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Sunset at St Ives

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Cornwall
Cornwall

The ultimate British seaside destination

Cornwall in short

Britain’s surfing capital is renowned throughout the UK and beyond for its majestic scenery, golden sandy beaches and imposing historical landmarks. Sometimes misty, often moody, Cornwall is a beautiful place to visit at any time of the year, come rain or shine. With an eclectic array of charming seaside villages, rocky harbours, an excellent food scene and many family activities, it’s no wonder Cornwall consistently ranks amongst the British people’s favourite destinations. 

If you’ve never been to Cornwall before, you’ll want to make your way to St Ives and discover its many wonders. From sweeping beaches with small mysterious caves to the beautiful Tate St Ives, it’s a wonderful coastal town that manages to promote culture, a varied beach life and a stunning natural landscape. While you’re there, don’t miss out on the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gardens, a stunning tribute to one of St Ives’ most prolific artists.

Morning light over St Ives harbour

- © Mick Blakey / Shutterstock

Head to Penzance and bask in its irresistible beauty and small town shops. Make your way through the narrow streets and quirky independent shops and take a walk along the harbour to enjoy a beautiful sunset. You’ll also get excellent views of one of Cornwall’s most iconic landmarks, St Michael’s Mount. If you want to see the isle for yourself, head to Marazion, only a short drive from Penzance and make your way across the water to the hauntingly beautiful Mount and its magnificent castle.

St Michael’s Mount Cornwall

- © Snowshill / Shutterstock

Explore some of Cornwall’s most epic natural wonders at the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Both places embrace nature and invite visitors to celebrate and learn about the wonders of the earth. The Eden Project is a bigger, more impressive structure with a focus on recreating various climates and getting people to learn about ecology and the scope of nature around the world. The Lost Gardens of Heligan have a more local focus, giving visitors an experience of the best of Cornish nature.

The Eden Project

- © sambutler1029 / Shutterstock

Get acquainted with local wildlife at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, a hospital that cares for over 70 seal pups before letting them go back to their natural environments once they’re ready and healthy. You can also spot some stunning wildlife and geological curiosities at the Lizard Peninsula. It’s also a great spot for a long walk along the impressive coastal scenery.

The Lizard Peninsula, Kynance Cove

- © ian woolcock / Shutterstock

Cornwall also has an abundance of fun day trips visitors can go on and that are perfect for a family day out. Tintagel Castle is coated in myth and legend, said to be the place where King Arthur was conceived. It also has fantastic cliffside views and mysterious caves on the adjacent beach. The Isles of Scilly are another fantastic getaway with some incredible scenery to bask in. It’s also a great place to go on a boat trip and island hop.

Tintagel Castle

- © Valerie2000 / Shutterstock
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The must-sees

How to get there?

Cornwall is very easily accessible from the rest of the UK by car, the drive down from cities like London or Exeter is relatively straightforward and well signposted. It is also very well connected by train, with many of even the smaller Cornish towns having a local train station. 

The biggest airport in Cornwall is Newquay Airport, with many flight connections to the rest of the UK.

Where to stay?

There are many different types of accommodations in Cornwall, from hostels to home rentals to luxury hotels. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite hotels that display Cornish charm and personality better than any other.

Practical information

Some key figures on Cornwall 

Total area: 1,369 square miles

Population : 570, 305

When is the best time to visit Cornwall?

The summer months are when Cornwall gets the busiest. It’s warm and perfect weather to enjoy a swim in the sea and a lie on the beach for hours on end. That said, there is something charming and mysterious about Cornwall in the winter. The best way to figure out when to visit is to determine what you want to do there and what kind of experience you want to have. 

Packing your bags 

You’ll want to bring a bathing suit and beachwear, along with beach accessories like towels and sunscreen and toys if you’re travelling with little ones. 

Be sure to bring some comfortable clothes and walking gear, appropriate shoes in particular as the rocky cliffside walks can be tricky to navigate without proper footwear. You’ll also want to pack a raincoat and bring an umbrella, just in case. 

Driving in Cornwall

Driving is the easiest and quickest way to get around Cornwall and the experience is relatively straightforward. Places tend to be well sign posted and roads are clear and practical to drive on so you shouldn’t have any particular problems with it. 

Safety in Cornwall

Cornwall is a generally safe place and you’re unlikely to encounter any unsafe situations. That said, please stay alert just like you would in any other place in the world, especially at night and be sure to keep an eye on what’s going on around you. 

In case of an emergency, dial 999 to get through to police, fire and ambulance services. 

What should you bring back from your trip to Cornwall?

You can’t leave without bringing back a few pasties, Cornwall’s most well known delicacy. Local artisanal products such as Cornish sea salt or tea is a great option as well as locally made Cornish gin like Tarquin’s all make for fantastic souvenirs.

lightbulb_outline Editor's tip

If you feel like it, try your hand at surfing. Cornwall is the beating heart of British surf culture and if there ever was a time to step on a board and try it out, a trip to Cornwall is that time! There are plenty of local schools where you can take your first class and get a taste for the surfing life.

by Venice HANCOCK

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