From lost gardens and castle ruins to golden coves and harbour waters, the enchanting county of Cornwall continues to captivate all those who visit.
To keep up with your insatiable appetite for all things Kernow, Mr Toad has been scrolling through Instagram to find seven of the most beautiful places in Cornwall, guaranteed to get your cameras snapping…
Exquisitely carved into the cliffs of Porthcurno is one of the most beautiful open-air stages in the British Isles. The Minack Theatre is a world-famous amphitheatre celebrated not only for its impressively long and unerring history of theatrical productions but also for its breathtaking views across the sparkling waters of Porthcurno Bay.
The theatre began to take shape in the early 1930s, the vision of local impresario Rowena Cade, and stands today as a first-class venue for both amateur and professional productions, attracting an audience of more than 100,000 people over the course of a year.
St Michael’s Mount
Journey to the gleaming waters of Mount’s Bay and walk the ancient cobbled causeway on the ebbing tide to discover one of Cornwall’s most iconic landmarks. St Michael’s Mount is a tidal island steeped in legend and history, the site of a hallowed medieval church and imposing castle. From its intricate stained-glass windows to its canon-lined battlements, when you explore the age-old ramparts, halls and passageways you’ll find magnificent architecture and riveting features at every turn. Take in the island’s glorious views from the subtropical terraced garden, an opportunity to enjoy the sanctity of this unique outcrop that’s governed by the tides and defiant to the sea.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Lost in the undergrowth of an old family estate, then lovingly restored by a dedicated team of determined gardeners, The Lost Gardens of Heligan remains one of Cornwall’s most cherished horticultural enclaves. Buried under fallen rubble in the overgrown corner of the old walled garden were the following words etched into the limestone Don’t come here to sleep or slumber, a moto that continues to inspire all those who dig and till the healthy botanical soils of Heligan which today stretch for 200 acres across the gorgeous Cornish countryside near the old sea port of Mevagissey.
Learn all about the productive gardens where more than 300 varieties of fruits, vegetable, salad and herbs are grown, then explore the pleasure grounds to find creative organic structures and flamboyant artistic features among the historic pathways and sun-dappled trails. Walk one of the longest Burmese rope bridges in Britain and discover the woods and meadows beyond, home to a fascinating array of native creatures.
A place where wild ponies roam the heather-bound hummocks and old Kernow folklore echoes in the crannies of ancient granite tors, Bodmin Moor is one of the UK’s most cherished wild places. Here, amid the remoteness of these brooding uplands you can follow historic cattle paths, smugglers’ trails and herder’s ways for miles without encountering a single soul; from the stone circles at Stripple Stones Henge to the sweeping views at the summit of Brown Willy, there’s no better place in the whole of this beguiling county to exercise your right to roam. Walk in the footsteps of Captain Ross Poldark and embrace the haunting landscape that inspired such classics as writer Daphne du Maurier’s period masterpiece, Jamaica Inn.
Our next setting has twice been awarded Best UK Seaside Town by the British Travel Awards and continues to charm the bloomers off all those who visit. The once thriving fishing port of St Ives is now one of Cornwall’s most popular coastal resorts, and it’s easy to see why when you view some of the delightful snaps of this characterful town being shared on Instagram. One of the most celebrated views is from St Ives Harbour towards the sugar-soft sands at Porthminster Beach where on a summer’s day the Celtic sea sparkles turquoise as it gently laps the crescent shoreline. Judging by the photos we’ve seen, you’ll have to remind yourself that this is mainland Britain and not a Mediterranean island paradise.
Nowhere else in the West Country captures the romance of Arthurian legend more than the castle ruins at Tintagel on the rugged North Cornwall headland. With majestic coastal views at every pass, Tintagel Castle is a place where history and myth intertwine to unlock the secrets of this once Dark Age settlement turned royal stronghold and thriving seaport. From the castle story stones to the beachy crags of Merlin’s cave, Tintagel Castle has been the inspiration for writers, poets and artists for centuries, so it comes as no surprise that it also provides a glorious and dramatic backdrop for so many of your holiday photos.
The soft, white sands and aquamarine waters of Porthcurno Beach are one of the treasures of the Cornish coast. The beach lies beneath towering cliffs upon which sits Logan Rock, an 80-ton granite boulder and the most famous of the stacks that perch here, gazed upon by the swimmers below. Here, on a cloudless summer’s day the sky and sea share an endless azure horizon and the hours pass as effortlessly as the changing of the ocean tides. It’s little wonder that this beautiful Cornish beach remains a frequent Instagram hit.
If you like what you see, why not browse through our long list of Cornish holiday cottages and start planning you West Country escape.