I have been visiting Liskeard in Cornwall ever since I can remember. My grand parents live there and it is where my Dad was born. As a child I really enjoyed visiting Liskeard, as every other shop is filled with little trinkets and ornaments. Arts and crafts. Bits and Bats. It is really quite fascinating for a younger child.
Typical attractions Liskeard have to offer range from the Dobwalls Adventure Play Ground that has small trains the family can ride on that go under tunnels and round and round a track. My Grandad used to get us to see if we could make a 'choo-choo' noise for as long as we were under the tunnel. Obviously, this amused us immensley when we were really young (I aren't going to admit that I still do it now when I go to visit). Dobwalls has a huge soft play area for the kids to play in. It has huge climbing walls, slides, a maze that you have to crawl through and lots of different things to climb up and swing off. Sometimes I do feel a little miffed that I have to pretend I am too cool to run around in there. At 22, I really do need to start acting my age. Also, from Liskeard it is only a short train ride or car journey to Looe. Here, you can shop and shop and buy all the little trinkets you want. I must warn you though, once you have seen one shop you have more or less seen them all. But there are a lot of nice places to eat and get icecream. To sit by the sea with your coat on and eat your icecream always makes me laugh. Although, Looe is just a little town near the sea, I like to go so I can see where my Dad got his first job and see where he grew up and hung out with friends.
My favourite place to go in Liskeard and this is purely because I like to spend loads of money is Trago Mills. Trago Mills has absolutley everything you can think of. From garden equipment to furniture, from toys to clothes, from food to books. Anything you want you can get it at Trago! Make sure you give yourself a good few hours to have a walk round as there is so much to see. If your a shop-a-holic like me you will enjoy it, however if your partner is not into routing for the best bargins then outside there are icecream and burger huts, or there is a nice little cafe attached where you can grab a cup of tea. If you feel you would like to have a gander at some wildlife, on the way to the cafe are some bird avaries you can take a look at. Or, if you fancy a walk to clear your head about how much money your partner is saving then at the other end of Trago Mills there are some nice grounds you can have a walk through, with statues and plant and even more wildlife. Walk off the worry of the credit card bill.
As I have got older I tend not to go as much as I used to, for my age there are less things to do. I do try to go as much as I can with my family but I tend to get a little bit bored these days. I am in the age group now that Liskeard doesn't really cater for. Everything is uphill and noone seems to be in a rush to do anything. Which is very much to my annoyance as I am used to the hustle and bustle of a large city. For my grand parents however it is perfect, very quite, they can come and go as they please, and they know absolutley EVERYONE. So, when my family go to visit everyone knows who we are. They here the broad Yorkshire accent and straight away say 'oooo, you belong to Sheila and Phil don't you'. Which is funny, but not so funny when elderly strangers pinch your face and insist on kissing you.
Overall, Liskeard is a lovely place but I am just at the wrong age. When I was younger I loved it, and more than likely when I get a little older I will love it again. But right now, there isn't much for me to do there. Last time I went I found myself in a little bother. I went to a pasty shop for my dinner and asked for a Cornish pasty, which is quite normal to ask for in Yorkshire as that is what they are called. The young girl behind the counter asked me if I was trying to be funny, and said that I was in Cornwall so every pasty was cornish!! The cheek, so I asked what I should be calling it (she abruptly told me 'steak pasty'), so I ordered my steak pasty, and just as I was about to leave I asked, what do you call a Yorkshire Pudding then? What ever happened to good customer service?
PS. Last time I visited we went to a pub/restaurant called The Highwayman in Dobwalls, the food here was lovely, I really enjoyed my meal and will go again. The pub is really nice with all sorts of memorabilia on the walls. The service was really good also. Highly Recommended.
Although I live up here in Derbyshire I have spent a lot of time in and around Liskeard (relatives live in a village just south of the town) and have just got back from a quick holiday there. My recent visit has given me sufficient motivation to write an opinion on the once beautiful town. Liskeard is a small market town about 10 miles west of the river Tamar and is apparently the administrative centre of the Caradon District of Cornwall. Liskeard is a town full of history, as early as the Bronze Age humans have populated Liskeard and the surrounding areas – mainly because of the natural spring that Liskeard is based upon. By the 13th Century Liskeard was an established settlement with a regular market and it is during this century that the Earl of Cornwall built a fortified house here and set up a couple of deer parks on the edge of the town. From the 16th century onwards Liskeard began to be associated with mining of ‘ores’, apparently it was designated a ‘coinage’ town, where the quality of local mined goods would be assessed and taxed appropriately. The 19th saw the local mineral deposits exploited for the first time and the population rose from 1000 in 1800 to over 6000 in 1850. The town was even given a rail link to Plymouth and regulated delivery of gas and water during this century. The buildings built during this century still survive and the Victorian townscape still survives. However the last 50 years has seen Liskeard fall into decline. All the local mines have closed and jobs are no longer to be found here. The historic market still survives and was keeping Liskeard afloat, however an eerie trip to the cattle market indicated just how severely the foot and mouth epidemic has crippled the town <My history is a little sketchy, if anyone wants to add something and maybe fill in any gaps on Liskeard please leave a comment : -) > Okay, that was my little History lesson, apologies if it soun
ded a little dull but it’s what I picked up from the tourist board when I asked (yes I asked in preparation for this opinion – SAD!), so what does Liskeard offer toady? Liskeard is one of the first towns you come across when you enter Cornwall via the A38 or the mainline railway (London-Penzance) and lies on high ground above the Looe river valley. Perhaps the best feature of Liskeard is its location and it’s excellent transport links. The surrounding area offers everything a tourist could want – to the south you have some of the country’s most picturesque coastline as well as the tourist hotspots of Looe and Polperro, to the north you have the rugged beauty of Bodmin Moor (beware of the beast!) as well as Dobwalls Theme Park. Liskeard would be a good base for holidaymakers, the town and surrounding villages have plenty in the way of cheap accommodation and there are lots of wonderful attractions within an hours drive/train journey/ bus ride both in Cornwall and Devon. Liskeard isn’t just a base though, you could, conceivably, spend half a day or even a day exploring the town. To the casual motorist Liskeard is no different to any other English town. Barras Street is the main road through the town lined with pubs, banks and a large post office. The pavements running down the street have been reconstructed with large flower beds and ‘attractive’ stonework but these are spoiled by the mass ranks of unemployed, bored teenagers who see the series of benches and flowerbeds as a new challenge for their skateboards. To see the real Liskeard you need to leave your car behind and park up in one of the three major pay and display car parks (there is ample sign posting to direct you to where it is). Once parked up you should descend down Pike Street or Baytree Hill along which you will find shops, restaurants and historical features. The chaotic growth of Liskeard has lead to a hotch-potch of
narrow streets filled with character and ambience, however it should be noted that areas are really steep and sometimes cobbled – may not be the most practical of towns for those in wheelchairs. The main shopping area is Fore Street, a once bustling main street it has now lost ‘something’ with residents preferring to shops at the out of town supermarket or travelling over to Plymouth. There are still plenty of shops left and the last 6 months have seen a mini-resurgence with the opening of a couple of sweet shops and a new sports store. There are of course some chain stores – Woolworths, Boots and MacKays as well as a branch of Toymaster which has the best selection of toys in the whole of Cornwall. There are plenty of little local shops too, small bookshops and nic-nac shops can be found on the main street as well as down the small alley ways. I found an antiques dealership and auctioneer behind the Sommerfield supermarket last month which had evaded me for 18years! Grocery shopping won’t be a trouble either, there are two main supermarkets in town, the Co-op and Sommerfield as well as smaller supermarkets like Alldays or Spar, a large Safeway has also been built on the outskirts. However it’s not just all about supermarkets there little fruit and veg shops lieing about and a brilliant fishmunger on the main street, there are a couple of local butchers too. If you’re just in town for a snack then a Cornish Pasty is the only way to go, there are two main bakeries – Purdey’s and the one next to Woolworths, both of which offer quality pasties at competitive prices. Liskeard also offers a huge range of cafes and restaurants, something that might not be expected in a recently declining town. Firstly there is the Fish and Chip bar on Barras Road which can be a little dodgy (I would suggest going down to the coast for a better quality Fish and Chips). Throughout the town there are numerous pubs whi
ch offer pub food, I’ve been in most and can vouch for them all. Scattered throughout the town there are cafes and restaurants from those serving traditional foods right through to a fabulous Indian restaurant up on Castle Street – also try the little coffee shop on Fore Street, it really does have a continental feel to it! Well that’s the shopping covered I think, there is plenty to go and look at too. The labyrinth of narrow streets is something to behold in itself, the muddle of Edwardian, Victorian and modern architecture emulates that of some of the French villages I have visited. The Pipe Well is perhaps the most famous site in Liskeard, located at the end of Well Lane and Fore Street. It’s not all that much to look at but it represents the reason why people first settled here, the four springs that feed it have never run dry and the water was believed to posses healing powers. There is a town museum on Pike Street where there is plenty of information on the heritage of the area. There is an abundance of public buildings, the Guildhall on Pike Street (formerly used as a magistrates court) has an impressive clock tower as well as the old town hall on West Street. There are a couple of Murals on Pigmeadow Lane and Westbourne that are nice to show the children and the Stuart House opposite the library on Barras Street has been converted into an impressive venue for arts exhibitions and so forth. Finally, the Parish Church of St. Martin is a definite place to visit. It’s a little way from the town centre, up Cannon Hill, but it is one of the biggest in the county. It predominantly dates from the 15th century but there are traces of earlier and later work. The architecture is beautiful and the surrounding garden and cemetery are a real picture in the summer. There is a large Leisure Centre too which has a decent sized swimming pool and everything else you’d expect like tennis courts. The ‘Lux P
ark’ is quite a modern development and is located about a mile north of the town centre. There are plenty of events that happen too, like the carnival at the end of June and the Liskeard show of early July but the Cornish Tourist Board could probably tell you more. Liskeard can be a lovely town, especially if you go exploring. Generally the people are warm and welcoming. However the youth take their toll on the town, Barras Street is often left full of graffiti and littered and benches are usually occupied by the teenagers I have already mentioned. The Webster’s hotel on Barras Street, built in the early 19th century and a listed building, is to be turned into a new night-club!!!!!! Liskeard is both a stop off place and a base for a holiday, anyone wanting a Cornish holiday should consider Liskeard (there are regular busses to the Eden Project – just so you know). I’m unsure of the tourist board phone number but anyone looking for information could try the Town Council Offices on 01579 345407 or visit www.liskeard.com (I think that is the address, might be co.uk)