Cornwall – the highlights of the most south-western English county

I always thought of Cornwall as one of the sunniest holiday destinations in the UK. Imagine my surprise when the climate I did my sightseeing in was more like the autumn one! June, you really were a little prankster this year, weren’t you? Nevertheless, the weather conditions didn’t change the fact that the region has a few great places I could tick off my bucket list. A few (well, maybe a bit more this time) drops of rain did not scare my wanderlust away. So, here we go!

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Lizard Point

The most southernly point of Great Britain (talking mainland). It would be a disgrace for a previous student of geotourism and a geology lover, if I didn’t mention anything about the rocks here. The name of the dark rock forming the peninsula is serpentinite, which is a very hard rock created as a result of magma from the inside of Earth being cooled down slowly by cold water. The rock is similar to snake’s skin, hence its name. Regional shops sell a lot of items made of it so if you’re a fan of souvenirs, that’d be a perfect item to get at the Lizard Peninsula. What is there on the Lizard Point? Not much really when it comes to the facilities but it’s a nice place to wander around, see the views and some rock formations. Have a look at a lighthouse- it is a huge place! Also wander a bit to Keynance Cove; it’s a real beauty!

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St Michael’s Mount

I always find the subject of islands quite fascinating but a bit annoying at the same time – you have to organize a way of transport other than a car or walking to get there. But how about if you were able to walk to the island after all? Well, St Michael’s Mount is exactly a place like that. Providing you stick to the low tide times. But if you miss it, don’t worry- you can always jump on board of one of the boats that operate with a frequency of every 5-10 minutes. And what is there to see? A charming castle and stunning gardens. Also, do visit castle cafe, right next to the entrance to the gardens – their tuna melt was the best one I had in quite a while 😉

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Land’s End

If you google Land’s End, one of the most popular search results will be a picture of a Land’s End sign but most importantly the most Western point of England truly is a picturesque place – nature wise. You can literally walk for hours watching the waves, cliffs and rock formations. These are also hard volcanic rocks- nothing like Eastbourne nor Jurassic Coast anymore!

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Eden Project & The Gardens of Heligan

This is a topic for a separate post, so I won’t elaborate much here. Both of the places are full of exotic plants from all over the world yet they are so different from each other. One is certain – once in Cornwall, you have to stop by!

Overall Cornwall experience?

Cornwall is a charming place but did not make an immense impression on me. I can’t quite pinpoint why, as the landscape is quite beautiful. Maybe I’m such a big fan of white cliffs that the serpentinites and granite were a bit too exotic for me? I really can’t say. Also, probably the season will be a time to go there, as little towns seemed a bit too deserted at times, even for me. I’m glad I went there though and if I were to decide again whether to put it on my list or not, I would still do it. But would I visit again? I don’t think so.

A few practical tips:

  • The boats taking you to St Michael’s Mount are only £4.00 return but make sure you have cash on you. If you want to walk, have a look as the tide times on the official website https://www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk/plan-your-visit/causeway-opening-times
  • It’s a long way from London to Penzance by train – roughly 7-hour-route is not ideal but good news is that if you choose a good connection you will have to change only once.
  • On my way to Cornwall, I stopped by in Plymouth. In my opinion, it’s one of the ugliest cities in England. I do not recommend.
  • Don’t forget your wallet while visiting Land’s End! As great as it may be, Land’s End definitely isn’t free nor cheap. To have your picture taken standing next to a wooden sign that will say a few words of your choosing you have to pay £9,95. To compare, it’s cheaper to get a sandwich there.
  • Atlantic Coaster which will get you from Penzance to Land’s End is £9.00 return. The lane is really narrow, yet the busses and coaches are going both ways and a lot of times they just don’t manage to pass by, so they have to go back to the closest bays. Coming back from Land’s End, such a maneuver took good 20 minutes of our life. If you have a tight schedule, do add at least half an hour to it to avoid the disappointment. Funny enough though, the driver was really cool about it. He said it’s nothing compared to the season, when during one route he has at least 2 or 3 such encounters.
  • Whilst in Cornwall you just have to try a Cornish Pastie! It is a national dish consisting of beef, potatoes, swede and onion wrapped up in pasty and baked. Not my cup of tea but some people could kill for it!
  • More info about Cornwall, as per usual, on the official website.

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