Cornwall is the UK’s top county for holidays – and that’s official! In 2016 the fabulous county won the British Travel Award for the Best UK Holiday County / Destination for an amazing 8th year in a row. As well as the Best Holiday County award, the Cornish town of Bude won the award for Best UK Coastal Resort. Adding to Cornwall’s trophy pile, The Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project took the top two spots in Best UK Leisure Attraction category. When you add all this to the 8 Blue Flag Beaches in the county, it’s easy to see why Cornwall is a UK favourite.
What is it about Cornwall that has been drawing visitors for generations? Locals and visitors alike value the incredible number of high quality attractions and things to do which are all packed into this small county. Cornwall is just 80 miles long from Saltash to Land’s End, and that’s Cornish miles, along the winding and undulating A38/A30! Visitors staying around St Austell are less than 40 miles from almost anywhere and the scenic drives are part of the pleasure of any days out in Cornwall. The pint-sized capital is Truro with its cathedral, quay and narrow cobbled streets which make it a great place to visit.
Being one of the least densely populated counties in England, it is easy to find a sandy beach to sunbathe, a table in one of the historic pubs to enjoy a crab sandwich for lunch or a pretty seat to enjoy the view. Keen walkers can explore the South West Coastal Path and other walks at their own pace, meeting fellow-walkers along the way.
From Bodmin Moor to woodland dells, there are a host of outdoor activities and things to do in all seasons. Camping, cycling, geocaching, canoeing, kayaking, surfing, sailing, rock climbing, abseiling, fishing, shopping, antique-hunting and scenic railway trips can all be found in Cornwall. Visit churches, markets, fish smokehouses, pubs and inns, fish and chip shops, tearooms, breweries, farms, ancient sites and modern museums – Cornwall has places to visit a-plenty including several off-shore islands.
Cornwall’s history is long and rich and is celebrated with local festivals. Occupied from the Iron Age by the Celts, Cornwall has its own national flag, language, culture and food and drink. Tin mining, fishing, china clay and slate brought pockets of prosperity to Cornwall, leaving a legacy of estates and gardens, now largely managed by the National Trust. The Sleeping Beauty story of Heligan, abandoned from the First World War until being awakened in the 1980s, is one of hundreds of amazing gardens to visit with exotic plants brought back by pioneers during the golden age of discovery.
The climate is another big plus. If anywhere is going to have sunshine and warm temperatures, it is Cornwall. Another locally known tip is that if it is cloudy and showery on the south coast, head to the north coast and it will probably be fine and clear, and vice versa.
Many visitors cite the quaint harbours and pretty villages as being a major attraction of Cornwall. Hidden gems such as the round houses at Veryon; the tumbling cottages in Polperro, the cobbled street at Clovelly and the flower bedecked slate cottages at Tintagel are just some idyllic images that spring readily to mind. Mercifully these small communities remain untouched by time and unspoilt by progress.
For families, Cornwall’s blue flag beaches offer hours of cheap fun for children of all ages. Toddlers can dig in the sand, youngsters dam the trickling beach streams and teenagers ask only for a surfboard or a rubber dinghy and they will disappear for hours. At the end of a stay in Cornwall visitors return home fit, refreshed and sunbronzed, having enjoyed the many simple pleasures that Cornwall offers.
If all this has whetted your appetite to learn more about Cornwall, then enjoy delving into our more in-depth articles about this award-winning county.