8 Ways to Enjoy Culture and Arts in Cornwall
September 24th, 2020
Cornwall never ceases to disappoint. Not only does it provide some of the most incredible natural locations in the UK, including some of the most spectacular beaches in the country, it also flourishes with incredible arts venues, theatres, galleries and gardens!
We explore some of the county’s top locations for arts and culture, which are sure to spark inspiration for creative minds! If you’re eager to experience all that Cornwall has to offer, ensure you have the perfect base for your adventures and discover our luxury cottages in Cornwall!
COVID-19 and Social Distancing
During times of social distancing, each location featured in our blog should be checked for their current policies regarding the coronavirus and visiting arrangements.
Explore the Minack Theatre
In times of social distancing, an outdoor theatre is a big bonus!
The Minack Theatre is a spectacular open-air theatre nestled in the granite cliffs of Porthcurno. The theatre was created around 80 years ago, taking the shape of an ancient Greek style amphitheatre complete with a breath-taking backdrop overlooking the stunning Cornish coast.
Exploring the fascinating site is an unforgettable visit and feels magical without watching a performance! There is also a beautiful garden included in the entrance fee.
All visits to the Minnack Theatre, whether to explore the grounds or to see a show, must be booked in advance. The theatre is open to day visitors from the beginning of April to the end of October, excluding any matinee performances.
Watch a Show at Sterts Theatre
Based in Liskeard, Sterts Theatre is another outdoor venue set in the atmospheric grassland of Bodmin Moor.
Rain isn’t an issue, as the charming 400 seat amphitheatre is covered by a canopy, keeping the audience shower free during performances in wetter weather.
Check out the Stert Theatre website for the latest information about their shows.
See a Band at Carnglaze Caverns
Not far from Sterts Theatre, near the village of St Neot, are the incredible Carnglaze Caverns.
The site was a former slate mine and is now one of the county’s most favoured tourist spots.
The underground cavern is not only great for those who love to explore, but it also hosts live music events and concerts in its truly unique location. The Rum Store is one of the three Caverns at the site and was attributed as one of the safest storage locations of the Second World War.
It has since been transformed into a 400 capacity music venue providing remarkable evenings full of great music.
Check out their website for their future music events and policy on coronavirus.
Immerse Yourself in the Many Art Galleries of St Ives
St Ives is synonymous with arts, and it has a diverse range of galleries to prove it.
Of course, the biggest and most famous one is The Tate which regularly presents changing exhibitions of artists. However, this quirky seaside town has plenty of other, lesser-known galleries to feast your eyes on.
Simply strolling around the town and exploring the area is one of the most charming ways to find them.
Some that we would recommend include:
• The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden
• Leach Pottery
• Back Road Artworks
Explore the Sculptures at the Eden Project
For the perfect combination of nature and art, the Eden Project is the perfect outing.
Featuring a broad spectrum of artists and installations, you will find unique art across the site, immersing yourself in magnificent sculptures and exhibitions while absorbing the beauty of its many gardens.
Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature
The Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature is a celebration of literature throughout the captivating riverside town of Fowey, the home of Daphne du Maurier and Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. The festival celebrates and features the talent and work of artists, musicians, authors and speakers.
The du Maurier Festival Society provides the event, and the next festival is currently scheduled for 7th to 15th May 2021.
Falmouth Art Gallery
Falmouth Art Gallery has a range of changing exhibitions throughout the year, as well as permit art displays. Work from Cornish artists varies in style, from surrealist to abstract, as well as featuring female artists from the county. The gallery also holds a 280 piece collection by the legendary local artist, Henry Scott Tuke RA RWS.
Store tours and group visits are currently on hold during the coronavirus situation as well as any workshops usually held at the gallery.
Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange
Newlyn Art Gallery specialises in contemporary art, offering visitors a selection of work from local, national and international artists. The gallery has existed for over 120 years and also has another art space called The Exchange, which was Penzance’s old telephone exchange. The industrial style site has a wonderful glass façade throughout the building.
Which art venues and events have you visited while in Cornwall? Why not share your favourite with us on our social media channels!
Guide to Cornwall’s South Coast
August 30th, 2019
Cornwall is a popular holiday destination in the UK, mainly due to its scenic and picturesque landscape. There are numerous spots in Cornwall that offer some stunning views, but perhaps the most breath-taking scenes are along the South Coast. With over 300 beautiful beaches varying from golden sand to pebbly and dog-friendly to secluded havens, there are many to discover! You will also find pretty little towns to discover, so we have decided to set up a guide so you can see the best of Cornwall!
Of course, no trip to the coast is complete without visiting the beach! Cornwall is home to some beautiful beaches, especially along the south coast.
Porthpean Beach, St Austell
Near the historic village of Charlestown, Porthpean Beach is a popular beach, especially with families. With safe sea swimming and plenty of space for beach games and sandcastles, it is the perfect spot for a beach day out! Toilets facilities are available, and there is also a car park, but be aware, there is a relatively steep incline between the car park and the beach. If you are looking to bring your pup, there is a seasonal dog ban in place, but outside of this period, your four-legged friends are free to run around and jump in the sea.
Pendower Beach, Truro
Now, this is the beach for the dogs as they are welcomed all year round! But please be aware that they ask you to keep them on leads during the summer months due to it being busier. Pendower is a soft sand south-facing beach and boasts excellent views along the coastline. Along the back of the beach are some low soft cliffs and rock pools. Take the time to go rock pooling as it is an excellent opportunity to spend some quality time with the kids discovering some fascinating creatures lurking in the waters. There are many other activities to enjoy here, from surfing and sailing to fishing and snorkelling! Additionally, there are toilet facilities as well as tea and coffee on offer.
Whitsand Bay, Torpoint
With an impressive three miles of golden sands, Whitsand Bay is an excellent beach to visit. The gorgeous beach is considered one of Cornwall’s hidden gems as it is relatively unknown and, therefore, never crowded. The long stretch of sand offers a great opportunity for a stroll or jog along the sea. If that isn’t really your thing and you prefer to relax, then there is plenty of space to set up your lounger without being elbow-to-elbow with other visitors. In terms of activities, there are numerous rock pools dotted along the beach and then out at sea the bay is a popular place to go diving. Whitsand Bay is home to HMS Scylla, an ex-naval frigate that sadly sunk in 2004 but has since taken the form an artificial reef. Between May and September, the beach is monitored by lifeguards at different points but do take care when swimming as the current can get dangerous in certain areas.
Along the south coast of Cornwall, there are plenty of stunning little towns to discover. Take a stroll down the winding streets and stop for a bite to eat by the seaside, what better way to spend your holiday?
A well-known coastal town, Falmouth is home to some brilliant shops, delicious food and picturesque views. Perhaps what it is most famous for is its abundance of boats; Falmouth has the world’s third-largest natural deep-water harbour making it a boat haven. The view of the sea with the bobbing boats makes Falmouth an admired town by many walkers and those who enjoy alfresco dining. But that isn’t all that this beautiful coastal town has to offer; Falmouth is also a brilliant spot for families. From boat trips and beaches to castles and parks, there is plenty for all the family to do. For more information on this brilliant town, take a look at our blog on how to spend a day in Falmouth!
Situated near Penzance, Marazion is a stunning seaside town with lots to see and do! Home to the ever famous St Michael’s Mount, this coastal town is home to two soft sandy beaches, which are perfect for a family day out. Patrolled by the RNLI in the summer months, you can be assured that you and the kids can have fun by the sea while remaining safe. Take a picnic and a bucket and spade and make a day of it! There is also a park called The Folly Field, which is an excellent place for the kids to burn off some energy – it is full of climbing frames, slides, swings, and so much more. Furthermore, the South West Coastal Path runs right through Marazion, so why not take a stroll along the scenic route?
A seaside town so luscious and blue that you would think you were abroad! St Ives is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful locations in the whole of Cornwall, if not the UK. Along with the beautiful coastline and azure waters, St Ives is home to a wonderful array of independent retailers. Take a wander through the winding cobbled streets and have a nosey around some brilliant little boutiques then stop for a bite to eat in a cute little pub.
We hope we have inspired you to visit the gorgeous south coast of Cornwall. If you would like to book a getaway to the seaside, take a look at our child-friendly cottages in Cornwall, so that the whole family can join in on the fun. To make it even better, our accommodation is also dog-friendly, so bring along your pup and have an incredible holiday!
What’s On In September
August 12th, 2019
As summer is coming to an end and its time we welcome in autumn, don’t feel disheartened, because, in September 2019, Cornwall is hosting an array of exciting events! From food festivals and summer activities to car shows and sailing festivals, there is plenty to keep you busy during your holiday!
Summer on St Michael’s Mount
2nd – 4th September 2019
Summer on St Michael’s Mount is the perfect activity to spend some quality time with your loved ones and to let the kids get creative. Once you have paid admission to St Michael’s Mount, you can enjoy some crafty family fun free of charge! All of the activities are connected to the Mount stories, and the band of storytellers perform these tales every day during the school holidays!
On Monday, the event that takes place is called “Tall Stories of the Castle” and this is where you can learn all about Cormoran the Giant. You will also get the opportunity to model your own giant’s head using clay and other natural materials. As well as clay modelling, you can also make your own mini catapult!
On Tuesday, it’s all about the “Myths and Legends of the Sea”. Here you get the chance to create your own mini reed boat and test them on the rock pools! You can also collect some seashore treasures and create your very own underwater world.
On Wednesday, it is “Garden Magic on the Mount”, and this is your opportunity to explore the glorious colours of the gardens through the kaleidoscope or create a giant mandala! Furthermore, you can make your own flag using the art of Hapa Zome; this is where you collect numerous natural prints, such as leaves, and paint them to then decorate the flag by pressing the colour down!
St Ives September Festival
14th – 28th September 2019
Back in 1977, the first-ever St Ives September Festival took place, and it has been successful for the last forty years. St Ives is a picturesque seaside town in Cornwall that is very popular with visitors, primarily due to is stunning scenery! From music and comedy to workshops and street entertainment, this is a festival worth attending. With so much to do, you can choose how you spend your time. You could decide to take the active route and join in on walks and workshops, or you might prefer to relax and unwind by watching some plays and listening to live music.
Taste of Scilly Food & Drink Festival
1st – 30th September 2019
The Isles of Scilly are just off the coast of Cornwall and can be accessed by a boat service, plane or helicopter. There are multiple islands; St Mary’s, Tresco, St Martins, Bryher, St Agnes and the uninhabited islands! The stunning Isles of Scilly hosts a food and drink festival throughout the month of September and offers a range of locally sourced produce. To start the event, on the 1st of September, there is the Low Tide Experience; at the sandbank between Tresco & Bryher, visitors roll up their trousers and visit the mini food festival. Here you can try some garlic mussels, seafood paella and much more! Along with the delicious local food, you can enjoy some live music with a gin cocktail or prosecco.
Something new for 2019 is series of Distillery Tours and Gin Schools! At the Spirit Scilly distillery on St Mary’s, you can browse a selection of botanical cabinets, and craft your own juniper creation to take home – the perfect holiday souvenir! In the evenings, you can expect family-farm tours, gin tasting, baking competitions, and so much more! With an abundance of things to see, do, and of course taste, this is an event that cannot be missed. Visit the spectacular islands, meet the local producers and try some of their exquisite food and drink!
Cornwall’s Motorsport Month
1st – 30th September 2019
Cornwall is most well-known for sailing, but many forget its passion for motors! September is the month for cars, motorbikes and everything a petrolhead could dream of. Throughout the month there are different occasions; some of the highlights are the 4 x 4 event, Greenpower and Classic Car Show, Motorfest and Motor Cycle Trial.
Showcasing some fantastic cars and bikes, the Greenpower and Classic Car Show is hosted at the Truro Girls School and is a great day out. On the 8th of September between 11 am and 3 pm, there will be over 150 classic cars, motorbikes and a selection of military vehicles from WW2! As well as all this, there will be a market full of food and drink stalls selling some delicious goodies!
If you are looking to visit Cornwall in September, we hope we have encouraged you to visit some of these fantastic events while you are here. When planning a trip with the kids it can be tough to find suitable accommodation. Here at The Valley, we offer family-friendly holidays in Cornwall with our range of self-catering cottages! Perfect for a family getaway, we are situated in a great location, so you can visit as many events as you desire!
6 Instagram Accounts That Will Make You Want to Move to Cornwall Immediately
June 24th, 2018
We all know that Instagram is jam-packed full of inspirational and aspirational images for all areas of your life, but sometimes it can be hard to find the perfect accounts to follow. We’ve rounded up some of our very favourites who post about all things Cornwall. They’re bound to inspire you to book a trip to the South sometime soon!
Cornwall based travel enthusiast Lowenna posts some of the greatest seaside pictures out there. Scrolling through her Instagram, you’ll think it’s the Caribbean rather than the Cornish coast! With every image transforming the coastal county into a tropical fantasy, this is a must follow for those longing to return to the beautiful beaches.
Becca is based in Cornwall, posting beautiful pictures of St Ives and Mousehole. Her Instagram is incredibly neat, with a clear colour scheme; each picture framed by a clean white border. Here you’ll find a quaint little world of streets lined by tiny houses and picturesque bays.
A clear fan of the sea, Lee from @kernow_shots has some of the best seaside snaps there are. From idyllic, calm summer beach days to immense shots of crashing waves, every image is overflowing with beauty. He also regularly features the quaint seaside towns and picturesque villages that border these seas, showcasing some of the very best of Cornish life. Lee also runs the fantastic @explorecornwall account, which reposts some of the very best photos taken throughout the county, via the hashtag ‘#explorecornwall’.
See Cornwall from a different perspective with this incredible Instagram endeavour. Using drones, the team take stunning shots of Cornwall’s coast from above. If you love these snaps as much as we do, they’re also available for sale via their website!
With so many incredible beaches in the county of Cornwall, there are a wealth of picture-perfect moments to capture along the coast. Arguably, anyone can take a good picture of something as stunning as this coastline, but there is certainly something extra about the photos posted to this account that really highlights the beauty of the area. If you take a trip to the area, be sure to tag your posts with ‘#360beaches’ and you could find your images being shared with their followers.
Jacob is an artist and architect living in St Ives, and this is certainly apparent in his photography, making use of lines, geometry and more abstract concepts in his images. As well as posting gorgeous skyscapes, and seaside shots, he plays around with the exposure, resulting in some truly incredible imagery.
After seeing these gorgeous snaps, are you desperate to come and visit the stunning Cornish coastline? Check out the amazing luxury family holidays in Cornwall we have available here at The Valley! Be sure to take a look at the gorgeous pictures on our own Instagram too!
18 Things to Do in Cornwall in 2018
May 02nd, 2018
Somehow we’re now in the fifth month of the year, so now may be the perfect time to look back on your 2018 bucket list and think of what you still have left to do! With summer fast approaching, we’re re-sharing our top 18 things to do in Cornwall in 2018, in the hopes that it will inspire you to come and visit us here in the most beautiful coastal county! Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly holiday to Cornwall, short breaks for two, or a luxury trip away with friends, there’s something for everyone:
1. Minack Theatre
A stage like no other, the Minack is an open air theatre nestled into the cliff tops in Porthcurno. With breathtaking views of the surrounding bay, you’ll be in awe as you make your way down the staggered seating steps, carved into the granite cliffs. With performances running from May to September, it’s certainly a must see.
2. Surf Lesson
Cornwall is one of the top surfing destinations in the world, so if you’re heading to the county for your holiday, remember to bring a wetsuit and try and catch some waves. If you don’t know how yet, then it’s time to get a lesson. While there are surf schools all along the coast, by far the greatest surfing spot is on Fistral beach, where all of the top surfing competitions take place in the UK.
3. Walk the Coast Path
Obviously it’s too ambitious to attempt the whole 300 mile stretch at once, but there are plenty of different walks available around the county. Get a map of Cornwall and mark off which paths you’ve walked as you do them. Maybe by the end of the year, your map will be complete!
4. Bude Sea Pool
Want the natural feel of swimming in the sea without as many risks? Try the Sea Pool in Bude. The free to use pool is semi-natural, built in the 1930s underneath the cliffs to form the experience of being in the sea, without having to face the ferocity of the waves.
5. Take Part in a Feast Night at The Hidden Hut
By day a quaint sea-side lunch spot, by night (on selected evenings), a rustic open-air feast extraganza. Buy a ticket and bring your own plate to receive a serving of the best local produce cooked outdoors on their wood-fire, charcoal grill or massive paella pans. Previous offerings have included wood-fired seafood paella, lobster & chips, slow-roasted lamb, and pulled pork with sticky ribs.
6. Experience the Waterfalls at St Nectans Glen
St. Nectan’s Glen is home to three truly spectacular waterfalls. The most famous of these is the magical St. Nectan’s Kieve, where the river has worn it’s way through the slate, creating a fascinating hole which has transformed the river into a magnificent 50 foot waterfall! Walkways through the stunning woodland take you to a further two waterfalls, one of which is a hidden gem, only recently discovered and opened to the public!
7. St. Michael’s Mount
It is one of the most famous landmarks in Cornwall for a reason. From the island you can experience the picturesque panoramic views of the bay, and to Land’s End. While you’re there, explore the spectacular castle and the luscious gardens, as well as the stunning harbour.
8. Bodmin Jail
Discover the history of this 18th Century jail with thrilling tours and activities. If you’re brave, there are after dark activities, like taking part in the night time ghost walks. If that’s not enough spookiness for you, every Thursday a scary movie is screened in the jail, followed by a tour through the historic building accompanied by a Medium.
9. Tate St. Ives
A gallery space featuring work by modern British artists with links to St. Ives. As part of the Tate art institution, the collection here is impressive and exhibitions change regularly, so there’s always something new to see.
10. Barbara Hepworth
Another spot in St. Ives for those interested in art, the Barbara Hepworth museum, set within the sculptor and artists home and gardens, is a stunning sight that absolutely must feature on your Cornwall bucket list. This is perfect for garden lovers too, as you will quickly see where Hepworth gained her inspiration as you stroll through the gardens accompanying her studio.
11. Camel Valley Vineyard
Is there a better way to spend an afternoon in the sun than at an award-winning vineyard that serves up top-quality wines? With guided tours and wine tasting sessions, you’ll learn all about the grape growing and winery processes, with the added bonus of a refreshing glass of red, white or bubbly!
12. Rick Stein Cookery Course
Pick up some top tips and hone your kitchen skills with the very best. With daytime courses running for a wide variety of cuisines, from shellfish to Indian Curry and from Italian to Far Eastern dishes, there’s certainly something for everyone to enjoy! Alternatively, if you just fancy a treat on your holiday, then grab a delicious portion of fish and chips from Rick Stein’s Fish and Chips in Padstow.
13. Eat a Proper Cornish Pasty
Yes, you can get a pasty from pretty much any bakery around the country. But will it be as good as a traditional Cornish bake, fresh out of the oven? No!
14. Visit the Eden Project
Home to the largest indoor rainforest, this will be an educational day out like never before. For an even more intensive experience, or for something new for repeat visitors; head up high and soar over the biomes on the 60mph SkyWire!
15. Visit Land’s End
With stunning views and an incredible coastline, Land’s End is the perfect spot to roam the cliff tops. Take your camera to keep some memories of the picturesque scenery on display. Looking into the sea surrounding you, it’s even possible to catch a glimpse of exciting marine life, such as seals, dolphins and even basking sharks!
16. Catch Your Own Supper
Being a coastal county, with almost every area surrounded by water, it is no surprise that fishing and sea food make up a major part of the Cornish life. Why not join in on a fishing trip at any of Cornwall’s harbours and reel in a bite for dinner?
17. Visit a National Trust Property
The National Trust currently manages and maintains over 40% of the Cornish coastline, but they also tend to a large number of the finest properties in Cornwall. There are so many to choose from, including the stunning Cotehele House and Lanhydrock House.
18. Explore the Cornish Mining Heritage
Cornwall is renowned for its mining heritage, with many sites to visit, explore and learn about throughout the county. From Poldark Mine, featuring a museum and tour to the Levant Mine, near Land’s End, which houses the oldest beam engine in Cornwall; now in full working order having been restored in recent years.
Which of these things would you like to try? Let us know which feature on your 2018 bucket list, or if there any attractions in Cornwall that you are planning to visit that we haven’t included!
May is Festival Month down in Cornwall
May 01st, 2017
After what has been a glorious April, here at The Valley (so much for all the April showers!) we’re really looking forward to a fun packed May and the start of the Festival season.
While the weather may not have been perfect for today’s May Day celebrations we are sure the rest of this month is going to treat us better with a great range of festivals happening across the county. Here’s a pick of some of our favourites.
Fowey Literary Festival
Celebrating their 21st year Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature have a wide range of events to suit all tastes. See bestselling author Michael Morpurgo, musician and composer Sir Karl Jenkins and former war correspondent and politician Martin Bell, plus an array of talks and discussions, film, and even Gardeners Question Time!
Fowey is a beautiful town well worth a visit anyway, and the festival give you no excuse not to make it down this way!
While we’re still recovering from all the chocolate we consumed over the Easter period here, it might be time to loosen that belt once again as St Ives hosts their annual Food and Drink festival from the 13th – 14th May.
You can expect a star-studded array of chefs showcasing the best Cornwall has to offer all happening right on the Porthminster beach in St. Ives. There will also be over 60 traders showing off their culinary delights for you to try.
A full music line up will also take place alongside the festival, continuing into the evening with an extended session on Saturday night with performances from Kernow King and Sandy Acre 7. Other acts performing during the weekend include Emily Howard, The Grenaways and many local bands and choirs.
As well as great food and live music, the festival boasts an abundance of activities and entertainment, promising a fun-filled day out for all the family, with a bouncy castle, beach games and cooking workshops with Little Kitchen Magicians also on offer.
Fal River Festival
To finish off the month and lead us into June Falmouth will be hosting their Fal River Festival. Running from the 26th May until the 4th June it promises 10 days of over 150 events varying from music & drama, the arts & heritage to gig racing, swimming, walking & lots more.
The festival was established in 2006 and will be running for its 12th year in 2017. It’s a chance to embrace the places, people, history, culture, sport & industry that are connected by this very Cornish river.
With its diverse mix of events taking place at dozens of locations around the Fal River, the festival offers something for everyone and is the perfect opportunity to engage with life on the river and discover some of its fascinating history.
Each year more than 100,000 people attend a range of different events helping raise a whopping £75,000 for charity while enjoying 3,000 pints of ale, lager and cider!
With all of this going on whilst still dodging the crowds of the summer holidays, there really is no better time to visit Cornwall and The Valley makes the perfect base for heading out on your adventures.
St.Ives, the new Caribbean?
July 03rd, 2015
The beautiful sandy beaches and pure blue water of St.Ives, Cornwall, is making some children believe they are in the Caribbean!
A study conducted by Travelodge quizzed 2000 British children between the ages of 8-15, while the majority loved a holiday to the beach, very few actually knew the locations of the UK’s coastal gems.
60% of British children did not know St.Ives was in Cornwall, with the study showing that 20% thought it was in the Caribbean.
Shakila Ahmed from Travelodge mentioned the following: “This research highlights that children are struggling to grasp the basic geography of Britain”.
Another interesting point which came from the research conducted is that going on holiday to the seaside is back in fashion, with over 53% of families wanting to go.
With St.Ives being compared to the Caribbean, it shows Cornwall is a great place to come on holiday and enjoy the same glorious views but a lot closer to home. The Valley’s Cornwall cottage holidays is situated in the perfect position to explore Cornwall, and it’s only a 35 minute drive to St.Ives.
Annual St Ives Food & Drink Festival celebrations commencing this weekend
May 11th, 2015
An exciting and delicious celebration of some of the finest food & drink producers and chefs in Cornwall will be taking place in St Ives on Porthminster Beach this weekend in what’s thought to be the UK’s exclusive beach food and drink festival.