Your next historical find

Lost gardens of Heligan
Lost gardens of Heligan

Come and discover what life was like before our new-fangled inventions like running water and central heating. Cornwall has been home to people for thousands of years, and the mark they made upon the world is still here for all to see. There are medieval monuments like Tintagel or more modern marvels like the Lost Gardens of Heligan. For me, history is best enjoyed where it is still in action – so I’ve decided to show you a few examples of living history on my journey. Let’s go and discover the past, today!

A river with a story

Helford river
Helford river

A visit to the Helford Passage wouldn’t be complete without heading up the river to Frenchman’s Creek. It was the inspiration for Daphne du Maurier’s novel and is a romantic and secluded place to explore. In the summertime, the Helford Passage Regatta sees local families race the famous Anarth boats (made by local craftsmen) in aid of the local lifeboat.

One of our team here in Cornwall recently chartered The Constance, a Victorian cruiser turned floating restaurant that resides here on the Helford River. The boat is the picture of classic beauty and is fully-fitted with all the latest innovations like an electric engine. That means you’ll soon be drifting downstream, a plate of delicious food in front of you, captivated by the ever-changing scenery. Branches overhead, birds singing from the banks and the soft sounds of water – could there be any more relaxing way to get your history fix?

The castle in the sea

The sight of the castle rising from the sea on its precarious rocky outcrop will take your breath away. At St Michael’s Mount, there are garden terraces to explore, a medieval church to swoon over and a living community waiting to welcome you. As the tide goes out, the causeway is revealed and you can make the walk over to the island – with around four hours to explore before you’ll need to hotfoot it back to the mainland! Maybe a stay at Chimaya is in order so you can be the first ones over…

In legends, these rocks were inhabited by mermaids who would lure fishermen to their doom. Over the centuries past, the island has played host to miracles and magic, as well as violent scenes and wartime exploits. It really is a fascinating place to explore. 

Book your tickets in advance for St Michael’s Mount, as numbers are being carefully managed to allow everyone plenty of space. You’ll get a timed slot for entry to the gardens or castle. 

Cornish mining heritage

St Michael's Mount
St Michael's Mount

No visit to Cornwall is possible without coming across some fragment of the county’s rich mining past. The ‘Tin Coast’ is littered with carefully-preserved buildings that tell the stories of the people who once spent their days uncovering secrets buried within the earth. One of the best is Levant Mine and Beam Engine, a steam-powered marvel that is still up and running. You can descend the Man Engine tunnel on guided tours throughout the day. Or discover the secrets of the site amongst the remains of the pump engine house, compressor house and count house. 

There’s also lots of nature here, with choughs and peregrine falcons making regular appearances. Or take a stroll up to see the spring barley that is making the site an important food source for farmland birds.

The team at the National Trust are working hard to reopen Levant Mine as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can still enjoy the magnificent views of this fascinating site from the nearby coastal path.

Continue the journey

Let us take you on a journey to Cornwall from the comfort of your sofa! In these uncertain times, we’re bringing the best of England and Wales to you – so read on and experience favourite places to go and some hidden gems from Angela Jane, our manager for Cornwall. We’ve got plenty of nearby properties, and can’t wait to welcome you back soon…