CORNWALL

UK SW England Cornish coastCornwall is the place to come in Britain when you have a craving for surf and sand. A many-fabled land of cliffs, fishing ports, and art, Cornwall has long attracted holidaymakers. Cornwall has Britain's longest continuous stretch of coastline so there are seaside towns for every taste: from the surf haven Bude and gourmet paradise Padstow to laidback Polperro and family friendly Newquay. Cornwall's only city is Truro, making it a perfect escape for urbanites: the county's dramatic natural landscapes and slow-paced villages draw in many.

Cornwall has been inhabited since the late Bronze Age and was home to a number of related Celtic tribes who left behind a great many interesting sites like dolmen tombs and standing stones. Cornwall has long had a reputation for being different to the rest of England and in fact it has a somewhat fraught relationship with the rest of the country. There are often calls for separation and autonomy. The Cornish language, still spoken up until the 19th century, is in the process of being revived – However, you will not find it as ubiquituous as Cymraeg is in Wales. Its rich local culture is evident in its music, literature, art, and in its cooking. Visitors to the county should not leave without trying traditional Cornish pasties, clotted cream (and the many delectable sweets that it is used to make), or some of the seafood that comes in fresh from the sea everyday.

Layout

Cornwall is shaped like a tail, jutting out to the southwest of England. There are a variety of bus and rail options for getting around. The first place you should visit to find out more is www.cornwall.gov.uk/publictransport, where you can find information about buses, trains, planes, and ferries too. Check out the Ride Cornwall ticket, an unlimited day ticket that allows for travel on all rail and most bus services. Tickets cost £10 for adults and can be bought on buses and trains. For more information about flying into Cornwall, visit www.newquaycornwallairport.com.
 

 


Bude
UK SW England Tintagel Bude [pop.9,200] is a seaside resort in the north of Cornwall that is well-known for its waves – indeed, it has been called the 'Bondi of Britain' by Australian surfers. Britain's first Surf Life Saving Club was formed here in 1953 to combat the strong waves of the Atlantic.

Sights
Bude's other great claim to fame is no less aquatic: Bude Canal was a transport artery for many years, running mineral rich sands to Launceston for use in agriculture and bringing back local produce. Now it is used by pleasure boaters.

Tintagel  Castle
T
he dramatic ruins of Tintagel Castle [Bossiney Road, +44 1840779084, www.english-heritage.org.uk, Adults £5.50] date from the 13th century but since the 12th the site has been associated with the legend of King Arthur. It was then that Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote his Historia Regum Britanniae. He wrote that Arthur was conceived at Tintagel when Merlin magically disguised the amorous Uthur Pendragon as the husband of his beloved Igraine. Lord Afred Tennyson rekindled the public's fascination with the Arthurian legend and the romantic Tintagel Castle in his Idylls of the King, published in the 19th century. There are a couple of interesting tours and, at low tide, you can climb below the castle to visit Merlin's Cave.

The castle is also associated with the Tristan and Isolde romance. It is said that Tristan, the nephew of the local Celtic King Mark, lived and loved here.

The nearby village of Tintagel [pop.1800] is noteworthy for its many souvenir shops selling Arthurian trinkets and also for the Old Post Office [Fore Street, +44 1840 770024, www.nationaltrust.org.uk, Adults £3.80], a beautiful Cornish farmhouse dating back to the 14th century. It briefly served as the village post office during the Victorian period. 


Padstow
UK SW England Padstow harbourPadstow [pop.3,200] is a fishing port on the north coast of Cornwall that is well known for its gentrified character. It offers excellent seafood; in particular, it offers Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant [Riverside, +44 1841532700, www.rickstein.com, bookings online or by phone]. Stein, a British celebrity chef, is largely credited with the revival of Padstow (he now owns many other establishments, including a fish and chip shop, in the town) and many tourists come to the town for the express purpose of eating in his restaurant.

Sights
If seafood isn't your thing, you could take advantage of one of the walking trails: The South West Coastal Path is Britain's longest signposted trail, stretching over 1000km from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset; Saints' Way runs 41km from Padstow to Fowey and is thought to follow the path that early Christians took as part of their journey from Ireland to Europe; and the Camel Trail Cycleway is popular with walkers, cyclists, and horse-riders and it runs around 28km from Padstow to Bodmin, following the path of the old railway.

Visit on May Day and witness the 'Obby 'Oss Festival – there's singing, there's dancing, there's drinking, and there are a couple of randy hobby horses out to catch the town maidens.

Newquay
UK SW England Newquay Beautiful beach in England O
n the north coast of Cornwall stands the seaside resort town of Newquay [pop.19,600]. With its waves, its bars, and its pleasant climate, Newquay rivals many European seaside resorts in popularity, a fact which has its good and bad points. On the one hand, Newquay can offer a well-rounded holiday for families and groups but on the other, during the heights of the summer season, the town can take on a somewhat tacky aspect. Nine sandy beaches lure surfers from near and far. Of these beaches Fistral Beach is the most famous and regularly plays host to international surfing competitions; Towan Beach is central and easily accessed but surfing it not allowed here; Crantock Beach is notable for its sand dunes; and Holywell Bay and Perran Beach both offer caves and stone arches.

Layout
Newquay Train Station is situated on Station Parade. Buses are available outside the station. Alternatively, you could fly into Newquay Cornwall Airport [St.Mawgan, +44 1637860600, www.newquaycornwallairport.com], around 5km north of Newquay. Buses and taxi services are available to bring travellers into the town. Check the website for details.

Sights
Trenance Leisure Gardens are the perfect choice if you're visiting Newquay with your family. The grounds of the park contain a boating lake, golf – both 'crazy' and sane, as well as a miniature railway and opportunities for horse-riding.

Trenance Leisure Gardens also hold Newquay Zoo [Edgcumbe Road, www.newquayzoo.org.uk, £10.10]. Lions, lemurs, monkeys, and rabbits – there are many different kinds of animals and a variety of daily events such as feedings and talks.

Trerice Manor House 64 [Kestle Mill, +44 1637875404, www.nationaltrust.org.uk, £7.70] was built in 1571 and it remains remarkably well-preserved to this day. A fine example of the Elizabethan manor house, it was built by the Arundell family and remained in their possession for 400 years. Aside from beautiful period furniture inside, outside visitors can enjoy the Summer Garden, a Tudor vegetable garden, and an orchard.

 
St Ives to Zennor Coastal Path
Head north out of St Ives and follow the curve of the Celtic Sea coast to the village of Zennor. This  section of the South West Coast Path [www.southwestcoastpath.com or contact the St Ives Tourist Information Centre, +44 1736 796297] stretches 17.9km and it is no simple stroll: the path is rough in places and some parts of it can be quite strenuous. However, all the hard work is worth it. The area around Zennor in particular has been recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and an Environmentally Sensitive Area. Zennor itself is a scenic spot, which D.H. Lawrence once called “the most beautiful place, lovlier even than the Mediterranean”. There is also a magnificent Neolithic dolmen tomb just outside the village. 

 



 



St Ives       
UK SW England St. Ives harbour still sea, CornwallNamed for Saint Ia, an Irish princess who brought Christianity to the area, St Ives [pop.11,200] is a gorgeous seaside town with a reputation for the arts and sunny days at the beach. It has been a large and important pilchard fishing harbour since the medieval period and the boats continue to go out to this day. However, artists since Turner have favoured the town for its breathtaking light and its bohemian local culture. St Ives is now more famous amongst the town's many tourists for its cobbled alleys, chic boutiques, galleries, and art schools.

Layout
Situated on the coast of the Celtic Sea, St Ives is a small, compact and easily traversed town. The train station in in the south east of the town, close to the coast. It is only a short walk north into the centre of town where there are buses available.

Sights
Tate St Ives [Porthmeor Beach, +44 1736 796226, www.tate.org.uk/stives, Adults Tate St Ives only £6.25, Barbara Hepworth Museum only £5.25, admission to both £9.75] has brought together an excellent collection of British and international modern and contemporary art. There is a particular focus upon the development of the local arts scene, which has included artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo and Peter Lanyon.

It is possible to buy a joint entry ticket and visit the Barbara Hepworth Museum too. The museum is housed in Hepworth's old studio. Hepworth was British sculptor who experimented with bronze, stone, and wood. Many of the pieces were positioned in the garden by Hepworth.

The St Ives September Festival [+44 1736 366077, www.stivesseptemberfestival.co.uk] is an annual festival of the arts with music, poetry, film, books, and a range of talks. Besides the events at the festival, many artists throw open their studios to the public and there is often free live music in the town's pubs. It runs for 15 days and has been running since 1978.

The Wayside Folk Museum [Zennor, +44 1736 796945, ] has a large collection of objects relating to rural life in the area. It covers a huge period – from 3000 BC to the 1950s.

There are galleries for every taste in St Ives but here a couple that you shouldn't miss: the Art Space [The Wharf, +44 1736 799744, www.artspace-cornwall.co.uk] is run by seven female artists so it has an interesting range of styles and media; the New Craftsman [24 Fore Street, +44 1736 795692, www.newcraftsmanstives.co.uk] is almost 50 years old, possibly making it the town's oldest gallery. It has a collection of Cornish art and crafts; the Porthminster Gallery [3 Fernlea Terrace, +44 1736 793978, www.porthminstergallery.co.uk] includes works by David Hockney, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, and John Piper.


Penzance      
UK SW England Land's end, CornwallIt is, it is a glorious thing to be a pirate king... in Penzance [pop.21,200] if Gilbert and Sullivan are to be believed. They set their 1879 musical here when Penzance was a fashionable seaside resort. It still retains some of this vibe but it's not as pretty nor as genteel as some other former Victorian holiday hotspots. Its name means 'holy headland' in the Cornish language as, around a thousand years ago, there was a chapel dedicated to St Anthony atop the headland near the harbour. In fact, the history of Penzance is far more ancient, with evidence placing people in the area during the Bronze Age. With less of a touristy edge to the town, it makes a good base for exploring the region.

Layout
Penzance is located on the south coast of Cornwall in Mounts Bay. You can travel by train from London to Penzance, the last stop on the Cornish Main Line. Outside Penzance's train station you can easily find bus transport into the town. Most places of interest are clustered around the coast to the south of the train station.


Land's End       
The southwestern tip of England, the aptly named Land's End, is an attractive cluster of cliffs that is often used as the southern marker of distance in charity walks, rides, and other events. The other end, the northern marker, is John o' Groats in Scotland, which lies 1,349km away. There are a couple of options when it comes to marking the occasion: you could visit the theme park at Land's End and pay to have your photo taken beside the famous signpost (and no, you take your own photos); you could begin the long hike to John o' Groats; or you could take a stroll to Sennen Cove from which there are some beautiful views.

 


The Lizard
UK SW England the lizardThe Lizard is a small peninsula in south Cornwall and it is the most southerly point of mainland Britain. Before you assume the area is overrun with reptiles, be assured that the name probably comes from the Cornish 'Lys Ardh' meaning 'high court'. However, the land or rather the sea around it does have a fearsome reputation: there have been so many shipwrecks off the coast of The Lizard that it has come to be called the 'Graveyard of Ships'.

The area has played a considerable role in the development of communications technology. For instance, the Lizard Wireless Telegraph Station was established by Marconi here in 1900 and in 1901 from Poldhu Wireless Station he transmitted a message across the Atlantic.

Above all, The Lizard is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a region of warm sunny days and colourful flowers. 


Helston
Helston [pop.9,800] is the southernmost town in the UK. On the banks of the River Cober, it is an attractive market town which is most famous for Flora Day on May 8. On this day, the Furry (or Floral) Dance takes place, a treasured local custom which may date back to medieval times. The Helston Town Band plays a traditional song for four separate dances throughout the day. In the evening, St George and St Michael slay the dragon and the Devil.


Helford  
Helford is a sleepy village 8km southwest of Falmouth on the Helford River but it was once an important port, receiving rum, tobacco, and lace from Europe. Daphne du Maurier wrote a romantic novel about this romantic stretch of waterway where pirates and traders mingled in the mist. If you take the ferry down river, you can explore some of the surrounding villages such as Trebah and Glendurgan with their lovely gardens or Gweek with its celebrated seal sanctuary. You can find out more about Helford River's ferries by visiting Helford River Boats at http://helford-river-boats.co.uk or visiting their kiosk at Helford Passage.



Lizard Pt.   
Lizard Point is the southern most point of the British mainland and it has long put fear into the hearts of sailors. The seas around the point are notoriously dangerous and have brought death and destruction to many men and ships. The area is quite beautiful with dramatic cliffs and wild flowers and it is also well known for its interesting geology. The serpentine that is common to the area is often carved into attractive ornaments.

The area around Lizard Point is famous for its contributions to telecommunication technology. Marconi built the Lizard Wireless Station here and another such station at Poldhu. From the latter he first sent messages across the Atlantic to Newfoundland in 1901. Today you can visit the Lizard Marconi Wireless Station [Nr Lizard Village, http://lizardwireless.org] and see the original equipment and learn about the history of the station.

 




 

Falmouth
UK SW England Falmouth BayFalmouth [pop.21,700] is a maritime town with beautiful beaches and interesting heritage to explore. Falmouth, combined with the waterway Carrick Roads, has the third deepest harbour in the world and it was an important port from the 17th-19th centuries.

Sights
Falmouth's beaches are a big attraction with families and young people. Gyllyngvase Beach is the most popular for its favourable conditions, good facilities, and relative proximity from town (about 10 minutes). Castle Beach and Tunnel Beach, both exposed, can get a little windy while Swanpool and Maenporth beaches have a more secluded atmosphere as they are both within their own coves.

The National Maritime Museum Cornwall [Discovery Quay, +44 1326 313388, www.nmmc.co.uk, £9.50] tells the story of the British love of the sea, with a particular focus upon the region of Cornwall. The museum holds the National Small Boat Collection as well as a wealth of archival material and objects related to life on the sea. The building itself was contructed to make the most of its relationship with Falmouth Harbour: the Look-Out provdes views across the water while the Tidal Zone brings visitors up close with the underwater world of the harbour.

UK SW England Pendennis CastlePendennis Castle [Castle Close, +44 1326 316594, www.english-heritage.org.uk, £6.30] was constructed by Henry VIII in 1539, as one of a string of castles designed to oppose the threat of invasion by the French and Spanish. The castle was strengthened again by Elizabeth I in 1598 and then further reinforced prior to the English Civil War. During this time it became a Royalist stronghold and it was the penultimate of such fortresses to submit to the Parliamentarians. Aside from admiring the beautifully preserved castle, visitors can enjoy a wide programme of events from christmas carols to ghost tours.


Roseland Peninsula
Roseland Peninsula (or simply Roseland) is a picturesque mix of beaches and cliffs, attractive villages, and pleasant countryside. St Mawes is a fishing village with a couple of very good beaches that are good for water sports. There is also a sturdy castle, built by Henry VII in the 16th century. Not far north of St Mawes, about 3km along a scenic footpath, is the village of St Just-in-Roseland with its picturesque grey church.

The entrance to the village of Veryan is marked by thatched circular white walled cottages called Roundhouses. They were built in the 19th century by the Trist family to protect the village from evil, counting on the belief that the devil would have nowhere to hide in a circular building.

 



Fowey
UK SW England fowey F
owey [pop.2,300] is a town on the River Fowey in southern Cornwall. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the steep and narrow streets of Fowey look over the peaceful, but popular, river and its natural harbour. For much of her life, novelist Daphne du Maurier called this town home and held a deep affection for the area.

Sights
The Du Maurier Literary Centre [5 South Street, +44 1726 833616, www.fowey.co.uk] offers exhibitions about the author as well as other writers who have been associated with Fowey.

Fowey Parish Church [Church Ave, +44 1726 833091, www.foweyparishchurch.org] has an ancient pedigree, dating back to possibly before the 6th century. In the 7th century Saint Fin Barr established a church here, one that was later to be rebuilt in the 14th century after attacks by pirates.

St. Catherine's Castle [+44 1179750700, www.english-heritage.org.uk, free entry] now lies in ruins but it was commissioned by Henry VIII to protect Readymoney Cove from raids by the Spanish.


UK SW England Restormel castle in Cornwall Restormel Castle
The grand circular sweep of the keep of the 12th century  Restormel Castle [Restormel Road, Lostwithiel, +44 1208 872687, www.english-heritage.org.uk, £3.40] is still an impressive sight despite the site's destruction in the period after the English Civil War. The castle began as a motte and bailey structure in around 1100 and over successive centuries became a luxurious residence, particularly under the ownership of Edmund, 2nd Earl of Cornwall.  The castle is an authentic Norman structure, enclosed by a deep ditch (believed to be a moat) and lush greenery; and is believed to have been founded by Robert, Count of Mortain. The partially ruined castle still retains its basic form, whereby you can still see a series of steps leading you from the first floor to the battlements in the second storey.

 

UK Cornwall Polperro fishing villagePolperro
P
olperro [pop.5,300] is a fishing village on the River Pol and on the south-eastern coast of Cornwall. A happy jumble of cottages cluster around a small harbour and create a cozy and relaxing atmosphere that has been valued by visitors since the middle of the 20th century. Adding to this laidback feel is the absence of cars. All tourists must leave their vehicles in a car park at Crumplehorn and walk just under a kilometre to the village and harbour. For such a small place, Polperro has a lot of character. Don't miss the fascinating Polperro Heritage Museum of Fishing and Smuggling [The Warren, Polperro Harbour, +44 1503272423, www.polperro.org/museum.html, Adults £1.75].

 

UK SW England Looe Cornwall Sunken boats in Looe CornwallLooe
F
amous for shark fishing, the town of Looe [pop.5,300] was once two separate settlements. Now, straddling the River Looe, a seven arch bridge that was built in the 19th century joins East and West Looe. East Looe has sandy beach, Banjo Pier, many restaurants, the Old Guildhall, and ever useful the railway station. West Looe, apart from its hotels and restaurants, has a slightly wilder geography with high cliffs and pebble beaches.

Sights
The Old Guildhall Museum [Higher Market Street, +44 1503262070, £1.80] follows the history of the town as a fishing and mining port. The museum also covers the intriguing history of Looe Island.

Looe Island or St George's Island is quite famous today for the two sisters who, until recently, owned and looked after it. It was aso the site of a Benedictine monastic order from the 12th century but very few traces remain of this today. The island is uniquely beautiful and its climate is quite mild. Indeed, it is an oft quoted fact that daffodils grow on the island even in the depths of winter. To get to the island, make a visit to the Lifeboat Station in East Looe. There you can find ferry times and more information.

 

 

Truro
UK SW England Truro gothic cathedralT
ruro [pop.17,500] is a fascinating little city in the centre of western Cornwall on the confluence of the rivers Kenwyn and Allen and not far from the coast. Its cobbled streets have long been pounded by eager shoppers and enthusiasts for Georgian architecture alike.

Sights
The Royal Cornwall Museum [River Street, +44 1872272205, www.royalcornwallmuseum.org.uk, free entry], administered by the Royal Insitution of Cornwall, has a diverse collection that encompasses local, national, and international archaeology, natural history, and the world of art with works by Turner, Rosetti, Rubens, Burne-Jones, and a number of local Cornish artists.

There's always something on around the charming piazza at Lemon Quay. There are regular markets and fairs, the most famous of which is the Christmas market, a very European celebration of food, music, and crafts.

Truro's beautiful cathedral [St. Mary's Street, +44 1872276782, www.trurocathedral.org.uk, free entry] was built in the 19th century. Constructed in the Gothic Revival style, its creamy spires seem far older than their calendar age.


UK SW England eden project BiodomesEden Project
R
ising out of the Cornish land like partially submerged golf balls, the Eden Project [Bodelva, +44 1726811911, www.edenproject.com, Adult ticket at the door £22] is an innovative enterprize that endeavors to research and promote environmental awareness. The centre was built on a disused Kaoline clay pit. Two large enclosures house plants from all over the world, with the first cluster of domes mimicking a tropical climate and the second providing a Mediterranean environment. There is also an uncovered outdoor 'biome' environment which holds plants suited to temperate climates like tea, lavender, and sunflowers.

You can see the world's largest greenhouse, the world's largest rainforest in captivity, and some weird and wonderful sculptures too. The Core is the project's educational facility and it is a stunning architectural work in its own right. The building's roof was designed with the Fibacci sequence in mind, a mathematical understanding of the growth patterns of plants.

The Eden Sessions bring music to the domes every summer. Past headliners have included Amy Winehouse, Lilly Allen, The Verve, and Oasis.


UK SW England bodmin moor the cheesewringBodmin Moor
B
odmin Moor sweeps across 208 kilometres square of northeastern Cornwall. It is a remote, harshly beautiful landscape of granite tors, mists, and heather upland that has been judged an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Infused with Arthurian legend, the land is dotted by Neolithic and Bronze Age stone monuments like cairns and stone circles.

Sights
Bodmin Moor's tors rise out of the landscape in impressive sweeps of granite. The tallest, Brown Willy, stands at 420m while Rough Tor is not far behind at 400m.

Near the village of Minions are the fantastic Cheesewring and the Hurlers. The Cheeswring are oddly shaped and precariously balanced stones that were shaped by the wind, while the Hurlers are three stone circles that are rumoured to be the magically petrified forms of men who were caught hurling on the Sabbath.
 
King Arthur's Hall consists of 56 stones arranged in a rectangle surrounded by a bank of earth.

A small lake on Bodmin Moor is also associated with the Arthurian legend. Dozmary Pool was reputed to be the home of the Lady of the Lake and thus the site where King Arthur received the sword Excalibur. The ghost of a man who sold his soul to the devil is said to haunt the lake. Jan Tregeagle was condemned to empty the lake with a leaking limpet shell.

Jamaica Inn [Bolventor, +44 1566 86250, www.jamaicainn.co.uk], the haunt of smugglers made famous by Daphne du Maurier, now hosts a museum about the history of smuggling in the area as well as a few ghosts, if stories are to be believed. Stay in the hotel or simply enjoy a pint in the atmospheric bar. 

 

UK SW England cotehele manorCotehele House
O
n the banks of the River Tamar stands Cotehele House [St. Dominick, Near Saltash, +44 1579 351346, www.nationaltrust.org.uk, Adults £10]. It is one of the best preserved Tudor houses in the UK and one of the few to have retained much of its integrity. Begun in the 1300s, the house reflects a further two centuries of building by the Edgcume family. Inside the house is decorated with original furniture, tapestries, and suits of armour too. The house played host to royalty too: King Charles I stayed the night in the tower in 1644 while George III and Queen Charlotte were served breakfast in Queen Anne's Room in 1789.

Outside, there are graceful sloping gardens, a stewpond, a medieval dovecote, and a dock, in which the Shamrock floats. Constructed at the end of the 19th century, the Shamrock transported cargo on the river until the 1970s when she was acquired by the National Trust. The Shamrock still occasionally makes trips down the river.

 


 


UK SW England A white boat floating on clear sea, Isles of ScillyFascinating, deadly to ships, beautiful, the Isles of Scilly are an archipelago off the southwest of Cornwall. There are many islands but the inhabited ones are St Martin's, St Agnes, St Mary's, Bryher, and Tresco. They may once have formed one island called Ennor, the lowlands of which were lost to the sea in around 500AD. This in turn may have fuelled the numerous legends about a large island in the region, such as the Arthurian legend of the lost kingdom of Lyonesse.
The Scilly Isles have a mild warm climate and a laidback pace that make them the perfect place for a summer holiday or a winter retreat. There are a variety of water and outdoor sports on offer and some beautiful views to savour. The main airport is situated on St Mary's. Once there, the best way to get around between the islands is by boat. If you're staying on St Mary's, check out the Tourist Information Centre for times and prices. You can also visit www.simplyscilly.co.uk for a wealth of information about trips to the uninhabited islands, getting between the inhabited islands, and exploring other facets of life around the Isles by boat.

 The Scilly Isles have had their own unitary authority since 1890, but their historical and ceremonial links to Cornwall make it logical to treat them as an extention of this county.  If you come from the Isles of Scilly, it could be said that you are Scillonian.



Isle of St Martin's

 St Martin's [pop.142] is the northernmost of Scilly's populated isles. In the Cornish language it is called Brechiek meaning Dappled Island and the landscape is certainly varied. The south of the island has stretches of white sand and rock pools while the north is characterised by steep cliffs and purple heather.

There are three setlements on the island, the simply named Higher Town, Middle Town, and Lower Town. On the island there is one pub, one hotel, some cafes, and bakery. However, don't fear. There's plenty to do on St Martin's: you can visit the flower farms, tour the island's vineyard, go diving or snorkelling, or simply play tennis.

Take a walk to the northeast of the island and check out Britain's oldest dated beacon. Built from granite in 1683 (despite what it says above the archway), the red and white daymark is a pretty sight. 

 
  Isle of Bryher
 
UK SW England Isles of Scilly Perpitch beach, St. MartinsBryher [pop.83] is the smallest of Scilly's populated islands, covering a mere 327 acres. In the Cornish language and in fact it is literally the Land of Hills. However, it's also well known for its sandy beaches such as that at Rushy Bay. Bryher has a laidback pace and friendly, welcoming local community. Roads are limited to dirt tracks and along these you can find fresh vegetables for sale or even homemade fudge.

While on Bryher, visit the granite stacks at Shipman Head or Hell Bay, with its largely unfounded reputation as the destroyer of ships. Certainly, hire a glass-bottomed boat as the shallows around the island are clear and calm and there is much to see beneath the surface.

  

Isle of Tresco
 
UK SW England Isles of Scilly Maritime Museum 'Golden Figurehead'Tresco [pop.180] is the second biggest of the Isles of Scilly and it has some fascinating history. The island was a battleground during the English Civil War and the aftermath can still be seen today: there's King Charles' Castle, which was partially demolished to lend materials towards Cromwell's Castle; the Old Blockhouse was a gun tower that was used to defend Old Grimsby in the 1550s; and there's Oliver's Battery, built when the Parliamentarians had the upper hand on the Royalist island. Don't miss the Shipwreck Museum at Valhalla [Tresco Estate, +44 1720422849, http://www.nmm.ac.uk/about/the-organization/associated-museums/valhalla-..., £8.50, includes entry to tropical gardens] in the Abbey Garden. It holds the sternplates and figureheads from a number of ships that met their end in the waters off the islands.


Isle of St Mary's
St Mary's [pop.1,666] is the largest island in the Scilly group. The main town is Hugh Town where a visitor can find all the necessary amenities but there are other small settlements, making St Mary's a good base to explore the Scilly chain if you don't want to get quite so far away from it all. There are lots of opportunities for getting outside and participating in hiking, scuba diving, tennis, horse-riding, wind-surfing and more. There are some interesting historical sites to explore too: Telegraph Tower was used by Guglielmo Marconi in 1898 to receive wireless signals transmitted from Porthcurno; Porthellick Cove has a memorial to Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell who survived the naval disaster of 1707 when 4 ships were destroyed and 2000 sailors died; Harry's Walls are the unfinished remains of an artillery castle from the 1550s; the Garrison and Star Castle [St Mary's, +44 1720422317, www.star-castle.co.uk], which was built in 1593 to protect the town from the Spanish and is a striking example of Elizabethan ingenuity. The castle is shaped like an eight-pointed star and is now a hotel; and finally, the megalithic grave at Bant's Carn, which overlooks the sea.


UK SW England isles of scilly st. agnes 
Isle of St Agnes
St Agnes [pop.73] is a bright, breezy little island that is linked to the smaller Gugh island by a sandy causeway called The Bar. With rolling farmlands and flowerfields, there is an abundance of local produce to enjoy including organic vegetables, meat, milk, eggs, honey, chocolate, and ice cream. It's a great place to visit if you have children, not only because of the delicious ice cream but  because the island offers all the usual seaside holiday activities plus a couple of cool extras: Beady Pool at Wingletang will be a favourite with children – you can hunt through the sand for glass and terracotta beads, the remnants of a Dutch shipwreck in the 18th century; and Troytown Maze, also known as the Game of Troy, is a beach pebble maze on Castella Down. It's thought to have been built in the medieval period by a lighthouse keeper. 



 


 


 






        
 

 


       



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Points of Interest:   1. Bude  2. Tintagel  3. Padstow  4. Newquay  5. Trerice Manor House  6. Truro  7. Fowey  8. Restormel Castle  9. Polperro  10. Looe  11. Cotehele House  12. Bodmin Moor Region  13. Roseland Peninsula  14. Falmouth  15. Lizard Peninsula  16. Helston  17. Lizard Point  18. St Ives  19. South West Coastal Path  20. St Michaels Mount  21. Penzance  22. Land’s End