We drove for few days along the roads of Cornwall in south-west England a few months ago. That says how much it’s difficult for me to keep up with our voyages. Well, that said I’m thrilled to come back to this one because it was a delightful discovery well upon expectations.
What about Cornwall?
The first thing you must know is that Cornwall is at the south-western end of England. Therefore this region has a “je ne sais quoi” of wilderness and energy provided by the wides arriving from the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a mix of flatlands, and stiff cliffs, that creates a sense of high position. No wonder why this corner of England is home to the Tintagel Castle, where the legendary King Arthur Pendragon used to rule the Albion.
You will have guessed that this place has a lot to offer in mater of history and walks! If I don’t give you a thorough guide about Cornwall, I will share our experiences and tips. When we are getting prepared for any trip, I google, I Pinterest our destination. Anyway, these are the few I couldn’t figure out from my investigations.
1- Take the train to Plymouth
If there is one only Slow Travel advice I should give you it’s this one: take the train to Plymouth, and then rent a car and drive. It takes less than 4 hours of train to join Plymouth from London, and it takes a lot much longer to go by car.
Roads in Cornwall are unusually narrow and tricky, so driving for several days or a long weekend will be challenging enough, you will appreciate a little break between your daily busy life and your road adventure.
We are used to this kind of organization, and it was evident for us to do so. But when we talked to people, local or tourists, they were amazed by our choice. On the other hand, they were always ending up saying that it actually made sense! Why driving a long and exhausting road, not to mention the traffic, if you can rest on a train instead.
2- Chose well your place to stay
As I said, the roads are tricky. But it’s very easy to day trip through Cornwall. When you happen to find such a great place, as we did, you will understand that sleeping in a different place every night, packing and unpacking every morning and every afternoon doesn’t make sense.
We loved the small town named St Ives.
We had a crush on the Storm In A Teacup B&B. The family running it was charming, and the accommodation was lovely and comfortable. The cleanliness was perfect, and the breakfast was outstanding!
The only regret we have is to spend to little time both in this B&B and in St Ives!
3- Think Castles
There are many in Cornwall! I chose 3.
The first one was a must go, the very famous Tintagel Castle, home of King Arthur’s Legend! It’s worth visiting. The castle itself is more some remaining foundations, but you’ll enjoy a very well documented history surrounding the place, and a grandiose scenery! If you want to know more about the castle: Discover the roots of the legend of King Arthur in Tintagel
Landhydrock Castle is entirely different. If you wait until the hour, a 20min talk by a local passionate volunteering guide will tell you all about the place. It’s perfectly well maintained and decorated and you will learn a lot about life around the 18th century. More here: Landhydrock House, a place that changed a lot
You will also have access to beautiful gardens and a lovely chapel.
Then the last one is a short visit but only 15min drive from Landhydrock so why not go and have a look. This place is very different from the firsts two ones, no considerable history but an interesting fortress architecture: Time to visit a smaller place: Restormel Castle
Of course, this choice has no restrictions toward other castles, but there are so many that you can’t see them all!
4- Boscastle, a special mention
This place doesn’t appear to be one of the most popular in Cornwall. But I must say that it was the one that intrigued us most. The village is home to the Museum of witchcraft and magic and after visiting a little bit, no real surprise here.
The place is completely hidden between the hills and some rocks. The hills are preventing travellers to see the village from the land, while the shot cliff prevents the sailors to see it from the sea. In few words: this site has absolutely no open view!
This seclusion creates a slightly weird atmosphere. I don’t know if the witches thing came because of the place atmosphere or if there was some witches here hiding from public sight. Anyway, something different to discover for sure!
5- Think Gardens
I’m very short on photos regarding gardens; this has to do with a little catastrophe regarding my SD card… don’t ask. Well, if this one is not the best quality, it’s, all the same, depicting a beautiful garden we visited on the south coast of Cornwall: The Lost Gardens Of Heligan.
We had a most delightful walk there and had a great time in a beautifully maintained garden with lots of exciting activities and a beautiful shop plus two cafes to enjoy a break before going back on the road.
Another garden is worth visiting, even if we didn’t have the time ourselves: The Eden Project. Keep in mind that the castles also offer beautiful gardens to visit.
6- Think walks across Cornwall
This is my favourite part! We loved walking the coastal paths in Cornwall! The featured photo for this post is from our walk on Land’s End coastal path, which I highly recommend it’s “End of the world” feeling.
The most pleasant walk we did, however, was the Zennor coastal path. We witnessed turquoise waters and beautiful flowers on the top of rather dramatic cliffs.
7- Enjoy food wisely
Speaking of Zennor, if you wish to sustain yourself with some delicious treats I invite you to try the Zennor Chapel Guesthouse cafe.
But mainly, we loved the copious breakfasts served everywhere we slept. We had big local Cornish breakfast. It is a full breakfast including hog’s pudding and Cornish potato cake. Eat that, and you’ll have enough fuel to walk all day with only a snack or a scone as a treat when you are back!
And yes this tearoom table includes more than a scone we had at the end of Zennor’s path, but it was so tempting!
8- Be careful about some photos
I want to make a note here because other sites you will find quite a lot in Cornwall are cairns are stone circles. If you are passionate about each one history, well go and enjoy. Otherwise, I believe it’s not the best way to spend your time in Cornwall. We went to one circle of stone and one cairn, and all we did was drive for a couple of extra hours on very narrow roads. Then we ended up walking on very muddy paths, not even registered, so not sure of where we were going. Or even dense brambles. Well, all you see in the end if a stone. I’m no historian, so maybe I miss the point but don’t expect to find any explanation on site.
Ok, all was not lost because on the other side of the road while my husband was fighting with thorns, I enjoyed watching these little ones!
What we loved the most in Cornwall
This last part is a personal point of view of course. I don’t mean to say that everything else in Cornwall is not worthy, not even close! I just want to share our personal favourites. After all, this blog is all about our trips. I guess that if you’d want something more thorough and less personal you would already be buying the Lonely Planet instead of reading these words!
So our favourite part of Cornwall was the coastline between Land’s End and Boscastle. There was plenty to see, charming little villages, beautiful paths, a fantastic scenery of wild nature. Not to mention some few historical sites that are worth the visit!
If you want more ideas about UK interesting places to visit: