Occupying the most southerly and westerly points of Great Britain, and outlined by around three-hundred miles of coastal landscapes unspoilt in their beauty, Cornwall is an obvious choice for water-sports enthusiasts. Newquay being reputed as the hub of surf culture in the UK, hosts a great variety of events over the course of the year, from VW Camper Van shows to professional surf championships, it attracts surf dudes wanting to catch the waves in their droves. And for those less experienced? There are many schools and resorts, such as Watergate Bay, along the coast minutes from both the airport and town centre, offering the highest quality water sports tuition and accommodation to crash out in after a tiring day, from an average of £60 a day, including a night stay.
Jamie Oliver, well known for his beachy persona, and laid back attitude as the Naked Chef back in the early 2000s, has also followed the trends and opened a Newquay branch of his restaurant Fifteen; a restaurant that aims to give disadvantaged people a second chance through cookery. Jamie invites visitors to ‘come and enjoy fantastic Italian food against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean’.
But if Italian food is not your thing, and you’d rather taste the true flavours of Cornwall, you need look no further than a Cornish bakery. After a battle to give only pasties made in Cornwall the Cornish identity, a true “Cornish” pasty is a must-have. Helston’s ‘Horse and Jockey’, dubbed a ‘proper old fashioned bakery’, holding a good reputation for a traditional meat and veg pasty of varying sizes, evidenced by its queues. However, a warning for those whose eyes are bigger than their stomachs: the large is supposed to be of very hefty proportions!
Something for those with a sweet tooth can be found at any good tea-room or ice-cream parlour, in the manner of Cornwall’s delicious clotted cream, made into both ice-cream and clotted cream fudge. And, if you’re not satisfied there, Cornwall brews Spingo, a collection of beers brewed by the Blue Anchor Inn, Helston, which dates back to the 15th century. With over six-hundred years of brewing under their belt, it can certainly be considered a heritage site for serious beer and ale guzzlers.
While Helston and the surrounding area seem to boast some of the best places for sampling traditional Cornish alcohol and cuisine, it is also home to the tin mining heritage site of Poldark Mine. Follow in the footsteps of 18th century Cornish tin miners on a mine tour of the the industrial world heritage site. However: be sure to bring waterproofs as the mines can get wet! Further inland at Bodmin Moor, find yourself standing atop Rough Tor or Brown Willy, the two highest peaks in Cornwall, enjoying spectacular views of one hundred and fifty square miles of moorland, with ancient buildings and medieval farms below. Descend to Bodmin for a tour of Bodmin Jail, which served as a County Jail from 1779-1929. In possession of the UK’s only working execution pit, come and see how those condemned fell to their deaths!
However, if mystical history is more to your taste, then a visit to the remains of the 13th century Tintagel Castle, the legendary fortress of King Arthur, will not go amiss! Perched on a jagged edge of land on Tintagel Island, opposite the village of Tintagel, north-west Cornwall, the mystical castle can only be reached via a steep climb from the cove below or a narrow linking pathway from the mainland. At the pinnacle of Cornish folklore, exploring the ruins is truly an experience unlike any other.
Bringing Cornwall back into the 21st century however is the Eden Project, the eco-friendly conservation charity. Based in St Austell, the Eden Project combines stunning scenery, environmental programmes and a teaching experience; often holding music events in the grounds over the course of the year. With discounted tickets for those who arrive in an eco-friendly manner (either by walking, public transport or bike), the Eden Project is at the forefront of the UK’s environmentally charitable projects.
With the likes of Sir John Betjeman, Daphne du Maurier and Dawn French all being notable Cornwall inhabitants at one time or another, Cornwall clearly was and still is an unspoilt gem. Combining the best of buzzing surf life with traditional rural country-life, it offers something for everyone.