Beautiful Cornwall is the South West’s jewel, brimming with award-winning sandy beaches ranging from the challenging surfing beaches of the Newquay and Bude north coast to the gentle family beach bays of the south coast at St Austell, Roseland and Looe. In Cornwall’s far west you’ll find beaches like Porthcurno and Sennen that wouldn’t look out of place on a Caribbean Island. The Eden Project in Cornwall is one of Britain’s most popular family attractions and the wealth of family activities and things to do in the region is endless, from garden, sculpture and Cornish mining trails to theme parks, farm parks, boat trips and family surfing lessons.
Families love Cornwall for its award-winning sandy beaches and its wealth of fun family activities and attractions making it perfect for year round short breaks and holidays. Children adore the interactive biome tropical worlds of the Eden Project and family friendly activities range from cycling along the gentle Camel Trail to boat trips from Penzance to the Isles of Scilly and fishing around Cornwall’s many pretty fishing harbours including Looe, Porthleven and Megavissey. Popular family attractions include Flambards Theme Park near Helston on the Lizard or take a tour of Newquay Zoo or Wheal Martyn, the UK’s only China Clay Museum and Country Park covering 26 acres – cycling trails, play areas and more are onsite and dogs are welcome too! There’s lots of great family attractions at the Land’s End visitor experience from rides and slides to a 4D film experience and children’s farm, all in the spectacular setting of the British mainland’s most south westerly point.
Mining Heritage & Art
Explore Cornish Mining World Heritage Sites around Redruth, Camborne, St Agnes and St Just. Many old Cornish tin and copper mines are open to the public and the remains of old ruined engine houses are dotted along cliff top trails around St Just and St Agnes, and inland along Cornwall’s Mineral Tramway Trails near Camborne. Centres for art include the beachside Tate Gallery and Barbara Hepworth Studio at St Ives and Penlee House in Penzance which holds numerous works by the Newlyn School of artists. The greats of British Modernist and realist art have close links with Cornwall, attracted to the region by its magical light and spectacular scenery.
For outdoor activity holidays in the UK, Cornwall is hard to beat with surfing on the North Coast and walking around the South West Coast Path which is particularly spectacular around the Lizard Peninsula and the Far West. Head off along Cornwall’s multi use Mineral Tramways mining trails, open to walkers and cyclists, and dotted with old engine house remains, or try scuba diving off the East Coast at Looe, The Manacles around the Lizard or in the crystal clear waters surrounding the off-shore Isles of Scilly. Day trips on the Isle of Scilly are made easy via regular boat trips from Penzance, or flights from Land’s End Airport. Horse riding and walking are also popular in Cornwall’s Bodmin Moor, the setting for Daphne du Maurier’s novel, ‘Jamaica Inn’.
Film & TV
Cornwall’s spectacular coast, moorland and World Heritage mining sites have made regular appearances in film and TV. The 1970s Poldark TV series was hugely successful, showcasing Cornwall’s magnificent landscapes to not just a British audience, but also a wider European audience, attracting a huge influx of visitors to the region. In more recent times, a TV drama feature of Du Maurier’s ‘Jamaica Inn’ has been screened, and a new series of ‘Poldark’ promises to showcase Cornwall again to new audiences. Daphne du Maurier lived near Fowey on the South Cornwall coast, and the sailing centre hosts an annual literature and music festival, with a focus on celebrating the local author’s work. The poet John Betjeman was a regular visitor to the North Cornwall Coast and you’ll find The John Betjeman Centre in the old railway station at Wadebridge.
Food & Drink
Taste the best of Cornwall in famous food centres such as Padstow where the celebrity chef Rick Stein has a selection of eateries including a bistro, a seafood restaurant, and a fish & chips takeaway. Rick Stein restaurants are also elsewhere in Cornwall at Porthleven, St Merryn and in Falmouth. Another famous chef, Jamie Oliver, is behind the award-winning Fifteen restaurant which sits right on the beach at Watergate Bay in the Newquay area. The restaurant is now owned by the newly renamed charity, the Cornwall Food Foundation, funded by profits and providing young people in Cornwall with the opportunity to reach their potential by working with people and with food.
It’s easy to see why celebrity chefs are attracted to the region – the Cornish coast offers up some of the country’s finest seafood and several fish and seafood festivals are held annually including the Newlyn Fish Festival on the South West Cornish Coast in August, the Newquay Fish Festival in September and the Falmouth Oyster Festival in October. Add to this a string of high profile food festivals held around the region each year including the big Great Cornish Food Festival in September around Lemon Quay in Cornish capital Truro. Across Cornwall you’ll find a delectable mix of best seafood restaurants, fish & chip takeaways, gastro inns and beach cafes serving the best of locally sourced food and drink. Cornwall also has several first class small and large independent cider makers and breweries including St Austell Brewery with tours available near the Eden Project and small ones like St Ives Brewery and the craft brewery Lizard Ales.
Pre-historic sites abound in Cornwall particularly in Bodmin Moor around Minions where you’ll see the mystical Hurlers stone circle and vast granite rock formations like the famous Cheesewring. Explore Cornwall’s great castle ruins including the ancient and mighty powerhouse – Launceston Castle, once the administrative centre for the Earl of Cornwall. You can climb to the top of the 13th century keep round tower for spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. On the south coast Henry VIII constructed defensive coastal fortresses like St Mawes and Pendennis Castles either side of the Carrick Roads. St Mawes Castle is one of the Tudor king’s best preserved coastal artillery fortresses. The ruins of Tintagel Castle high up on the rugged North Cornwall coast are steeped in Arthurian legend and cover a vast 18 acres across the headland and island.
National Trust owned landscapes, gardens, houses and beach bays are across Cornwall. Experience some of England’s most magnificent coastal walking around the Lizard Peninsula coastline. The Trust cares for several family friendly beaches around the coast including Holywell and Crantock, Godrevy, Poldhu and Kynance Cove on the Lizard Coast. The Gulf Stream warmed climate of Cornwall is the perfect setting for sub-tropical and exotic gardens. There are over 40 glorious gardens in the region ranging from romantic gems like Godolphin House and Estate near Helston to the 8th wonder of the world – The Eden Project, the famously restored Lost Gardens of Heligan around St Austell and the sub-tropical paradises of the Isles of Scilly.
Beaches & Surfing
Cornwall has one of Britain’s highest number of beaches with a ‘Recommended’ standard from the Good Beach Guide. Some of the great South West beaches feature in the World’s top 10 beaches including Porthcurno and Kynance Cove. Surfing beach hotspots face the Atlantic full on at Newquay and Bude. Newquay’s famous Fistral beach hosts numerous international surfing competitions and the surfing capital is packed with surf bars, surf hostels and cafes. Best family beaches include Sennen Cove in the far west, the many gentle family beaches around St Austell Bay, and beaches at Looe, St Agnes and St Ives.