazz Festival. Which is ok if youre into trad, maaannn. So if thats the sort of thing that spins your wheels, youll not be disappointed. Bude turns itself into a sort-of little Edinburgh Festival for a week, a paradise for aging Hep Cats. And for those who prefer their music more classical, theres an annual festival for that as well.
There are also the occasional blues festivals and we get a bit of a rock do annually at Launceston Castle. Folk sessions can be found all over the place in little pubs where the bearded ones gather in small cosy groups to drink real ale and sing with a finger in one ear.
Theres also loads of theatre, exhibitions of one form of art or another and endless local craft fairs. And its at these craft fairs that you will find the best mementos of your visit. Good quality local pottery, arts, embroidery and woodwork are all available at these dos. Tavistock regularly has a really good crafts market (Yes, I know, its in Devon). Must towns will have one of these events at some time, if not all the time. So dont get carried away with the tat sold in the shops.
The sporting opportunities are almost too numerous to mention. Ive already mentioned the surfing (which, by the way, has its own little bit of a music scene going on if you know where and for whom to look), but there is also surf canoeing, kayaking and wind surfing. Perhaps you prefer field sports? Yes? Well theres fishing, shooting, hunting and riding. Look hard enough and youll find something that grabs you. Even archery. Most coastal places offer at least one boat that will take you sea fishing for a day. The hunting and shooting is seasonal of coarse, but even if you dont shoot, its worth giving it a go just to watch little country ladies trying to use huge shotguns that knock them on their arses every time they fire them. Yep, sometimes the entertainment doesnt even need to be paid for. Horse trekking is also popular and there are plenty of stables wholl take you out. Around Bude, there are several outdoor adventure type places that offer a wide range of activities, including orienteering and rock climbing.
In short, there isnt an excuse to be in at all, apart from when youre asleep. And even then, weather allowing, you can sleep under the stars or under a tree. You really need to be fit to take full advantage of what Cornwall has to offer though.
For the historians amongst you, youre spoilt for choice. The history of Cornwall is as colourful, romantic and violent as it is long. Take the fifteen-mile stretch of coast from Tintagel to Bude. Walk along this and youll see stuff from ancient times to the modern day. Dark age castles, old mines, ancient churches, Celtic worshipping pools and waterfalls and loads about King Arthur. Oh yes, King Arthur. As a single person hes a complete myth (but then again, who knows ?), and Tintagel is effectively built around this myth.
The place is littered with sites of historical, natural and sociological interest. Further south, youll find standing stones and Stone Age villages. If you wanted to study the place, you could be here for years, as I believe some people have been.
The National Trust and English Heritage have places to visit dotted about all over. Go and see them. They offer a brilliant opportunity to see the old Cornwall.
There is one place I will recommend. The Witches Museum at Boscastle. Privately owned, this is a must-see place to go. A bit of an eye opener too. If for no other reason, go and take a look and see how the RC Church has given Hitler a run for his money over the centuries. Fascinating stuff.
Ive heard it said that Cornwall is at the heart of spiritualism in the UK. Thats debatable, but the fact still remains that there is something that gives Cornwall a certain ethereal mystery, making the county a popular destination amongst pagans and new age folk. I dont know what it is, but its there none-the-less. There are many places that are quite enchanting. You just need to sit and relax. Let the atmosphere wrap you up like a warm blanket.
A word of warning here. The spiritual side can get a bit heady and you may find yourself getting a bit carried away. There are many who will offer tarot readings etc taking advantage of it and your purse. I have even come across one bloke giving readings using pigs knuckle bones. Theyre fine if youve got twenty odd quid to spare but if you are really serious about such things, youll have to dig really deep to find the proper seers. Theyre there; you just have to find them. If your not that interested, dont bother. More often than not, the tarot readers that you will come across will just bend your head and empty your wallet, and, in my experience, get things completely wrong anyway. Spend the money on a good meal and a bottle of fine Cornish Cider instead.
That, I think, just about covers summer.
But what happens when winter comes? It all kind of slows down really. From early autumn to late spring Cornwall finds itself left to its own devices. The tourists have gone home. The tourist industry goes into hibernation mode or takes its own holiday in the sun. The rest of us batten down the hatches and await the inevitable storms to roll in off the Atlantic.
And to me, this is the best time in Cornwall. Without a shadow of a doubt. Oh yes.
What is quite fabulous countryside in the summer becomes wildly spectacular in the winter months. The sort of stuff you see in old paintings. Seas crash against cliffs, winds howl in from the west and leaden skies threaten more rain (or snow). Very often you awaken to the morning glory of frosty, clear blue skies that, if you peer long enough, make you feel like youre looking into eternity. It is during the Cornish winters that myths and legends come to life in your minds eye, and the spirits come out to dance under frosty moons. Classical stuff, utterly enchanting.
I could go on but more accomplished writers have made a better job of it already.
And talking of whom, its usually in the off-season that the literati, artistic and the pretentiously inartistic come to Cornwall to gain inspiration for their work. And quite frankly, I cannot blame them. Try watching over the sea at Tintagel Castle when its stormy. If the experience doesnt get your creative juices flowing, well, you must be stone cold dead.
There is nothing that can match taking the dogs out along the beach on a crisp January morning. Fabulous. I especially take great enjoyment from watching the not-uncommon winter surfer trying to be clever whilst attempting to get a grip on the winter swell coming in. Certifiable lunatics. They amuse the local beach fishermen too.
Inland has its own charms. Frosty fields shrouded in low level mists, over which tree tops hang as if suspended. Stand at a field gate, and clap your hands. The heads of deer, hidden as they graze, will pop up out of the mist to have a look. At night, the night sky is deep and star filled.
See what I mean, we havent even got to winter yet and just thinking about it sets the fingers typing. (Ok, so the writings not very good, but at least it proves Im not dead yet).
As Ive said, the touristy places shut up wholesale in the off-season. But there is still enough life in the place to make a winter stay enjoyable. And there is usually somewhere to rent. Most summer holiday lets offer a six-month winter tenancy agreement. Expect to pay through the nose though, as the average rent will be about £400 for a tiny cottage to £700 per month for a three bed roomed house. Such is the demand. But most will be furnished and the rent will probably cover your council and water rates. Some sites will rent you a caravan. Unfortunately they are few and I dont know what kind of money they would expect. Of coarse, there are numerous hotels, pubs and B&Bs still looking for business.
There are plenty of places to eat out in as many cafes, bars, restaurants and pubs keep serving food throughout the year.
If youve got more interesting things to do than lounge about in the sun, or just need a long break, then a Cornish winter holiday may just be the thing for you. The traffic jams are gone, as are the crowds. Those that are left are friendly and accommodating. And the pubs are warm, inviting and friendly.
I think, if given a choice, holidaying in Cornwall during the winter months would be my preference. Especially if I had some writing to do. Winter also shows up the biggest problem here. Many a hamlet literally dies out of season. The ever-increasing second home count is laying whole villages in Cornwall devoid of any winter population to speak of. Many are the places where the number of empty second homes is greater than the number of permanent residents. It can be quite eerie when you find yourself in an apparently deserted, but extremely well kept village. Sad.
Cornwall is a funny old place yknow. You visit the county for a holiday and invariable find that it leaves such a mark on you that you dont want to go home again. Or it can generate such a feeling of loathing that you vow never to return. In short, you either love it, or hate it.
It can be quite expensive too. Which puts Cornwall as a holiday destination at a definite disadvantage, especially when you consider the price of flights and ferry crossings to Europe have never been cheaper. If you have never been to Cornwall before or have no wish to travel abroad, then take yourself a holiday here. If, on the other hand, you still have the wanderlust, then I dont think Cornwall will grab you. Unless youre searching for King Arthur and his pals.
Ive concentrated on the North Cornish coast for this article, as its the area I know best, as I now live here. But what Ive written can also be applied to other parts of the county.
Its your call.
Despite having lived in England all my life, I'd never been to Cornwall before. Having just got back from a week holidaying there, I am pleased to report that I was very pleasantly surprised with what the county had to offer. (This was written a while ago, I wasn't actually in Cornwall a week before posting this - unfortunately!)
We stayed in a holiday cottage just outside the small village of Hayle. In fact the whole county is made up of countryside and small villages, with very few actual cities. The scenery inland is beautiful and there are hundreds of walks you can take - beware though, a good map is a must as signposts telling you where you're going are very few and far between in places!
Along with the scenery inland, there are some nice beaches and stunning coastlines in Cornwall. Nearly everywhere you go along the coast your jaw will drop at the rugged natural beauty of the place. But that's not all.
The real beauty of Cornwall is that there is such a huge variety of places to go and see. There are a plethora of exhibitions, museums, historic sites, zoos, animal sanctuaries, theatres, wreck fishing, mines, steam railways, ports, sailing trips, farms open to the public, karting tracks, mazes, gardens (including the famous Eden Project), and more - and on the whole the prices aren't that high either. Eating out isn't as expensive an occupation as in many places I've been either - including another of my favourite places in England, the Peak District, which is great but tends to be very expensive. There really is something for everyone here.
For the adventurous (and those with a bit of cash) there's a flight / cruise to the subtropical Scilly isles, though we didn't have enough money for that! The Poldark Mines (tin mines) are very interesting and there's a lot to do there - though it might cost a bit, you could well get more than your money's worth (panning for gold could bring you real gems, for instance). The mines themselves are some of the most untouched (and back-breaking if you're tall!!) mines I've ever been down, so mind your head! It's also the home of Britain's lowest post box, so remember to bring a postcard!
The Eden Project is known as the 8th Wonder of the World. It consists of two biospheres (a third is currently under construction), dedicated to preserving as diverse a range of plant life from all over the world as possible. It's fairly impressive, though over-priced at £12 to enter. (Though for an extra £5 you can go back any time for 12 months - sadly this is not very useful unless you live close by.) If you're particularly interest in botany you will enjoy it, but I wish we'd gone to the Lost Gardens of Heligan instead. (Massive Victorian gardens that lay hidden for decades until recently rediscovered and replanted according to the original fashion.) As someone once said about the Giant's Causeway in Ireland, the Eden Project is "worth seeing, yes but not worth going to see " We had it on good local authority that the Lost Gardens were more impressive (and at £7.50 a lot cheaper too!!). Oh well, there's always another time
Another place you must visit is the amazing Minack Theatre. The visitor centre isn't much although it does tell the fascinating story of how it was built. The theatre itself was carved out of the rock face by a country lady, her gardener, and his assistant - and much of the work was done when they were over 70! There's also a wonderful story about the wood use to build the changing rooms - a ship crashed and the wood was washed ashore, including twelve huge timbers. She carried them ashore, and later customs officials searched the beach and asked her if she had taken any wood. She replied yes, did they want to come and have a look? The officials didn't bother as it was of course inconceivable that such a frail old woman could possibly have carried the massive timber beams up the cliff by herself!!
The theatre itself is hugely impressive, and when you see the backdrop you can imagine how incredible the productions of "The Tempest" must look with the majestic sea swelling in the background. Another local favourite is, of course, Gilbet & Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance" - which is not that many miles away from the Minack. I'd never heard of this theatre before but it's an astonishing place, and an amazing accomplishment. Just expect some painful calf muscles when you climb back up all those steps (Theatre productions run from the end of May till mid-September, but the visitor centre and theatre itself are open all year round.)
Newquay Zoo is one of the nicest, friendliest little zoos I've ever been to. The staff seem to genuinely have a passion for their work and the conditions the animals are kept in are much better than many I've seen. This was about the only place we went to twice, because the week we were there they had just started up a nocturnal tour (which they hope to make a regular feature), where you can see many animals active that usually hide in the daytime. Sadly there were lots of noisy kids in the group who just wouldn't shut up (I suggested we use chloroform but there was none available), so many of the animals hid anyway. Seeing the bats (including the Ridrigues Fruit Bat, a marvellous creature) being fed was easily the highlight of the tour - it would have been a lot better without those damn children, but that's not the zoo's fault!
The Cyder Fram is another place worth going to - we didn't actually do the tour, but we picked up some rather nice cider there (there are free tastings available too - yum) - even though I don't usually like cider, this is very nice stuff! (In case you were wondering, they spell it Cyder to make it seem more old-worldly - that's what I was told, anyway!) The kids could have a ride on the tractor trailer if they wanted, and there's a chance to see the whole process of how the cider is made and bottled. (The nice thing about it is, you watch them actually doing it - it's more of a fly on the wall thing than a museum).
There are so many other things to do and see around Cornwall that I can't possibly go into detail here (partly because I haven't seen all of them myself oh by the way the scenery at Land's End is stunning), but I will list a number of them at the end of the review.
Okay, I'll mention one more. A visit to one of the little port villages (such as Fowey) is pretty much an essential part of your visit.
We stayed in a holiday cottage (3 bedrooms but it would have been a bit cramped if there'd been more than 4 of us - yes the in-laws came too okay, it wasn't actually too bad! :-P) The facilities were quite good though the place needed a good airing when we got there (I'm not sure I want to know what that smell was). It cost us £150 for the week for 4 of us (water, electric, etc included), which wasn't bad at all. The company we used was John Fowler Homes, though there were plenty of other companies around offering similar accommodation at similar prices.
As far as hotels goes there were quite a few and the prices seemed reasonable, though I didn't look too hard. (Sorry, but I can't be in reviewer mode all of the time!)
If like us you drive to Cornwall, great news - there's not usually much traffic around. Even in peak times it's nothing like as bad as the big cities.
On the other hand there are a lot of very narrow, windy country lanes, so be careful. A good map is also essential as there is a distinct lack of helpful road signs in some places!
Also, you really want at least a 1.4l petrol / 1.8l Turbo Diesel (that's a guess) engine car to negotiate the many hills in Cornwall. My sister-in-law's little 1.1l Peugeot really struggled in places.
Face it it's ENGLAND. (Be prepared for anything )
Don't forget to sample some Cream Teas - basically, a scone with clotted cream and jam whit your brew. And of course Cornish Pasties (which can be preposterously large!), you mustn't forget to have one of those. A present for your folks back home is traditionally made up of clotted cream fudge and toffee. (Yep, they sure do like their clotted cream in Cornwall )
This was the first time I'd been to Cornwall - but I'll be back
Places of Interest:
Charlestown Shipwreck & Heritage Centre -
National Maritime Museum Cornwall - www.nmmc.co.uk
The Pilchard Works Museum & Salt Fish Factory - www.pilchards.co.uk
National Seal Sanctuary - www.sealsanctuary.co.uk
Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary - www.paradisepark.org.uk
Blue Reef - www.bluereefaquarium.co.uk
Newquay Zoo - www.newquayzoo.co.uk
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
Goonhilly Satelite Earth Station Experience - www.goonhilly.bt.com
The Cornish Cyder Farm - www.thecornishcyderfarm.co.uk
Lappa Valley Steam Railway - www.lappavalley.co.uk
Eden Project - www.edenproject.com
The Minack Theatre & Visitor Centre - www.minack.com/
Shires Family Adventure Park - www.crealy.co.uk
Flambards Experience - www.flambards.co.uk
Dobwalls Family Adventure Park - www.dobwallsadventurepark.co.uk
Dairyland Farm World - www.dairylandfarmworld.com
Brocklands Adventure Park
Jamaica Inn - www.jamaicainn.co.uk
Land's End - www.landsend-landmark.co.uk
World of Model Railways - www.model-railway.co.uk
GARDENS AND COUNTRY HOUSES
The Lost Gardens of Heligan: www.heligan.com/
Pencarrow - www.pencarrow.co.uk
St Michael's Mount - www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk
Royal Cornwall Museum - www.royalcornwallmuseum.org.uk
Poldark Mine - www.poldark-mine.co.uk
Bodmin & Wenford Railway - www.bodminandwendfordrailway.co.uk
Pendennis Castle - www.English-heritage.org.uk/pendennis
Tintagel Castle - www.English-heritage.org.uk/tintagel
Porthcurno Telegraph Museum - www.prthcurno.org.uk
Greevor Tin Mine- www.geevor.com
Cornwall Tourist Board: www.cornwalltouristboard.co.uk/
I first visited Corwall a few years ago, we were heading for Newquay, on the way we stopped off at my brother - in - laws, who lives in Port Gaverne he has a few holiday cottages down there Seaways and Creekside, and these are situated only 50 yards from arguably the best public house in north Cornwall ,the Gaverne Arms, where the cuisine here is exceptional and this is again flanked by one of Cornwalls most secluded coves, which is at its best towards sunset after a good days touring. Port Gaverne is situated just below Port Isaac attain by rather narrow roads with passing spaces, but the welcome from the pub is worth it, not forgetting the great seaviews you get from here.
Newquay is the surfing capital of England and although it is mainly inhabited by the younger generation as it is comes alive at night with clubs and disco's. This should not deter the older generation of tourists as it is at this time, the beaches and rocky offshore are left in comparitive seclusion and are there to be enjoyed. And there is lots to see and do, and there are so many beachs to visit it gives you the choice, well worth a visit during summertime, whilst there, is the cliff top cafe approached via a suspension bridge, and just down some steps you have the sealife centre with fantastic displays and exhibits.
Newquay is surrounded by top class campsites who cater for all tastes, so do try them.
A short drive away you have the beautiful town of Truro with its quaint almost pedestrianised town centre with a visit to the cathederal a must. From here you can make your way down to Falmouth, bearing in mind the fact you cannot rush on cornish roads,( this is something the locals get irate about,) The final stretch into Falmouth overlooks the famous carrick roads, and delivers a view of one of the most magnificent natural harbours possibly in the world, and the sense of history obtained here is profound. For the travelling motorist the pay and display car parks are a must to maximise the sightseeing potential and your peace of mind as you leisurely stroll along the ancient cobbled streets of the towns centre down to the harbour full of absolutely crystal clear water which belies its depth, from here the ferrys constantly travel across to St Mawes. This short trip leaves an indelible memory for anyone, and ensures exploration of the rest of this seeminigly mediterranean county. But then try a trip to St Austell and that must include a trip to charlestown and its harbour ,there moored is an historic sailing ship allied to a seriously interesting maritime museum nearby .This looks at first sight to be of little interest......... wrong!..the amount of interest here is immense and children are captivated by what is on show..go there! , then on to the most fabulous attraction possible..the Eden project... the envy of the world .. once inside the site nothing can be seen until you turn the corner into the extremely large car parks , (with disabled drivers well catered for and close to the entrance.) There brilliantly hidden from all but the visitors are the most amazing cluster of what seems like domes from outer space but are in fact housing a fabulous array of flora and fauna from all over the world from the rain forests of the amazon to little old britain. For anyone with a dislike of crowds i would suggest that rather than try to be the first visitor of the day you try to arrive there mid to later in the afternoon as by then most of the viitors have left and the tropical dome will be less congested .. Although the british weather can be fickle at times ,one of the most memorable holidays for any family will be your time in Cornwall
Quite simply Cornwall is a gamble. This county at the South West tip of England can produce a sun-blessed holiday as good as anywhere on earth with scenery to match. On the other hand you can spend all week in pouring rain albeit trudging round some of the very good (and some very bad!) man made attractions. A few years ago I got the rain but this year we got 7 days of perfect weather. So with my luck in the sun expect a slightly rose tinted view of Cornwall this time round ? it wouldn?t have got this rating last time round! There is not only plenty to see in Cornwall but plenty to do. OK you can just sit on the beach if you want ? as you will see I did plenty of this. Apart from that though you can walk, surf, fish or just sip the local cider in the sun. It?s a bit hard to explain Cornwall (and to a certain extent its neighbour Devon) from a British perspective. Apart from maybe the highlands and islands of Scotland its one of the few places in the Isles that you feel you are abroad. Maybe it?s the scenery, maybe it?s the fact you see the Cornish flag more often than the English or British flag or perhaps that it somehow feels more continental (shark fishing is available for instance) but you certainly feel like you left everyday home behind. Anyway let me try and take you through some of the highlights of Cornwall ? from natural attractions such as beaches and towns to man-made attractions such as the Eden Project. Please note each entry is fairly brief ? at the end of the day you need a fully-fledged guidebook to show everything the county has to offer! Beaches/Resorts ? Cornwall really seems to have it all when it comes to beaches. Everything from good old bucket and spade family favourites to surf beaches and stunning scenery. Here are some of my favourites ? Newquay ? Quite simply Newquay is THE beach resort of Cornwall. First off though Newquay is not for everyone. If you think the English
lager lout image is something that only happens on holidays abroad, think again. Newquay on a weekend can turn into stag/hen night hell. Its take it or leave it and you can soon find a quite corner if needed. There isn?t actually such a thing as Newquay Beach, rather a number of separate beaches catering to different audiences. For instance Fistral Beach is a famous surfing destination. Newquay also has the advantage of having an airport serviced with cheap flights by RyanAir from London Stansted. Perranporth ? Just down the coast from Newquay and a good middle of the road family choice if the latter is a bit too boisterous for you. Nice beach with lifeguards and also pretty good surf. Also has a nice beach bar, The Watering Hole. Has the advantage that Newquay is just down the road if you want it. Bedruthan Steps ? simply amazing and wins my vote as most stunning beach in Cornwall (maybe Britain). Located a short drive North of Newquay this beach has the advantage of not having the crowds of many other beaches in Cornwall but this is offset by the reason for this ? quite difficult access to the beach itself via steps. The sweep of the beach contains massive rock stacks. Supposedly not safe to swim (the beach does not have a lifeguard), this doesn?t seem to stop too many people. Kynance Cove - Located on the Lizard Peninsula of Cornwall. It would certainly be up there with my favourite beaches in Cornwall. Giving it extra points in the race for the best beach would be the fact it has a National Trust cafe. On a hot day it doesn?t get much better than sitting having a cream tea with the blue sea in front of you. Porthcurno/Treen Beaches ? not the same beaches but located pretty close to each other. Not quite as stunning as say Bedruthan Steps, Porthcurno would however be hard to beet as best beach in Cornwall for the added benefit of easy access. Again though no lifeguards on duty here. OK so Cornwall has the coast an
d beaches. But what to do apart from flop on the beach for the day? Well first of all Cornwall is by far and away the epicentre of surfing in the UK. In some resorts there is more of a feel of the beach resorts of Australia and California than of anywhere else in the UK. Nearly all the coast is good for surfing and most resorts have at least one surf school. If surfing is a bit much plenty opt for simple body/boogie boarding. Next up there is fishing. Quite simply there is too much to cover but needless to say there is ample ? be it sea fishing (from shore or boat), freshwater or game (trout fishing) with a fly. And finally there are loads of opportunities for walking. On of the best examples is the South Coast Coast Path which pretty much speaks for itself. Apart from the natural attractions this being wet England at the end of the day there are numerous man made options. Again these are brief notes on each place as some such as the Eden Project could warrant an opinion on there own. Eden Project ? The project was to build a botanical garden in massive glass domes on the site of an old china clay quarry. Because of the weather we didn?t visit but I haven?t spoke to many people who have visited and been disappointed. Tintagel ? according to legend the castle here is the home of King Arthur. As it happens nobody can prove or disprove this theory but this does not stop the shops in the village pretty much selling out to this legend. Whether the village itself disappoints your or not the location of the old castle certainly wont perched on an ?island? in the sea. Finally apart from the attractions the food and drink can also be quite a star. The people of Devon will no doubt argue that there cream teas are better but if they are they must be pretty good. Served in theory in mid afternoon they are never the less just as good at anytime of day. Your cream tea includes a pot of tea accompanied by scones, strawberry ja
m and Cornish clotted cream. Cider (fermented apple juice) is also popular, as it is in most of South West England, and you can visit many of the farms to pick it up yourself. Finally seafood. Be it simple fish and chips to something a bit more ?classy? Cornwall does it well. I hope this wets your appetite to look further into this destination as this review could only ever touch a few of the major sights and attractions. Let me know if you want me to add other information such as restaurants, more towns, attractions and beaches. Cornwall? It?s a gamble worth taking.