Warmed by the Gulf Stream, Cornwall is blessed with many quiet islands, coves and gardens. Awash with local delicacies, and centuries of history, still now some of these are away from the many well-known tourist locations. In these hectic times, when we need our holidays to be a time to relax and chill, what better way to enjoy Cornwall, off the beaten track, than in a holiday cottage?
Working for more than 50 years in the county, Cornish Traditional Cottages lets us in on a few of their favourite Cornish secrets.
1. Stert’s Theatre, Bodmin Moor
Most have heard of the Minack Theatre, open-air and on a headland. Lesser known 400-seat Stert’s Theatre is set in a natural amphitheatre with wooden benches underneath a canvas canopy to protect theatregoers from the heat of the sun, and occasionally rain. The theatre serves up a variety of entertainment from enthusiastic amateurs to well-known stars such as Josh Widdecombe and Ed Byrne. Speaking of serving up, why not miss cooking at your cottage and dine here before the performance.
2. National Maritime Museum, Falmouth
There are plenty of exhibits here to interest the whole family and it includes over a thousand years of boats from this island nation and beyond. Why not check out a replica of a Viking Longship that travelled across the North Sea from Scandinavia to us and beyond. Alternatively, for those feeling really fit why not climb the Lookout Tower and see the local history of sea-faring stretch out in front of you.
3. Looe Island, Looe
Looe Island is a marine haven run by Cornwall Wildlife Trust. It is just off the Cornish coast at Looe and is reached by a small ferry running the two or three hours either side of high tide. This is a traffic-free island and you and your family can have hours of fun rock-pooling and safe swimming. Take one of many available walks to discover many nesting sea-birds and over fifteen varieties of butterfly.
4. Trebah Gardens, Mawnan Smith
Marvel at this sub-tropical oasis set in a ravine that drops down towards a private beach on the Helford River. Trebah is the magical result of over one hundred and sixty years of dedication and inspired garden design. What you should enjoy is an exotic wilderness unparalleled in the United Kingdom and ranked in the top eighty of gardens across the globe.
5. The Fish Van, Mevagissy
Take your time in Mevagissey, a bustling town of boutique shops, sprawling harbour wall, aquarium and spectacular light – bring your SLR. But on the far side of the harbour, where the fishing boats dock there’s a cabin where you can buy the freshest catch of the day off the boats. If you ask nicely, the fishermen might even find you a lobster from their own catch…
6. Gorran Haven, Mevagissy
A couple of miles from Mevagissy is the fishing village of Gorran Haven. Set in a quiet cove it has two sandy beaches protected from off-shore winds by the sea-wall. There is a small selection of shops with friendly shopkeepers and excellent crab sandwiches. For those who like some intrigue with their holidays it is the birthplace of a former Head of MI6!
7. Geevor Tin Mine, Pendeen
For something different visit the Geevor Tin Mine Museum and see part of Cornwall’s mining heritage above and below the ground. There is the opportunity to take an underground guided tour into an eighteenth century mine, also exciting interactive activities where amongst the tasks you can try is panning for gold and gemstones. The area is also part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
8. Porth Nanven, St Just
Also known as Dinosaur Egg Beach, because it is full of a selection of egg-shaped pebbles from the size of a hen’s egg to some at least a metre in length. These were caused by the action of the sea some 120,000 years ago, though some may look like nice souvenirs they are protected by the National Trust who own and look after the site.
9. St. Nectan’s Glen, Tintagel
In a mystical area of Cornwall, a truly beautiful and sacred site, as the River Trevillet flows through wooded countryside before plunging sixty-feet down a spectacular waterfall. Serenaded by the wonderful sound of birdsong, take the woodland walk to discover not only the main waterfall, but two other ones - the latest one of which was only accessed in 2016.
10. The Shed, Wadebridge
Possibly the smallest café in Cornwall, but nevertheless it serves some of the best brunches in Kernow. It comes highly recommended by the staff of Cornish Traditional Cottages, possibly due to the proximity to our office when it comes to lunch! Their menu includes vegetarian and gluten-free options, and dogs may sit with their owners in the garden, looking up hopefully to test some tit-bits.