For food lovers, East Cornwall offers an abundance of incredible locally produced food and drink available in restaurants, pubs and weekly farmers markets. A train line runs from the historic city of Plymouth in Devon, and follows the beautiful Tamar River to Gunnislake, making day trips without the car easy. A popular day out for those who like a local tipple is the Real Ale Trail. Passengers can disembark at different stops along the route for a drink at the local before venturing on to the next town or village.
East Cornwall's vibrant villages and bustling market towns offer a wealth of independent shops and restaurants, and there are also some incredible historic houses, public gardens to explore, and a rich agricultural history to discover.
The rivers and reservoirs in East Cornwall provide excellent fishing opportunities for keen anglers, with wild Salmon and Trout in abundance during the right season.
With so much to discover, a holiday in East Cornwall offers you the perfect opportunity to combine a few days rest with some rural adventures.
Launceston, at the top of the Tamar valley, was once the ancient capital of Cornwall. Dominated by the Castle built following the Norman Conquest, the town has retained much of its character. The enchanting Steam Railway has been lovingly restored, running for five miles through beautiful open countryside along the old North Cornwall Railway line.
History buffs and National Trust lovers will enjoy a day at the Cotehele Estate, near the village of Calstock. Once the ancestral home for the Edgcumbe family for centuries, the Tudor house overlooks the River Tamar and is decorated with tapestries, arms and armour and old oak furniture. The beautiful gardens include a medieval stew pond and two orchards, while the 18thCentury Prospect Tower offers wonderful views of the Calstock viaduct, Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor and Plymouth Sound.
The small village of Calstock is overlooked by the aforementioned Calstock viaduct which links Cornwall with Devon by rail. The village is famed for an eclectic festival scene while it is also a great place for hiring canoes and taking a paddle down the river.
For a leisurely day out, the St Mellion International Resort offers stunning Jack Nicklaus Signature & Kernow Golf Courses. The Health Club and Spa is the perfect place to relax and unwind with 3 swimming pools, fitness facilities and spa treatments.
Just a few miles east, on the banks of the River Tamar the small village of Cargreen offers a tranquil settng and a blissful escape from the hustle and bustle. There are beautiful views towards Devon and a peaceful slipway where small boats can be launched.
A Tudor house and estate with delightful collections, a garden and its own quay, Cotehele was the ancestral home of the Edgcumbe family and is perched high on the hill above the River Tamar. Decorated with tapestries, armour and lots of original features, the inside is testament to its adoring owners while outside there are formal terraces and a valley garden to get lost in, which includes a medieval stewpond and dovecote leading down to the river. It’s peaceful and tranquil and a delightful place to explore while you’re visiting Cornwall, plus they have an excellent restaurant in the 15th century barn, serving homemade cakes, hot soups, wine, ale and lager.
In a Georgian building on Fore Street, that was once the Corn Exchange, Lostwithiel Museum has also been a school room, a butchers, a magistrate’s court and the town jail in its time. These days, things are a little less dramatic but no less interesting, housing the Guildhall, which is used for meetings of Lostwithiel Town Council, above the museum. Showcasing the town’s local history with a number of displays including local ceramics, agricultural tools, wartime memorabilia, medals and minerals, it’s a charming introduction to the area and a charitable organization to visit when you’re in this pretty little town in Cornwall.
The Axminster Inn is a friendly, traditional pub near the town centre with a real log fire for the winter months, and a lovely enclosed beer garden to enjoy in the warmer weather. Offering a good range of real ales and good-value home-cooked food including breakfasts, lunchtime and evening meals and Sunday roasts.
Axminster Inn, Silver St, Axminster EX13 5AH (T: 01297 34947)
A spacious, grey sand beach that’s popular with families, Seaton Beach enjoys views across the green, surrounding countryside and walks in Seaton Valley nearby. At low tide the beach stretches all the way from Seaton Beach to Downderry Beach. There are facilities close by and there is are two car parks as well as road parking, but it does get busy quickly in the summer. The beach is great for surfing, but do be wary of undercurrents. There’s also a café and beach shop close by as well. Dogs are welcome at the beach all year round.