The South West of England has some of Britain’s most spectacular moorland, dramatic coastline and beautiful beaches. With a history that stretches back to Celtic times that can be seen in its castles, historic houses and churches. The area is known for its glorious gardens which thrive in the mild climate of the southwest peninsula.
Here is just a selection of places to include on a group tour of Cornwall.
Lanhydrock House and Gardens – is an impressive 17th C mansion filled with Jacobean art and Victorian furnishings. The mansion which is set in the Fowey Valley is one of England’s grandest country houses with beautiful gardens, woodland walks and over 50 rooms that can be visited, it is a wonderful day out which gives a glimpse of what life would have been like both upstairs and downstairs in one of England’s stately homes.
The Eden Project – built on one of Cornwall’s old china claypits and consists of two giant biomes that are filled with plants from around the world in diverse climates and environments. It is one of Cornwall’s most popular tourist attractions, but it also has a serious agenda working on conservation projects and ecosystems. During the summer months it hosts outdoor music concerts with internationally famous groups, bands and musicians.
Porthcurno and the Minack Theatre – on the southern coast of Cornwall is spectacular place to visit. Porthcurno Beach has some of the finest sand on the Penwith peninsula and is sheltered by cliffs on either side. Fans of the Poldark stories will recognise it as ‘Nampara Cove’ the romantic location where Ross Poldark and Demelza walk in the sunshine. Pothcurno is also home to the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, it was here in 1871 that an undersea cable was laid to North America, Porthcurno became the centre of global communications and was the busiest and largest telegraph station in the world.
The Minack Theatre which is carved out of rocks above Porthcurno is a unique site. Cornwall’s famous theatre open-air theatre is a magical place and was created by Rowena Wade in the 1930s. On a tour of Cornwall take time to watch one of the musicals, operas or dramas held here during the summer months.
St Ives – a quirky seaside town like nowhere else in Britain, with little lanes, bearing names such as Salubrious Place and Teetotal Street that back onto a bustling harbour, four sandy beaches, quaint fishermen’s cottages and a thriving arts scene. Overlooking Porthmeor Beach is Tate St Ives, the region’s premier art gallery, the town has plenty of art galleries and shops selling paintings and crafts by local artists, all drawn to the town by its sense of creativity, beautiful natural light and picturesque views.
Penzance and St Michael’s Mount is in the far west of Cornwall. The port of Penzance has excellent art galleries, including the Penlee House Gallery and Museum which is home to a vast collection of work from the Newlyn School of Art – artists were drawn to the area in the late 19th C by the intense light and dramatic seascapes. The busy fishing port of Newlyn has a thriving early morning fish market where all the local boats unload their catches.
St Michael’s Mount – an island situated in Mounts Bay with an iconic fortified house which was originally built as a priory. It has been owned by the Aubyn family since about 1650. The island castle and gardens are open to the public and can be accessed at high tide by boat or at low tide by a cobbled causeway. A visit to St Michael’s Mount would be a memorable experience on a tour of Cornwall.
Padstow – situated on Cornwall’s north coast is a fishing port famous for its gourmet restaurants, serving the best Cornish fish and local produce. Situated on the Camel Estuary it is a very attractive town and extremely popular with holidaymakers. There are wonderful beaches nearby, historic houses and a walking and cycling trail.
Tresco Abbey Gardens – 28 miles off the mainland of Cornwall on the beautiful Island of Tresco, one of the Isles of Scilly. Tresco can be reached by a ferry from Penzance or by a small plane or helicopter from various locations on the mainland. The gardens are a sub-tropical paradise and a botanical wonderland. The sheltered conditions on Tresco have created the perfect location for over 20,000 plants from 80 different countries. A visit to the Isles of Scilly and the Abbey Gardens are a must for any group interested in unique gardens.