Malcolm Bell - Head of Visit Cornwall, the official tourist board for Cornwall gives his Cornish highlights.
I was born in Cornwall and have lived here for over 37 years in total so it goes without saying that Cornwall is where my heart lies. I love every inch of the county; its people, culture, food, and of course its amazing natural environment, so sum up my favourite bits is a tough challenge. I've risen to the task though and whittled down the list, so here's my take on what's not to miss in Cornwall.
The original fast food that first saw the light of day around 700 years ago and is the product of Cornwall's mining roots. Originally baked in short crust pastry and packed with beef, potato and turnip, these days they come in all kinds of flavours (although my dear old Grandma's is still my favourite!). When in Cornwall it would be silly and indeed a little sacrilegious not to demolish at least one during your visit.
This has got to be one of Cornwall's most iconic landmarks - and for good reason! It is quite frankly awe-inspiring and is a place of myths and legends as well as over a thousand years of incredible history. From its position rising dramatically from the bay, reaching the Island, whether by boat or by foot, is a mini adventure in itself and awaiting is a medieval castle, a sub-tropical paradise and a close-knit island community. More information on St Michael's Mount.
With its undulating curves made from inflated plastic cells supported by steel frames the huge Biomes at the Eden Project have become as famous as the thousands of global plants housed inside them. Open for just over a decade, Eden has been a runaway success attracting thousands of visitors every year to marvel at the botanical collections. Basically, it's the closest you'll ever get to some plants without actually canoeing up the Amazon.
Described as one of the most atmospheric locations in the world, the amphitheatre at the Minack was cut into the cliff side by visionary theatre lover Rowena Cade and her faithful gardener back in the 1920s and now hosts a summer long program of entertainment. Open to the elements and the full force of the Atlantic, performances at the Minack have more excitement and drama than even Shakespeare could ever have imagined.
Legend has it that it was here in the 7th century AD that St Piran, the Patron Saint of Cornwall, washed up on the shore tied to a millstone. Stretching along a spectacular coastline, Perranporth's golden sand, huge surf and sand dunes jam-packed with wildlife all combine to make a pretty impressive location. It's mine and my dogs top beach for walkies!
The argument still rages as to whether it's cream first or jam first but frankly when I'm sinking my teeth into a delicious scone smothered in thick clotted cream and fresh strawberry jam I don't care. You'll always order more than you can possibly eat and always end up scoffing the whole plateful, it just happens.
For all the epic romance of Cornwall you need go no further than Tintagel's craggy ruins perched on a cliff overlooking the untamed ocean. Legend has it that it's the birthplace of original superhero King Arthur and its dramatic location on the rugged Atlantic coast can't help but conjure up a land of wizards and brave knights.
Ok, so I have to admit that I'm not the first one to jump in a wetsuit and hit the waves but I do like to lie back on a beach or in the sanctuary of a beachside café and watch people try their hand at Cornwall's favourite pastime. As host to international surfing events and famed for its golden sands and Atlantic wash, Newquay is the number one spot but the entire coast of Cornwall is known to indulge in this popular activity...and wherever you are in Cornwall, you're never far from a surf school.
With over 300 miles of coast path Cornwall is the ultimate destination for walkers. There's no better way to clear the cobwebs and gain a fresh perspective than padding through lush green fields, ambling over secluded stiles and treading towards breathtaking views. More information on the South west coastal path.
Being surrounded by sea on three sides Cornwall has its pick of fishing waters and our quality seafood graces the plates of top restaurants across the world. One of the best things about a trip to Cornwall is that you get to eat it with a view of the sea that it came from whether its fresh from the fisherman's catch in a stylish restaurant, or in its simplest form with a side helping of chips on a harbour wall.
And the list goes on, and on, and on...
For more information and ideas check out the Visit Cornwall website.
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