One of my favourite places in the UK. Being a water baby, I knew that I wanted to visit Newquay at some point. I got the train for Par to Newquay which was very easy (even in the middle of July!) then made my way through the town centre towards my hostel. I found it was easy to walk around Newquay without the need for buses, taxis etc. The high street in Newquay was bustling with street performers, plenty of shops and cafes, and it was only a short walk away from Towan beach. I visited Newquay aquarium which, although small (it only took me around half an hour to go round), had a wide range of sea life and lots of information. I also booked a surf lesson with Newquay Activity Centre who were fantastic, and we went to the famous Fistral Beach for around 2 hours. I have only boogie boarded before, so being a complete beginner surfer I was nervous but by the end of the session I was able to stand up on the board for about a second! If you’re looking for friendly people, lively bars and water sports galore, Newquay is the place to be.
Located in Porthcurno, Penzance, this gem is an absolute must for anyone visiting Cornwall. An open-air theatre built into the granite cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, people come here to watch live performances while taking in the incredible views of Porthcurno Bay. We went to watch Mark Harrison play at the Minack Theatre, and it was really fantastic. We got so lucky with the weather and combined with being among other people watching live music (after so long!!!) it was a perfect evening. Remember to take in the views of the ocean as well as watching the actual performance! Its absolutely stunning. Get there early! We arrived around an hour before the actual performance and got front row seats! I would recommend bringing an extra jumper or blanket with you, no matter how warm it is during the day - being right by the sea and suspended high into the cliffs makes you vulnerable to the Cornish coastal breeze!! Zoe also advised me to bring a pillow to rest against which was really useful. Take as many photos as you can. It really is one of the most stunning places I’ve visited and I’m glad I captured the evening to look back on.
Fowey is a beautiful and historic harbour town located on Cornwall’s south coast. Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, I was lucky enough to join a Cornwall Discovered tour which took us through the town which was lively but still very quaint. There were lots of shops and ice cream places! We then kayaked up the Fowey estuary which was amazing as we could see lots of wildlife including grey herons, starfish and hulls. Our kayaking guides also emphasised the industrial importance Fowey still holds today as a busy commercial port, handling around 450,000 tonnes of cargo per year (mainly China clay).
I was reluctant to visit Falmouth due to Cornwall being so busy this summer and being reliant on public transport (I didn’t bring a car with me to Cornwall). However, I decided that it simply wasn’t something I wanted to miss out on seeing so I took the train to Falmouth, which in the end wasn’t too busy. I had booked to visit Pendennis Castle the day I arrived. Admission is free for English Heritage members, but it was around £15 for me as a non-member. This was pretty reasonable for me as it is so well known and there was lots to take in and learn during my visit. I got into Falmouth town station at around 3:30pm then walked to Pendennis Castle which only took 20 minutes. It is easy to find from the station and there is a pedestrian entrance to the castle (a road going upwards on the left-hand side of the main road). Again, I struck gold with the weather, and it was beautiful blue skies and very hot. I got to the entrance to the castle at around 4, and it was a great time to visit the castle. Most people were just leaving so it was less busy and much more peaceful than during the peak of the day. There is a castle cafe, but it closes at around 5. The staff gave me lots of information when I arrived and were always available if I had questions. The actual castle was built by Henry VIII to defend the country against French invasion. It also protected the land during the first and second world wars. It is set on a headland overlooking the town and it is a very serene place if you want time away from the busy and exciting Falmouth. I managed to join a tour of the castle led by a volunteer which I would definitely recommend – I got loads more information about the place than I would have got on my own. The castle has amazing 360 degree views of the ocean and beaches in Falmouth, and if you go right to the top of the castle the views are even better. You can also spot St Mawes castle across the harbour. The stone staircase is quite narrow and steep so I was glad I wore trainers! The next day I decided to visit St Mawes, a small fishing village opposite Falmouth. You need to book a ferry ticket to get across. You can do this online before you go or buy the ticket there and then (I got a discount by booking online before I went). It was a Sunday that I went so I predicted it might be busy during the day on the ferry. I got an early ferry about 9:15 and it wasn’t busy at all. The ferry ride took around 20 minutes. St Mawes was busy when I got off the ferry but walking up the roads it became quieter and more relaxed. There were lots of galleries and small shops along the way as well as some beautiful beaches where you can swim and paddle board. You can also visit St Mawes castle (also English Heritage) which is smaller than its twin Pendennis but it is still a great place to visit. It guards the entrance of the Fal estuary and unlike Pendennis, it has seen few changes over the centuries in terms of its Tudor character. The ferry back to Falmouth was much busier but I still managed to get a seat. Don’t worry if you miss one ferry, they are very regular.
Last but not least, I picked Charlestown. This was my base for the trip and where I did most of my intern work at Cornwall Discovered. Charlestown is a stunning hidden gem, located about 1 mile outside of St Austell. It is a Georgian Port which was built to export copper and import coal. Soon after it was used to export China Clay. I was drawn to Charlestown when I visited Cornwall last year, especially since it was a location for the BBC adaptation of Poldark! Although it is small, Charlestown doesn’t lack in things to do. There are plenty of restaurants to enjoy a pint, and it also has the Shipwreck Museum which holds lots of information about the village’s history and the surrounding area. Charlestown beach is a lovely place to visit for an evening swim. There are always people around and I felt very safe being down at the harbour by myself at 9-10 at night – there was always a friendly and vibrant atmosphere. One night I even stumbled on a sea shanty down by the beach! There are some gorgeous coastal walks around Charlestown, long and short. I walked from Charlestown Bay to Carlyon Bay (the neighbouring beach in the next town over) often, as it only took half an hour and the views were incredible. Charlestown is really well linked by public transport. There is a bus that comes through the village that takes you straight through St Austell to the train and bus station and from there you can get pretty much anywhere, including the Eden Project, Lost Gardens of Heligan and Mevagissey. Charlestown is one of my absolute favourite places in Cornwall for its relaxed atmosphere and remarkable beauty. It was the perfect base for me, as after a long day of travelling I could just walk down to the beach for a couple of hours and unwind. One of the most beautiful places I’ve visited.
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