Location Guide: Charlestown
August 21st, 2023
Imagine an unspoilt seaside village with an undisturbed Georgian harbour full of tall, historic ships, pretty cobbled pathways, endless views and cosy sea-front cottages that overlook turquoise Cornish water that touches a calm, tranquil beach. It sounds like a coastal dream, doesn’t it?
Well, this place does exist. Welcome to Charlestown! Charlestown is one of Cornwall’s gems known for being the set of many major Hollywood productions and full of welcoming and homey eateries.
Where is Charlestown?
Charlestown is an idyllic, picturesque village on Cornwall’s south coast. Only a 40-minute drive from our luxury cornish cottages, this peaceful village hosts a small shingle beach on either side of its Grade 2 listed harbour that overlooks St Austell Bay. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the perfect place for couples and families to relax and take in the beauty Cornwall has to offer.
Image credit: Steve Cook under CC BY-NC 2.0
How Far is Charlestown From St Austell?
Charlestown is approximately 2 miles from St Austell’s town centre, so quite close! If you’re keen to stretch those legs and walk from St Austell to Charlestown at a relaxed pace, it’ll take roughly 25-30 minutes. Or, if you’d prefer to jump in the car, it’s only a 5-10 minute drive (depending on traffic).
Just a heads up, don’t be surprised if you struggle to find parking during the summertime (as this is a small village). You will most likely need to pay for parking, too, so our advice would be to arrive as early as possible during the summer holidays to make the most out of your day!
What to do in Charlestown, Cornwall?
If you want to visit a film or TV set, simply walk around Charlestown Harbour! Initially known for being a thriving fishing port of West Polmear exporting china clay, Charlestown is now famous for being the set of many major Hollywood productions such as Pirates of The Caribbean, Alice in Wonderland, The Three Musketeers, Treasure Island, Doctor Who, and was recently the primary set of major BBC’s hit TV series, Poldark. In our previous blog, we go into more detail about movies and shows filmed in Charlestown. You may be able to recognise some parts of the village that have been on the big screen!
Charlestown is also home to Europe’s biggest shipwreck museum, the ‘Shipwreck Treasure Museum’, where you can see thousands of shipwreck artefacts recovered from over 150 wrecks.
Looking for a bite to eat? Charlestown has a range of traditional pubs, restaurants and tasty cafes, and you won’t be disappointed with the food or drinks. Indulge as much as you’d like (guilt-free) on the Cornish quayside!
How does a breathtaking coastal walk sound? Enjoy the beautiful views on offer by walking the circular route from the port of Charlestown to the sheltered cove of Porthpean. Charlestown is also on the South-West coastal path, so stop off here and look around if you’re passing through. It’ll be worth it.
Image credit: Mr Eugene Birchall under CC BY-SA 2.0
If you’re in the Charlestown area, another must-see attraction you should visit is The Eden Project. Hosting the world’s largest indoor rainforest biome and a huge Mediterranean biome, immersing yourself in this architectural and biological engineering paradise will feel other-worldly.
Are Dogs Allowed on Charlestown Beach?
If you’re travelling with a furry friend, you won’t be able to take your beloved dog onto Charlestown Beach. Charlestown’s shingle beach is relatively small, so it’s understandable that there is an all-year-round dog ban, making it perfect for those looking for a dog-free beach to relax. However, you can bring your pet along the harbour and enjoy the rest of this stunning village, so don’t let that put you off from visiting! Our previous blog recommends the best dog-friendly beaches when making a trip to Cornwall.
Image credit: N Chadwick under CC BY-SA 2.0
Is Charleston Harbour Open?
Exploring Charlestown Harbour is free of charge, and the inner harbour is open from April to October to the public all year round. The harbour may only be closed to the public if there’s exceptionally stormy weather. If so, check out our blog on rainy days in Cornwall. There’s still a lot of fun to be had.
If you’re looking for a place to relax and explore while enjoying good food and refreshments by the untouched blue Cornish coast, then adding Charlestown to your adventure is the perfect choice.
Feature image credit: Chris Hodrien under CC BY-SA 2.0
5 Fascinating Facts About the Lizard Peninsula
October 19th, 2020
The Lizard Peninsula is the most southern part of the UK, standing out for its unique geology and rock formations. Its rugged, rocky coastline is believed to contain rock which dates to over 500 million years old!
What is the Lizard Peninsula?
Almost an island of its own, the Lizard Peninsula is an impressive rocky headland surrounded by ocean on three of its sides with the Helford River to the North.
Situated on the South West Coast Path, it is a popular spot for walkers who come to marvel at its beauty as they enjoy a spot of adventure during their Cornwall short breaks.
It’s beautiful landscape not only attracts the attention of visitors, but the unique area is a hot spot for scientists as well! We explore its incredible history and offerings with our top selection of fascinating facts!
The Origins of Its Name is Not What You Assume
Despite its mysterious title, the name ‘Lizard’ unfortunately doesn’t derive from mystical origins.
Neither does the name come from the Serpentine rock which the area is renowned for. The surface of Serpentine transforms into a snake and scaly like surface once polished.
The roots of its name are relatively ambivalent, but one proposal is that it comes from the Cornish term ‘Lys Ardh’ which means ‘high court’.
Another suggestion is that the name has connections to the Cornish word ‘lezou’ which is translated to ‘headland’.
Image Credit: Visit Cornwall
Home to the UK’s Most Southerly Lighthouse
As the most southerly point in the UK, it comes as little surprise that it also boasts the UK’s most southerly lighthouse.
Previous to the lighthouse’s construction in 1752, the coast of the Lizard was a dangerous area for ships and was titled the ‘Graveyard of Ships’. The spot is now home to the Lizard Lifeboat Station.
Mainland Britain’s Largest Outcrop of Serpentine
As mentioned, the Lizard Peninsula has been a point of interest for scientists and geologists.
It isn’t uncommon to see many university students visit the area as the rocks here are not found in nearby locations.
One distinct rock is Serpentine. The Lizard Peninsula is mainland Britain’s most significant outcrop of the rock. It’s striking appearance was reportedly favoured by Queen Victoria which heightened the industry in the 19th-century.
Best Preserved Exposed Ophiolite in the UK
Another area of geological interest at the Lizard Peninsula is the ophiolite.
The Lizard Peninsula is heralded as UK’s top spot to see the best-preserved source of exposed ophiolite.
An ophiolite is a unique form of rock formation which is produced from the Earth’s oceanic crust pushed onto the continental crust. It is often green in colour.
The parts of ophiolite include:
• The serpentinites
• The ‘oceanic complex’
• The metamorphic basement
An ophiolite can be found in the mountain belts of locations such as the Himalayas and the Alps, and amazingly you can also see it in Cornwall!
Image Credit: Visit Cornwall
It’s an Area of Outstanding Beauty
The Lizard Peninsula has received many awards for its stunning landscape and is a heavily protected area. It is largely recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), as well as providing eight Sites of Special Scientific Interest. These awards and sites are specifically bestowed to protect the geology and wildlife of the area.
The Lizard Peninsula is cared for and under the ownership of a variety of organisations including the National Trust, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Natural England.
Off land, the surrounding ocean at the Manacles has been awarded as a Marine Conservation Zone which is rich in marine biodiversity.
The Lizard Peninsula is a stunning, natural and protected area, providing the ultimate location for wildlife to blossom. What are your favourite facts about the Lizard Peninsula? Which has not been covered in our blog? Why not share your thoughts on our social media channels; we would love to know!
The Ultimate Cornwall Bucket List
June 15th, 2020
Cornwall is one of the most exciting places to visit in the UK. The tip of the south-west peninsula, the region is famous for its breathtaking natural lands, stunning coastlines and historic towns.
The south-west county is full of charming secrets and lesser-travelled locations, making each visit as exciting and enjoyable as the first. However, if you haven’t been before, then there’s definitely some stuff you’ll want to make sure you see!
If you’re planning to visit the region for the first time, or simply want inspiration ahead of your next holiday, check out our ultimate Cornwall bucket list! With a mix of popular must-see landmarks, local activities and hidden gems for more regular travellers, our list has something for everyone.
If you’ve never been to Cornwall before, you will probably know it for two reasons. Firstly, because of its popular surfing beaches, and secondly for the Eden Project! The region’s most famous humanmade landmark, it is an eye-catching sight in the middle of the Cornish countryside, but its eco-friendly ethos is in-line with the area as a whole.
A visit to the Eden Project is one full of wonder and discovery, plus some education, especially for young minds. The park’s giant biomes are full of natural wonders from across the world, including one of the world’s largest indoor rainforests. Even if you think it’s not for you, the sheer scale and vibrancy of this location make it a must-visit.
Explore Cornwall’s Lost Gardens
While the Eden Project gets many of the region’s headlines, it’s not the only garden in Cornwall worth visiting. Less than 30 minutes south of the Eden Project sits the aptly named Lost Gardens of Heligan.
Like its more renowned counterpart, the Lost Gardens of Heligan is a botanical garden hosting tropical plants rarely seen in the UK. Unlike the Eden Project, however, the Lost Garden’s has a more historical style, with many of its garden’s decorated in a 19th or 20th-century style. If you enjoyed the Eden Project, you’ll want to discover this location!
Learn to Surf
Surfing is the region’s most famous pastime! Cornwall’s stunning coastlines and exposure to Atlantic climates and waves have made the area the number one location in the UK for surfing.
Due to the Cornish coast’s ragged layout, Cornwall is full of quiet surfers coves with awesome waves and stunning views. However, if you want to try surfing for the first time, the best option is to head to one of the region’s most popular locations.
St. Ives is one of Cornwall’s largest towns, and its stretching bay is perfect for learning to surf! Another popular location is Newquay, which claims to be one of the top surfing locations in the UK! Both of these popular tourist destinations are full of surf schools that can cater to beginners.
If you’re visiting Cornwall and want to get a feel for why we love our coast so much, picking up a board and giving it a go is the best way to understand!
Live History in Polperro & Looe
While it’s often overshadowed in the national conversation, Cornwall has as big a claim to history as many regions in the country! Many years ago, Cornwall was a vital connection to the rest of the world, its location making it the perfect place for ports where ships from across the world would dock.
Cornwall is one with its surrounding seas, and that is apparent in the seemingly innumerable port and fishing villages that can be seen, particularly along its southern coast.
Looe is a charming town built onto the rising valleys of its namesake river and is a hugely popular tourist destination well worth visiting. If you want something a bit more off the tourist track, nearby Polperro is a quiet village with a smuggling past that is a joy to explore.
Reach the Land’s End
Another of the region’s most popular destinations, Land’s End marks the most south-westerly point in the UK at the tip of the Cornish Peninsula. This part of the county has been visited for hundreds of years, and although our understanding of the world has improved, its unending views are still well worth a visit!
Taste the Cornish Pasty
Cornish produce is becoming more and more popular both in the UK and across the world! Grown from the region’s lush natural lands and beautiful seas, Cornwall’s iconic food is much-loved by locals and tourists. If there’s one thing you must taste when you visit the region, it has to be the pasty!
Cornish Pasties are now widely available around the UK, but none of them are as good as the genuinely local versions baked fresh every day. No matter where you are, you should be able to find one of these delights!
Traverse Bodmin Moor
Cornwall is renowned for its stunning coastlines, but its inland regions deserve some recognition, too! Covering over 200 square kilometres, Bodmin Moor is a prime example of the region’s rugged landscape away from the coast.
Designated an Area of Outstanding National Beauty, Bodmin Moor is a sweeping landscape famous for its wild ponies and granite formations, including Cornwall’s highest point. If you enjoy long walks, this is a place you should consider visiting!
Visit St. Michael’s Mount
One of Cornwall’s most magnificent structures, St. Michael’s Mount is something that needs to be seen to be believed! Just off the coast of Marazion, the small island is topped by a Medieval Castle that overlooks the town from afar.
One of the fascinating things about this small, awestriking island is its walking path. At low tide, it’s possible to make the journey to St. Michael’s Mount by foot. However, at high tide, the trail is submerged, and the island becomes only reachable by boat. This natural wonder is definitely something worth experiencing!
Walk the Lizard
Cornwall is awash with stunning coastlines, so much so that it’s hard to know where to start! One of the most popular places is known as the Lizard Peninsula, encompassing the most southerly point in the British mainland.
The Lizard Heritage Coast is a stunning location to explore, including picturesque villages and unmissable country walks. In this region, you’ll find Kynance Cove, regarded as one of Cornwall’s most picturesque beaches and a definite must-see for any Cornwall lovers!
Here you have some of our must-see and must-do activities for those that are visiting Cornwall. Discover our luxury Cornish cottages, providing the perfect base from which to discover everything there is to love about our beautiful part of the world!
The Most Instagrammable Spots in Cornwall
June 05th, 2020
If you’re looking for a picturesque escape in the UK, you can’t find many better than Cornwall. One of the most diverse and rugged landscapes across England, Cornwall’s beauty takes many forms, from its stunning beaches to picturesque villages hidden down winding country lanes.
From humanmade attractions to natural wonders that have been around for hundreds of years, Cornwall is full of many hidden gems to discover! Here are some of our favourite spots, particularly for those seeking breathtaking photo opportunities.
Cornwall is rightly famous for its sprawling, diverse coastline which is a seemingly neverending beauty spot in itself. However, that shouldn’t overshadow the natural beauty that can be found inland.
Bodmin Moor is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, covering over 200 kilometres in North-East Cornwall. The moor is known for its granite, which seemingly sprouts from the earth to create some dramatic backdrops. Cornwall’s highest point can be found here, as can many of the region’s river sources.
Arguably one of Cornwall’s most photographed locations, Kynance Cove provides a small representation of everything that is loved about the Cornish coast.
Kynance Cove is a small cove and beach at the southern tip of the Lizard Heritage Coast, just under one hour’s drive from Falmouth. The beach itself is beautiful, with crisp blue water and golden sands. However, it’s the stunning backdrop of curving, rugged rocks heading into the water that makes this place so magical.
Another of Cornwall’s most famous landmarks, this is a must-visit location, purely for its symbolic meaning.
Land’s End, situated on Cornwall’s western tip, has been a popular destination for hundreds of years. The area boasts unending views across the Atlantic Ocean, while its famous signpost is also a must-snap for anybody visiting.
Besides its beaches, Cornwall’s coast is also renowned for its quaint fishing communities and the local spirit that emanates from these humble towns. One of the most picturesque locations is Looe, which can be found in South-East Cornwall.
The town is built on the steep valley of its namesake river, with houses rising up the banks on either side of the waterway. Historically, it was a region used by smugglers bringing in goods from the sea; nowadays, it is a beautiful coastal town with plenty of tourist features and a beautiful beach.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Cornwall’s beautiful nature meets fantasy in this unique attraction just 30 minutes from Truro. Restored in the 1990s, this historical botanical garden is now one of the UK’s most popular thanks to its diverse regions and breathtaking style.
The Lost Garden’s of Heligan cover 200 acres and include many different regions with distinctive styles. From charming apple patches to the UK’s only outdoor jungle, there are plenty of unique photo opportunities throughout this park.
Looe is the quintessential fishing town for anybody visiting Cornwall. However, if you’re after somewhere a little smaller but still packed full of Cornish charm, Polperro is a wonderful choice!
Located just 11 minutes west of Looe, Polperro is a small fishing village that has been relatively unchanged throughout its history. With a population of less than 2,000, there’s a truly communal feel to everything in the village, while the cottages built across the valley are great for capturing Cornwall’s coastal beauty.
St. Michael’s Mount
Another of Cornwall’s unmissable landmarks is St. Michael’s Mount, the stunning castle complex located on an island off the coast of Marazion in West Cornwall. Remarkable in its design, it’s a truly awe-inspiring location that again toes the line between reality and fantasy.
St. Michael’s Mount is a small community island that can be walked to at low tide, but is otherwise cut off from the mainland. The location was named after the famous Mont-Saint-Michel in Northern France, which has similar characteristics. From the stone pathway that gets swallowed by the sea to the 17th-century castle that juts out from the peak, this region looks stunning from every angle.
We hope that these locations will inspire you to visit this beautiful part of the UK! At the Valley, we offer luxury hot tub cottages in Cornwall in our gated community just outside Truro. Explore our wonderful abodes today or check out more of our blog for further guides on things to do in Cornwall.
4 Activities for All the Family in Cornwall
May 11th, 2020
Cornwall is the perfect holiday destination in the UK; with numerous seaside towns, plenty of delicious restaurants and so many activities, you will never be short of somewhere to visit or something to do!
Whether you are looking for adventure, heritage or simply a fun-filled day out, Cornwall has plenty to offer. We share some of our top activities for all the family so that you can all enjoy your time in the Cornish countryside.
Flambards Theme Park
Come rain or shine, Flambards Theme Park is a brilliant day out for the whole family. From soft play areas for the little ones to sky-high adventure rides for the thrill-seekers and a life-size Victorian Village for the aspiring historians!
Flambards Theme Park features award-winning indoor attractions, so if you find yourself visiting on a day that is a little wet, not to fear because there is still lots to see and do. Additionally, when purchasing a full-price ticket, you receive a free return for a further six consecutive days from the date of the first admission. So, you could always visit again to experience the whole park!
Take the day to explore the 30 acres of lush gardens and discover some beautiful and picturesque scenery. Each season offers a different experience as different flowers come into bloom. No matter what time of year you visit, you can be sure to have a wonderful time spent with loved ones unwinding in the countryside.
From ponds and flower gardens to woodlands, there is lots to discover. The gardens are huge, so there is plenty for the little explorers to see! There is also Enys House to visit; step back in time and see the old Georgian house that was built in the 1830s!
After building up an appetite from walking around the stunning gardens, you can stop at the Garden Café for a bite to eat and light refreshment. With sandwiches, salads and homemade soup, there is lots to choose from for your lunch. There is also an array of freshly baked cakes and scones for a little treat. After all, you are in Cornwall, so it’s only right to have a cream tea!
National Maritime Museum Cornwall
While visiting the Cornish seaside, why not learn more about the big blue sea? The National Maritime Museum features 15 galleries that span over five floors! Each of the galleries shares insight and information on the sea’s history and culture. Here are just some of the things you can explore at the National Maritime Museum:
- A variety of boats from around the world
- RNLI Rescue Zone
- Boat Building Workshop
- Cornwall and the Sea
- Tidal Zone (you can look underwater at the harbour through two large windows)
- The Treasure Island Play Zone
- The Lookout Tower (look at breathtaking views over the harbour, docks and estuary)
- The Boat Pool (you can sail small model boats)
One of the most well-known attractions in Cornwall is Newquay Zoo. With over 130 species, there are plenty of animals to meet and learn all about. From monkeys and reptiles to zebras and big cats, you can get up close to some of the world’s most fascinating animals.
You could spend the whole day at Newquay Zoo exploring the 13 acres of the park. There are two onsite cafes for you to grab a bite to eat, or you can pack your own picnic and settle down in one of the eating areas.
If you want to add something extra special to your trip, you can pay extra to meet the animals up close and personal. Animal experiences are something that you will remember for a lifetime. The following animal experiences are available at Newquay Zoo:
- Lion Feeding: Help the keepers feed the lions and learn all about these incredible cats.
- Red Panda Experience: Meet the loveable pair of red pandas, Germaine and Zou, feed them and learn all about them from the panda keepers.
- Penguin Encounter: For those who love penguins, this could be an incredible experience. Get up close with the animals, feed them some fish and learn from the keeper all about the fascinating species.
- Junior Zookeeper Experience: For those aged between 8 and 14 years old, this is the perfect experience! You can get first-hand experience of what it’s like to work with the fantastic animals at Newquay Zoo.
- Zookeeper Experience: Are you an animal lover, or maybe you wonder what it would be like to be a zookeeper? The zookeeper experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get up close with so many different animals.
If you would like to visit any of these attractions, why not stay with us at The Valley? We offer luxury family holidays in Cornwall, perfect for a getaway with loved ones!
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Family-friendly Days Out in Cornwall this Winter
December 06th, 2019
For those heading on a winter staycation in Cornwall with the family, rest assured you’ll experience the rough and rugged beauty of the county and all it has to offer. The long and unforgiving queues of the summer will be long-forgotten, and life seems to tick by at somewhat of a slower pace in comparison to the rest of the country. However, just because your experience may not reflect the blue skies, golden sands, aqua blue seas that you’ve seen in pictures does not mean your stay will be any less enjoyable. In fact, this beautiful corner of Cornwall is home to some fantastic family attractions that can be enjoyed come rain, shine or sub-zero temperatures. Here at The Valley, we’ve created a list of just some of our favourite places to visit with the family throughout the colder months.
Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm
Perhaps not the first thing you have in mind when it comes to a day out with the kids, but this cider farm is like none other! Adults can peruse the various flavours of cider on offer, tasting those that take their fancy and stocking up on some homegrown produce for family and friends at home. Meanwhile, kids will love the exploring the farm and meeting the many animals that call it home, including Shetland ponies, Cornish black pigs and pygmy goats. The perfect end to the fantastic afternoon is tucking into a traditional, homemade Cornish cream tea in the tea rooms, but don’t forget to put your jam on first!
A classic form of family-friendly entertainment, but one that’s all the more exciting at a new and unexplored bowling alley. With eight lanes, an array of video and amusement arcade games and a well-stocked bar and restaurant serving tasty treats, there really is nowhere better to seek refuge when the rain begins to pour. Located in the heart of Truro, this venue is easy to access from wherever you are and can be tagged on to the end of another excursion.
Raze the Roof
Those with slightly younger children may wish to consider taking the short drive to Raze the Roof for an action-packed day of indoor play! From the four-lane astro slide to the renowned vertical drop slide, there’s no shortage of things to do for children of any age. Tiny tots can run riot in the toddler area, while parents can watch on from the soft seats nearby, and those visiting during term time can check out the Toddler Sessions that take place each morning, Monday to Friday. Slightly older children and young-at-heart adults can have the time of their lives in the Laser Tag centre, full of fog, atmospheric music and quick-fire action to provide an unforgettable gaming experience for all.
Dairyland Farm World
This brilliant indoor and outdoor excursion is perfect for the whole family and is sure to be enjoyed by all, as this is no ordinary farm. From pony and tractor rides to cuddles with fuzzy farm animals, this traditional farm even gives visitors the opportunity to milk cows and bottle feed the young, making dreams come true for animal lovers from far and wide. In addition to the classic farm-based activities, there’s also a huge indoor play area that features a raging bull ride, drop slides and a number of ball pits. The farm is just a short drive away from Truro in Newquay and is sure to be a holiday hit for all!
National Maritime Museum
It can be quite difficult to get children excited about a museum, but the National Maritime Museum has so much on offer for children of all ages, we’re sure they’ll be asking to go back before too long. All of the exhibits are designed with a child’s learning experience in mind, including being set at eye level for younger children. This brilliant and informative museum was once named Large Visitor Attraction of the Year at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards, and once you visit, it will soon become clear why.
Ship and Castles Fun Pool
No holiday to Cornwall is quite complete without splashing around with family and friends, but the sea may be a little too cold and is not for the faint-hearted this time of year. Luckily, there’s no need to rely on the weather! From an exhilarating river run that carries you through the course at thrilling speeds to the realistic wave machine that will make it seem like you’re bobbing around in the sea. The 70m log flume is sure to be a hit with both adults and children alike!
That concludes our guide to just some of the many winter-friendly attractions that await your next staycation. If you’re staying in our child-friendly holiday cottages in Cornwall, rest-assured you can enjoy an action-packed break that’s sure to make memories that last a lifetime! For more inspiration on the kinds of things you can get up to during your holiday, check out our recent blog post, 6 Unusual Things to do in Cornwall.
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!
Weird and Wonderful Places to Visit in Cornwall
July 19th, 2019
Cornwall is a stunning part of the country, and it is home to many spectacular sights to see. From waterfalls to ancient theatres, we take a look at some of the weird and wonderful places to visit. Switch it up from the usual tourist attractions and discover some extraordinary places!
Lost Gardens of Heligan
An attraction that is undoubtedly unique is the Lost Gardens of Heligan. The secret garden dates back to the nineteenth century and has since become a well-loved attraction. With over 200 acres to explore, this place is full of unusual sculptures, captivating wildlife and stunning gardens. Paths that were created over two centuries ago lead you to the Victorian Productive Gardens and Pleasure Grounds where you can immerse yourself in beauty. For something a little different, The Jungle is a sub-tropical journey where you can walk through bamboo tunnels and below some banana trees.
Once you have explored the secret gardens, visit the Heligan Kitchen & Bakery for a cup of coffee and some delicious food! All of their produce is locally sourced, and every hearty meal is full of goodness. Try a traditional Cornish cream tea or choose from the array of homemade pies.
St Nectan’s Glen
Near Tintagel, St Nectan’s Glen features a sixty-foot waterfall that runs through a hole in the rocks; a truly spectacular sight! Alongside this incredible spectacle are two further waterfalls and a beautiful woodland walk. The site also has a café where you can enjoy a cream tea or coffee and soak up the gorgeous atmosphere. Furthermore, you can visit the shop and gallery to pick up a lovely holiday souvenir.
Perhaps the main show at St Nectan’s Glen, waterfall one is called St Nectans Kieve and is the sixty-foot spectacular! Take a stroll down to the stunning site and watch the water cascade through the hole that was naturally created in the rocks. There is a shallow pool at the bottom where you can get closer and capture a holiday picture with a stunning backdrop.
Waterfalls two and three
As you carry on your stroll, you will stumble upon waterfall two. Located just after the shallow pool from the St Nectans Kieve, it is a beautiful waterfall that is wider and features more drops. Be aware though that the current can pick up a bit here, so if you go for a dip, be cautious. Waterfall three was only recently discovered and is somewhat a hidden gem; the walkway to this scenic location was only opened in 2016! The waterfall is roughly eighty-foot and connects to the main stream after waterfalls one and two.
St Nectan’s Glen woodland walk is a picturesque escape. Walk alongside the river through ivy-clad trees see the animals and birds play. The sound of the flowing water and birds singing creates a tranquil atmosphere. With it being such a spectacular sight, it has been recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to its rare variety of plants. For more information about this incredible attraction, take a look at our location guide for St Nectan’s Glen!
Built in 1779, Bodmin Jail is undoubtedly a fascinating place to learn and see exactly what life was like back then for a prisoner. The Jail was used to hold state papers and the Domesday book during the First World War; this shows how important the place was many years ago. Today, the Jail is used as a historical attraction and no longer functions as a Prison. Visitors can explore the cold and dark cells and envision what life was like as a captured criminal. You can also visit the execution shed which features a Victorian hanging pit! The drop is 4.5 metres, and it is the only one of its kind in the UK. There is also a Jail exhibition which features a tour across six floors. Here you can get a real feel for what it was like behind bars; the slights, the smells, everything!
The Minack Theatre is located in Penzance, and it is situated in a stunning location; perched on a cliff that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. It’s very first performance dates back to the 16th of August 1932! It is still used today to entertain through dramas, musicals and operas along with music performances, comedies and story-telling. The theatre is open for visiting but during the season, with so many performances scheduled, visiting hours can be limited. Why not take a look at the programme and see if there are any events you would like to attend!
Cornwall is bursting with unusual and fantastic attractions and this only a few of them! If you would like to visit Cornwall, why not choose to stay in a central location so you can visit as many places as possible? Here at The Valley, we have a range of Truro holiday cottages, which means you can venture out to plenty of different attractions without feeling restricted by travel. We are also dog-friendly, so you don’t have to leave your four-legged friends at home, bring them along with you! If you decide to come with your pup, take a look at our blog that features some days out with dogs in Truro so you and your furry friend can have a fun-filled holiday!
Summer Bucket List for Your Cornwall Holiday
July 05th, 2019
Cornwall is the perfect holiday destination, with so much to see and do, you will have a jam-packed schedule! In this blog, we list some of the must-do things in Cornwall so you can start ticking off that summer bucket list! Whether you want adrenaline, to try new things or see new places, this list will offer something for everyone!
Discover Land’s End
An iconic spot, Land’s End is a must when visiting Cornwall! Discover stunning landscapes and beautiful blue waters. Visit the famous signpost that was established in the 1950s and capture a picture to remember your trip! Along with the breath-taking scenery, there is an abundance of speciality shops offering the opportunity to pick up a souvenir. Once you have explored, you may want to sit down and have a bite to eat at one of the many cafés and restaurants at Land’s End. Take the chance to try an authentic Cornish pasty while you immerse yourself in the stunning landscape. If a pasty isn’t tickling your fancy, why not try a Cornish scone? A wonderful little treat as you sit back and take in the glorious setting.
Fly on England’s Longest and Fastest Zip Wire
One for the thrill-seekers, Cornwall offers the chance to fly on England’s longest and fastest zip wire! Based at the Eden Project in Bodelva, this attraction will undoubtedly get your heart racing. You will stand right over a cliff edge that is 100 metres above the ground and prepare to fly like Superman across the Cornish countryside! On this half a mile zip line you will reach speeds of 60mph, so get ready for an exhilarating experience! You can enjoy this attraction for just £30, so what are you waiting for?
Visit the Isles of Scilly
Something that visitors of Cornwall often over-look is the Isles of Scilly. Situated just off the coast of Cornwall, this stunning landscape is certainly one you don’t want to miss! You can get to the wonderful spot by either plane, boat or helicopter. The Isles of Scilly are an escape from everyday life, with barely anyone around; this place is perfect for relaxing. Even at the height of summer, you can find white sand beaches that are untouched and have no one on them! With such a small population, the Isles of Scilly offer food as local and as fresh as it can come. Some popular dishes are lobster and crab or if fish isn’t your thing, try some duck or beef. Another great experience here is the opportunity to look at the stars in such darkness. Scilly has five Dark Sky Discovery Sites and is known for being one of the darkest places in England, making it a perfect spot for stargazing.
Immerse Yourself in History and Beauty at Tintagel Castle
Situated between Padstow and Bude, this incredible castle is somewhere you should definitely visit when on holiday in Cornwall. Linked with the legend of King Arthur, Tintagel Castle is a place to learn all about its fascinating history but also explore the beautiful landscape it is surrounded by. As you travel the grounds, you will find numerous panels that reveal the 1,500 years of history this place holds. One of Tintagel’s best-kept secrets is its beach; this is a great spot to relax and explore some of the rockpools. While at the beach, be sure to visit the beach café and grab a bite to eat; from fish and chips to Cornish Rarebit, you’ll be spoilt for choice on what to have!
Get Your Heart Racing at Adrenalin Quarry
From jumping off cliffs to defying gravity, Adrenalin Quarry is undoubtedly an exciting and thrilling day out! Here is home to Cornwall’s most extreme waterpark; an inflatable playground for everyone to enjoy. The giant swing is potentially the scariest attraction at the Adrenalin Quarry; you are momentarily weightless and then fly at high speeds through the quarry! You will also find an 800-metre all-weather go-karting track where everyone in the family can have a go and see who comes out on top.
Explore St Michael’s Mount
Perhaps one of Cornwall’s most fascinating destinations, St Michael’s Mount is a stunning location, and there is plenty to explore. Take a trip across the causeway at low tide or take a boat trip to the island. The medieval castle has plenty of history to discover and some beautiful scenery to admire. It is that incredible that even HM Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited in 2013! Once you have taken your trip around the castle, take to the gardens and explore the stunning plants that flourish. With views of the luscious blue waters, you will have numerous opportunities to capture that perfect family photo with a beautiful backdrop!
If these destinations aren’t enough, take a look at these great places for a family day out in Cornwall. If you want to plan a visit to the beautiful county, then why not stay at the best family resort in Cornwall? Here at The Valley, we offer a unique collection of luxury self-catering holiday cottages that are hidden away in thirteen acres of gardens and woodland. Start planning your perfect family holiday now!
Five Historical Moments that Made Falmouth
September 28th, 2018
Falmouth may seem on the outside like a simple port town in the Cornish countryside, but at one point this port was one of the most important in the whole of the British Empire. Before setting sail on one of our luxury Falmouth holidays, learn about the town through five vital moments in history that shaped it into the beautiful town we know and love today.
1. Henry VIII and The Civil War.
What may surprise you is that Falmouth is a comparatively young port town. During the 16th century, the area now known as Falmouth was merely a port, connecting to the main towns of the area, like Penryn further north. However, the port was crucial for trade to the west of Britain, and in 1540 Henry VIII built Pendennis Castle to help defend it. That, combined with St Mawes Castle on the other side of the Carrick Roads Estuary, meant that the port became a reliable stronghold.
It’s not surprising, then, that at the end of the Civil War during the 1600s, Pendennis Castle was one of the very last Royalist strongholds before they surrendered to the Parliamentary Army.
2. Sir John Killigrew’s enterprise
While the importance of this westerly port continued to grow during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, at the time only one family lived in the area – the Killigrew family at the prestigious Arwenack House. At the time, Sir John Killigrew was the most powerful man in Cornwall, and it was his connections that allowed him to start building more homes in the area, despite opposition from established towns such as Helston and Truro.
It was around 1613 when houses began to be built, and more people started living in the area around the port. Initially, the area was divided into two hamlets – Smithicke and Pennycomequick.
3. King Charles’ Charter
Despite Killigrew’s success in the area, building a market and custom house during the 1650s, Falmouth didn’t come into official existence until 1661, when King Charles II gave Sir John Killigrew a charter, allowing the selection of a mayor and giving the townspeople certain rights. Charles II declared that the two hamlets would combine to create Falmouth, giving birth to the town we know today.
In return, King Charles II asked that a church be built in the town dedicated to his father, King Charles the Martyr. Very quickly the small, makeshift hamlets became a recognised parish town, with hundreds of homes built around the new church during the 1660s.
4. Royal Mail and the Docks
Following on from the minor boom of the church, in 1688 Falmouth was made into the Royal Mail Packing Station. This was a vitally important role in the expanding British Empire, and Falmouth harbour was filled with packing ships that transported important news and private goods to London and the far reaches of the globe. The town boomed – Falmouth quickly became one of Britain’s most important and busiest ports, with the packing business passing through its harbour for the next 150 years.
In the late 1850s, the development of Falmouth Docks began. As the Steam Age meant the packing business left Falmouth and returned to London, the town transformed into a thriving trading centre for people across the world.
5. The Railway, Maritime Museum and Falmouth University.
Just a few years after the docks were built, the national railway reached Falmouth. This was a significant event, as the town suddenly found a new and vital revenue stream that would last for centuries – tourism. As time continued to pass, and technology meant that it was easier for people to trade elsewhere, Falmouth began its natural transformation from a hub of trade into a place for people to visit, thanks to the history that had come before it.
Nowadays Falmouth’s main industry is tourism. The Maritime Museum was opened in 2003 by HRH Prince Andrew, and the town continues to attract guests from across the world thanks to its achievements – Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail around the globe single-handed in the 1960s, begun and completed his journey from Falmouth’s port. Falmouth University received its full university status in 2012, becoming the first university in Cornwall and marking the next step into the future for this vital town.
Falmouth is a fantastically progressive town steeped in history. You can find out more by reading about a history of Falmouth, and hopefully, filled with all this knowledge, you’ll be able to see the town in a brand-new light when you next visit!