Cornwall regularly tops the most popular UK destination poll, and with good reason. With a new-found reputation for gastronomy, fantastic beaches offering great water sports opportunities, the rugged moors and picture-perfect villages, you’d be hard pressed not to find a reason to visit England’s southwestern tip.
Places to Visit
Nestled in a crater that looks like it was carved out by a meteor (it was actually a disused quarry), the Eden Project’s biomes also have that outer-space quality to them. They are actually home to the largest rainforest in captivity and millions of plants from around the world.
With wonderfully landscaped gardens, a year-round programme of activities and concerts, and the opportunity to learn about the environment and sustainability while having fun, the Eden Project is worth the visit.
For the essence of Cornwall there’s no better place to visit than Fowey. Cottages tumble down the hillside and cluster around the water’s edge while meandering streets are filled with independent shops and galleries selling local arts & crafts, foods and souvenirs.
History buffs will enjoy the historic buildings such as Old House of Fowey, Noah’s Ark and the 16th century fort, St. Catherine’s Castle. Water sports enthusiasts can take to the estuary in kayak, boats or on paddleboards.
For a taste of Cornish cuisine, Fowey will leave you spoiled for choice with gourmet dining, traditional fish and chips (even better eaten on a sea wall!), bars, pubs and restaurants from mid-range to high-end dining.
On the rugged northern coast of Cornwall, the dramatic ruins of Tintagel Castle sit high on a headland with dramatic sea views. Steeped in myths and the legend of King Arthur, there are over 18 acres to explore.
Soak up the atmosphere as you cross the chasm from headland to island and learn about the site that has been of strategic importance to the Cornish way of life since Roman times.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
In 1990, the gardens of Heligan were rediscovered under a tangle of brambles and ivy. A real ‘secret garden’, it had been unseen for decades after the circumstances of two World Wars seemed to have consigned these once magnificent herbaceous borders and Italian garden to a historical footnote.
The Times classed it as ´the garden restoration of the century’, and now the estate offers more than 200 acres of land for exploration and discovery.
A pretty fishing village between Penzance and Land’s End, Mousehole was described as the loveliest village in England by Dylan Thomas. The harbour plays host to Christmas lights that are famous throughout the county.
The granite cottages huddle around the harbour and the narrow streets are filled with shops, galleries, restaurants and inns. A lovely place to experience Cornwall.
Things to Do
Walking in Cornwall
One of the most popular activities in the south west of England, walking in Cornwall offers a range of experiences due to the diversity of its landscape. From the wonders of the South West Coast Path to the wilderness of Bodmin Moor dotted with its disused mine workings and ancient stone circles, the walks offer scenery to take your breath away.
There are a number of great websites, such as iwalkcornwall.co.uk, that provide ready planned walks for you to get the most out of your time in the county.
Enjoy the Beaches
There are more than 300 beaches to sample in Cornwall, from the Cornish Riveria on the south coast to the rockier northern coast, and there’s something for everyone – even our four-legged friends!
Hit the water
Whether it’s kayaking, surfing, sailing or fishing, Cornwall’s rivers, estuaries and beaches offer the chance to learn or perfect your water-based skills. With the relatively mild temperatures of the south-west, even the winter months give you the chance to hit the water.
Houses and Gardens
From Elizabethan manor houses to Georgian townhouses and Grade I listed gardens, anyone with even a passing interest in architecture, history or horticulture will find something to tickle their fancy in Cornwall. Take your pick from Cornwall’s wonderful selection of historic houses and gardens.
Food & Drink
Cornwall offers dining experiences that range from unique cafés to fine dining restaurants with fresh local produce to tempt the taste buds.
In recent years, Cornwall has become something of a foodie’s heaven with celebrity chefs like Rick Stein and Nathan Outlaw opening eateries in Padstow and Port Isaac but with quirky beach huts offering delightful delicacies, you’re spoiled for choice.
Here’s our guide to some of Cornwall’s top dishes and produce:
Devon and Somerset are not the only cider producers in the West Country. Cornwall has an equally long tradition of producing this apple based drink, which is very satisfying after a long walk across the moors.
You know you’re in Cornwall when your jam is loaded onto the scone before the cream! There’s nothing more quintessentially English than a cream tea taken on the lawn on a summer’s afternoon.
What can you expect from a county with more than 400 miles of coastline? Fresh seafood. From Newlyn Crab to pilchards, lobster and oysters, if you’re a fan of all things sea-based, you’ll love the Cornish food.
Made with Cornish clotted cream, this confectionary is reminiscent of summer holidays spent rock pooling. Cornwall boasts a number of independent fudge makers; an ideal gift to take home from your holidays.
Cornish ice cream is deliciously yellow thanks to the clotted cream and vanilla essence that are the major ingredients. For those summer days on a sandy beach…
Think of King Arthur and his knights of the round table and you may also conjure up images of goblets filled with mead. This ‘honey wine’ is worthy of the gods. Head to a meadery and enjoy an atmospheric meal (also child-friendly) with a drop of the sweet stuff.
A crimped baked pastry filled with savoury ingredients such as potatoes, meat, turnip and onion, this is a filling meal-on-the-go. It’s now considered the national dish of Cornwall and can be found everywhere.