From bustling harbours and magical castles to ancient stone circles and rugged coastline, Cornwall has so much to offer. We know there are times you want to escape the crowds, so we’ve created a little guide to some of the most beautiful, inspiring and hidden gems in Cornwall.
Nanjizal beach is truly secluded with natural stone sculptures and arches including the ‘Song of the Sea’ a slit like arch through which the sun glints. There are magical caves, a freshwater waterfall and rockpools in which to watch a microcosm of the marine world. It’s a walk from the nearest car park, but once you see this hidden gem, you’ll know it was worth every step.
The Shipwreck Treasure Museum, Charlestown
Charlestown, just outside St Austell, will be recognisable to viewers of the BBC’s Poldark adaptation. A traditional Cornish port village, it has a fascinating little museum set back from the harbour. The Shipwreck Treasure Museum is filled with more than 8,000 artefacts from more than 150 shipwrecks, including from the two World Wars and HMS Titanic. There’s also a photo gallery that tells the stories of the more than 100 films and programmes shot in Charlestown. A wonderful treasure.
Lovers of natural havens where the music of birdsong is the only sound to break the silence will love Frenchman’s Creek, a delightful inlet off the River Helford. The calm waters are lined by overhanging trees and the surrounding woodland is carpeted with bluebells in the spring. Best explored by boat or kayak, there is also a picturesque trail from the traditional village of Helford. Daphne du Maurier fans will recognise the location from the her novel of the same name.
The Stripple Stones, Bodmin Moor
Not so much a hidden gem in Cornwall than little heard of wonder. Roughly 3,000 years old, the stone circle stands on the shadow of Hawk’s Tor on Bodmin Moor. It is a magical and secret place to visit, reward enough for the efforts taken to find it. Recent conservation efforts by English Heritage have seen many of the circle’s stones re-erected. The Stripple Stones circle is one of just three in Cornwall that stand on a raised henge. Plus, you get to walk across Bodmin Moor, one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Crantock Rock Carvings
At low tide, Crantock Beach unveils a series of small caves including one with the mythical Crantock rock carving.
As the story goes, a beautiful woman was riding her horse along the beach when the tide caught them unawares and they drowned. Her distraught lover, Joseph Prater, would wander the shore hoping to find her.
It is likely that he carved her image and that of her horse on a cave wall, along with a poem. Romance tinged with sadness, but pretty cool all the same.
Take a boat out to Looe Island and explore the pretty, marine nature reserve about a mile off the coast of Looe.
It’s been a site of pilgrimage, and legend has it that Joseph of Arimethea landed there with his nephew Jesus Christ, resulting in a Benedictine chapel being built there in 1139. More recently, it was a smuggler’s haunt.
There is evidence of human habitation dating back to the Iron Age – always a popular place to visit!
For great family holiday accommodation, Cornwall is home to CLC Trenython Manor, a hotel resort with lodges set in 24 acres of wooded parkland. The perfect base from which to explore undiscovered Cornwall.