Standing on the tip of Cornwall, all you can see is the Atlantic Ocean – the next landfall westward is America. This truly is Lands End. Not surprisingly, thousands of visitors flock here every year, drawn by the spectacular scenery and amazing stories. This is a land of mystery, of magic; where anything can happen.
Exploring the dramatic ruins of Tintagel Castle, it is easy to imagine a dark night when Merlin steps forth with the young baby who grows up to be King Arthur. Or think of Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table jousting here, and setting off on their adventures. If the tide is out, venture down into the cove and explore the cool reaches of Merlin’s Cave. Nearby Camelford is perfect for discovering the ancient sites on Bodmin Moor.
Prefer beach holidays? Then head for Newquay, which has one of the UK’s top ten beaches; try the beautiful expanse of Mounts Bay or Porthminster beach. Kynance Cove, close to the Lizard peninsula, offers white sand and turquoise seas. Everywhere you go along the Cornish coastline, there are rocky coves or long expanses of soft sand. There are countless opportunities for water sports, with the Atlantic waves on the Northern side of the country popular with surfers. For those who prefer to stay on land, coastal walking trails such as the South West Coastal path or those around the Fal River area of outstanding natural beauty, provide access to wonderful scenery.
Stroll down cobbled streets in pretty market towns like St Ives or Truro, enjoying some fantastic shopping opportunities, as well as award winning restaurants like Rick Stein’s seafood at Padstow. Fans of Poldark will recognise familiar sights around Padstow such as Tregirls beach, the Camel Estuary and Levlizzick.
The sight of palm trees and gardens filled with sub-tropical plants highlight the mild climate of South Cornwall, tempered by the warmth of the Gulf Stream. Penzance is the most westerly town in Cornwall, close to the amazing St Michael’s Mount with a castle that seems almost to hover in the sea. A tidal island that is accessible by causeway or boat, it was visited by Phoenecian ships trading for tin over two thousand years ago. Alternatively, take a cruise across to the Isles of Scilly.
Looking for some culture? Try the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gardens in St Ives, or find out about modern art at Tate St Ives. Miniack Theatre is totally unique. An outdoor amphitheatre surrounded by a rocky garden, Miniack’s position, perched high on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, provides a superb backdrop to top class musicals, dramas and operas.
Heading into south Cornwall, the area around Fowey provides superb walking opportunities, whilst at Falmouth, Pendennis Castle, built by Henry VIII, awaits exploration. This region is well known for its amazing gardens, like the Lost Gardens of Heligan or The Eden Project at St Austell. Home to the world’s largest indoor rainforest, The Eden Project even offers an opportunity to zip line across the biodomes!
Kynance Cove – www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kynance-cove
Tintagel Castle / Merlins Cave- www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/tintagel-castle
Trebah Gardens – www.trebahgarden.co.uk
Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate – www.carbisbayhotel.co.uk