Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall
The most southerly point of Britain; Cornwall is situated in the south west of England, it is geographically and historically quite separate from the rest of the country, with its own Cornish culture and character and the of course the famous Cornish Riviera.
Virtually cut away from the rest of England by the River Tamar running from the Irish Sea in the north of the region, to the English Channel in the south, Cornwall stretches out to the Atlantic in the west, stopping dramatically at Land’s End , Britain’s most southerly point.
Cornwall is home to an ancient Celtic culture and the legends of King Arthur , while the Cornish coast is famed for its stunning scenery, secret smuggler’s coves, quaint fishing villages and fabulous seafood.
In ancient times, Cornwall was known as Kernow, a sea bound trading post among the Celts of Ireland, Wales , Brittanny in France and the west of Scotland . Kernow was virtually autonomous from the rest of Britain; it even had its own language, which survived up until the 18th Century. Elements of the Cornish language survive in Cornish place names like Penzance or Cornish saints such as St Petroc and patron of the traditional Cornish Flag; St Piran.
Cornwall is a place steeped in Arthurian legend. King Arthur is said to have been born at Tintagel Castle , whose lofty ruins cling to the cliff side on the north coast of Cornwall. Dozmary Pool in Bodmin Moor is said to be where the Lady of the Lake holds Arthur’s sword Excalibur. And according to folklore King Arthur is buried at Glastonbury in the neighbouring county of Somerset.
Cornwall’s historic character is outlined by picturesque fishing villages, with stories of smuggler’s coves and hidden treasures, dotting the coastline. While Cornwall’s defunct tin mining industry is evidenced in the ruins of old smelting chimneys and the atmospheric landscape around the former tin mines of Truro and St Austell.
Visitors flock to St Austell Bay, known as the Cornish Riviera, with attractive seaside towns at Fowey Polperro, and Looe. But the more discerning traveller will head to the west coast of Cornwall. Here in this far corner of England, you’ll find the pretty village of St Ives, a 17th Century fishing village dating, now a virtual artists colony with its own Tate Gallery. Further north along the coast is the small port of Padstow , still one of Cornwall’s main fisheries, and Cornwall’s culinary capital, home to famous chef Rick Stein and his collection of restaurants specialising in the very best local seafood.
Literary buffs and fans of Cornish author Daphne Du Maurier may want to head to the eerie moors of Bodmin in the north of Cornwall. On the edges of the moors in the town of Bolventor you’ll find the Jamaica Inn, from Du Maurier’s tales of Cornish smugglers.
Cornwall is a unique destination that is sure to captivate the imagination and capture your hearts.