Cornwall is one of the most popular tourist attractions in England for both hikers, holidaymakers and surfers. It boasts excellent coastline with beautiful hilltop walks, beautiful sandy beaches and plenty of prime spots in which to surf. There is also a wide range of attractions to visit including Tintagel, Land's End and Dartmoor to name but a few. It is advisable that if you are planning to visit a lot of attractions to buy a National Trust membership for £35 a year which will get you into all attractions and car parks free. A reduced pass at £16 is available for overseas visitors., this will get you free entry into all the National Trust attractions and sites, aswell as free parking.
It is advisable to have a car if visiting Cornwall as public transport is notoriously bad. To get to Cornwall from London, join the M3 from the M25 and then onto the A303 to Exeter before joining the A30. Be warned on busy bank holiday weekends these routes can get very busy, the journey time should take about 6 hours, but allow more if the traffic is bad. From the Midlands, Wales and further take the M5 and then join the A30 either at Exeter or just north of Exeter. Trains also run into Newquay, Truro and Penzance, but expect to change and unless booking in advance this can be quite expensive. Coaches run from all over the country, but journey times can be anything between 9 and 15 hours depending on where you are coming from. If you fancy visiting the Scilly Islands, ferries are available from Penzance, as well as a helicopter connection for the more affluent.
Just recently they have also started doing flights to Newquay airport, a journey time of 40 mins from London, check the usual flight websites for more details.
Be aware if visiting a lot of Cornish attractions and beauty spots, the car parks often cost between £2-5 a time, so a National trust membership is recommended.
There are a lot of Bed and Breakfast's in Cornwall, but it is advisable where possible to book in advance especially in the summer as rooms get booked months in advance.
If you fancy camping, there are loads of campsites around the county, remember to book in advance, and if you are travelling as part of a large group, be aware some campsites have rules to protect the families using their campsites and may not be too happy with large groups of people arriving.
Youth Hostels in Cornwall (these I haven't visited but they come recommended)
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Things to do
Tintagel - The supposed birthplace of King Arthur and also the site of a ruined 2nd Century castle, you can walk out onto the coastal outcrop and enjoy spectacular views of the sea. Also check out Merlin's Cave if the tide allows. Tintagel village is also worth a wander around, it's quite touristy but there are a couple of nice pubs.
Land's End - The most south-westerly point in England offers views of the Isles of Scilly on a good day, also some cheesey tourist attractions to enjoy. They also do great Cornish Pasties here.
Lizard Point - The most Southerly point in England, has some nice walks along the coastal path
Goonhilly Earth Satellite Station - Claiming to be the biggest Satellite station in the world, perhaps not as impressive as Jodrell Bank, they control all of the UK's telecommunications, internet and TV transmissions. It has an informative visitor centre as well as a brief tour around the site. Get the A3083 from Helston then join the B3293.
Minack Open Air Theatre (near Land's End) - An impressive open air theatre set on the cliff's edge with breathtaking views, book ahead to see one of the many productions.
The Eden Project (Just off the A390 at St.Blazey Gate, just outside St.Austell) - Argueably Cornwall's finest attraction and possibly one of the world's most impressive bio-dome projects. The Eden Project has two Bio-domes that house plants and trees from a variety of different habitats from around the world, including rainforests, swamp land and more temperate climes. The entry is £12 for adults, but it is worth paying that as at least 40% goes back into environmental projects.
Carn Euny (near Sancreed) - An ancient settlement that comprises an Iron Age fogou and underground chamber beneath a village of roundhouses and courtyard houses.
Chysauster (near Zennor) - An ancient village that dates back to the Iron Age. It is thought to have continued in use during the Roman period. The settlement contains the ruins of nine large oval houses.
Lydmouth Gorge (Lydmouth, west of Dartmoor) - A very impressive gorge walk that includes the White Lady Waterfall and the Devil's Cauldron, where water is squeezed at speed through rock crevices into a pool below.
Mousehole (just beyond Newlyn, Penzance Bay) - A small quaint fishing village where you can while away an afteroon, there is a huge cave you can visit just beyond the village, although in order to access it you need a boat.
St.Michael's Mount (Marazion) - A beautiful castle, linked to the mainland by a granite causeway, reachable by ferry boat when the tide is high or on foot when the sea is at low tide. If you have visited Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, this version will seem a bit of a let down.
Surfing - There are a number of sites across Cornwall that do surfing, not being an expert its probably best to check out a good surfing site. Of the sites we visited Watergate Bay near Newquay offers surfing tuition.
Dartmoor - Just outside of Cornwall, but worth a drive through or even an overnight stay, see the famous small Dartmoor Ponies.
The South West Coast Path - If you're spending more than a week or a weekend in Cornwall then this offers some of the most spectacular scenery in Britain, remember to plan your route and book accomodation or campsites ahead.
Admiral Benbow - One of the oldest pubs in Penzance, it also has a fantastic restaurant in the shape of a ship's Galley.
Turk's Head (Chapel St) - Cosy Old Style pub serving up food
The Yacht - Popular pub with live music
The Boathouse - More modern pub with a small outside seating area, pool tables
Beach Hut - Surfers beach hut offering great views of the bay, be warned drink prices go up to over £3 a pint in the summer months and they are not open on Sundays or bank holidays. Also do food.
The Pheonix - Best bit for cheaper eating and drinking in the Bay with live music and a friendly atmosphere.
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