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Cornwall

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Introduction

Cornwall - Lands End

Cornwall - Lands End

© All Rights Reserved towander

Cornwall is the most southwesterly county in England. Cornwall is the only county in England to be adjacent to only one other, Devon. Perhaps this is one reason for many Cornish thinking of themselves as a separate nation and referring to 'the English' as foreigners.

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Geography

Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. Cornwall is a peninsula bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of 536,000 and covers an area of 3,563 km2.

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Cities and Principal Towns

  • Falmouth
  • Penzance
  • Truro shares the status of county town with:
  • Bodmin
  • Newquay
  • St Austell - once a sort of china clay capital
  • St Just in Penwith is the most westerly town in England. This and the next two towns were major centres of tin mining.
  • Camborne
  • Redruth
  • Launceston - by the main A30 road into Cornwall - great facade on its church.
  • Bude - extensive sands.
  • Helston - main town of the Lizard peninsula.
  • St Ives - an artists' haven and home of the St Ives Tate Gallery
  • Padstow - fine beach - Rick Stein's restaurant

Smaller towns and picturesque villages

  • Mevagissey - close to The Lost Gardens of Heligan.
  • Marazion - opposite St Michael's Mount
  • Mousehole (pronounced Muzzle) - beautiful small village west of Penzance but the traffic is terrible at peak times.
  • Newlyn
  • Coverack - great beach on the Lizard peninsula.
  • Sennen - nearest village on the north coast to Land's End - great sand and beach restaurant.
  • Zennor - very attractive village between St Just in Penwith and St Ives.
  • St Just in Roseland - The church and creek have graced many a chocolate box.
  • St Mawes - fine castle facing Pendennis castle in Falmouth across the Carrick Roads.
  • Fowey - small town connected by ferries to Lostwithiel.
  • Cawsand - much visited by Plymothians - attractive village with walks to Penlee Point (wooded) and Rame Head (small headland chapel).
  • Portloe - steep sided little village on south coast - no room ot spoil it - hence one of the very prettiest.
  • Tintagel - Don't be too sure that King Arthur did not have a historical base here - but not with all those Norman knights!
  • Boscastle - near Tintagel - extremely attractive but has suffered extreme flooding.
  • Cremyll - Cornwall end of eponimous passenger ferry from Plymouth - a most interesting crossing of the Tamar.
  • Torpoint - Cornwall end of a major chain car ferry from Plymouth.
  • Saltash - Cornwall end of the Brunel rail suspension bridge and the Tamar Road Bridge.
  • Looe - This small town and the nearby village of Polperro are the destination of many evening coach trips from Plymouth.
  • Polperro
  • St Levan - one of the best of west Cornwall's granite churches.

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Sights and Activities

  • Land's End is the most westerly point in England.
  • Lizard Point is the most southerly.
  • Cape Cornwall, near St Just in Penwith, is not the most anything but just a great headland that can be enjoyed in its own right. The coastal walk from there to Zennor, where great scenery is exaggerated by mining remains is terrific.
  • Carrick Roads - a wide stretch of water where the Fal meets the coast - numerous creeks - King Harry car ferry.
  • St. Michael's Mount
  • The Minack Theatre (14 May 2013 - 28 Sep 2013) - The Minack Theatre is arguably the most famous open-air theatre in England. Located at the tip of Cornwall, the theatre has been carved into the granite cliffs of Porthcurno. Address: The Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, Penzance, Cornwall TR19 6JU, Phone: +44(0)1736 810181, Hours: varies, Price: £10.00 to £20.00

Beaches

Cornwall is surrounded by water on three sides, and has some beautiful beaches, some of the best ones are listed below:

  • Watergate Bay (near Newquay) - If you are searching for water based activities this is the place to try.
  • Fistral Beach Newquay - The place to watch the surfers (or join in).
  • Summerleaze, Bude - This beach has a tidal swimming pool.
  • Bedruthan Steps has spectacular rocky outcrops and a sandy beach.
  • Sennen Cove is a lovely long sandy beach popular for surfing, and is within walking distance of Land's End.
  • Praa Sands, on the south coast this is a lovely long sandy beach.

Stately Homes and Gardens

As might be expected, Cornwall's location means it is particularly favoured for gardens. Spring can be weeks ahead of much of northern England. (N.T. denotes National Trust properties). Gardens of Cornwall lists 60 gardens!

Prehistoric remains of west Cornwall

Granite Churches of West Cornwall

Although these are all similar, each has some special feature of its own - some of which are mentioned here.

  • Madron - sadly this is often locked.
  • Zennor - mermaid bench and squint.
  • St Just in Penwith - two medieval wall paintings.
  • St Buryan - rood screen.
  • St Levan - St Levan's stone and shaped coffin rests.
  • Paul
  • Breage - this church also has great examples of medieval wall paintings.
St Levan's Church, West Cornwall

St Levan's Church, West Cornwall

© All Rights Reserved davidx

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Events and Festivals

  • Helston Flora Day; Held on the 8th of May (unless this falls on a Sunday or Monday, in which case it is held the previous Saturday). The town is decorated with gorse and bluebells and adults and children alike dance through the streets and house.
  • Padstow Obby Oss; Held on the 1st of May (or the day after if this falls on a Sunday). Inhabitants of Padstow (those born in the town) traditionally dress in white, with family loyalties dictating whether they follow the 'Red'/original Oss, or the 'Blue'/peace Oss.
  • Newlyn Fish Festival; Held on August Bank Holiday Monday to celebrate Newlyn's heritage of fishing and sea going.
  • The Golowan Festival - named for Gol Jowan in the Cornish language meaning "Feast of John" - is a recent revival of an ancient festival celebrated in years gone by to mark the arrival of Midsummer. Originally revived as a project amongst some local schools, helping to bring their heritage to the children of today, this has now become a ten-day celebration of music and the performing arts with venues all over Penzance during the second half of June.
  • Falmouth Oyster Festival celebrates the start of oyster dredging and is held in mid October at one of the last sites of traditional oyster dredging in the UK.

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Weather

Cornwall has a temperate Oceanic climate and has the mildest and sunniest climate in the United Kingdom, as a result of its southerly latitude and the influence of the Gulf Stream. The average annual temperature in Cornwall ranges from 11.6 °C on the Isles of Scilly to 9.8 °C in the central uplands. Winters are amongst the warmest in the country due to the southerly latitude and moderating effects of the warm ocean currents, and frost and snow are very rare at the coast and are also rare in the central upland areas. Summers are however not as warm as those of other parts of southern England. The surrounding sea and its southwesterly position mean that Cornwall's weather can be relatively changeable. Cornwall is one of the sunniest areas in the UK, with 1541 hours of sunshine per year, with the highest average of 7.6 hours of sunshine per day in July. The moist, mild air coming from the south west brings higher amounts of rainfall than in eastern Great Britain, at 1051 to 1290 mm per year, however not as much as in more northern areas of the west coast. The Isles of Scilly, for example, have on average less than 2 days of air frost per year. In Scilly there is on average less than 1 day of the temperature exceeding 30 °C per year. Extreme temperatures in Cornwall are particularly rare; however, extreme weather in the form of storms and floods is common.

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Getting There

By Plane

St Mary's Airport (ISC) operates flights between St Mary's and Penzance, Exeter, Newquay, Southampton, Land's End and seasonal flights to/from Bristol. Tresco Heliport has helicopters between Tresco and Penzance Heliport. The airport in Newquay has services to London, Dublin and Cork.

By Train

Regular trains run on the main line from London Paddington (12 daily to Plymouth, 3 hours, 8 daily all the way through Cornwall to Penzance, 5 hours) Bristol, Birmingham etc. to Plymouth, Truro and Penzance. There are also a few branch lines, the most useful linking St Ives to the main line at St Erth, from Truro to Falmouth via Perranwell and Penryn, and from Newquay to Par. There is also an overnight sleeper train which runs Sun-Fri nights to/from London Paddington and Penzance. Trains from London take about 3 hr 20 min to Plymouth, and 5 hr 30 min to Penzance.

By Car

Cornwall can be accessed by road via the A30 which starts at the end of the M5 at Exeter. Cornwall can also be accessed from the A38, crossing the Tamar River at Plymouth via the Tamar Bridge. From London it's a 5-6 hour drive. On Saturdays in July & August and Easter bank holiday weekend roads can be busy.

By Bus

Cornwall is served well by National Express coach services from London Victoria coach station (9 hours, 3 daily) and other parts of the UK (Edinburgh - Glasgow - Penzance, 18 hours, 1 daily). Megabus also run a daily service (8 hours) from London Victoria through to Penzance stopping off at a few major towns in Cornwall. With ticket prices from £1 this is a very cheap option, the coaches are relatively comfortable, but expect them to be pretty much full.

By Boat

Isles of Scilly Travel operates ferries from Penzance to St Mary's.

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Getting Around

By Train

First Great Western and CrossCountry operate regular train services between the main centres of population.

By Bus

Several bus companies operate in Cornwall including Western Greyhound, Truronian and First Bus.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Porthtowan BackpackersSeamyst, Beach Road, Porthtowan, Truro, Cornwall TR4 8AAHostel91
YHA GolantPenquite House, Golant FoweyHostel-
YHA Treyarnon BayPadstow CornwallHostel-
Kendall GreenWell StreetApartment-
Falmouth Surf School Accommodation1 Woodlane CloseGuesthouse95
The Wellington HotelThe Harbour BoscastleHotel-
YHA Land's End - Cot ValleyLetcha Vean, St Just-in-Penwith Penzance, CornwallHOSTEL-
Fore Street60 Fore StreetApartment-
The Chantry19 Liskeard Road CallingtonHotel-
YHA BoswingerBoswinger, Gorran St AustellHOSTEL-
YHA TintagelDunderhole Point, Tintagel, CornwallHOSTEL-
YHA CoverackParc Behan, School Hill, Coverack HelstonHOSTEL-
YHA PerranporthDroskyn Point, Perranporth, CornwallHOSTEL-
Chy Carne Camping and Touring ParkKuggar Ruan MinorCAMPSITE-
YHA BoscastlePalace Stables, Boscastle, Cornwall BoscastleHOSTEL-
YHA PenzanceCastle Horneck, Alverton Cornwall, TR20 8TFHOSTEL86
Lower Penderleath Farm HostelLower Penderleath Farm Towednack St. ivesHostel-

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Quick Facts

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County Town
Truro
Coordinates
  • Latitude: 50.443329
  • Longitude: -4.94101

Contributors

as well as davidx (11%), CornwallGuide (5%), nigelpeaco (4%), petergames (2%), snappytrav (2%), jamesbe (1%)

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Cornwall Travel Helpers

  • ljmp

    I have lived in north Cornwall, near Padstow, for over 20 years and been visiting for 20 years before that! It's a beautiful county, but to get the most from it, like anywhere, you have to get off the beaten track and away from the masses.

    Ask ljmp a question about Cornwall

This is version 27. Last edited at 2:02 on May 24, 13 by sleepBot. 11 articles link to this page.

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