Tourist Attractions and Things To Do in Cornwall
There’s plenty of things to do and see in Cornwall, so while you’re not enjoying the great hospitality of one of the country’s finest rugby clubs, lazing in your hotel room or relaxing on fine sandy beaches there’s still plenty to keep you occupied…
If you’re looking to check some ‘I’ve been there’ boxes in the national landmarks category, Redruth is ideally situated to help you get tourist-y with both the picturesque St Michael’s Mount (pictured bottom) in the west and the iconic Eden Project (pictured top) to the east. For St Michael’s Mount, check the tides: you can walk out to the island and back except at high tide. The country’s most westerly and southerly points – Land’s End and The Lizard – are not far away either (locals’ tip: try a crab sandwich from the cafe by The Lizard car park).
If you’re seeking art and culture, fitting into the truly unique category is the Minack Theatre: an open-air working theatre carved into the side of a cliff-face, which hosts an excellent selection of plays throughout the year. The Minack Theatre recently also won the TravelMail award for the Best Day Out in the national Enjoy England Awards for Excellence 2009. St Ives – a hotbed of studios, galleries and crafty boutiques – plays host to the fantastic Tate St Ives gallery (pictured right), or you could skip down to Falmouth which boasts the National Maritime Museum as well as it’s own selection of galleries. Some of the world’s greatest musicians visit Cornwall to play at the Eden Sessions each year in a totally unique concert experience, whilst Truro’s Hall for Cornwall also plays host to a variety of acts throughout the year. If you fancy a dose of art or culture but trying to save the pennies, then the folk museum at St Agnes and the Falmouth Art Gallery are ideal free attractions for the austere tourist.
Cornwall’s weather is blessed by the effects of the Gulf Stream, and the milder winters and cooler summers led to an explosion of beautiful gardens full of many species unfamiliar elsewhere in the country. There are many National Trust and English Heritage gardens worth discovering in the area, such as Glendurgan, Trelissick and the Lost Garden of Heligan. Alternatively, you could go for walk around some of the country’s most picturesque landscapes, around the county’s coastal path which spans the entire coastline from Bude around to Saltash. Indeed, with many of the county’s coastal car parks also owned by the National Trust, it might be well worth buying your membership before your weekend visit!
The views from the top of Carn Brea and St Agnes Beacon are also worthwhile, and the former is situated in the heart of Cornwall’s World Heritage Site for the tin mining trade. The walk along the Great Flat Lode around mines which birthed an renaissance of engineering, innovation and economic prosperity is worth taking the time to stretch your legs for, and the shadows of long-abandoned engine houses provide a deep glimpse into part of a Cornishman’s soul.
If you’re bringing the whole family down and are looking for tourist attractions or things to do for the whole family, then Cornwall has a wealth of things to keep your kids occupied. Flambards Theme Park in Helston has plenty of rides and attractions to keep kids and early teens amused, as well as featuring Victorian and Britain in the Blitz experiences. The exotic birds and animals at Paradise Park at Hayle make for a good half day’s fun for all ages, and there’s a massive play barn there for kids too. Gweek’s National Seal Sanctuary, Dairyland Farm World and the Newquay Blue Reef Aquarium are all other possibilities, but there are dozens of such venues all vying for your attention on your holiday in Cornwall. Of course, there’s always the fine sandy Cornish beaches…
If watching a great rugby match isn’t enough sport for one holiday for you, then there are plenty of local golf courses to cater for all handicaps. In particular, you should consider the nearby Tehidy Park golf course, a tricky but enjoyable course set in lovely quiet woodlands (a rarity in Cornwall!).
Tehidy also features the Tehidy Trail, one of Cornwall’s many excellent cycling trails. The Camel Trail is routinely considered one of the best in the country, but there are plenty more cycling trails closer to Redruth, including the Coast-to-Coast Trail, the Redruth & Chacewater Trail and the Portreath Branch Line Trail. Alternatively, if you want to do some watersports but want to learn away from the discerning eyes of other holiday-makers, the watersports centre at Stithians Reservoir is an ideal venue for you and your family to learn to sail, windsurf or kayak.
Images by Ross Tucknott