19 Oct Must see places in Cornwall – a blogger’s travel guide
Cornwall is one of the most beautiful parts of England so if you’re visiting the UK, I’d highly recommend getting out of London and heading to the southwest. If you live in the UK, then you definitely have no excuse not to visit this part of the world.
A visit to Cornwall is a chance to experience life at the English seaside – cute cottages, pretty villages, gorgeous beaches, Cornish pasties and of course…fish and chips.
Since my Mum is from Devon I used to visit Cornwall all the time as a kid and I can’t help but feel nostalgic every time I think of those long summers spent playing in the waves and taking picnics to the beach. Believe it or not we do get good weather in England and on a sunny day, there’s nowhere quite like it. When the weather’s glorious, I’d rather be in Cornwall than any exotic beach destination.
Firstly a note about how to plan a trip to Cornwall…
Getting to Cornwall from London
I’m going to presume that many of you will be visiting London and wondering how to get to Cornwall from there. The most convenient way is to rent a car because many of the Cornish towns are quite remote and part of the beauty is being able to just drive from place to place. A road trip from London to Cornwall takes less than 5 hours but it’s worth noting that the traffic can be really congested during the summer months, particularly if the weather is sunny. I’d recommend driving through the night if you can to avoid sitting there roasting in gridlock on the motorway. Just definitely avoid peak rush hours or you can find the journey taking much longer.
From London you’ll take the M4, then the M5 to Exeter, then the A30, or the A38 through Plymouth and Saltash into South East Cornwall. Remember to fuel up and make pit stops when you can. The last proper motorway-style service station on the route is located halfway along the A30 between Exeter and Penzance, at the Victoria Interchange Junction west of Bodmin.
You do also have the option of taking public transport – there’s a high speed train that runs from London Paddington to Penzance – or you can book a flight from London Gatwick to Newquay. Coach services are also available to book online with National Express and start at around £20.
Booking accommodation in Cornwall
In summertime things can get booked out so if you can, try to book in advance. I remember my Mum used to call around all the B&Bs in the area last minute, only to find that every one of them was full, especially around August bank holiday.
You have a few options in Cornwall, such as B&Bs, hotels or private rental options. I would recommend booking a cottage if you’re travelling with your family and want to enjoy the advantages of having your own kitchen. With Cornish Horizons you have the option of over 500 self-catering holiday cottages in Cornwall, located in beautiful coastal and countryside locations throughout Cornwall including Padstow, St Ives, Fowey and Looe. The company is accredited by Visit England, has a high rating on Feefo and the majority of their accommodation is star graded so you know you’re in good hands.
St Ives has some of the best beaches in Cornwall and is home to the Tate St Ives – an iconic modern art gallery overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. You have 4 beaches to choose from – Porthmeor, Porthminster, The Harbour beach and Porthgwidden. The water here is so turquoise that if you post a picture of the beach and asked someone to guess, they’d probably think it was somewhere much more exotic.
My Mum used to take me on day trips from Plymouth to Polperro, which is on the southeast coast of Cornwall. We would wander the narrow streets, eat lunch in one of the restaurants and browse the shops and art galleries. The fishing village has a famous history as a smugglers haunt and offers some great coastal walks – the most popular one being the coastal path to the neighbouring town of Looe.
Used as the setting for the TV show Doc Martin, Port Isaac is a beautiful fishing village with quaint cottages and handful of shops and restaurants. The food here is exceptional – I’d highly recommend booking a table at The Old School Hotel and Restaurant and The Mote.
Rock has always been quite a jetset destination, dubbed “Kensington-on-Sea” and the “Saint-Tropez of Cornwall”. The destination was once popular with the royals…Princes William and Harry have been spotted there on occasion. From here you can take the ferry across the river to Padstow, which is known for being home to Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant.
Land’s End is basically the most southwesterly point of England, boasting 200 foot-high granite cliffs. The best thing to do is walk along the cliff tops to enjoy the spectacular views out to the Longships Lighthouse and the Isles of Scilly. Don’t forget to have your photo taken with the famous Land’s End signpost to prove you were there – the photographer will even ask your home town and add the number of miles to your city.
Glendurgan Garden is a beautiful valley garden that runs down the waterside of the Helford River to the small fishing village of Durgan. What’s amazing about this garden is its cherry laurel maze dating, which dates all the way back to 1833! This is definitely a great place for a day out, since you can wander around the subtropical gardens and then stop for a refreshment in the tea rooms.
The Eden Project
This incredibly futuristic looking attraction consists of two biomes containing plants that have been collected from many diverse climates. Here you can discover plants that exist in the tropical rainforest, as well as plants that live in more Mediterranean climates. A walk along the rainforest canopy walkway will allow you to capture Instagram-worthy pictures of the biome from above.