A guide to the lesser-known Cornwall

by Tom Bevan

With another two bank holidays on the horizon and budgets tightening, the concept of the ‘staycation’ has never seemed so appealing. And top of many destination wishlists this summer is Cornwall.

But while tourism hotspots like St Ives can become bottlenecked during school holidays, there are still many gems that will not become suffocating for visitors planning a trip. Here are some of our favourites.

Beaches

We all know Cornwall has amazing beaches which is why thousands visit every year. But some – like St Ives, Newquay, Perranporth, Polzeath and even The Lizard – have become so popular that they can at times feel a little overcrowded. The good news is that you don’t have to look too far to find some blissful isolation and be transported away to your own tropical paradise.

One of the best is Porthgwarra, a secluded spot a few miles from Land’s End offering fantastic coastal walks and clear turquoise seas. It’s still not as widely known away from local circles as some others, despite featuring as the backdrop for a key moment of television history: when Ross Poldark took his top off for the first time. Swoon.

For a more expansive beach but still avoiding the crowds, Gwithian Towans appeals. With three and a half miles of soft sands, there is ample room to relax and enjoy a full range of beach activities and walks with all the family.

Hiking

Hiking and coastal walking is a must-do in Cornwall with stunning scenery around every turn. But one lesser-known route we would wholeheartedly recommend for visitors is from Land’s End to Sennen Cove.

The stroll features a multitude of cliff faces, coves, abundant wildlife and even a shipwreck. Finish at Sennen Cove with a cream tea and, if you don’t fancy the walk back, there’s a local bus that will return you to your starting point.

Restaurants 

Cornwall is a foodie heaven and you can’t not visit without enjoying a traditional pasty or cream tea. 

For the best secret dining experience head to Mount Haven, near Penzance, and enjoy one of the most stunning views of the famous St Michael’s Mount from its roof terrace. The menu features modern British cuisine with produce largely harvested from the local area and every dish is a delight to the senses. It’s just undergone a refurbishment and looks very 2019, giving you another reason to visit.

Activities

Visit Mylor Harbour and hire a boat for an unforgettable trip down the River Fal. Among the journey take in the beautiful natural serenity alongside quaint and delightful Cornish towns. We recommend mooring up at the Pandora Inn for a nice spot of lunch before heading back out onto the water.

Attractions

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, situated on the scenic Helford Estuary and run by the Sea Life Trust, is a must visit. The venue provides a lifeline for sick and injured seal pups and visitors can hear about dramatic rescues, meet the seal and sea lion characters, say hello to penguins and otters and even adopt one of the residents. It’s a great day out for all the family.

Bars

Thoughts might instantly turn to Newquay and its unsavoury reputation as the UK’s Magaluf. In reality that’s an outdated association, but the town may still be too raucous for some.

Instead, for a great night out head to the university city of Falmouth. Located halfway along the cobbled Church Street is Dolly’s Tea Room and Wine Bar. With more gins than a distillery, there is something for every palate – and drinks come as two measure cocktails served in a glass for one, or sharers served in a teapot.

To the west of Church Street is Events Square, where mini festivals are held in Summer, and to the east is The Moor which hosts The Moth and The Moon – with atmospheric décor reminiscent of 1950s London and award-winning cocktails.

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