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The Best Places to Visit in Cornwall
The Beautiful Golitha Falls, Cornwall: A Great Place to Visit
Great Places to See in Cornwall
Cornwall has built its reputation as a holiday destination on the back of its coastline and with good reason. There are hundreds of miles of beaches, some wide and sandy, some bustling with sunbathing families, others thronged with surfers with a few quiet coves and picturesque harbours thrown in for good measure.
Cornwall's got far more to offer than just sun and sand. Venture away from the sea and there is a whole world of delightful and secluded places to visit; just take a look at the beautiful woodland at Golitha Falls. Some have already been discovered by a new generation of holiday makers, others remain to be exposed to tourism. If you are visiting Cornwall, here are a few of the best places to see in Cornwall; some of them may not be in all the tourist brochures yet, so you may just beat the crowds.
St Nectan's Kieve
St Nectan's Glen
St Nectan's Glen, Boscastle: A Picture Perfect Place to Visit
Cornwall has a reputation as a magical place and you can come close to connecting with magic at St Nectan's Glen. The Glen is set in a secluded wooded valley along the banks of the RIver Trevillet near the village of Trethevy, not far from Boscastle. Although the Glen itself makes a beautiful walk, and is actually designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, most people who make the journey to the valley are in search of one thing: St Nectan's Kieve.
The Kieve is a breathtaking 60 foot waterfall and marks what is considered to be one of the UK's most spiritual sites. Whether there was a St Nectan is a subject of debate. The name may refer to the Cornish water god Nechtan or it may be simply a romantic re-branding of the name of a local family, the Nathans!. Whatever the truth, people still leave offerings along the ledges near the Kieve. Piles of stones, coins, brooches and messages are all left for the ancient water god.
St Nectan's Glen can be reached from several directions along marked footpaths. One of the easiest routes to find is behind the Rocky Valley Centre on the road between Boscastle and Tintagel. Entry to the Glen is free but if you want to view the waterfall or enjoy a Cream Tea in the tea gardens there is an entry fee.
Places to Visit Near St Nectan's Glen
Tintagel Castle - reputedly birthplace of King Arthur
Boscastle - includes the Museum of Witchcraft
Visit Cotehele, One of Cornwall's Tudor Mansions
Cotehele is located in the southeast of Cornwall, near the village of St Dominick. This solid grey granite fortified house dates back to the fourteenth century, but was largely rebuilt by the Edgcumbe family during the early Tudor period. It remains one of the country's finest examples of Tudor architecture.
The house contains a fine array of armour, tapestries and furniture. A new exhibition uncovers the lives of the Edgcumbes and their servants, and there are workshops and events throughout the year.
Cotehele isn't just about the main house; there are also fine gardens which slope down to the River Tamar where you can find the quay alongside which is moored a restored Victorian sailing barge. Another highlight of the gardens is a well-preserved stone dovecote. Further into the Estate are the orchards and a working watermill where you can see apples pressed and corn ground.
Cotehele and Cotehele Mill are owned by the National Trust. The sites include parking facilities, shops and refreshments.
- Cotehele - Visitor information - National Trust
Explore the gardens and Tudor mansion at Cotehele, a National Trust mansion in Cornwall. Enjoy daffodils in spring and rare tapestries in the house.
Trebah: A Visit to a Cornish Tropical Garden
Cornwall boasts acres of gardens, thanks to its temperate climate. Professional and amateur gardeners have been taking advantage of Cornwall's climate for centuries and we are blessed with an abundant variety of plants and flowers. One of my favourite gardens marries the best sub-tropical plants with the beautiful Cornish coastline: Trebah.
Trebah Gardens tumble down a deep valley, cloaked in bamboos and tree ferns, into a lily-pad covered pond and out onto a private beach. Whatever time of year you choose to visit there are always plants in bloom and often there are events to add interest. Children love the adventure playground and "treasure" trails through the gardens.
The private pebble beach opens out on to the River Helford, with views to the sea beyond. It's a fantastic place to sit with an ice cream, although it wasn't always so peaceful. In 1944 the 29th US Infantry Division left from the beach heading for Omaha Beach during the D-Day Landings.
Trebah is open year round and offers discounted rates to members of the National Trust and Royal Horticultural Society. Dogs on a lead are welcome.
A Magical Cornish Theatre: The Minack
The Minack is a must-see destination in Cornwall. Not just because it is set in a stunning location nor even because it stages world-class entertainment, but because it is a testament to one woman's amazing vision and determination. Looking at the Minack, it is easy to imagine that it is a vestige of the Roman invasion of Britain. Not so! A remarkable woman, Rowena Cade, began building the theatre in 1931 with the help of her gardener and his mate. She carried on developing the theatre until her death in 1983.
Watching a performance at the Minack is always unforgettable. If you are lucky, the memory etched in your mind is of a beautiful balmy evening with a sparkling azure sea providing the backdrop to a wonderful play. For the unlucky few, they are left with a soggy memory of trying to attend whilst the actors battle against the elements to make themselves heard!
You don't have to book for a performance to visit the Minack. You can visit during the day and learn about Rowena Cade at the Exhibition Centre and look around the site. The views are fabulous and it's well worth the entrance fee.
If you do want to watch a performance, plays run from May to October. It's advisable to take a cushion to sit on (the stone steps get uncomfortable after a while) and take a picnic for the half time interval. Some people take their Minack picnics very seriously; it can be more champagne and salmon than a flask of tea and some sandwiches!
Find out About Penzance and Its Pirates
The Minack Theatre is near Penzance. Daisy Mariposa has written a great hub about Penzance, its pirates and the famous comic opera - who knows, you might get lucky and see a performance at the Minack!
Minack Theatre Information
- The Minack Theatre
The Minack Theatre, What's on, how to get tickets, a full history and much more information for those new to us and The Minack - fans all over the world.
The Levant Mine
Cornwall's Heritage: The Levant Mine and Beam Engine
One image that defines Cornwall is the engine house of a mine, particularly when it is framed by the sea. Cornwall now has World Heritage status for its mining past, several sites across the county making up the Heritage site. The site that exemplifies the Cornish mine is, to my mind, the Levant Mine and Beam Engine set on top of a cliff near St Just.
Levant was a tin mine and its workings snaked out under the sea for miles. Nowadays you can explore the engine house and watch the only working steam driven beam engine in the world, moving just as it did in the 1840s. If you are feeling brave you can go down to the tunnel to the main shaft or simply stay above ground and take in the atmosphere amongst the ruined mine buildings.
The National Trust now own the Levant Mine and, as you would expect from a Trust-run property, there are plenty of events and activities, as well as parking. There aren't any refreshments on site, so if you are planning on eating, bring your a picnic.
Levant Mine and Beam Engine Opening Times
- Levant Mine and Beam Engine - Visitor information - National Trust
Levant Mine and Beam Engine - Visitor information