A Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Cornwall
Despite it being a global pandemic, it is good to start planning your holiday for 2021. One of the places that should be on your bucket list is, without any doubt, Cornwall. It would be an understatement to say that Cornwall is a nice place to travel to. It has a special place in my heart. It is a place I go back to every time I feel life is just too much. It is definitely my dream place to live in. I want to share my love for this little gem hidden on the southern part of the English coast. I decided to type down some of the most beautiful places to visit. It is no secret that Cornwall is considered the European Caribic. When you look at some of the photos of beaches in St. Ives or Newquay, you can’t help but sigh.
I would love to share a fun fact with you because many Cornish people like to say that Cornwall (Kernow, as the locals like to call it) is a country of its own, and I have to agree with them. Every time I am in Cornwall, I feel like I am on a different planet. People are just way nicer here, everything moves at a different speed, and the mentality of Cornish people is just a whole other level of hospitable. I was lucky enough to visit Cornwall twice and stay with my family friends. I am not going to lie- it is pretty challenging to get to Cornwall from where I am from (Czech Republic), so I am jealous of all British folk. Let´s dive right into it.
St. Ives is a beautiful port town located on the coast of the Celtic Sea. This town has so much charm that just writing about it won’t do it any justice. The town is painted with gorgeous stoned houses and lined with narrow picturesque alleys that ultimately lead to the beach.It is no wonder it has been ranked as the most expensive seaside resort in England. It has also ranked among the top 10 places to live in the UK.
Places to visit in St Ives:
Tate Gallery (25 Meadow Flats)
Tate Gallery in St. Ives is a place for everybody and I mean everybody. If you are a family with kids, a couple who is madly in love or just a bunch of friends looking for a rainy day adventure, this gallery is calling to you. The collection is marvellous and in my opinion in accommodates to everyone´s taste. The café on the last floor has the most beautiful view on the beach. You definitely don’t want to miss this place. It does have something for everyone.
The Cornish Bakery (10 Fore St)
It doesn’t matter whether you have a sweet tooth or you prefer something salty (like a good ole pasty) this place has it all. It also serves delicious coffee. It is located in of the picturesque alleys that I mentioned before quite close to the pier. If you take your food with you, you pay less. Genius!
Barnoon Cemetery (3 Clodgy View)
Now I know this might sound a bit morbid to some of you. Still, I love cemeteries. This one, which is located on a steep hill overlooking Tate Gallery, is just mind-blowing. It has a little stone chapel as well, and when you walk around, it makes you feel like you have been trapped in time. The moody weather obviously helps deepen the atmosphere, but I think it looks just as stunning in the sunny weather. The cemetery is home to St Ives´ medieval artist Alfred Wallis, known for his primitive art.
Padstow is a fishing port located on the north coast of Cornwall. It is famous for Rick Stein´s Seafood Restaurant, and it is a must-see for any foodies out there. Padstow is also surrounded by beautiful sandy beaches, and the water is crystal clear.
But there is one thing that really caught me by surprise- the number of dogs. I swear to you, there were more dogs there than people. Every person we came across had at least one or two- actual heaven for me. If that wasn’t enough, there are also galleries (Whistlefish has some amazing paintings by local artists) and beautiful trails (Camel Cycle Trail, to name one). Padstow really stole my heart, and it is a place I will always think about when writing about Cornwall.
Place to visit in Padstow:
If you are okay with a long walk around the coast, you most definitely shouldn’t miss Prideaux Place, a gorgeous country house. The house contains a fine collection of artworks, including royal and family portraits, fine furniture, and the Prideaux Porcelain Collection. It also has a collection of teddy-bears, so again, children are more than welcome. And once you start feeling parched and hungry, you can have a cup of tea and a scone in the café. But watch out for windy days! I am speaking from personal experience.
One of the towns I always find myself coming back to is Falmouth. A port town located on the south west coast. Falmouth’s maritime legacy and coastal culture is a huge part of its charm boasting world class watersports on its sheltered waters including gig rowing, kayaking, diving and regularly hosting sailing events such as Falmouth Regatta, and the Pendennis Cup.
Places to visit in Falmouth:
Falmouth Maritime Museum (Discovery Quay)
The multi award winning National Maritime Museum Cornwall houses a huge collection of boats retells stories of intrepid explorers and provides an observation window where you can see what’s happening underwater in the harbor.
With over 15 galleries, a boatbuilding workshop, interactive exhibits and a collection that spans The National Small Boat collection, exciting temporary exhibitions, artworks, maps and charts, memorabilia and other objects there’s plenty to explore. It is a must see for both adults and kids alike.
Glendurgan is a valley that was created in the 1820s. Noted as a horticultural hotspot, Glendurgan is one of the best of Cornwall's characteristic valley gardens. It was founded by Alfred Fox in 1820. If you want to experience a bit of an exotic day, this beautiful garden is a great place to start. It is predominantly a sub-tropical garden and it houses a vast amount of flowers, trees and bushes. And when you are done with the walk, you can come down to the village of Glendurgan and have a lunch on the beach which has a gorgeous view on the Helford River.
Minack theatre is in my opinion one of the most breath-taking architectural wonders in England. This unique open air theatre was built by hand by Rowena Cade on a wild Cornish cliff close to Porthocurno. I got the chance to go to one of their performances back in 2014 and I have to say it was once in a lifetime experience. As you watch one of the mesmerizing performances you can also watch the tide on the Porthocurno Beach which is equally dramatic as the performances. If you get a chance to book a play, please do. You won’t regret it.
Tintagel Castle is a medieval fortification located on Tintagel Island, which is adjacent to Tintagel's village.It is an approximately 10 km drive from Port Isaac. The castle was built by Richard of Cornwall. Tintagel Castle earned his fame by being associated with Arthurian legends. If you want to experience a magical day, you need to come here. I can guarantee that you will be in awe of this place, even if you are not into history.And if you want to make this visit extra special, why not stay at the Camelot Castle Hotel?
St Agnes is considered by many to be the heart of the rural England. It has beautiful dog-friendly beaches and gorgeous coastal path that are aching to be explored. This place is perfect for children who want to play on the sheltered beaches and/or for families who want to host a nice barbeque dinner while watching the sunset. It really is the perfect place. Trevaunance Cove is the main beach at St Agnes and it is a must-see.
To tell you something about St. Agnes´s history, up until the 1920’s St Agnes was a centre for the mining of tin, copper, and arsenic. If you ever got the chance to watch Poldark you would probably know that. I think St. Agnes is the perfect place if you want to hide yourself away from the hustle and bustle of life. It really is the perfect remedy for your soul and nerves.
Well, that is all I have for you. But don’t be mistaken! Cornwall has so much more to offer. But like I said, this article won’t do it justice. You really have to go and see it for yourself. I hope that this article inspired you to book a holiday for next year. You won’t regret it. It really does feel like Cornwall was placed in an alternate universe, and I mean it in the best way possible. I think being an artist and a storyteller, the place always has such an effect on me that I want to share this feeling with people around me.
Photo credits: Nicolle Knapová
About Nicolle Knapová
I'm a 26 year-old freelance poet and content writer from the Czech Republic who is currently finishing up her master's degree at Bournemouth University. I love writing stories about topics such as mental health, relationships, and forbidden love. My work is influenced by artists such as Haruki Murakami or Halsey. I'm currently working on a debut poetry collection called Aftermath.