WHAT TO SEE AND DO in cornwall

Editor’s Choice…Only The Best Will Do...








Historic Buildings





Altarnun - The Parish Church of St Nonna

Superb C16 church; tall perpendicular tower rises to 109 ft. Norman font with bearded faces at corner. C16 carved bench ends including man with bagpipes. Rood Screen. Known locally as ‘The Cathedral of the Moors’.   Photography: Copyright ©William Fricker Photography/Goldeneye Guides

Blisland - The Parish Church of St Protus & St Hyacinth

Wonderfully restored church (a favourite of John Betjeman) in village with attractive village green and fine inn. C15 granite tower and Norman font. C15 brasses. 


Bodmin Jail PL31 2NR

A formidable and eerie building that holds secrets to shock. Life in the C18 was cheap and public executions were rife and blood-curdling. Well worth a visit on a damp, dismal day. A worthy cafe/ restaurant. A boutique hotel is planned within the build that will greatly popularise the town. Open all year from 9.30.  Photography: Copyright ©William Fricker Photography/Goldeneye Guides

01208 76292   bodminjail.org   Photography: Copyright ©William Fricker Photography/Goldeneye Guides

Jamaica Inn, Bodmin Moor PL15 7TS

Isolated, ancient coaching inn and inspiration for Daphne du Maurier’s fictitious novel. Bars, restaurants, accommodation & gift shops. Attractions include the Daphne du Maurier Room, ‘The Smugglers at Jamaica Inn.’ Ghost Hunt. Inn open all year.  A Start-Off point for circular walk to Brown Willy.

01566 86250   jamaicainn.co.uk     Photography: Supplied By Subject

Launceston Castle (EH) PL15 7DR

Norman castle built in c.1070 in timber. It was the main seat of Robert de Mortain, brother of William the Conqueror. Rebuilt C12-13. Good example of a motte and bailey structure. Open East., or Apr to Oct 10-5 (-4 Oct).   Photography: Copyright ©William Fricker Photography/Goldeneye Guides

0370 3331181   english-heritage.org.uk  Photography: Copyright ©William Fricker Photography/Goldeneye Guides

Launcells - The Parish Church of St Swithin

Fortunate to be the only Cornish church not tampered with by the Victorians. Wall painting and 60 carved bench ends shown off in the light interior. Monument. Fine wagon roof. A haven of solitude beside the little stream in a wooded valley. Magical.  Photography: Copyright ©William Fricker Photography/Goldeneye Guides Photography: Copyright ©William Fricker Photography/Goldeneye Guides

Morwenstow - The Parish Church of  St John The Baptist

Impressive Norman doorway with vulgar heads of men and beast on the porch, original wagon roof and wall painting remains. C16 Rood Screen. Bench ends. Overlooking the Atlantic. Famous for Richard Stephen Hawker (1803-75), the eccentric and original vicar-poet, and originator of harvest festivals. A compassionate man, he would stalk the wild coast in beaver hat, fishermen’s long boots and yellow cloak in search of shipwrecked sailors. Many are buried in his churchyard. And to stir his congregation he would dress as a mermaid. The Hawker’s Hut made up of driftwood stands on the edge of the cliffs.

King Arthur’s Great Hall & Hall of Chivalry, Tintagel PL34 0DA

A magnificent hall built in memory of King Arthur and his Knights, using 50 types of Cornish stone and 70-stained glass windows. The Arthurian Experience tells the story of Arthur and his Knights.  Open 1 March to 31 October  Tu-Su 10-5.    01840 770526  kingarthursgreathalls.co.uk   Photography: Supplied By Subject

Pencarrow House  PL30 3AG

Busy Georgian home of the Molesworth-St Aubyn’s set in extensive grounds. A fine collection of pictures, furniture and porcelain. Café, craft centre, plant shop and children’s play area. House open daily 11-5 Apr-Oct except F & Sa. Gardens daily from 10. 

01208 841369   pencarrow.co.uk    Photography: Supplied By Subject


Pendeen Lighthouse TR19 7ED

Built in 1900 to protect vessels from Wra Rocks around Pendeen Watch. The lighthouse keeper’s cottages are now holiday cottages, and the automatic fog signal is controlled via a telemetry link from the Trinity House Operational Control Centre in Harwich. Start off point for coastal walks.  trinityhouse.co.uk  Photography: Copyright ©William Fricker Photography/Goldeneye Guides

Pendennis Castle (EH) TR11 4LP

Built 1544-46 in the age of the Cannon and gunpowder as one of a chain of castles Henry VIII erected from 1538 to deter French Invasion. Circular keep with drawbridge, portcullis, spy holes and spiral staircase. Superb viewpoint. To the south-east is the blockhouse built on the rocks. Open daily mid-Feb to Oct & winter W/Es, 10-4.    English-heritage.org.uk Photography: Supplied By Subject


Prideaux Place, Padstow PL28 8RP

Home of the Prideaux-Brune family since 1592. Filled with treasures, pictures, portraits, porcelain and exquisite furniture. Location for many of Rosamund Pilcher’s TV series. Open Easter week, then 4 May to 5 Oct Su-Th 1.30-4. Grounds and Tearoom 12.30-5. 

01841 532411   prideauxplace.co.uk   Photography: Supplied By Subject


Port Eliot, St Germans PL12 5ND

This, the ancient seat of the Eliot family, has been described as the oldest house in Cornwall, and believed to have been the oldest, continually, inhabited house in the UK. The home of Lady St Germans who holds an annual Literary and Music Festival in the grounds beside the River Lynher. There is historic evidence of some 1,500 year old tiles, to the C18 remodelling of the Priory by Sir John Soane, to works by Reynolds, Van Dyck and Robert Lenkiewicz. Teas. Guided tours. Gardens open 1 Mar to late June 2-5 except Sa. 

01503 230211   porteliot.co.uk    porteliotlitfest.com   Photography: Supplied By Subject


Restormel Castle (EH) PL22 0EE

A model of military architecture, classically symmetrical with circular moat, and strategically positioned allowing breathtaking views across the River Fowey. Built c.1100 with C13 additions. Owned by Simon de Montfort and Richard, Earl of Cornwall. Open daily Apr-Oct 10-6 (5 in Oct).  english-heritage.org.uk     Photography: Supplied By Subject

St Mawes Castle (EH) TR2 5DE

Built in 1540-43 as a link in Henry VIII’s chain of coastal defences. A fortress of striking symmetry; trefoil shaped with gun emplacements, drawbridge and heraldic decorations, and set in sub-tropical gardens. Superb viewpoint. Great place for a wedding. Open daily mid-Feb to Oct & winter W/Es, 10-4.  english-heritage.org.uk  Photography: Copyright ©William Fricker Photography/Goldeneye Guides

St Germans - The Parish Church of St Germanus

Founded as an Augustinian priory, and later a Cathedral in the Anglo-Saxon period. Only the south aisle and nave remain. Magnificent Norman doorway and East Window stained glass designed by Edward Burne-Jones  and manufactured by the William Morris Company.   Photography: Copyright ©William Fricker Photography/Goldeneye Guides

St Neot - The Parish Church of St Neot

Imposing building in scenic valley famous  for the 15-medieval stained glass windows that date from 1480. These illustrate the Creation and the stories of Adam, Noah and St George. Restored in 1830 by John Hedgeland (who created the Last Supper). Perhaps, only outshone in the West Country by those of Fairford in Gloucestershire. Wagon roof. Monuments of William Bere and family. The font is C13 and C15.   Photography: Copyright ©William Fricker Photography/Goldeneye Guides


Tintagel Castle (EH) PL34 0HE

An early Celtic settlement 350- 800 AD, later developed into an island fortress by the Earls of Cornwall in the C12 and C13s. Fragments of the great hall c.1250, and the gate and walls survive. The wild and windswept coast married with the romantic legends of King Arthur and encouraged by Geoffrey of Monmouth and Tennyson’s ‘Idyll’ (although doubted by scholars) provide an atmosphere of mystery and wonder. Café/shop. Open daily Apr-Oct & 1/2 terms, plus winter W/Es, 10-5.   english-heritage.org.uk/tintagel  Photography: Copyright ©William Fricker Photography/Goldeneye Guides

Tintagel - The Parish Church of St Materiana

Of Norman origin and Catholic empathy, this church defies erosive nature and the storms she encounters in its isolated clifftop position. Sailors’ graves. Rood Screen, bench ends and monument. Visit on a moody day, and be impressed.  Photography: Copyright ©William Fricker Photography/Goldeneye Guides

Trelowarren TR12 6AF

Home of the Vyvyan family since 1427, and the estate that inspired Daphn Du Maurier's novel Frenchman's Creek. 1,000 acres of woodland and farmland surround the house for you to explore. Walled Garden Spa. Chateau camping, sustainable buildings including 25 self-catering cottages and (dog friendly) woodland walks. Art Gallery. New Yard Restaurant. 

 01326 221224   trelowarren.com   Photography: Copyright ©William Fricker Photography/Goldeneye Guides

Trereife Park TR20 8TJ

Queen Anne manor house and home to the Le Grice family whose descendant, Valentine Le Grice, was a poet and friend to the Romantics, Wordsworth and Coleridge. Fine plasterwork and wood panelling. The garden is classically Cornish with parterres and terraces. Poets Café. Accommodation. Open Su-F, Apr-Oct, 2-5. 

01736 362750   trereifepark.co.uk   Photography: Supplied By Subject

Truro  - The Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary TR1 2AF

The first English Cathedral to be built after St Paul’s. An imposing building designed by John Pearson, in the Gothic style, 1880-1910. Three soaring spires, and an unrivalled collection of stained glass windows. Refectory for light meals, 10-4. Open daily 8-6, shop and Chapter House from 10. Evensong from 5pm, Sundays at 4pm.

trurocathedral.org.uk  Photography: Copyright ©William Fricker Photography/Goldeneye Guides