Cornish to the Core: Cornwall's Curious Heritage Attractions
A place of ancient legends and mystery, rugged coastline and quirky buildings, Cornwall has more than its fair share of curious heritage attractions. Visitors to this beautiful part of England will be spoilt for choice with the vast range of unusual and interesting places to see on their holiday. Here are a few ideas:
St Michael's Mount
Approached by boat or by foot across a man-made causeway at low tide, the oldest buildings on St Michael's Mount date back to the 12th century. A small rocky island in Mounts Bay, the location is truly breathtaking viewed from both afar and up close. Today, visitors to this famous retreat can enjoy views from the medieval castle, take in the sub-tropical garden terraces and hear tales of Jack the Giant Killer.
Made famous by the Daphne du Maurier novel of the same name, Jamaica Inn was built in 1750 and is known for its connections with smugglers from along the Cornish coast. Located on the atmospheric Bodmin Moor where the mists descend quickly and wild ponies roam, today the Inn is a pub and restaurant that also contains a museum detailing the history of smuggling in the area.
Britain’s most south-westerly point, Lands End is an iconic Cornish landmark. Some come to enjoy the stunning views out to sea from the cliffs and to spot the Longship Lighthouse a mile offshore, while others are drawn by the promise of great birdlife and the hope of spotting a dolphin. Have your photograph taken at the famous signpost (only 874 miles to John O’Groats!), visit Arthur’s Quest, a new attraction that tells the story of King Arthur and Camelot, or simply go to say you have been there.
Lost Gardens of Heligan
After decades of neglect, the Lost Gardens of Heligan were unveiled to much acclaim in the early 1990s. If you enjoy your flora you will fall in love with this place because the chances are you have never seen a garden quite like this. Plants have been taken from around the world from New Zealand ferns and banana trees to giant rhubarb and tunnels of bamboo. Wild areas are set aside for ancient woodland and native plants to encourage wildlife. Visitors must also look out for the wonderful Giant’s Head and enchanting Mud Maid in this deeply mysterious place.
Museum of Witchcraft, Bocastle
Containing the largest collection of artefacts relating to witchcraft in the world, the Museum of Witchcraft at Bocastle is a must for visitors interested in the world of the occult. The museum is split into sections with areas dedicated to subjects such as Satanism, Wicca, white witches and stone circles. Packed with objects and pictures, the museum also has a library of over 3,000 books relating to witchcraft that can be viewed on request.
Set in the heart of the Tamar Valley, history comes alive at Morwellham Quay, a historic river port that has been turned into a remarkable open air museum. The site includes a restored 19th century village, a Victorian farm, a copper mine that can be toured by train, and docks and quays where guides dressed in period costume take visitors around and give them a taste of the past. In 2006, the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape area where Morwelham Quay is located was awarded World Heritage Site status.
Jubilee Pool, Penzance
Harking back to the heyday of lidos in the 1930s, the Jubilee Pool is a beautiful outdoor swimming pool jutting out into Mounts Bay near the harbour at Penzance. Designed to cope with the waves of the Cornish seas, the pool is triangular in shape but has gentle curves at the corners and is one of the finest examples of Art Deco lidos in the country. A swim here is not just refreshing, it’s also taking a dip back in time.
Located on the peninsula of Tintagel Island and reached by a bridge, the ruins of Tintagel Castle are all that is left of a medieval fortification famous for its long association with the legends of King Arthur. Now managed by English Heritage, this wonderfully evocative place is set on a rugged headland where visitors can’t help but be drawn into the world of Merlin, and Tristan and Isolde as they take in the dramatic sea views.