Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, St Neot is a small, picturesque village sitting on the edge of Bodmin Moor in East Cornwall. Perfectly located for exploring both the North and South Cornish coasts, which can be reached within a half hour’s drive, St Neot also benefits from its proximity to the neighbouring moorlands which offer spectacular walking opportunities.
The village is home to an ancient church famous for its medieval stained glass windows, a cosy dog-friendly pub, a monthly local produce market and many quirky carnivals and festivals throughout the year.
The family-friendly, all-weather Carnglaze Caverns can be found just outside of St Neot and consist of three man-made caverns formed as part of a slate quarry. The caverns can be toured at any time of the year and at a constant 10°C, it is the perfect retreat on a hot summer’s day. The lowest of the caverns has a small lake and the attraction also has 6.5 acres of beautiful woodlands with an Enchanted Dell with faeries, dragons, hobbits and other amazing woodland creatures.
Nearby Liskeard offers lots of local facilities including supermarkets and shops and the town is also home to Kartworld, perfect for the speed demons among you. The Adrenalin Quarry, a flooded disused quarry home to 500m twin parallel zip wires as well as coasteering and a giant cliff top swing, makes for a memorable day out, though it certainly isn’t for the faint hearted!
A holiday cottage in St Neot provides a picturesque base for exploring the moorland, countryside and coastline of South East Cornwall.
A family-run business, this underground experience is open all year round for self-guided tours. Set in Quarry Wood, the 6.5-acre site encompassing ancient woodland and beautiful walks, is also home to three caverns and a spectacularly beautiful underground lake, hand created by slate miners. There’s a The Terrace Garden and Enchanted Dell for children, The Rum Store for underground concerts and events, and it’s licensed for weddings and civil partnerships. When you visit, remember The Caverns are at a constant 10°C, so jumpers are a good idea and flip flops are recommended. It’s open all year round from Monday to Saturday, you can book tours, and prices start at £6 for adults and £4 for children.
Cornwall’s biggest exotic animal sanctuary, Porfell Wildlife Park is a family attraction close to Looe, which has been running since 1989. It plays home to more than 250 animals from around the world, who have found their way to the sanctuary through neglect, injury, illegal importation or simply because they weren’t wanted. It’s a chance to get up close to wildlife, feed the animals, touch them and learn all about the natural world. There are woodland walks, a children’s farm, a café, a Maasai village, and you can meet or even adopt the animals that you see. Opening hours vary, so keep an eye on the website, and prices start at £9.50 for adults and £6.50 for children.
A spectacular, late Victorian country house, garden and wooded estate, Lanhydrock has the vibe of a wealthy but unpretentious family home with a delightful history to learn about on your visit. The National Trust property was devastated by fire in 1881 and was then refurbished in the latest modern style of the time. It’s a beautiful example of upstairs/downstairs living with the division between the servants’ quarters and family accommodation evident as you wander from the elegant dining room to the bedrooms, nurseries and kitchens. The house has a restaurant, café and tea room to relax in, guided walks, workshops and activities, so you can visit and get stuck in or simply enjoy the location as you wish.
A traditional English pub in the village of St Neott, nestled in the beautiful Cornish countryside to the south of Bodmin Moor. Offering a great range of real ales, beers, ciders and wines by the glass or bottle and serving good home cooked made from locally sourced food.
The London Inn, School Hill, St Neot PL14 6NG (T: 01579 326728)
Set in the pretty village of Blisland this is a traditional pub serving a wide selection of well kept real ales, ciders and lagers and proper pub food. The pub has won CAMRA's National Pub of the Year award in the past, and is famous for its friendly welcome and for being a 'proper pub'.
The Blisland Inn, Blisland, Cornwall PL30 4JF (T: 07093 302828)
Award winning dining in the pretty Cornish village of Duloe, offering a warm welcome in a relaxed atmosphere. Serving real ales, fine wines and simple honest cuisine made from the finest seasonal produce from the local area. Relax with a drink outside in the garden enjoying the lovely views across Looe valley, or cosy up in front of the fire.
The Plough, Duloe, Liskeard PL14 4PN (T: 01503 262556)
A character, 16th century village inn situated in the ancient village of Pelynt. Serving local ales, lagers and ciders, and taking pride in their locally sourced, freshly prepared food. Particularly popular for their Sunday roasts. Plenty of parking.
The Jubilee Inn, Jubilee Hill, Pelynt, Looe PL13 2JZ (T: 01503 220312)
Half a mile west of Looe, stretching along the coast, Hannafore Beach is a sandy, shingle bay with a rocky reef and views of St George’s Island. At low tide it’s brimming with rock pools, making it fun and games for the whole family to enjoy, and it’s a wonderful sun trap in summer months thanks to its south east facing position. Because of its location over the river, the beach never really becomes too busy, but equally there aren’t any facilities nearby. It’s popular with dog walkers as it’s amongst the few dog-friendly beaches in the area, and having explored you can extend your excursion to a stroll along the promenade or a potter around the coast path to the wonderfully scenic Talland Bay. There is roadside parking along the sea front above the beach, but it can be difficult to find a space. Alternatively, there is a large car park in West Looe, around 10 minutes away on foot.
Millendreath Beach is a south facing beach at the foot of a wooded valley, in a sheltered cove with soft sand and lots of rock pools to explore at low tide. It’s connected to other nearby beaches by the South West Coast Path. Dogs aren’t allowed on this beach at any time of the year, and there is a reasonably sized car park a few minutes walk away. The beach is popular with families on holiday in Cornwall, and most of the surrounding area is occupied by a holiday park, so there are lot of facilities open to the public.
A small and pleasant grey sand beach with rocks exposed at low tide, Plaidy Beach is simply a nice place to visit and take in the scenery. There aren’t any facilities, and there’s no parking nearby so it’s one to reach on foot. There’s a slipway to the beach, but you will have to access it by walking along the coast path, parking at Millendreath or Looe and it’s worth keeping in mind that it’s quite steep from both directions. Millendreath is closer and the walk should take around 20 minutes. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round, so it’s a charming place to take them for a walk while you’re in the area.
In East Looe, the beach sits directly in front of the old town, sheltered by the Banjo Pier and overlooked from the east by the hillside of Mount Ararat. A good family beach that has something for everyone, at low tide the sandy location is safe for swimming although it’s recommended you steer clear of the river mouth beyond the pier. The beach backs on to a seafront walkway which runs its length all the way to Second Beach to the east, where it tends to be less busy and it’s good for snorkeling. As it’s in the centre of the town there are lots of facilities and cafes nearby, but in the summer it’s a very popular spot and parking can be tricky, with traffic prohibited during these months, so be prepared for a bit of a walk.
A small, quiet beach between Looe and Polperro, Talland Bay actually comprises two beaches, one of which has sand both at low and high tide and is good for swimming all the time, while the other is less sandy and is easiest to swim from at high tide. There is a ramp for launching boats from the main beach and there are lots of small coves and tidal pools to swim in as well, so it’s a delightful area to explore in the water. Parking is limited, but there is a small, free car park by the beach and paid parking at The Beach Café, all of which provide easy access to the sand. Thanks to the nearby café, visitors can also benefit from the accompanying facilities, on-site shop, and tuck into Roskillys Cornish Ice-Cream as well.