Cornwall

Introduction

England - Cornwall

Cornwall is one of the prettiest areas in England. Flowing farming hills with narrow, winding roads give way to spectacular views of the ocean from high, craggy cliffs. A great place to go to and let nature speak to you.

Getting Around

Really the simplest way to get around is to drive a car. There are bus services running but are infrequent and do not often run to some of the bigger attractions. Train service runs to (or close to) most major sites.

There are many walking and bicycling trails throughout the area which offer a different perspective on the area and are a must to those wishing to truly experience Cornwall's wonderful atmosphere.

Attractions

The following are some of my favourite places in Cornwall:

  • Earth Station Goonhilly - This is one of the few ground stations in the world that relay communication signals to and from satellites for telecommunication needs. As such, this is a commercial enterprise run by British Telecom. There are tours offered of the site though they are basically along the lines of “look at the big satellite dishes” – mind you, they have a point. Some of the dishes here are among the largest in the world. The visiter center has little, if any information, serving, for the most part, as a waiting area for your tour of the site. Portions of the tour tend towards the silly (along the lines of “ALERT! ALERT! Entering a secure area! Unauthorized people will cause a security alert!”, etc, etc. Perhaps a bit overdone.
  • Land's End - Though a bit on the commercial side with a large tourist complex right at the cliff-side you can still see what people have come great distances to see – the view out over the ocean. Literally the “Land's End” this is where England begins or ends depending on how you look at it. The weather here is very changeable so if it is raining when you visit most likely it will be doing something else before you leave. TIP: To save paying for parking there is a small parking lot (marked “FREE”) that is on your right just before the Land's End area that is free (most times) and is only a short walk from the cliff. There are many paths that can be followed along the top of the cliffs winding through farmers fields which offer even better views away from Land's End itself.

Land's End

  • The Eden Project - One of the newest attractions in Cornwall, The Eden Project attempts to educate without lecturing on the wonders of nature through the use of two massive “biomes” (a third is being built) one of which is devoted to the tropics (including plants, insects and birds) while another is devoted to temperate climates (mostly just plants). The Two Biomes of The Eden Project The project is situated in an old quarry (near St. Austell on the southern coast) with the surrounding quarry area being planted with a range of plants interspersed with various works of arts. Truly a magnificent attraction with lots to see and do though not particularly suited for children (lots of walking).

Inside the Tropical Biome

  • The Lizard - The Lizard is the southernmost point in England (many people mistakenly believe that this honour goes to Land's End) and is much more remote than Land's End – so therefore much less tourists. There is a small town there that has a number of delightful restaurants. The Lizard itself is accessible by a path from the village or via a parking lot directly attached to the site which is run by the National Trust. The site itself looks out over the ocean and rocks and the remains of an abandoned lifeboat building. There are many walks around the area and if you are interested you can walk to the west from The Lizard itself along the ocean and take a small path back to the town.
  • The Minack Theatre (Pothcurno) - A wonderful theatre built into the cliff face. This theatre was built to house local theatre companies and it is still in use today. The theatre season operates in the summer though the theatre is open to visitors all year around (though at £2 is a bit expensive to just walk around). Great view of the ocean. Sit on the sod seats and enjoy the view.

The Minack Theatre

  • Mousehole - A small town located right on the coast that is renown for just that – being small. It is NOT really possible to drive into the town and I would advise parking in the numerous spaces along the road just prior to the town. The village seems to be relatively unspoilt by all of the attention that has been given to it over the years and is still full of charming small stores and restaurants. A great place to wander around.

Mousehole

  • St. Michael's Mount - Famously seen in many photographs over the years St. Michael's Mount is a former monastery located on the top of a large piece of rock that is an island for half the day, at high tide where a boat must be used to get to the island (with a nominal charge paid to the captain). At low tide there is a stone path that can be followed to get to the castle. A charming almost magical place with a small but very well appointed garden and a winding path that leads up to the castle. The castle itself is fairly small but offers some wonderful views of surrounding countryside. Basic exhibits are on display though some of the more personal artefacts from the current owners are perhaps the most interesting.

St. Michael's Mount

  • Tintagel Castle - A recently excavated ruin, this is the reputed home of King Arthur though it is doubtful that any such individual ever inhabited this area. Every summer further excavations occur and recent discoveries include a summer home for an English noble. Located in the town of Tintagel you must park your car and walk down a very narrow (and steep) road to get to the base of the castle area at the shore line. Then you can proceed climbing on a series of steps to either the “island” portion of the site which contains the remains of a number of early settlements or the “mainland” portion which is much smaller and contains the shell of what seem to be a guardhouse. Great views from the top of the “island” though the lack of any guardrails is a bit unnerving for those wary of heights. There are other things to see beyond the English Heritage site including Merlin's Cave (only accessible at low tide) which is just that – a cave. If you don't like dark, confined, wet places… While in Tintagel do try some wonderful Cornish Pasties for sale in a few small shops (these are the REAL thing, as big as a dinner plate and containing BIG pieces of meat and vegetable - one is enough for a meal) and also visit the small and very quaint Old Post Office run by the National Trust.

Tintagel Castle

There are also a large number of other, smaller attractions including some places pro-porting to be Cornish Mines. Of the many such mines, The Poldark Mine located in Wendron (Near Helston) has the best reputation (though the author has not visited this site).

Further Information

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