£62 per night
Expected price for:10 Mar - 11 Mar
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A place of sparkling beaches and dramatic moorland, Cornwall is a study in contrasts. Tucked away in the southwest of England – whether your fancy is taken by its lush coastline or its wild interior, its tiny fishing villages or its bustling towns – Cornwall offers something for everyone. But whichever way you like it, nature is the county’s key attraction. From Celts and ancient Christians through to the works of novelist Daphne du Maurier and Barbara Hepworth, the landscape of Cornwall has long proven to be inspirational, stirring a siren call in those who venture to this far corner of England.
The Romans didn’t make much of an in-roads in Cornwall and as a consequence of this, the Celtic tribes native to this region were left to their own devices. Despite being insulated from Romano-British influence, Cornishmen were renowned across Europe for their tin producing skills. Perhaps thanks to this trade, even today, Cornwall maintains close ties with the Celtic cultures of Brittany, Ireland, and Wales. Those visiting the county will find that the past is always present; old stone quoits and barrows dot the countryside and many places bear Cornish names. Sacred wells abound here and Celtic knot work is a common architectural motif. While only actively spoken by a few thousand people today, the Cornish language now has protected status. But this, of course, is a land of myth and legend and those keen to touch the past can chase the tale of King Arthur at the ruins of Tintagel Castle on the county’s north coast.
It may look like a single unbroken stretch of land on the map, the county’s two coasts are very different. The north coast of Cornwall, which stretches from Land’s End up to Bude, is exposed to the open ocean. The beaches here – including those at Perranporth, Fistral Bay, Polzeath and Bude – are wide and wind-swept, perfect for swimmers and surfers while the area around Rock is known for many a swanky hotel. In contrast, Cornwall’s south coast – often referred to as the “Cornish Riviera” – is sheltered and calm. But no matter which coast you choose, there’s plenty to see. On the south coast, the famous Eden Project – near bustling St. Austell – offers a glimpse into different biomes from around the world. Moving further along the coast, the Lizard Peninsula is a rocky outcrop featuring rare flora and fauna above azure waters. Heading toward the end of the peninsula, St. Michael’s Mount is an island connected by a granite causeway traversable at low tide.
Turning inland from the coast, Cornwall’s interior unfolds into gentle pasture before rising up into the famous Bodmin Moor. Dotted with low scrub, trickling streams and granite protuberances – some man-made, some natural – parts of the moor are today used as grazing land and are home to a unique range of plants and wildlife. Near the town of Bodmin itself, legend-hunters will find Dozmary Pool, a site closely associated with King Arthur. After a day out on the moors, cosy up in the 300-year-old Jamaica Inn, a place made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s eponymous novel. Those keen to explore Cornwall’s mining heritage will do well to stop by any of the mining heritage sites dotted between St. Austell and Truro. If you head for the latter town – technically designated a city thanks to its impressive Gothic-revival cathedral – it’s worth calling in at the Royal Cornwall Museum for a big dose of Cornish history and culture.
From fresh seafood to pastries and baked goods, Cornish cuisine is in a class all of its own. Local specialties include meat and veg-filled pasties – sometimes called oggies – as well as the visually striking stargazy pie. While visitors can sample golden saffron buns and spicy-sweet fairings, a Cornish cream tea is not to be missed. Top your splits with strawberry jam and then clotted cream or for something different, try the “thunder and lightning” variation. This swaps jam for honey or treacle. When it comes to sleeping, Cornwall’s hotels and accommodation are concentrated heavily on either of its coasts. However, those hoping to sleep inland will still find a decent hotel selection in mid-Cornwall and around Bodmin Moor. In addition to conventional hotel accommodation, Cornwall also offers a good range of quirky period properties as well as ample camping and glamping opportunities.