Weekend breaks Cornwall
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England's wild western corner is a paradise of white sandy beaches and majestic coastal cliffs. Crammed with intriguing historical attractions, you’ll find everything from mythical sites relating to Arthurian legends to Victorian manor houses and well-manicured estates. Add to this the great maritime tradition in strong foodie-oriented port towns like Padstow and you have the perfect weekend getaway location.
Cornwall is a mecca for British surfers, hosting one of the UK’s most important surfing competitions (English National Surfing Championships). There’s something here for all skill levels, including excellent surfing schools and excursions. Newquay's Fistral Beach is among the top surfing hubs to visit, with excellent shops and facilities. Other top spots include Sennen Cove and Gwithian Beach.
With links to Arthurian legends, this castle was once the residence of Cornwall’s Celtic rulers. The castle ruins hug the dramatic coastline, with portions accessible only by a bridge connecting an “island” to the mainland. There are more mythological links in the area too, including Merlin’s Cave below the castle and the ancient church of St Materiana, named after the supposed daughter of Vortimer.
This abbey-capped island off the coast of Cornwall is one of the UK’s most captivating sights. Connected to the mainland by a cobblestone causeway accessible in low-tide, the island has been an important pilgrimage site since the 5th century (at least). The trip across the causeway is a magical experience, with the Benedictine monastery at the centre providing showstopper views and impressive treasures.
Cornwall is among the most exciting places to wine and dine in England. With an excellent seafood and fish restaurant scene, you'll find beautiful crab and sizzling fish across the coast in charming bistros, pubs, cafes and Michelin-starred restaurants. Perfect for a romantic meal on the coast, Padstow and Port Isaac to the west are among the region’s top dining towns.
Having centuries-old mining infrastructure used to mine and produce tin, copper and arsenic, you’ll find evidence of this long and often difficult industry across the county. One of the treasured spots is Botallack (a filming location for the TV series Poldark) where you'll find the old Crown Mines along a dramatic cliff landscape, part of the St Junes Mining District. Mining largely halted in the late nineteenth century
This stylish boutique in the whitewashed village of Gorran Haven offers a slice of tranquillity close to two sandy beaches. With elegant rooms and a spectacular terrace, you can unwind beneath the stars after a long day surfing, swimming and sunbathing. What's more, spectacular tourist sites like Mevagissey and the Eden Project are just a short drive from the hotel, allowing you to enjoy a full, action-packed weekend away.
Located in the picture-postcard port town of Fowey, this hotel makes the perfect weekend retreat. Take a dip in a hot tub or indulge in a sensuous spa treatment in the hotel’s striking country house setting. Fowey is the perfect departure point for romantic coastal sailing excursions and riverside walks, and it’s close to a number of excellent attractions, including Lantic Bay, St Catherine's Castle and Lanhydrock.
St Ives is a charming beach town with a thriving arts scene and a plenitude of fine eateries and boutique shops. Explore this vibrant town with a romantic weekend in the St Ives Harbour Hotel. Ideally located with stunning views across Porthminster Bay, many of the rooms feature breathtaking balcony views and a range of top-notch amenities. If you’re looking to relax, look no further than the on-site pool and spa complex staffed by well-trained therapists.
Cornwall has much to offer in every season. If you’re looking to spend some quality time on the beach, the summer period is by far the best time to visit. Here, you’ll find favourable weather, warm waters and the perfect conditions for delicious al carte dining. However, the period between July and August are often the busiest windows, so aim for June and September if you hope to avoid the crowds. Colder seasons bring their own charm too at discounted rates, with bustling Christmas markets, Easter activities and spectacular autumn colours.
Cornwall is located at the westernmost tip of England. There is a small airport in Newquay, but the majority of incoming travel is by rail and road. Although major towns are well connected with a comprehensive train network, you’ll most likely find a car necessary if you want to visit the area’s top tourist sites and secluded spots at your own pace. Otherwise, weekend town trips by train are very convenient and stress-free.
You’ll find excellent coastal cuisine throughout Cornwall, but hotspots like Padstow and Port Isaac are renowned for their excellent seafood restaurants, including Rick Stein's famed seafood bar, cafe and restaurant.
Weekend breaks in Cornwall are perfect for sun and sand-seekers. You’ll find a number of fine white sandy beaches, secluded bays and breathtaking caves and coves across the county’s coastal landscape, as well as the top surfing spots in England. But you’ll also find an excellent and vibrant restaurant and shopping scene, with arts centres, bustling bistros and boutique shops to explore down winding cobblestone alleyways. Cornwall’s picturesque whitewashed cottages and charming village pubs round out the experience, making it among the country’s top romantic weekend getaways.