48 Hours In Cornwall
Enduringly pretty Cornwall in England’s rugged south west is home to a mix of wild moorlands and hundreds of beaches which all culminate at England’s promontory, Land’s End.
Enduringly pretty Cornwall in England’s rugged south west is home to a mix of wild moorlands and hundreds of beaches which all culminate at England’s promontory, Land’s End. Visit the north coast for towering cliff-faces and world-class surfing in Newquay, while the south coast, affectionately termed the Cornish Riviera, is awash with picturesque harbours, coves and villages.
Life here is centred on enjoying the great outdoors, thanks to the county’s sub-tropical microclimate, not to mention a wealth of attractions from exotic gardens to well-known landmarks.
TIME TO CHECK IN:
The Land’s End Hotel features a mix of traditional and contemporary twists. Book a superior sea view room to wake up to Atlantic views and enjoy leisurely strolls along the South West Coast Path. For a peaceful retreat, St Edmund’s House in Padstow offers luxurious rooms with a private balcony or terrace; the perfect spot to watch the sun set over the estuary. Close to Port Isaac, the Port Gaverne Restaurant & Hotel is tucked away in a secluded cove, perfect for a cosy stay with light and airy bedrooms with some quirky design touches.
08:30 Poldark, pirates and secret gardens
Winston Graham’s famous novels set in 18th-century Cornwall were brought to life for the acclaimed television series, Poldark. Fans of the show can spend a whole day on a guided Poldark Tour; the Deep South tour covers key locations from the series including Dollar and Church coves, and tin mines and harbours, including Charlestown Harbour near St Austell.
Keen horticulturists can take a slight detour from their Poldark adventures to visit The Lost Gardens of Heligan. One of England’s most mysterious and romantic estates, it dates back to the 13th century and features a secret garden which was lost for decades. The First World War saw the estate’s gardens fall into disrepair as workers were drafted to support the war effort and the derelict gardens weren’t rediscovered until 1990. Today, you can wander the vibrant gardens and estate where restoration continues.
13:00 DINE ALFRESCO
Book a table at Rick Stein, Porthleven, near Helston, for an alfresco lunch with harbour views. Celebrity chef Rick Stein’s worldwide travels have inspired many of the dishes here. Goan fish curry, Vietnamese pho (broth), and of course, traditional Cornish fish and chips appear on the lunch menu.
16:00 Land’s End – Check in to check it out
Head to Cornwall’s westernmost point and check in at The Land’s End Hotel with its striking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Drop your bags and head for the coastline, where views of three lighthouses form one of the best-lit waterways in the British Isles, and make time for a photo stop at the signpost marking the promontory.
18:00 The First & Last Inn
Since the 17th century, The First & Last Inn has welcomed smugglers through its doors. Today, the local ales, home-cooked food and cosy log fires make a wonderful retreat – non-smugglers welcome.
20:00 A show by the shore
The Minack Theatre is Cornwall’s famous open-air theatre in Porthcurno. Catch a performance from the theatre’s diverse programme of drama, music, opera and more. Upcoming events include Around the World in 80 Days and Hamlet, while the family-friendly Storytelling series brings Cornwall’s many myths and legends to life.
10:30 Sail to a storybook island
The fairytale castle of St Michael’s Mount stands proud on a tiny island off the coast of Marazion, just a few miles east of Penzance and accessed via a cobblestone causeway or by boat (depending on the tide). The island is home to a medieval fortress, monastery, port, and is also the home of the St Aubyn family and around 30 islanders.
Inside the castle, highlights include the armoury collection and a quirky replica of the Mount — made of champagne corks by a former butler. The unusual sub-tropical gardens feature steep flowerbeds laden in blooms, which cascade down the cliffside.
13:00 On the arts trail
Drive half-an-hour north on the A30 to St Ives to visit the Tate St Ives Gallery. From 19 May to 30 September 2018, fans of the late artist Patrick Heron can view a major retrospective of his abstract works, and chart his life in art from his beginnings as a textile designer in London.
Fill your afternoon with a tour of the atmospheric towns and villages that hug Cornwall’s northern coast. In Padstow, visit Cherry Trees Coffee House, renowned for its Cornish cream tea, complete with heart-shaped scones and clotted cream.
Take the ferry across the River Camel to Rock, an upmarket resort village and holiday spot for royals and the rich and famous; no surprise, with its fabulous beaches and 18-hole golf course.
Meanwhile, the fishing village of Port Isaac is full of historic, whitewashed cottages and winding narrow streets: don’t miss the fantastically-named Squeeze Belly Alley, one of Britain’s narrowest thoroughfares. Wander the local galleries and shops or hire a bike to cycle the famous Camel Trail.