Rugged cliffs, green fields, crashing waves and beautiful stone cottages combine to make Cornwall amongst the most scenic regions of the UK. Lying on what is known as the ‘Lizard Peninsula’, this beautiful county in the West of the UK enjoys the longest stretch of coastline in Britain – 80 per cent of Cornwall is surrounded by water, with the coastline covering almost 700 kilometres. It’s no wonder that surfers and sunseekers head to Cornwall in their thousands each year –in Cornwall one is never more than 16 miles from the sea, and there are more than 300 beaches just crying out to be explored. What better way to do this than from the saddle and with your favourite companions?
For many centuries Cornish villages have been home to fishermen keen to reap the rewards of a day out at sea, and today the coastline attracts watersports enthusiasts from across the UK along with British and international tourists drawn to the beautiful scenery, rich local culture and fascinating history of the county.
Beaches in Cornwall
The beaches of Cornwall are legendary, and happily the county’s position in the far South of the UK means it enjoys warmer, sunnier weather than much of the country. On the North coast of the peninsula lie vast sandy beaches washed by crashing Atlantic waves and thronged with surfers, whilst the South coast is home to the hidden coves and sheltered bays that made Cornwall a haven for pirates in times gone by.
The clean, clear blue waters and breathtaking views have lost none of their potential to impress and holidays in Cornwall remain popular with families, couples and groups of friends as well as with surfers, scuba divers, windsurfers and others with a taste for waterborne adventure.
The clear waters also make Cornwall a favourite spot for divers from across the world – here divers can plunge into the turquoise sea and spot countless varieties of marine wildlife as well as fascinating plantlife and even the remains of the odd shipwreck or two.
Coasteering in Cornwall
Another adrenalin-filled option that is increasingly gaining popularity it Coasteering. If you can imagine a sort of extreme sports version of rockpooling, you’ve got the right idea! Coasteering involves abseiling down rock faces, exploring hidden caves and coves, scrambling over ragged rocks and battling the crashing waves. This is not something that beginners should attempt by themselves, but lessons and excursions with qualified instructors are available to adventurous types who want to try their hand at Coasteering.
Wakeboarding in Cornwall
Wakeboarding (riding the waves in the wake of a motorboat) is another increasingly-popular activity on the waters of Cornwall, whilst surfing and waterskiing are as popular today as they have always been. Sailing and fishing are more sedate options to be enjoyed on the waters.
For those who like a quieter life, Cornwall is also renowned for its excellent golf courses, whilst gentle coastal walks, vast range of cycling options and, of course, sunbathing on the golden sands are more laid-back activities to be enjoyed during a holiday in Cornwall. With bed and breakfast accommodation to be found in pretty stone or whitewashed cottages, along with campsites in beautiful settings, there are plenty of accommodation options in Cornwall.
There are a number of good hotel options in the county too, ranging from the very basic to the super-smart, whilst self-catered cottages are a good value option for families or groups of friends sharing.
As well as terrrific views and stunning beaches, Cornwall is famous for its fascinating history. Stone circles hint at the Pagan culture that has long been associated with the region, ruined castles speak of kingdoms long gone, and a rich history of maritime adventure and exploration is there to be uncovered. The county also played a key role in the history of mining, and UNESCO has given World Heritage Site status to 10 mining sites in the area. Now lying silent, many of the mines currently function as educational tourist attractions, with visitors able to explore the underground passageways and caves.
Of course, there are plenty of tourist attractions to be found above ground too, perhaps the most famous of which is the impressive Eden Centre – a truly groundbreaking take on the idea of a botanical garden. There are stunning historical sites maintained by the National Trust and Heritage, which are great places to spend a day and enjoy one of Cornwall’s famous cream teas, while family-friendly atractions such as Crealy Great Adventure Park and Dairyland Farm World are great places to visit with younger members of the tribe.
Grown-up alternatives include several excellent museums and galleries – such as the Tate St Ives, and all ages are impressed by the marine life on display at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay. The Seal Sanctuary at Gweef is also well worth a visit, and you’ll know your admission fee is going towards a good cause! Due to the nature of British weather, Cornwall is best explored during the summer months, although expect prices to rise during peak holiday season. The county is easily reached and explored by road or rail, making it a great alternative to spending your summer holiday abroad.