Jutting out of the southwest of England is the gorgeous county of Cornwall; surrounded by sea and sprawling sandy coastlines, it's a spectacular part of the UK that has so much to offer. Famous for its surf, Cornwall has a reputation for all things aquatic and if you’re looking for adventure there’s plenty of excitement to be had diving, surfing or sailing around the vibrant coastline. There is of course more than just extreme outdoor activities here as Cornwall is also famous for attracting a number of internationally acclaimed artists and as a result has a number of incredible galleries and art institutions to appreciate. There are also a wide range of accommodation choices including vacation rentals, which are great for social distancing and for those who are looking for some space and privacy!
As you can probably tell already there is a wealth of various activities and diverse nature to explore but in this article, we’re narrowing it down to just a weekend. You may of course want to stay a little longer and discover what else Cornwall has to offer but for now I’m going to start off with my ideal weekend itinerary.
This might seem like the obvious choice but there is a good reason for that – St Ives is a picturesque seaside town that continues to be a creative hub and home for artists thanks to the natural beauty that surrounds it but also the postcard-worthy appearance of the town itself. Once you’ve strolled through the cobbled streets, walked past fishermen’s cottages and soaked in the sea air along the harbour, you’ll start to appreciate why this has been the inspiration behind so much creative expression.
After exploring the town, a trip to the Tate Art Gallery is well worth a visit. As a part of the Tate Modern group, these four museums and art galleries hold a world-famous reputation for their incredible breadth of material. Taking over the previous site of a gasworks that overlooks the Atlantic ocean, The Tate in St Ives holds many local artists’ work as well as featuring international artists in rotating exhibits. There’s another museum that displays its work in a more intimate setting, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden houses a great deal of the artist’s work throughout her home, studio and garden. It’s a real treat to see this particular museum preserved so well and to see the work at the very site it was created.
Newquay is the place you want if you’re looking to experience surfing and classic British seaside; it is in fact a favourite spot for Brits who are looking to enjoy the sea and maybe even the weather! So be prepared to find the more popular beaches around Newquay: Fistral and Crantock for example, to be quite busy during the summer months. Obviously there is a good reason for its popularity as the beaches are absolutely stunning with great waves if you’re looking to surf. There’s also surf shops on the beach to rent anything you might need for the day, also there’s plenty of food and drink available.
While there are an abundance of coastal paths to tread along, going north along the top of the coastal cliffs is a fantastic walk that begins in a wonderful little seaside village. Portreath beach is a great spot to pass the afternoon regardless but if you’re looking for a coastal stoll, I highly recommend this elevated pathway that traverses cliff tops, an abandoned mine – all the while overlooking dramatic coastline and beaches. It’s also a great spot to end the walk as you can enjoy food and drink while watching the sun set beneath the sea.
Heading east away from St Ives and Newquay is the beautiful fishing port of Mevagissey. Featuring a double harbour which can be seen from the water on a boat tour, it’s a wonderful way to see this fishing village and learn a bit about it too. Aside from the water-based attractions, the village is also right by The Lost Gardens of Heligan which is one of the finest natural gardens in the UK. Sprawling across 200 acres, the gardens had remained in obscurity for more than 50 years, in part thanks to World War I when the workforce was conscripted. However, thanks to a massive hurricane and some good fortune, the lost gardens were discovered and have now been restored to their former glory – a real gem to behold.
Continuing northeast from The Lost Gardens and you’ll wind up in Charlestown which is the last stop on this list. This fishing village has experienced a boom in popularity of late thanks to it being one of the filming locations for the successful BBC series Poldark. It’s also quite often a resting spot for a number of old ships that are also sometimes used by film crews. So as you can already tell, it offers up quite a picturesque vision of a traditional fishing village and one that I certainly recommend.
Jess Cleave works for Oak Tree Parks who have over 50 years experience in running quality residential retirement parks and owner occupied holiday parks in the South West of England.