Cornwall is famous the world over as the home of pasties and the cream tea, but this green and magical county has heaps more to offer. From wonderful hiking, to great cultural events and the chance for true adventure – you’ll have plenty to keep you happy on a holiday to Cornwall. Take a look at this guide to 10 of our favourite things to do there and you’ll discover Cornwall beyond the clichés.
The Southwest Coast path is one of the true gems of Cornwall and no visit to the county would be complete without exploring some of it. For striking views and wonderful rolling landscape we suggest tackling the stretch between St Just and Penzance. When you’ve finished Penzance is a lovely town to take a look around and you won’t be short of decent cafes to choose from, where you can enjoy some well-earned refreshments after you walk.
When it comes to biking in Cornwall we can’t get enough of the Bissoe trail. This trail runs for a gentle 11 miles, all the way from the south coast town of Devoran to the north coast town of Portreath. Where else can you boast that you have cycled from one side of England to the other, without having broken a sweat?! There’s a great café at the Portreath end and lots to see en route, including some fascinating relics from Cornwall’s mining past.
There are heaps of great spots to head to if you fancy having a go at surfing in Cornwall but we reckon the friendliest and most accessible by far is Gwithian, near Hayle. There’s a hire shop above the beach and plenty of waves for everyone – so, let the good times roll.
The celebrity chef, Rick Stein, has set up just about every type of eating establishment you could imagine in Padstow (on the lovely Camel Estuary). Our advice is to ignore them all except for his wonderful Seafood Restaurant – this isn’t because they’re bad by any stretch of the imagination – but because his Seafood Restaurant is just so good. We say you shouldn’t leave Cornwall without having visited! The winter seaside lunch is a winner– you won’t taste fresher seafood anywhere.
If you enjoy seeing wonderful wildlife while you’re out exploring we recommend a visit to Stithians Reservoir. Its home and stop off point to countless native birds, as well as some rarities such as the Glossy Ibis, Ballions Crake and the Pied-billed Grebe – a treat to see.
Due to its warm climate Cornwall is host to a whole number of fantastic, well-established gardens, particularly on the south coast. One of our very favourites is the Lost Gardens of Heligan, near St Austell, which was lovingly restored 22 years ago after being discovered in a state of deep-overgrowth and disrepair. Today the gardens are thriving and a visit there will lead you on a spellbinding journey… take our word for it.
There are many surprises at the Lost Garden of Heligan!
Get to grips with Cornwall’s mining heritage with a visit to Poldark Mine. The perfectly preserved mine site is the best example of a complete underground tin mine in the country– plus you can even take a tour with one of the old miners and ask all the questions you can possibly think up.
Cornwall is lucky to have its very own Tate Gallery in St Ives, but also not to be missed is the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. It’s a tiny, intimate gallery and museum that will leave you with the feeling that you have discovered something very special.
If you’re keen on theatre pay a visit to the Tolmen Centre in the magical village of Constantine. This tiny community-run Arts space hosts a varied and exciting programme of events throughout the year. Catch some traditional Cornish dancing, or a show by The Old Vic: New Voices, or just stop by at their brilliant café.
And if you are looking for a real adventure experience in Cornwall, head to Bude where you can try out Zorbing- in other words zooming down a hill inside a giant inflatable ball. This is so much fun and it has to be experienced to be believed! We hope this has given you some food for thought about the range of activities available in Cornwall. We’ve had heaps of fun finding out about all these things – we hope you will too. Enjoy!