Cornwall

Cornwall

Forget the stereotypical bucket-and-spade image of yesteryear’s Cornwall. Yes, the pearly beaches still beckon barefoot, spade-bearing families, especially when the sun doth shine. Yet beyond the Caribbean-white sands lies the crashing surf, rugged cliffs, rolling moors and some of the most remote, rugged and beguiling landscapes the county has to offer. Squeeze into a wetsuit and battle the waves, don walking boots and trace the rise and fall of the South West Coast Path, or climb awesome granite stacks that jut into the full force of the Atlantic. No longer reliant on the weather to flaunt its charm, Cornwall boasts an array of landscapes and attractions for all seasons: Marvel at mega stars like the Eden Project, or be seduced by the maritime ambience in waterside villages littered with trendy shops and cafés. Gone are the chintzy cottages and old-fashioned hotels, these days replaced by boutique boltholes, classic country inns and some of the county's finest foodie gems – whether you fancy Michelin-starred dining or fish and chips on the beach.

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Eat and Drink

The ever booming tourist industry has given Cornwall a dazzling range of restaurants, often concentrating on seafood. Pubs and Inns are scattered throughout the countryside, offering the traditional meals you'd expect in a cosy setting. Meanwhile, in the coastal towns, these haunts are supplemented by newer bars and high-end restaurants. An array of take-away food can also be found for those who want to maximise their time relaxing on the beaches or are on the hop between attractions. When it comes to clubs and nightlife, Newquay, on the north coast, is the most famous location, drawing in crowds from around the country at the weekends. In the summer it can be a little overwhelmed, but the raucous nightlife should not detract from the good food and range of cuisines that are on offer each day. In all, Cornwall has something for everyone and for every taste.

Shop

On the Cornwall coast you find the inevitable mix of local goods combined with tourist memorabilia and every item of beach-ware you could possibly need. If you're looking for a bucket and spade you won't struggle, but for a full weekend of retail therapy, Cornwall is not exactly the worlds leading destination. That said, when you look around, there are some good boutiques and galleries and the small towns draw in high-end independent shops, rather than commercial, high-street giants. The result is quaint stores ideal for browsing and you'll find the time flying by as you wander around in the relaxed atmosphere that these settlements provide. Many places are specialist stores that offer something unique and well crafted, so if there is something very particular you need, this might be the place to search it out. For quality without the glare of big-name stores, Cornwall is a good spot, just make sure you don't waste all your time in the cheap beach-hut shops.

Things to Do

Tourism is Cornwall's biggest industry and, while in the summer it can somewhat overwhelm the charm of smaller villages, it is merely testament to the numerous attractions on this picturesque peninsula. For most, of course, the coastline is the destination, the county proud to call itself the chief surfing centre of the UK. The best way to reach the quietest spots is along the South West Coast Path that takes in the truly jaw dropping scenery of cliffs, moorland and beaches. Beyond this famous coastline is a mix of towns and villages that host sites of interest, ranging from the National Maritime Museum and the Tate St. Ives to the Newquay Zoo and the high-profile Eden Project. From Penzance you can also take a ferry out to the Isles of Scilly, a spectacular cluster of islands that offer the perfect getaway from the crowds.