The picturesque National Trust fishing village of Boscastle received international coverage in August 2004 after suffering Britain’s worst flash flood in half a century. Today you will be hard pressed to find much evidence of that devastating event and with its Medieval core and distinctive harbour, Boscastle remains one of Cornwall’s most romantic places.
Boscastle also has a great selection of shops, galleries, and a pottery where you can watch the potter at work, and the famous Museum of Witchcraft. There are a good choice of pubs, restaurants and tea rooms to suit everyone’s taste and pocket. There are fishing trips out from the harbour as well as guided walks around the area. The Museum of Witchcraft is situated near the harbour and houses the world’s largest collection of witchcraft related artefacts and regalia.
You can get to know the hidden parts of Boscastle using the Village Trail leaflet or just relax and take in the local atmosphere.
An annual autumn Food, Arts and Crafts festival celebrates the best of Cornish cuisine and creativity.
Dubbed the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ by some, Eden is a dramatic global garden housed in tropical biomes that nestle in a crater the size of 30 football pitches.
With a worldwide reputation, Eden barely needs an introduction, but this epic destination definitely deserves a day of your undivided attention. More than just a huge, tropical garden, Eden is a gateway into the relationships between plants and people, and a fascinating insight into the story of mankind’s dependence on plant life. Please note that dogs are not permitted into the domes.
For over 800 years a tale has been told that Tintagel was the birthplace of the noble King Arthur, born to the beautiful Queen Igerna and protected from evil by the magician, Merlin, who lived in a cave below the mighty fortress. The castle offers breathtaking views and a fascinating history. Roman settlement, Dark Age palace, Medieval fortress – Tintagel’s history is fascinating and there are many secrets still being revealed. Located in a spectacular setting on the dramatic North Cornwall coast, Tintagel has long been one of the county’s most popular tourist attractions. Atlantic breakers crash against the cliffs and through Merlin’s cave as visitors climb the steep but breathtaking path to Tintagel Island. The ruins of the 13th Century stronghold of the Earls of Cornwall remain to be explored and are one of the most famous landmarks in Cornwall. Whether visited in the height of the Summer when a storyteller may be on hand to bring the legends of King Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot to life, or at its bleakest in mid-Winter, Tintagel is a place to inspire imagination – a place of dreams, romance and legend.
Pencarrow Estate has been the home of the Molesworth family and their descendants since Elizabethan times. A guided tour around the 50 room Georgian mansion does much more than display a superb collection of antique furniture, paintings and porcelain; it makes the family’s history come alive whilst having that warmth which reminds you it is still the privately-owned and cherished home of the Molesworth-St Aubyn family.
Pencarrow is approached by a magnificent mile-long carriage drive through an Iron Age hill fort. Around the Palladian mansion are Grade II formal gardens, a large Victorian rock garden and ice house, celtic cross, 50 acres of parkland, lake and woodland with more than 700 varieties of rhododendrons and camellias, easily accessible along well-maintained footpaths. There are lovely Tea Rooms, and a Wendy House with plenty of toys for children to enjoy. Dogs are also welcome off the lead in the woodland (on the lead around the house) and visitors can also pick their own soft fruit when its in season.
A great example of a working port which wears a holiday hat. Nestling on the beautiful Camel estuary, the town, with its colourful harbour surrounded by pastel-washed medieval houses, is an attraction in itself.
Watching the everyday ebb and flow of harbour life is a perfect way to spend a day in Padstow. If you find this too hectic spend the afternoon relaxing at peaceful Harbour Cove with its lovely sandy beach and fabulous views of the Camel Estuary, or take a ferry trip across to Rock and visit the hushed church of St Enodoc where Sir John Betjeman is buried. For something a little different, visit the Lobster Hatchery and see for yourself how science is helping to conserve the fishing tradition in Cornwall and beyond. The main attraction has to be seeing the young lobsters growing up ready to be released.
More recently, Padstow has become a foodies paradise with resident celebrity chef, Rick Stein, leading a brace of high quality local restaurants offering everything from fish & chips to fruits de mer. Add to this an outstanding range of designer and boutique shops, Padstow really does have it all.
Hob-nob with celebrities of TV, film and even the odd royal (Princes William and Harry learnt to waterski here) at this well-heeled holiday haunt. Sail, windsurf, waterski or canoe in the sheltered surrounds of Daymer Bay, or take it easy with a spot of fishing or birdwatching.
The Camel Trail is a 17 mile traffic free route based on an historic railway track. The Padstow to Wadebridge line was opened in 1899 providing access from Waterloo via Okehampton and Launceston, but the section from Wadebridge to Poley’s Bridge is one of the oldest in the world and was opened in 1834. Initially, it was intended to bring sea sand from the estuary to farms inland. Bodmin through to Wadebridge was connected to the mainline system and operated until 1967, whilst the line between Bodmin and Poley’s Bridge, which was only used for freight, was closed in 1984.
The trail falls into three basic sections, each of which is approximately 6 miles long. The Trail is level and easy going – a gradient designed for steam trains. The surface generally comprises chippings and coarse sand giving a firm base, suitable for almost every level of user. Even during the most adverse weather large percentages of the trail will remain in good condition.
Padstow to Wadebridge – 5.5 Miles (8.8km)
Wadebridge to Boscarne (Bodmin) – 5.75 Miles (9.25km)
Boscarne to Wenfordbridge – 6.25 Miles (10.1km)
One of the most beautiful National Trust properties in Cornwall, Lanhydrock House and gardens are a must-see all year round. Superbly set in wooded parkland of 1,000 acres and encircled by a garden of rare shrubs and trees, Lanhydrock House has fifty rooms open to view, ranging from the richly-furnished main rooms to servants’ bedrooms, nursery and the great kitchen. Through the crenellated gatehouse dated c1641, an idyllic walk down to the River Fowey at Respryn Bridge and back through the woods, should not be missed.
Pick which of the 11 beaches you fancy. Pumping surf at Fistral or mellow family fun at Towan, Great Western or Tolcarne. Time it right and watch some of the world’s best surfers battle it out at the frequent competitions, including the week long Rip Curl Board Masters in August. Browse the large number of surf, clothes and gift shops. Hit the links at Fistral’s stunning par 69 golf course overlooking the beach below or warm up on the shorter nine-hole course at Treloy.
With a reputation as the ultimate party town, Newquay is also the place to be if you want a big night out. This is a destination where you can let your hair down at any time of the year, and where the DJ’s pump out all types of music until it’s almost time to get back in the surf.
Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Blue Reef lets you explore Cornwall’s hidden treasures in a series of naturally themed displays highlighting the incredible variety of creatures – from starfish to stingrays – living just beyond the surf. Visitors to Blue Reef are then transported to the spectacular ‘underwater gardens’ of the Mediterranean and the stunning beauty of tropical waters – home to everything from seahorses and puffer fish, to living corals and moray eels. At its heart is a giant tropical ocean tank where an underwater walk through tunnel offers incredible close encounters with tropical sharks and thousands of colourful reef fish.
Discover hundreds of animals from all around the world set amongst exotic lakeside gardens, ranging from the smallest monkey the Pygmy Marmoset to ‘Connie’ the African Lion. Enjoy talks and feeding times throughout the day. See the very popular otter family playing in the stream in the Oriental Garden, which is also home to some rare and endangered animals like Owston’s Civets from Vietnam and stunning Hornbills from Asia. Look out for meerkats on sentry duty, penguins playing in their pool, the beautiful colouring of the Red Pandas and glimpse the strange and endangered lemurs and fossa. There are animal encounters every day where you can meet some of keepers and the animals they care for, like Alvin the skunk, Oscar the Great horned Owl, and Martes the Coati.
Face painting and a ‘Wild Times’ creative club are also available on most days during the summer. There is plenty of seating and picnic areas plus the Cafe Lemur restaurant, Tippy’s Snack Bar and a tasty summer BBQ by the lake.