South Cornwall Falmouth Harbour

twin on the Roseland peninsula, the castle at St Mawes. They were built to guard the waters, but today St Mawes’ fortifications look over one of Britain’s classiest, premier hotel and restaurant destinations.

The south of Cornwall can be both rugged and beautiful.

The coastal landscape of The Lizard peninsula can be truly forbidding but is stunning in its remoteness.

And the same climate fosters more of Britain’s greatest gardens, from the beautiful spring flowers and national magnolia collection at Caerhays Castle to the sub-tropical paradise of Trebah, near Mawnan Smith.

IN minutes, you can travel from the charming streets of Britain’s smallest city to wild, remote cliffs for moments of solitary contemplation.

Truro is the county’s capital city, centred on the dreaming three spires of the last cathedral to be built in Britain (it was begun in 1880 and finished in 1910).

It has everything you’d expect from a city, superb shops and great restaurants, but in a compact and friendly style.

The architecture’s lovely – the Great War memorial in the city centre of a soldier waving his cap in the air is one of the country’s most moving – and the riverside location enviable.

The Royal Cornwall Museum will give you a comprehensive insight into the story of Cornwall with some amazing artefacts and displays.

There’s even a Poldark collection dedicated to the stories behind the TV hit of the century so far.

There’s often something going on at Lemon Quay, from fair rides to markets highlighting Cornish crafts and produce.

Lemon Quay is also home to the Hall for Cornwall, the county’s major theatre. Top touring productions, leading music stars and its own home-produced and hugely popular Christmas panto are staples of the diet.

Downriver from Truro is the port

of Falmouth, another major shopping centre full of great pubs and restaurants too.

Its situation on the great natural harbour of the Carrick Roads made Falmouth an essential part of the story of the British Empire: its speedy packet ships, carrying mail across the world, were the communications hub – the internet, if you like – of the age.

More recently, it was a major base for the Americans before the D-Day landings.

Falmouth’s – and the entire country’s - maritime heritage is reflected, explored and celebrated in the National Maritime Museum, another of Cornwall’s must-see destinations, telling the story of man’s relationship with the sea.

Today Falmouth is also a university town, with its vibrant student life lending great atmosphere to the streets, shops, cafes, pubs and clubs.

Overlooking Falmouth is Pendennis Castle, a relic from the time of Henry VIII that offers a fascinating visit and is often used by its custodians, English Heritage, to stage period recreations, pirates’ visits and even the occasional battle. You can still hear the cannons fire sometimes.

Pendennis Castle Opposite Pendennis Castle is its Lizard Lighthouse Cornish Visitor Guide - Spring 2017 35

Both are testimony to the inventive flair and courage of the great Victorian plant-hunters, who travelled the globe and brought back new species to bring colour and vibrancy to Britain’s gardens.

Tregothnan is another summary of the capability of the Cornish soil and climate to surprise us:

home to the Boscawen family, the private estate has persevered in pioneering botanical firsts since 1334. Inspired by a tradition stretching back generations, it began supplying England’s first and only tea in 2005.

As well as growing English tea and a range of herbal infusions, there’s coppiced charcoal, Cornish Manuka and wildflower honeys and even a rare Kea plum jam.

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