Visiting Cornwall

by Mandy Miller

Tourism is vital to Cornwall and it sustains a large number of businesses, hotels, restaurants, shops, camp sites and attractions as well as many National Trust properties. Thousands of small businesses making everything from pasties to real ale depend upon the tourist trade. More than 290,000 visitors can be found exploring Cornwall's delightful towns and villages at peak weekends, driving down the winding, narrow lanes and visiting the many attractions, yet few places are overcrowded.

For those who are not tied by school holidays, the off-peak spring and autumn weeks are some of the best and cheapest times to visit Cornwall. Prices are lower out of season for hotels, camp sites and holiday cottages which make a great base whatever the weather. Spring sees hedgerows full of primroses, summers are generally sunny and autumn is mellow and warm, extending the tourist season.

Visitors are drawn to Cornwall for the quaint villages, sandy beaches, local food and award-winning ales. The old smugglers' inns do an excellent trade in pub grub, and local bakeries produce filling meat, potato and swede pasties at a surprising rate. Cornish clotted cream is a local favourite topping on scones for delectable afternoon tea.

Narrow lanes with high hedgerows are typically Cornish and they lead to secluded coves, long-lost castles and historic stone churches. Whether you choose to walk, drive, cycle or take the train, Cornwall is just waiting to reveal its hidden gems.

Wildlife can be discovered in abundance on the seashore, in the countryside, at the Monkey Sanctuary at Looe and the National Seal Sanctuary at Helston. Garden lovers will enjoy the award-winning gardens at Tregwainton, Trebah, Trelissick, Trerice and Trewithen! Exploring the Lost Gardens of Heligan, the Eden Project or Mount Edgcumbe Country Park are all pleasant ways to fill the sunny days.

Cornish history comes to life at Tintangel Castle, Launceston Castle, Morwellham Quay and Bodmin Jail which are just some of the historic attractions you can visit. Cornish museums include the National Maritime Museum at Falmouth, the Royal Cornwall Museum at Truro, the Tate at St Ives and the excellent Shipwreck Museum at Charlestown. Whatever your interests, Cornwall has something for everyone to enjoy.

The coastal path which runs continuously along the cliff tops around Cornwall is a great resource for traffic-free walking on well-maintained routes passing delightful coves, churches, forts and tin mines along the way. Further Cornish attractions are the marker at Land’s End, the Scilly Isles which are great for a day trip, and the castle at St Michael’s Mount. Flambards theme park at Helston, Paradise Park and Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station all provide a diversity of educational attractions within a few miles of your accommodation.

There are hundreds of holiday cottages in Cornwall, which provide an excellent base for exploring the county. Staying in a holiday cottage is a great way to save money compared to a hotel, and the cottages are often period properties with real character, which adds an extra dimension to your holiday.

With so much to see and do, whether you are visiting Cornwall for a weekend or a month, you will certainly never have time to be bored.

Mandy Miller is a travel writer who writes for many quality websites including AboutBritain.com