6 Unusual Things to Do in Cornwall
September 16th, 2019
Cornwall is a fantastic part of the country, with so many picturesque villages, exciting attractions and breath-taking beaches. There are many things in Cornwall that are relatively mainstream and attract many tourists, and while these are awesome, we would also recommend visiting some of these usual activities to really make the most of your holiday!
Lost Gardens of Heligan
A truly encaptivating experience, the Lost Gardens of Heligan is not your usual attraction. With the garden being 400 years old, there are numerous fascinating features to explore, perhaps the most famous being the giant’s head in the ground made from greenery. With over 200 acres to discover, this place is full of extraordinary sculptures, fascinating wildlife and spectacular gardens. Another mesmerising place to explore at the Lost Gardens of Heligan is the jungle. Here you will find bamboo tunnels to walk through and towering banana trees above you.
After you have taken a trip around the gardens, visit the Heligan Kitchen & Bakery and enjoy a cup of coffee with some tasty local produce! Why not take the chance to try the local delicacy and have a Cornish cream tea?
Initially built in the 11th-century, Restormel is an extraordinary medieval castle. These fascinating ruins were once a luxury residence for the Earl of Cornwall, and it was one of the four chief Norman castles of Cornwall. Something that makes Restormel unique from other historic castles is its formation and design. The chambers are all arranged against the outer circular walls; this includes the kitchens, great hall and guest rooms. Since 1925, Restormel has been cared for by the English Heritage, while being officially owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. Throughout the whole of the United Kingdom, this castle is the best remaining example of a circular castle, making it quite the sight to see! Not only is the castle an interesting attraction in itself, but the location is also perfect for a picnic or a country walk. The castle boasts an incredible 360-degree view of lush countryside, and it is surrounded by woodlands that are a haven for birds and wildlife.
Now, this isn’t one for the faint-hearted. Adrenalin Quarry in Liskeard is an action-packed adventure park; somewhere to get your palms sweating and heart racing! From karting and axe throwing to coasteering and an aquapark, this place has an abundance of fun activities for both adults and children to enjoy. The aquapark is brand new to Adrenalin Quarry, with slides, trampolines, monkey bars and other massive inflatables.
There are two top attractions at Adrenalin Quarry, the Giant Swing and the Blob. The Giant Swing is considered the scariest ride they have ever built, and it is not for those who are easily afraid. You are pulled up 160ft above the lake, and then you are released, experiencing complete weightlessness as the swing drops you and leaves you to glide over the water. The Blob, on the other hand, is slightly more fun rather than scary. It is a humongous inflatable tube that floats on the water. The attraction works by one person sitting on one end, and then someone else climbs the ladder at the other end and leaps off to jump onto the inflatable. This results in the person sitting down to catapult into the air before splashing into the water. An excellent opportunity to see a family member or friend fly through the sky!
The Eden Project
Considered the world’s largest greenhouse, the Eden Project is a fascinating attraction. The Eden Project isn’t exactly unknown in Cornwall and is, in fact, a rather popular attraction, but that doesn’t take away from that fact that it isn’t your ordinary day out. Consisting of multiple gigantic biomes, the aim of the Eden Project is to promote environmental sustainability. They spent a whopping £141 million to collect tropical plants from all over the world to showcase them in these natural habitats. Among these beautiful climates are an array of other activities, such as England’s longest zip wire, a soft play area for the little ones, a great outdoor play centre and a delicious café.
Bodmin Jail is undoubtedly a captivating place to discover and understand exactly what life was like for a prisoner many years ago. The jail was built in 1779, and while holding many criminals, it was also the safe haven for the state papers and the Domesday book during the First World War. Nowadays, the jail is a historical attraction and no longer functions as a working prison. Bodmin Jail visitors can explore the cold and dark cells and imagine what the life of a captured criminal was like. The execution shed is open to visitors too, which features the Victorian hanging pit; a 4.5-metre drop and it is the only one of its kind in the UK. Furthermore, there is an exhibition which features a tour across six floors of the jail.
Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
If you’ve got an interest in anything dark and spooky or anthropology, this is the place for you! The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is situated in the picturesque town of Boscastle, and it is a place for you to explore the magical practice in Britain. As you walk around this museum, you’ll soon realise the fascinating nature of witchcraft and magic. It has been around since 1961 and is one of the world’s largest collections of items relating to witchcraft and magic, with over 3,000 objects to discover!
Should you choose to visit Cornwall, we highly recommend you take a trip to some of these fantastic attractions. If you would like to book a holiday to the South, why not add a touch of luxury to your trip and stay in a hot tub cottage in Cornwall? No matter the weather, a hot tub is an excellent addition to any holiday; adding that extra element of relaxation and escape! Here at The Valley, we offer self-catering holiday cottages that are both child-friendly and dog-friendly, so that the whole family can enjoy a getaway to Cornwall. Are you looking for some more holiday inspiration? Take a look at our previous blog that looks at the best places for a family day out in Cornwall!
How to Spend a Day in Falmouth
July 29th, 2019
Falmouth is a beautiful Cornish seaside town, and because of its glorious scenery it’s a popular tourist spot. With so many people visiting Falmouth, it accommodates by having an abundance of attractions! From museums and castles to beaches and boat trips, there is plenty to see and do in this stunning part of the country! We take a look at how best to spend a day in Falmouth so you can take full advantage of your time in Cornwall.
Explore Pendennis Castle
Start your day by learning about some of Falmouth’s heritage at Pendennis Castle. With spectacular views of the sea, this castle was formerly one of Henry the Eighth’s most beautiful coastal fortresses! Additionally, the incredible castle has defended Cornwall since the Tudor times and played a vital role in both of the World War’s, so it is bursting with a fascinating history!
Today, you can visit Pendennis Castle and experience what it was like during battle! You can meet characters dressed up in costume from the past, and in the summer months, you can watch a daily firing of a historic gun! There is also a mesmerising exhibit that showcases what the castle was like during World War One; discover heart-wrenching letters, photographs and artefacts from the tragic time. Furthermore, on selected dates, the castle hosts Legendary Joust events; take a trip to the past and be a spectator of a thrilling battle!
After you have immersed yourself in the history of the remarkable castle, take a trip to the café and have a traditional Cornish bite to eat. If you prefer some alfresco dining, bring along your own picnic and set up on the lawn area; take in the exquisite views as you tuck into some delicious goodies!
Take a Boat Trip with AK Wildlife Cruises
What better way to spend your time in the seaside town of Falmouth than on a boat discovering some of the fascinating creatures living in the waters! On your journey, you will have the opportunity to see whales, dolphins, basking sharks, seals and many other species! AK Wildlife Cruises have introduced a new boat tour called “Family Bay Exploration” which is a three-hour experience to explore the spectacular coastline. There are also four-hour and seven-hour cruises if you would prefer to spend some more time out at sea.
To prepare for your wildlife discovery, take some binoculars to see as much as you can and also bring along some snack for if you get peckish! The boat is called “Free Spirit” and has both indoor and outdoor seating to accommodate all guests, and there is also a toilet on board. The boat captain and wildlife specialist, Keith, is incredibly passionate about what he does which resonates through the tours – he will help you spot all of the remarkable creatures! He will teach you all about them; any questions you may have, ask him, and he will be happy to answer!
Unwind at The Beach
In the late afternoon, take a trip to the beach to enjoy the spectacular scenery and relax on the golden sand. Considered the best in the area, Gyllyngvase Beach is the perfect spot to spend your evening! With toilet and shower facilities as well as hot and cold food on offer, this beach is brilliant for a family trip. If you are fancying a dip in the sea, the beach is manned by a lifeguard and the ocean is safe to swim in!
Once you have had a splash around in the beautiful blue waters, built some impressive sandcastles and soaked up some afternoon sunshine, you would’ve worked up an appetite. Why not taste the delights of local food and have some fish and chips by the beach? The Firepit Gylly Grill has an extensive menu from burgers and steak to pasta and obviously the glorious fish and chips!
If you would like to visit the lovely coastal town, consider a luxury Falmouth holiday and treat yourself and your family to a getaway at The Valley! With a unique collection of beautiful self-catering holiday cottages situated in a picturesque landscape, it is the perfect spot for your trip to the seaside! Want to learn more about Cornwall and what there is to do? Take a look at our previous blog that lists some great places for a family day out in Cornwall!
Guide to Cornish Castles
January 25th, 2019
Cornwall is an area rich with heritage, culture and history, and this is reflected in the number of important ancient buildings that still stand in the county, such as castles. Making an ideal day-out that can often be enjoyed in any weather, here are some of the best castles for you to pay a visit to when you’re exploring Cornwall.
A rare circular-shaped castle from the 11th-century, Restormel Castle is the best example of such a castle in the UK that remains. Now ruins, the castle was once home to the Earl of Cornwall and was one of the main Cornish castles during the Norman times. The shell of the castle still stands, with several inside walls remaining intact, giving you a good idea of the rooms that were once lived in here. With incredible panoramic country views, the castle grounds are an excellent spot for a picnic, and in the summer months act as a backdrop to outdoor theatre performances. Wildlife lovers will particularly enjoy this castle, as plenty of interesting birds can be spotted near the castle, and the spring sees an array of blooms bursting into life, including rhododendrons, bluebells and daffodils.
A castle of myth and legend, the fantastic ruins of Tintagel Castle stand high on the rugged coastline of north Cornwall. With dramatic views over land and sea, it’s not hard to see why this castle has long been associated with myth and magic, with the legendary King Arthur said to have been born here. The remains of the castle still standing originate from the 13th century, although prior to the Norman castle an earlier construction existed, with artefacts discovered there dating back to the 5th century!
An impressive castle built by Henry VIII high up on the Fal Estuary, Pendennis has long acted as a coastal artillery fortress, defending Cornwall from the threat of invasion. Originally a simple round keep, the castle has been developed over the years to include more fortifications, storehouses and barracks, as well as having new weaponry added to further defend the area. Now run by the English Heritage, Pendennis regularly has some exciting family activities on offer, particularly during school holidays, making it one of the best castles in Cornwall for kids to enjoy.
St Mawes Castle
Another of Henry VIII’s artillery fortresses sits on the opposite side of the Fal River to Pendennis Castle, and from each, you have incredible views of the other. St Mawes Castle remains the best-preserved out of these 16th-century forts and is rather ornate in its décor in comparison to Pendennis, which was more for defence purposes. You can still see some of the intricate details, such as carved Latin inscriptions about Henry VIII. Much of this remains intact due to the fact that there was little development or additions made to castle since it was built.
Sitting atop a large mound, Launceston Castle offers some truly impressive views across the surrounding landscape. A fairly unusual build, the tower on the mound originates from the 13th century when Richard the Earl of Cornwall constructed it. The tower sits inside a circular shell keep that predates the towering structure! To get the best views, brave the dark and steep internal staircase to experience life on the battlements at the top of the tower. Visitors to Launceston Castle can also enjoy the exhibition that details the past thousand years of its history, complete with displays of historical finds from site excavations.
St Catherine’s Castle
An artillery fort from the 1530s, St Catherine’s Castle stands strong on the rocky headland around the Fowey estuary. St Catherine’s was built by Henry VIII to defend Fowey Harbour, similar to the artillery forts at Pendennis and St Mawes. The castle was later used during the Crimean War, when a two-gun battery was added, and saw further modification during the Second World War when it was used as an ammunition store and an anti-aircraft gun was added.
St Michael’s Mount
Atop the famous mount is a medieval castle complete with turrets, gardens and elaborate rooms. Different to many of the other castles in Cornwall, St Michaels Mount remains intact, and a family actually lives there. Having worked in partnership with the National Trust since 1954, some rooms of the castle are open to the public and show off some incredible furniture, artwork and design. Visit the island for a tour of the castle, as well as to explore the gorgeous gardens, harbour and village that share the island with the impressive castle.
If you want to experience Cornish heritage and explore these impressive historical locations, then our luxury Cornish cottages are the perfect base for you to rest and recharge before another busy day of discovery!
Historic castles in Cornwall to visit when staying at our 5 star cottages
March 10th, 2016
Cornwall has a rich history in Britain, going back 3000 years, and has been recognised by UNESCO for some of its heritage sites across the county. There is also a great traditional culture too, which is great to explore and discover when staying at our 5 star cottages in Cornwall.
Check out any of these stunning castles during your stay:
Tintagel Castle – A day out for all the family, take a trip to Tintagel Castle set on the rugged coast of North Cornwall. Said to be the birthplace of King Arthur, you can also visit Merlin’s cave nearby and enjoy the dramatic views of this clifftop castle.
St Mawes Castle – One of the best preserved castles of Henry VIII time, St Mawes was part of a chain of forts along the south coast built between 1539 and 1545. This castle is worth visiting to also see its elaborate decoration.
Launceston Castle – This is an unusual keep located close to Bodmin Moor, dates back to the 13th century. Set on a large natural mound, the round tower was built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall and the top can be reached via a dark internal staircase.
St Michael’s Mount – An iconic site in Cornwall, you can explore this amazing island and discover the history, myths and legends that surround this stunning place. You can stroll over the granite causeway where a legend says a giant once walked.
Pendennis Castle – For a great family day out, take a trip to Pendennis in Falmouth. Built by Henry VIII, it was also one of the last royalist strongholds to fall in the English Civil War. There is an exciting exhibition where you can experience the sights and sounds of a battle.
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Photo by: Tim Green