With summer almost upon us, you are probably thinking of your holiday destination for this year. Picking out a location that’s closer to home than usual might not be your first consideration but with the family budget getting ever tighter, why not look at a short break in the beautiful English county of Cornwall.
Cornwall has really grown in popularity over the last decade or so and is now an iconic holiday destination for guests from all over the world. Many first time visitors to this picturesque region find it so captivating that they develop a life-long love affair with the place.
Bordered by the county of Devon – its only neighbour – Cornwall is otherwise surrounded by the sea, with a coastline that covers almost 300 miles, with hundreds of beautiful sandy beaches and bays.
If you are tempted by the perfect surfing conditions you might want to bring your sense of adventure and try something more extreme too. Windsurfing, coasteering, rock climbing and even micro-boat Zapcat racing are all available for the trying. If you prefer your water sports a little bit more sedate, the crystal clear sea waters are perfect for swimming, or you can take a boat trip around the bays and coves.
As well as the dramatic coastline, Cornwall has a breathtaking landscape. Bodmin Moor with its rugged wilderness and fascinating prehistoric remains is a great place to explore and walk. To the west of the county, Cornwall’s Celtic legacy is evident in the standing stones, magnificent granite caves and holy wells, with the gorgeous turquoise waters of the sea as their backdrop.
The whole of the county is dotted with places of great historical interest that are testament to the world famous Cornish mining industry of the 18th and 19th centuries, which made a significant contribution to the Industrial Revolution. Ten areas, from St Just on the Cornish coast to Tavistock in West Devon were collectively awarded World Heritage Site status in 2006 and offer miles of recreational trails and enthralling places to visit.
Cornwall’s natural environment is something extraordinarily special, with twelve Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The spectacular South West coastal footpath criss crosses the landscape with miles of gentle strolls or challenging treks. The mild climate provides fantastic botanical growing conditions and the result is a selection of magnificent gardens offering everything from wild woodland to manicured flower beds. The Lost Gardens of Heligan at St Austell is a mysterious 200 acre, lovingly restored garden estate. A sub tropical jungle, banana plantation and giant bamboo tunnels sit alongside elegant Italian and romantic Victorian gardens. Wildlife is encouraged into the managed woodland and pastures. Fresh produce from the estate’s gardens is used in the tea rooms’ lunches and the on-site bakery makes fresh bread every day as well as scones for the delicious traditional Cornish cream teas.
No visit to Cornwall would be complete without a trip to the beautiful, inspiring and relaxing Eden Project, where you can learn about the human relationship with plants. Using over a million specimens from around the world, the exhibits show how plants give us our water, air, food, fuel, materials and medicines.
Celebrity chefs Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver both own restaurants and pubs in Cornwall and with their presence have encouraged local food business to raise their quality and standards, using local ingredients. All tastes are catered for, from seafront fish and chips to fine dining. If you have the budget and want an extra special meal, you could visit one of Stein’s four restaurants in the fishing village of Padstow or his pub, The Cornish Arms at St Merryn.
If you fancy a tipple, take a tour around the Camel Valley Vineyard at Bodmin, tasting the award winning wines, or Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm at Truro, where traditional West Country cider is produced.
Finding somewhere to stay in Cornwall couldn’t be easier and you will be spoiled for choice. For the ultimate luxury, you can book yourself into a spa hotel or boutique accommodation. If your finances won’t quite stretch to that, there is a wide range of bed and breakfast guest houses, or you can get close to nature at one of the hundreds of camp-sites across the county, ranging from quiet idyllic surroundings to holiday parks with full facilities. If you like the idea of camping, but can`t give up all of your home comforts, there is always the contemporary trend of “glamping.” Stay in a luxury caravan, a log cabin or Hoseasons lodge and enjoy the freedom of camping with all the convenient facilities of home.