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The Best of Cornwall
The stunning scenery in Cornwall is a match for anything you can find overseas and it is somewhere in England you can reach easily by car from London in around five hours, or by train from Paddington. It’s a very special place and where I grew up. I still love Cornwall and visit as often as I can. We’ve tried and tested plenty of charming beach and boutique hotels in Cornwall too, which are perfect as a base for exploring Poldark Country.
Cornwall stretches from the River Tamar in the east, the natural border with neighbouring Devon, to Lands’ End, the most westerly point in England. The county was one of the centres for tin mining in the 20th Century. Today you can still visit Geevor Tin Mine and the remains of tin mines can be seen occasionally dotting the landscape. Cornwall was also known for smuggling; the hidden coves and bays ideal for smugglers to come ashore. Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor, made famous in the book by Daphne du Maurier, was widely associated with smuggling too. Today, you can visit for a drink, a bite to eat or even to stay there!
The Atlantic coast or the North Coast of Cornwall is a dramatic coastline with high cliffs and sandy beaches, all of which can be accessed by the South West Coast Path which runs all around the county. Surfing is hugely popular on the North Coast, with excellent surfing waves at beaches such as Bude, Polzeath and the world-famous Fistral Bay, near Newquay.
The remains of Tintagel Castle, associated with the legend of King Arthur, are perched on the high cliffs close to Tintagel, with a panoramic view of the surrounding coastline. Visit one of the many beautiful ports on the North Coast such as Boscastle, Port Isaac (where the television programme Doc Martin is filmed) or Padstow with its lovely setting on the Camel Estuary.
In West Cornwall is the town of St Ives, a magnet for artists, who have flocked to the town over the centuries to capture the spectacular scenery. St Ives is home to the modern Tate St Ives gallery exhibiting work from artists who are associated with the area. Lands End is a place to visit, although there is not a great deal there.
The South Coast of Cornwall has its own beauty, being more sheltered from the wind than the North Coast. This part of the county has more woodland, beautiful river estuaries such as Fowey and Falmouth as well as picturesque harbours amongst them Mevagissey, Polperro and Charlestown.
Close to Fowey and Mevagissey are the Lost Gardens of Heligan, a personal favourite of mine, especially the jungle of tree ferns which flourish in the mild climate. This part of Cornwall is also home to the Eden Project, situated close to the town of St Austell. The groundbreaking development, built on a disused china clay pit, has transformed the ugly landscape with its two biomes containing diverse plants from all over the world.
The beauty of the Cornish landscape has been showcased in the BBC television series, Poldark, with filming locations on Bodmin Moor, St Breward, Porthgwarra, Padstow and Kynance Cove.
Why not take a holiday in Cornwall and explore everything this county has to offer? There are plenty of stylish boutique hotels and inns as well as self-catering accommodation, to suit any budget. Here are a few of our favourites – all tried and tested – and all highly recommended.