With breathtaking scenery and an untypically English climate, it's little wonder the Cornwall region is one of England's premier summer destinations. The local Cornish residents are fiercely proud of their Celtic identity – at times Cornwall can feel a world away from the rest of England, which is exactly why the English love it so much! Add to that the surf beaches and a growing number of contemporary hotels, boutique shops and hip bars, and you shouldn't need another reason to start planning a trip to the countryside where the sun always shines (according to the locals, at least).
Cornwall is home to a large number of attractions for travellers, but none are more alluring than the beach. The county's beaches are widely regarded as the best in England with Watergate Bay, Kynance Cove, Newquay and Porthcurno some of the top picks. The Lizard and Kynance Cove is another one of Cornwall's natural wonders, while the beautiful ocean-side Minack Theatre has just as breathtaking views. To see a fabulous collection of flora from all over the world, head to the space-age designed Eden Project. For something other-worldly altogether, the Museum of Witchcraft is just as intriguing as it sounds.
Though most famous for its Cornish pasties, Cornwall is fast gaining a reputation for fine food. In recent years, celebrity chefs including Jamie Oliver have opened a flurry of restaurants in the region thanks to the local produce being distinct and fresh. Some of Cornwall's best bites can be found in the town of Padstow where restaurants to check out include Rojano's, Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 and Rick Stein's The Seafood Restaurant. In St Ives, Australian-run Porthmeor Cafe is hard to beat for a beachside breakfast or lunch. Continuing with the Southern Hemisphere theme, New Zealander-run Kota in Porthleven is another standout Cornish restaurant.
Where to Stay
Being a county made up of numerous small towns and villages means you have many options when deciding where to stay in Cornwall. As the surfing centre of England and home to some of Cornwall's best nightlife, Newquay is one of the most popular places to base yourself. Here you will find a number of hotels located in close walking distance to the popular Fistral Beach. St Ives and the smaller Padstow make two excellent alternatives to Newquay. Padstow provides a laid-back village atmosphere with equally excellent beaches and restaurants, but even quieter is the sleepy fishing village of Port Isaac – home to pleasant hotels including The Longcross Hotel and Gardens, Slipway Hotel and Old School Hotel.
Part of Cornwall's charm is that it isn't home to any large indoor shopping malls or a great number of department stores, so if shopping is not for you then Cornwall probably will be! Saying that, there is still a variety of small boutique shops and galleries throughout the townships where you can pick up some unique souvenirs. In St Ives you'll find the Art Space Gallery, which is worth a visit for the views from the shop as much as the unique artworks for sale. In the artist quarter of Penzance, The New Street Gallery is a cooperative run by local artists who all live within a 10-mile radius of the gallery.
Cornwall Like a Local
With a history dating back before the arrival of the first Anglo-Saxons in Britain, recent polls suggest that almost half of Cornwall's locals identify themselves as Cornish more as opposed to English. Your best bet isn't to refer to the locals as English, but most will take it in good jest. To get the full feel of Cornwall's unique history, time your visit to coincide with one of the county's traditional festivals such as Alantide, Cornwall's alternative to Halloween. Golowan is perhaps the biggest of all Cornish festivals and also one of its oldest. Running over three days to include Mazey Eve, Mazey Day and Quay Fair Day, you can expect raucous bagpipes and plenty of fireworks.