Penzance

PENZANCE

For many, the last stop on the South West Line (rail service), and thus, a place of memories and nostalgic dreams. It can be a lively and busy town, well served by a gentle climate, for sub-tropical flowers grow in the Morrab Gardens, and at nearby Trengwainton. The town trail takes you to Chapel Street where there is all manner of emporia and interesting shops, pubs and hotels, and the Egyptian House opposite the Union Hotel, then onto the shops of Market Jew Street, dominated by the Ionic columns of Market House, and the Statue of Sir Humphrey Davy, inventor of the miners’ Davy lamp. Look out for the Floating Harbour.

Ferry to the Isles of Scilly, shark and deep sea fishing trips, swimming pools (in & outdoor - the Jubilee Pool (soon to be part of the Hot Rocks Project) May- Sept. jubileepool.co.uk).

West Cornwall Spring Show - late March.  penzance.co.uk

SPECIAL PLACES TO VISIT

Cornwall Contemporary
Egyptian House
Exchange, The
Lighthouse Gallery
Madron Church
Penlee House Gallery & Museum
Polgoon Vineyard
Jubilee Pool

Morrab Library
Marazion
Mousehole
Newlyn
St Michaels Mount
Tremenheere Sculpture Garden
Trengwainton Gardens
Trereife Park
Trewidden Gardens

 

Wadebridge

WADEBRIDGE

A busy and feel-good market town that has seen much recent development; new shops, eateries and cycle hire have brought a buzz and liveliness to this old, sleepy town, and venue for the Royal Cornwall Show in June. Magnificent C15 bridge with 17 arches. Superb views from the New Bridge on the A39. Mid-point for cycling the Camel Trail. Cinema. E/C W.

visitwadebridge.co.uk royalcornwallshow.org 

 

SPECIAL PLACES TO VISIT

Camel Trail
Capper Yard Gallery
Egloshayle Bells & Clocks
Hawksfield
Royal Cornwall Showground

 

Truro

TRURO

Cornwall’s Cathedral city and administrative centre is spacious and has some elegant and beautiful buildings of the Georgian and Regency period. In Lemon Street the Assembly Rooms of 1772 and the Mansion House and Prince’s House in Princes Street, and the Cathedral, 1880- 1910. The city has seen much development of late. There are multiple stores and offices and flats overlooking the river, and a wealth of contemporary architecture as in Truro College and the new hospital buildings. Always a busy town, it has the finest shops in the county and is abuzz with cocktail bars for the after-work crowd. Educational centre. Cinema. 

truro.gov.uk

 

SPECIAL PLACES TO VISIT

Guild of Ten Gallery
Lander Gallery
Lemon Street Gallery
Royal Cornwall Museum
Skinner's Brewery
Truro Cathedral

 

Tintagel

TINTAGEL

Tintagel village itself, composed of a long and rather uninspiring high street peopled with gift shops and tearooms exists solely to service visitors to Tintagel Castle. The setting is spectacular and strange and it’s easy to fantasize about Merlin and magic. For remarkable views and a sense of Nature’s violence take a walk onto the Island and around the Castle, then out to both neighbouring outcrops: to Barras Nose and Willapark. Particularly spectacular on a stormy day. This is the perfect place to immerse yourself in Arthurian legend (enthusiastically patronised by German and Dutch visitors, but largely ignored by UK residents), as inspired by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the C12, and later by Tennyson’s ‘The Idylls of the King.’ Summer Carnival.  

 tintagelweb.co.uk

SPECIAL PLACES TO VISIT

King Arthur’s Great Hall & Hall of Chivalry
Old Post Office
Parish Church of St Materiana
Rocky Valley
St Nectan’s Glen
Tintagel Castle
Tintagel Visitor Centre

 

St Austell

ST AUSTELL

A major route centre which has seen much recent development and prosperity since the opening of first, Heligan Gardens and then, the Eden Project. Brewing centre and formerly an old tin mining village whose prosperity later relied very much on the china clay industry. The hinterland is made up of white mountainous pyramids, man-made lakes, and palm trees. There is a fine C15 perpendicular church, the Holy Trinity, an C18 coaching inn, The White Hart Hotel and a Georgian Quaker meeting house built in 1829.

staustelltown.co.uk

SPECIAL PLACES TO VISIT

Charlestown
China ClayCountry Park
Church of the Holy Trinity
Eden Project
St Austell Brewery

 

Rock

ROCK

This seaside community may well take on the mantle as the Cornish “Hamptons” or Cape Cod equivalent. It is where the chattering classes network, meet up with old friends (and hopefully make new, influential friends and acquaintances) and where families congregate, year on year. More recently the well off have bought into this village and new builds are, aplenty.

Its location and popularity may well be because of the close proximity to the surf breaks of Polzeath, the ease of reaching the coastal footpath, the safe family beach at Daymer Bay, the gastronomic excesses of Padstow, the golf courses, the spa at St Moritz, and the Sailing Club. It has something to amuse, and retain the interest of all ages and temperaments, and if you are of a literary bent then the poetry and humour of John Betjeman may awaken your sensibilities.

SPECIAL PLACES TO VISIT

Daymer Bay
Pedestrian Ferry to Padstow
Porthilly Church
Porthilly Gallery
St Enodoc Church

 

St Agnes

ST AGNES

A former mining community that left the skyline jagged with disused engine houses. There is an arty ambience to this corner of Cornwall, quite different from other parts, perhaps more akin to Penwith. It is hilly, with three parts; Churchtown (the top end), Peterville (X-roads) and Trevaunance Cove. With no shortage of foodie places and fine, independent shops; baker, butchers etc., the town is a popular and convenient location for Truro’s medics to live. Hence, the high house prices. The birthplace of John Opie in 1761, Cornwall’s most famous painter who became a Fellow of the Royal Academy at 26 and who is buried in St Paul’s Cathedral. A family resort, centre for dramatic coastal walks, and tricky surf break. Arts and Crafts Trail. HQ for SAS (Surfers Against Sewage) and Finisterre, a cold water surf company.     

st-agnes.com

SPECIAL PLACES TO VISIT

Blue Hills tin Streams
Churchtown Arts
Little Feathers Gallery
St Agnes Museum
St Agnes Pottery
Trevaunance Cove
Wheal Coates Engine House
Wheal Kitty Workshops

 

Lostwithiel

LOSTWITHIEL

A charming town, and a great favourite of mine, often overlooked because travellers fail to drive off the main road into the side streets. It became the C13 capital of Cornwall and as the Stannary Court oversaw the administration of the medieval tin industry. The town has many beautiful buildings - the C13 Duchy Palace on Quay St., C13 Parish Church with splendid spire, C17 and C18 Georgian houses on Fore St. and the C18 Guildhall. Also, not to be missed, the important early C20 corrugated iron, army drill hall. C13 bridge. Boat trips to and from Fowey along the beautiful Fowey Valley. May Making ceremony, ‘Beating the Bounds’ - May (1st Monday) Carnival week - late July. E/C W.  lostwithiel.org.uk

 

SPECIAL PLACES TO VISIT

Restormel Castle
River Fowey
St Winnow Church

 

Launceston

LAUNCESTON

A town of hills dominated by the commanding position of the Castle, and the only walled town in Cornwall. There is a splendid collection of Georgian houses in Castle Street. It is worth exploring the alleys and streets that run off the Town Square and Castle mound. St Cuthbert Mayne of Barnstaple, a Catholic priest was executed (hung, drawn and quartered) here in 1577 for supposedly inciting Catholics to rise against Queen Elizabeth 1. George Fox (Quaker) was imprisoned here for 6-months in 1656. C16 packhorse bridge.

Agricultural show - July. E/C Th.

 

SPECIAL PLACES TO VISIT

Church of St Mary Magdalene
Dingles Steam Village
Hidden Valley
Launceston Steam Railway
Launceston Castle
Lawrence House Museum

 

Helston

HELSTON

The Market town for the Lizard Peninsula, and venue for the Floral Dance (around 8 May) when elegantly dressed couples dance through the streets to welcome the coming of Spring, and locals take the opportunity to sample too much of the Spingo brew in the Blue Anchor. It is possibly the only day in the Cornish Year when you will see such sartorial formality, and a perfect coiffeur, a rare sight indeed - the prevailing winds put paid to this. It is worth exploring Church and Coineagehall Streets, location for fine, sophisticated architecture. Birthplace of Henry Trengrouse, inventor of the rocket lifesaving signals. Boating lake. Cycle hire beside the Penrose Trail. Harvest Fair - Sept (Ist week). helstone-online.co.uk

SPECIAL PLACES TO VISIT

Cornubian Arts & Science Trust (Cafe)
Flambards Experience
Helston Museum
Loe Pool & Penrose Estate
Pengersick Castle

 

Cawsand & Kingsand

CAWSAND & KINGSAND

Twin villages, and former C18 smuggling centres with narrow streets and colourful houses, and an historic anchorage for Plymouth. Park in Kingsand (location for recent film, Mr Turner) and walk through to Cawsand, the prettier of the two. A stroll across the bay to the ancient pilchard works is worthwhile. If pub crawls are your hobby you will have found a true home. Fine walks along the coast to Cremyll Ferry. Light Bites in the Old Boatstore Café, and The Old Bakery.

SPECIAL PLACES TO VISIT

Makers Heights
Old Pilchard
Rame Head
Westcroft Gallery

 

Bude

BUDE

A seaside resort first developed by the Victorians that has witnessed, of late, much resurgence, in no small part due to the popularity of surfing and beach activities. The long, extensive beaches, just a short walk from the town centre, and those to the south and north of the town, are breathtaking. The coastline has been thesad scene of many shipwrecks - 80 ships were foundered or wrecked between 1824-74. The town abounds with surf shops, hostels, countless coffee shops, and when the Low Pressure is in force the beaches are populated with black shadows, in summer and winter. It is the most accessible of Cornish surf resorts, and is host to many surf schools. Canal, carnival and fete - August (third week). ‘Blessing of the Sea’ - Aug. E/C Th.

bude.co.uk visitbude.info

SPECIAL PLACES TO VISIT

Launcells Church
Old Canal
Poughill Church
The Castle
The Weir

 

Bodmin

BODMIN

The County town of Cornwall is positioned in the centre of the county just off the busy A30. It is worth a stop-over to explore the interesting museums and the C15 St Petroc, the largest Parish Church in the County. It does not have the chic shops of Truro or the dramatic locations of Falmouth and Penzance. It is a quiet, country town full of history. Witness the historic jail, scene of public executions until 1862, and keeper of the Crown Jewels in WWI. The Information Centre is set in the old Court House where the ghosts and spirits of unlucky souls foundered. A good start- offpoint for the Camel Trail. Indoor swimming pool. E/C W. bodmin.gov.uk & bodminlive.com

SPECIAL PLACES TO VISIT

Bodmin & Wenford Railway
Bodmin Jail
Bodmin Museum
Cardinham Woods
Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry Museum
Lanhydrock House
Old Court House
Prindl Pottery
St Petroc’s Church